TIM MURPHY READS FROM HIS NOVEL CHRISTODORA WITH DARCY COSPER

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 28th, 2016

Christodora (Grove/Atlantic)

In Christodora, Tim Murphy follows the lives of a diverse cast of characters who reside in and around an iconic apartment building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. Constructed in the 1920s, the Christodora has stood through New York City’s various cultural shifts, from the AIDS epidemic to the Tompkins Square Riots of the 1980s, from the destructive effect of hard drugs to the gentrification of a beloved Manhattan neighborhood. Murphy moves kaleidoscopically through these times and into New York City in the not-too- distant future in this poignant portrait of sex, drugs, art, and activism in this ever-changing city.

On Avenue B in the East Village, the Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions and parents to a young adopted son, Mateo. Their neighbor, Hector, a PuertoRican gay man once celebrated for his work as an AIDS activist, is now a lonely addict who becomes connected to Milly and Jared’s lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, Mateo grows to see the opportunity for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers. As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they, in turn, to the wealthy residents of the crowded, glass-towered city of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them, even as ghosts of the past cast a shadow on their future.

A novel of great scope and ambition, Christodora is a closely-observed panoramic novel that powerfully evokes the danger, chaos, and wonder of New York City, as well as the strange and moving ways in which its dwellers’ can intersect.

Praise for Christodora

“[A] vivid account of the AIDS crisis and its aftermath . . . Murphy has written The Bonfire of the Vanities for the age of AIDS, using the same reportorial skills as Tom Wolfe to re-create the changing decades, complete with a pitch-perfect deployment of period detail. Skipping back and forth in time over 40 years, and projecting itself into the near future, the novel achieves a powerful evocation of the plague years.”—Publishers Weekly

“An ambitious social novel informed by an extended perspective on the HIV/AIDS epidemic . . . In his debut novel, Murphy wants to bring [Larry] Kramer’s vision into the 21st century, though he goes about it with more artistry and less polemic . . . The author is expert at inhabiting a variety of mindsets . . . A poignant . . .exploration of a health crisis that hasn’t yet ended.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Murphy, who has long reported on HIV/AIDS, LGBT issues, pop culture, travel, and the arts for a wide range of publications, here travels through New York City from the AIDS-scarred 1980s to the hipster-dominated 2000s to the wealth-drenched 2020s, all by focusing on a single East Village building.”—Library Journal

“An intimate portrait of a bohemian family, Christodora is also a capacious historical novel that vividly recreates the lost world of downtown Manhattan in the eighties—a nuanced portrait of an era in which artists were unwitting agents of gentrification and the bright dawn of gay liberation was brutally interrupted by the AIDS epidemic.”—Jay McInerney  

“A moving portrait of New York in the time of AIDS, Tim Murphy’s honest and insightful writing gives Christodora a particular vibrancy that causes the characters to leap, whole, into the reader’s imagination. This spectacular novel is an important addition to literature that captures New York in all its glory and despair.”—Candace Bushnell

“An exuberant, ambitious, funny, gorgeously written epic, Tim Murphy’s Christodora not only makes us privy to the most intimate secrets and dreams of a group of unforgettable diverse characters, this brilliant tale also sweeps us up into the spirit of our age, from the AIDS crisis to now and even into the future, so that we can see and feel the devastating effects of time as it changes us forever.”—James Hannaham, author of Delicious Foods

Tim Murphy has dedicated the last twenty years to reporting on HIV/AIDS. He’s written on the subject for Out, Advocate, and New York Magazine, where his cover story on the new HIV-prevention pill regimen PrEP was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Magazine Journalism. He also covers LGBT issues, arts, pop culture, travel, and fashion for publications including the New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler.

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MARISA SILVER DISCUSSES HER NEW NOVEL LITTLE NOTHING, WITH SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 28th, 2016

In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant parents. Her arrival, fervently anticipated and conceived in part by gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, stuns her parents and brings outrage and scorn from her community. Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no farther than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local charlatan, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates of persecution for Pavla.
Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as an outcast girl becomes a hunted woman whose ultimate survival depends on the most startling transfiguration of them all. Woven throughout is the journey of Danilo, the young man entranced by Pavla, obsessed only with protecting her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions, and the adoption of industry and invention. With a cast of remarkable characters, a wholly original story, and extraordinary, page-turning prose, Marisa Silver delivers a novel of sheer electricity.
Praise for Little Nothing
“Silver has created a gorgeously rendered, imaginative, magical yarn.” —Booklist
“Pavla serves to remind readers of the moral of the story, that a good soul can find transcendence in the face of unbearable odds. And in Danilo readers will recognize their own longing for transcendence and meaning as he transforms himself through pain and sorrow into a man of courage and ingenuity." —Publishers Weekly
“In Little Nothing, the wizardly Marisa Silver conjures a pitch-dark tale with empathy and humor. An emotionally suspenseful allegory, the novel reveals how the world's expectations can torque a woman's identity and leave a ferocious ache behind. The novel twisted me up inside. I loved it.” —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies, a National Book Award Finalist
"Little Nothing is a magnificent something, an inventive, unexpected story that seamlessly blends fable and folklore into the lives of characters who remain heart-wrenchingly real. That Silver wrestles with nearly unanswerable questions – What does it mean to occupy a body? What does it mean to be human? How transformative is love? – and still produces an exhilarating page-turner is a testament to her biting, beautiful prose. In addition to being a joy to read, this book challenged and changed me, and I can’t imagine what else anyone would want from a work of art." —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
Marisa Silver is the author of the novel Mary Coin, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Southern California Independent Bookseller’s Award. She is also the author of The God of War (a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist); No Direction Home; and two story collections, Alone with You and Babe in Paradise (a New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year). Silver’s fiction has won the O. Henry Award and been included in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and other anthologies. She lives in Los Angeles.
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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ZAN ROMANOFF READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL A SONG TO TAKE THE WORLD APART

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 28th, 2016

A Song to Take the World Apart (Knopf)

Hanging out with Chris was supposed to make Lorelei’s life normal. He’s cooler, he’s older, and he’s in a band, which means he can teach her about the music that was forbidden in her house growing up. Her grandmother told her when she was little that she was never allowed to sing, but listening to someone else do it is probably harmless—right?

The more she listens, though, the more keenly she can feel her own voice locked up in her throat, and how she longs to use it. And as she starts exploring the power her grandmother never wanted her to discover, influencing Chris and everyone around her, the foundations of Lorelei’s life start to crumble. There’s a reason the women in her family never want to talk about what their voices can do.

And a reason Lorelei can’t seem to stop herself from singing anyway.

Praise for A Song to Take the World Apart

"Zan Romanoff has created a hypnotic, lush coming of age story about what it means to have a voice.”—Emily Gould, author of Friendship

"Family secrets, first love, and the elemental, raw power of music are all on display in Zan Romanoff's gorgeous novel. A Song To Take the World Apartgives us a heroine who's as fierce as she is vulnerable, and a story that's as page-turning as it is profound. An enchanting and beautiful debut." —Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California

"Zan Romanoff’s music-saturated debut will snare readers with its melodic, pop-punk hooks and elegant riffs on growing up, falling in love, and letting go." —Sarah McCarry, author of All Our Pretty Songs
 
"With its dark sexiness, moody LA atmosphere, and fresh take on age-old legends, A Song to Take the World Apart will lure readers into its grip and keep them there.”—Bennett Madison, author of September Girls

Zan Romanoff was born and raised in Los Angeles, fifteen miles (at least an hour in traffic) from the ocean. She received a BA in literature from Yale, then returned to LA, where she lives in an apartment that never has quite enough shelves for all of her books. Her work has appeared in publications that range from the Paris Review to the Toast and the Atlantic. This is her first novel. Visit her at zanromanoff.tumblr.com and follow her on Twitter @zanopticon.

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FORREST STUART DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK DOWN, OUT AND UNDER ARREST

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 8th, 2016

Down, Out and Under Arrest: Policing and Everyday Life in Skid Row (University of Chicago Press)

In his first year working in Los Angeles’s Skid Row, Forrest Stuart was stopped on the street by police fourteen times. Usually for doing little more than standing there.

Juliette, a woman he met during that time, has been stopped by police well over one hundred times, arrested upward of sixty times, and has given up more than a year of her life serving week-long jail sentences. Her most common crime? Simply sitting on the sidewalk—an arrestable offense in LA.

Why? What purpose did those arrests serve, for society or for Juliette? How did we reach a point where we’ve cut support for our poorest citizens, yet are spending ever more on policing and prisons? That’s the complicated, maddening story that Stuart tells in Down, Out and Under Arrest, a close-up look at the hows and whys of policing poverty in the contemporary United States. What emerges from Stuart’s years of fieldwork—not only with Skid Row residents, but with the police charged with managing them—is a tragedy built on mistakes and misplaced priorities more than on heroes and villains. He reveals a situation where a lot of people on both sides of this issue are genuinely trying to do the right thing, yet often come up short. Sometimes, in ways that do serious harm.

At a time when distrust between police and the residents of disadvantaged  neighborhoods has never been higher, Stuart’s book helps us see where we’ve gone wrong, and what steps we could take to begin to change the lives of our poorest citizens—and ultimately our society itself—for the better.

Praise for Down, Out and Under Arrest 

"An intimate, multifaceted portrait of the police, residents and activists in their own voices. Down, Out, and Under Arrest adds new insights and much-needed complexity to the current debates on policing in the poorest urban areas of the U.S. It is a vivid and insightful five-year study of Los Angeles’s Skid Row that contradicts much of the conventional wisdom about policing and the urban poor."--Shelf Awareness

“Stuart’s extraordinary field work in LA’s Skid Row sheds new light on the regulation of the urban poor in the twenty-first century. This is urban ethnography at its best.”--Mitchell Duneier, author of Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea

Down, Out, and Under Arrest is a trenchant ethnographic account of how big city police harass and ‘manage’ some of the most desperate people of the urban environment, but equally important, how these impoverished denizens—including residents of SRO hotels, skid row, and homeless settlements—wisely manage the police in their everyday lives, powerfully revealing the enormous human toll of the ‘neoliberal state.’ This is a timely work of importance that deserves to be read by a wide audience.”--Elijah Anderson, author of Code of the Street

“Stuart’s Down, Out, and Under Arrest describes a segment of reality that is virtually unknown to Americans—how policing is reshaping the experiences of extreme urban poverty. The challenges of everyday life in Skid Row are revealed in sharp relief in his compelling narrative. Indeed, Stuart’s insightful account, based on years of field research, is replete with original findings. This well written book is a must-read not only for students and scholars of urban poverty, but for the general public as well.” William Julius Wilson, author of The Truly Disadvantaged

Forrest Stuart is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago.

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ZENOBIA NEIL READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL PSYCHE UNBOUND

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 8th, 2016

Psyche Unbound (Tule Publishing)

The celebrated beauty of Roman princess Psyche has enraged Venus, the Goddess of Love and Beauty. As punishment, Psyche is left naked on the beach to be sacrificed to a monster. When Cupid, the God of Love, swoops her up and flies her to the monster’s palace, Psyche mistakenly wraps her legs around his waist, looks into his eyes, and falls in love.
 
Blindfolded and tied to a bed, Psyche awaits the monster, vowing to be brave as she faces death. Yet when the monster arrives, he marries her  on the condition she never see his face. As she grows to love her shadow husband, she can’t stop thinking about the God of Love.  Consumed by curiosity, Psyche breaks her promise by lighting a lamp. Awaking in a rage, and furious with her betrayal, her husband banishes her from the palace.
 
Psyche begs Venus for another chance at love. Unmoved, Venus demands Psyche perform three impossible tasks. If Psyche succeeds, her husband will return. If she fails, she will be condemned to death.
 
Can Psyche satisfy Venus and win back her true love?

Join us for an evening of classic Roman treats and wine!

Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. A lifelong lover of Greco-Roman mythology, she writes about the ancient world and Greek god erotica. An English teacher by day, Zenobia spends her time imagining interesting people and putting them in terrible situations. She lives with her husband, two children, and dog in an overpriced hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles. Psyche Unbound is her first book. Zenobia would love to hear what your favorite Greek myth is. Visit her at ZenobiaNeil.com

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WILLIAM LUVAAS LAUNCHES HIS NEW NOVEL BENEATH THE COYOTE HILLS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 7th, 2016

Beneath the Coyote Hills (Spuyten Duyvil Press)

Please join us this afternoon for the official launch of local author William Luvaas's exciting new novel Beneath the Coyote Hills!

“They say you never get more than you can handle. So how do we explain suicide, then, or divorce, or crimes of passion, or parents who murder their children, or fall to pieces after having them? How do we explain people like me?”

So begins the story of Tommy Aristophanos, a luckless man, homeless freegan, fiction writer, and epileptic, who lives alone in an olive grove outside the town of Hamlet in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains in the Southern California desert. Tommy survives on his wits and society’s leavings, while the main character of his novel, Voltaire Cambridge Hoffstatter (Volt), is successful in all he undertakes. Their lives unexpectedly intertwine when Volt emerges from the pages of Tommy’s novel to harass him. 

Volt believes character is fate, while Tommy’s many reversals and fickle spells teach him that we control far less than we imagine. In the final showdown between the two, we are left wondering who is the true Pygmalion–Tommy or Volt? 

A master of timing and entertaining dialogue, William Luvaas peoples Tommy’s world with characters that are as outrageous as they are real: Tommy’s depressed mother who never gets out of bed; Crash, a tattooed, motorcycle-riding Jesus freak; Berkeley Don, hairy, kurta-wearing Buddha of the high desert; and changeling Lizard Man who haunts Tommy in his spells, as he takes readers on an unforgettable ride into the illusory world of success and failure and of reality itself. Where do we draw the line between reality and fantasy? To what extent do we write our own destiny, to what extent is it written for us? 

Part satire, part picaresque romp, part speculative adventure, Beneath The Coyote Hills unfolds as a multi-layered allegory that will stay with readers long after the last page.

Praise for William Luvaas

“Beneath the Coyote Hills has cost me a sleepless night that I can scarcely afford, and has left me cold with awe at the unwavering skill and subtlety of the narrative. The sheer scope of the author's imagination, and the almost impossibly delicate poetic weight of his prose, has made the discovery of William Luvaas' writing one of the genuine joys of my reading-year. He is a remarkable writer, comfortably among the finest at work in America today, and this novel is a towering and maybe career-defining achievement, art of the highest order.”–Billy O'Callaghan, Irish Book Award-winning author of The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind

“Luvaas weaves elements of other genres into the narrative, such as slipstream and poetry and even the sci-fi trope of a boy and his dog, revealing this work in the final analysis as a complex bricolage, a marvelous literary stew which illustrates perfectly how the artist ‘shapes the beautiful and the useful out of the dump heap of human life.’”–Clare MacQueen, Publisher of KYSO Flash and editor at Serving House Journal

“Heat, flies, wind and even ghosts form the eerie landscape of Luvaas’s extraordinary collection about love, hope and the stubborn resistance of humans even in the face of doom. Jaw-droppingly brilliant and downright transcendent.”–Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

“While comparisons to Cormac McCarthy’s powerful The Road novel seem inevitable, William Luvaas’s brilliant new collection of short stories, Ashes Rain Down: A Story Cycle, is a wildly inventive and epic comedy of prophetic visions, and a masterpiece of fiction for our own modern times.”–Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post “Book of the Year”

“The Style and mixture of voices used throughout these ten tightly linked offerings suggests Flannery O’Connor’s eccentrics channeling the apocalyptic visions of Cormac McCarthy.”–Duff Brenna, Los Angeles Review of Books

"In his second novel, Luvaas skillfully peels away the layers of deception in the Tillotson family to reveal three generations of trauma and abuse. A surreal and frightening air prevails, as guilt, aggression and madness escalate in this powerful evocation of family members coming to grips with their crimes against one another."–Publishers Weekly

"A mother drowning in alcohol drags her whole family down in William Luvaas’s powerful novel."–New York Times Book Review

"The Seductions of Natalie Bach is one of the best works of fiction about that pregnant decade [the sixties], comparable to Marge Piercy’s Small Changes and Lisa Alther’s Kinflicks. Luvaas recaptures the excitement of coming of age against a background of assassination, political activism, sexual experimentation, intellectual arrogance and generational conflict."–Newsday

William Luvaas has published two novels, The Seductions of Natalie BachGoing Under, and two story collections, A Working Man’s Apocrypha and most recently, Ashes Rain Down: A Story Cycle, which was a Huffington Post’s Book of the Year and a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

William Luvaas’s essays, articles and short stories have appeared in many publications, including The American Fiction AnthologyAntioch ReviewConfrontation, EpiphanyGlimmer TrainGrain MagNorth American ReviewShort StoryStand MagThe SunTexas ReviewThe Village Voice and The Washington Post Book World. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Fiction and has taught creative writing at San Diego State University, The Univ. of California, Riverside and The Writer’s Voice in New York, and The UCLA Writing Program.

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GINA FRANGELLO READS FROM HER NEW BOOK EVERY KIND OF WANTING WITH MEREDITH MARAN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 7th, 2016

Every Kind of Wanting (Counterpoint)

Every Kind of Wanting explores the complex intersection of three unique families and their bustling efforts to have a "Community Baby." Miguel could not be more different from his partner Chad, a happy-go-lucky real estate mogul from Chicago's wealthy North Shore. When Chad's sister, Gretchen offers the couple an egg, their search for a surrogate leads them to Miguel's old friend Emily, happily married to an eccentric Irish playwright, Nick, with whom she is raising two boys. Into this web falls Miguel's sister Lina, a former addict and stripper, who begins a passionate affair with Nick while deciphering the mysteries of her past. 
But every action these couples make has unforeseen consequences. As Lina faces her long-hidden demons, and the fragile friendships between Miguel and Chad and Nick and Emily begin to fray as the baby's birth draws near, a shocking turn of eventsand the secret Lina's been hiding threaten to break them apart forever. 

By turns funny, dark and sexy, Every Kind of Wanting strips bare the layers of the American family today. Tackling issues such as assimilation, the legacy of secrets, the morality of desire, and ultimately who "owns" love, the characters across all ethnicities, nationalities, and sexualities are blisteringly alive.

Praise for Every Kind of Wanting

"Who really owns a baby or another person's heart? Is it the community of people who love and want a child? The woman whose eggs are responsible? Or the surrogate who carries the fetus? Frangello's scorching, funny, and deeply moving novel is a brilliant fusion of deep secrets, stunning lies, the murky past and the uncertain future, all couched around the very human cost of desire. So fearless and ambitious, the pages practically ignite."--Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You 

"Desire is at the heart of Frangello's work, and whether we can survive it is central to this raw, wonderful, and unmistakably contemporary novel. This is the future that our conservative forebears were scared of, in all its messy, hopeful glory."--J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchen of the Great Midwest

Gina Frangello is the author of the Target Emerging Authors selection A Life in Men, which was a book club selection for NYLON magazine, The Rumpus, and The Nervous Breakdown. She is also the author of two other books of fiction: Slut Lullabies, a Foreword Magazine Best Book of the Year finalist, and My Sister’s Continent. She is the founder of Other Voices Books, has served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, the fiction editor for The Nervous Breakdown, executive editor for Other Voices magazine, and the faculty editor for TriQuarterly Online. She can be found at www.ginafrangello.com.

Photo by Blair Holmes

The author of a dozen nonfiction books and an acclaimed novel, Meredith Maran is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the MacDowell Fellows West. She writes features, essays, and book reviews for People, Salon, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Real Simple, Mother Jones, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. She lives in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

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AFFINITY KONAR READS FROM HER NOVEL MISCHLING

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 7th, 2016

Mischling (Lee Boudreaux Books)

Mischling is indeed a paradox. The intangible magic of Konar’s novel is this: While it is set against a backdrop of one of the most horrific episodes in human history, it is lyrical, poetic, and filled with hope. It is a story about the pervasiveness of nightmares and the staggering power of dreams. About how, despite the most banal of evils, one can find the ability to see the world anew. It is a story about losing, but more than that it is a story about finding.

There’s an alchemy to Konar’s language: it is sonorous and beautiful, full of tender, affecting moments, yet it doesn’t spare the reader the dark realities playing out on the page. One of the book’s most striking passages comes early on, when Pearl recalls the girls’ arrival at Auschwitz: “I realized that Stasha and I would have to divide the responsibilities of living between us. Such divisions had always come naturally to us, and so there, in the early-morning dark, we divvied up the necessities: Stasha would take the funny, the future, the bad. I would take the sad, the good, the past.” We are compelled to follow these resilient, imaginative little girls through this treacherous, painful new world, as they work to comfort themselves for as long as they can with a private language and the games of their childhood. But the longer they remain at Auschwitz, the harder it becomes to battle the impending dangers and the growing burdens of guilt and pain. And when Pearl disappears, Stasha has to cling fiercely to the hope that she will one day find her sister again.

Konar derived many aspects of the novel from the testimony of survivors who were part of the horrific “Zoo” where Nazi scientist Josef Mengele experimented on hundreds of sets of twins. It’s a story that has remained largely untold, and that holds strong personal connections for Konar, who is of Polish-Jewish ancestry. She grew up captivated by her grandfather’s many stories of serving in the US Army during WWII. At the same time, doctors were huge figures in her life because her younger brother suffered from seizures. Mengele became a source of fascination. At sixteen, Konar read Lucette Lagnado’s Children of the Flames, the watershed book about Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death” and the children he tormented. She was haunted by the story but also found it wondrous that some of the twins from Mengele’s Zoo were able to grow up, clinging to each other yet going on to lead full, meaningful lives. Many of the characters in the book are based on real figures—Pearl and Stasha were inspired by several sets of twins but most closely by Eva Mozes Kor and Miriam Mozes Zeiger. Other characters were inspired by: Zvi Spiegel, who led thirty-five children back to Hungary after the war; Irma Grese, the female SS guard known as the “Hyena of Auschwitz”; and Gisella Perl, the Jewish doctor who helped care for hundreds of prisoners. Konar, who spent over a decade giving voice to these unforgettable characters, drew from the vivid testimony of survivors. She says that she regrets not being able to touch on every character she wanted to write about, but that she holds close those who are  at the novel’s center. For Konar, Pearl and Stasha’s bond, “with all its unbreakability and longing,” remains the driving force of the book. Despite the pain they encounter, she says she was always writing toward the final line in the book: “Let’s try to love the world again.”

Praise for Mischling

Mischling is a paradox. It’s a beautiful novel about the most odious of crimes, it’s a deeply researched act of remembrance that somehow carries the lightness of a fairy tale, and it’s a coming-of-age story about children who aren’t allowed to come of age. If your soul can survive the journey, you’ll be rewarded by one of the most harrowing, powerful, and imaginative books of the year.”—Anthony Doerr, author of New York Times bestseller All The Light We Cannot See

“[A] painfully startling debut.” —Library Journal (Pre-pub Alert)

“Affinity Konar’s Mischling is a tale of courage, courageously told—spare and beautiful, riveting and heartrending. Half of me wanted to linger over every page, the other half insisted I race ahead. It’s a case of extraordinary storytelling from first page to transcendent last.”—David Wroblewski, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

“Affinity Konar is an astonishing and fearless writer whose great gift to us is this book. With incantatory magic, she marches through the most nightmarish of landscapes, swinging her light.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia

“Affinity Konar’s Mischling is a piercing novel written with chin-up virtuoso. The prose is dazzling, and the story of this twin is moving and searing, and as powerful as the best mythic stories of the masters of old.”—Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fishermen

“Konar has woven a masterful and poignant account of a pair of twin sisters who cannot be separated, even by the cruelest hand of fate. Her prose is mystical and delicately poetic, and she uses her manifold gifts to tell a deeply engaging story of fortitude and triumph. Bravo.”—Lucette Lagnado, author of Children of the Flames and The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit

“Affinity Konar has invented a language. It’s sonorous, brilliant....like Samuel Beckett, this is literature for the superhuman: reading it makes us greater than we are.” —Lydia Millet, author of Sweet Lamb of Heaven

Affinity Konar was raised in California. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. 

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YVONNE PUIG READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on September 21st, 2016

A Wife of Noble Character (Henry Holt & Company)

Imagine Edith Wharton’s Lily Bart transported from the Gilded Age to present-day Houston. Her world would have less taffeta, more beer. Her search for love would take her to Texas-big parties, not velvet parlors. And the hush-hush small talk of New York’s drawing rooms would be replaced with Lone Star straight talk. This is the reimagined setting writer Yvonne Georgina Puig has created in her debut novel, A Wife of Noble Character, inspired by Wharton’s The House of Mirth. This sparkling novel shifts from Houston to Paris and back while Puig rekindles the perennial conversation on self-worth when it comes to women and marriage, as apt (and fraught) today as it was then. 

Vivienne Cally, heiress to the once-mighty Cally Petroleum fortune, is wealthy only in name, and has been raised to marry a wealthy and respectable man to maintain the extravagant lifestyle she’s accustomed to. The problem is finding the right one. There’s Preston Duffin, a rising architect who lacks financial means. There’s Bucky Lawler, who is not lacking for money, but comes packaged with his good-ole-boy and deep Christian beliefs—hardly progressive. Vivienne’s best friends, Waverly and Karlie, juggle being supportive with gossiping, and they don’t understand why their friend won’t settle down. What’s a girl to do? As Vivienne strikes out to set herself on a career path while finding love, she hits bumps in the road that take her to the depths of humiliation, and she is faced with choices and soul searching about what is most important in life.

Colorful and cinematic, Puig’s first novel—a true comedy of manners—is true to Houston, where she grew up like her characters. This year, she is one of three participants in the Edith Wharton Writer-in-Residence Program at the Mount, where writers spend two weeks living and working in Wharton’s home in Lenox, MA. 

Praise for A Wife of Noble Character

"Satire, social commentary, and Texas: just a few of the riches you'll find in A Wife of Noble Character. Inspired by Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, this sharply drawn novel about Houston's oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others. It's a comedy of manners about what it's like to be wealthy in name only." ― ELLE.com

"A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story." ― Sarah Bird, author ofAbove the East China Sea

A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character." ― Janelle Brown, author ofAll We Ever Wanted Was Everything

Yvonne Georgina Puig's fiction and essays have appeared in SalonVariety,Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband.

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DANA JOHNSON READS FROM HER NEW SHORT STORY COLLECTION IN THE NOT QUITE DARK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on September 21st, 2016

In the Not Quite Dark (Counterpoint Press)

Following her prize-winning collection Break Any Woman DownDana Johnsonreturns with a collection of bold stories set mostly in downtown Los Angeles that examine large issues like love, class, race and how they influence and define our most intimate moments.

In "The Liberace Museum," a mixed-race couple leave the South toward the destination of Vegas, crossing miles of road and history to the promised land of consumption; in "Rogues," a young man on break from college lands in his brother's Inland Empire neighborhood during a rash of unexplained robberies; in "She Deserves Everything She Gets", a woman listens to the strict advice given to her spoiled niece about going away to college, reflecting on her own experience and the night she lost her best friend; and in the collection's title story, a man setting down roots in downtown L.A. is haunted by the specter of both gentrification and a young female tourist, whose body was found in the water tower of a neighboring building. 

With deep insight into character, intimate relationships, and the modern search for personal freedom, In the Not Quite Dark is powerful new work that feels both urgent and timeless.

Praise for In the Not Quite Dark

“In her brilliant collection, Dana Johnson presents a vision of America that is singular, utterly original, and necessary. These are superb stories grappling with the complexities of love and the way it winds through gender and race and class in our nation right now. Johnson is expert at exploring how the world tries to separate us —and how her characters find urgent ways to connect. These are stories radiant with beauty and compassion and clear-sighted, uncompromising wisdom." —Karen E. Bender, author of National Book Award finalist Refund

“Newer than tomorrow, the stories in In the Not Quite Dark illuminate the travails of contemporary life faced with aspects of gentrification—social, economic, racial, even sexual. Johnson is the poet of the uneasy place between rising and falling, the pressures of status and humiliation, the precarious moral footing we are all navigating now. A sharp edged portrait of Los Angeles, and ourselves.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander andPaint it Black

“Johnson’s (Elsewhere, California) superb short story collection features well-drawn characters, vivid descriptions of Los Angeles, and nuanced reflections on money, race, and family. The stories stand alone, but they share preoccupations, and sometimes settings… This is essential reading for Angelenos, Californians, and anyone interested in masterly, morally engaged storytelling.”—Starred Publishers Weekly
 
“An insightful collection of stories that paint diverse portraits of present-day Los Angeles… the themes of race, perspective, and history carry through. Eleven poignant stories that look to the past to portray the present.” —Kirkus
 
"Set against backdrops of gritty neighborhoods, Johnson’s arresting story collection explores the boundaries of identity, relationships, and race…Emotions sneak up in many of Johnson’s 11 stories, and her characters have no choice but to deal with what hits them." —Booklist
 
“There is an exquisite tension in each of the stories in Dana Johnson’s remarkable collection — couples who look past each other instead of into each other, women who try to negotiate upward mobility, wanting what you can’t have and having what you don’t want. Johnson has, truly, written an unforgettable collection. She is both a storyteller and an exacting observer of the beautiful ugly truths of Los Angeles, class, race, being alive.” —Roxane Gay, bestselling author of An Untamed State and Bad Feminist
 
“With deep insight into character, intimate relationships, and the modern search for personal freedom, In the Not Quite Dark is powerful new work that feels both urgent and timeless.” —Chicago Review of Books
 
“In her new collection, In the Not Quite Dark, [Johnson] offers 11 electrifying stories filled with tension and truth about present-day Los Angeles. “My mother died telling me what to do,” her narrator begins in “No Blaming the Harvard Boys,” a story about a young black student at a midwestern writers’ workshop navigating the caste system at a tumultuous party at her professor’s house. “She Deserves Everything She Gets” builds around the tension between the lessons parents teach young women about protecting themselves against rape and the dangers they don’t foresee. Johnson’s vision is razor sharp, her voice unmistakable.” –Lit Hub
 
“In her brilliant collection, Dana Johnson presents a vision of America that is singular, utterly original, and necessary. These are superb stories grappling with the complexities of love and the way it winds through gender and race and class in our nation right now. Johnson is expert at exploring how the world tries to separate us —and how her characters find urgent ways to connect. These are stories radiant with beauty and compassion and clear-sighted, uncompromising wisdom." —Karen E. Bender, author of National Book Award finalist Refund
 
“Newer than tomorrow, the stories in In the Not Quite Dark illuminate the travails of contemporary life faced with aspects of gentrification—social, economic, racial, even sexual. Johnson is the poet of the uneasy place between rising and falling, the pressures of status and humiliation, the precarious moral footing we are all navigating now. A sharp edged portrait of Los Angeles, and ourselves.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander andPaint it Black
 
“What a gift to have a new collection of hard-to-shake stories from the inimitable Dana Johnson. She writes about the contradictions of our contemporary moment with an honesty that is gimlet-eyed, rueful, and often wickedly funny. But along with implacable honesty there are also deep reserves of generosity in these stories, each one taking our hearts to places we don’t see coming and can’t readily forget.” —Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, author of PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Ms. Hempel Chronicles
 
“In these haunting and beautiful stories, Dana Johnson conjures a definitive portrait of contemporary Los Angeles. Her native eye is infallible, and her voice reigns over the city with grace, wit, and total authority.” —Jim Gavin, author of Middle Men

Dana Johnson is the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O'Conor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California. Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California. Learn more atwww.danajohnsonauthor.com. 

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EVAN KINDLEY DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK QUESTIONNAIRE WITH ROSTEN WOO

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on September 16th, 2016

Questionnaire (Bloomsbury)

Questionnaires are everywhere: we fill them out at doctors' offices and at job interviews, to express ourselves and to advance knowledge, to find love and to kill time. But where did they come from, and why have they proliferated? Evan Kindley's Questionnaire investigates the history of “the form as form,” from the Victorian confession album to the BuzzFeed quiz. By asking questions about the questions we ask ourselves, Kindley uncovers surprising connections between literature and science, psychology and business, and journalism and surveillance.

Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things, published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

Praise for Questionnaire

"A marvelous book that gathers an unexpected array of materials under the heading of the questionnaire: from IQ tests to the early days of marriage counseling, from data-mining Facebook quizzes to Scientology's rigged personality tests. Playful, smart and rich with dizzying connections, Evan Kindley's Questionnaire is no less than a secret history of how we became a nation of oversharers." - Hua Hsu, author of A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific; Contributor for The New Yorker;  Associate Professor of English, at Vassar College

Evan Kindley is a senior editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books and a visiting instructor at Claremont McKenna College. His writing has appeared in the New Republic, Bookforum, n+1, the London Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications.

Rosten Woo is an artist, designer, writer, and educator living in Los Angeles. He makes things that help people understand complex systems, re-orient themselves to places, and participate in group decision-making.

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CIVIL COPING MECHANISMS #RECURRENT LAUNCH WITH HAROLD ABRAMOWITZ AND JORDAN OKUMURA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on September 16th, 2016

#RECURRENT, is a new series at Civil Coping Mechanisms, which launches two titles in 2016 and is edited by Janice Lee, author of Damnation,ReconsolidationThe Sky Isn't Blue, and Executive Editor of Entropy.

The series will push the boundaries of narrative with books that seek to reconstruct, reimagine & expand on existing narrative spaces. Not bound to genre or category, #RECURRENT books will be intuitive, instigative, innovative, sensitive, perceptive, heart-breaking, and honest. More than anything, #RECURRENT is interested in writing that gestures towards intimacy in different ways, in writing that isn’t afraid to reveal or retreat, and writing that makes us feel all the feelings.

Blind Spot (Civil Coping Mechanisms)

Here, memory like a dripping faucet, slowly leaking events and considerations, one constantly feels like they are balancing on a teetering chair. This rigorous investigation of being leads one to consider the way a world revolves around a man like a vortex, the propensity of clipped phrases that alter, edit, build, revise, a constant modification of the one way one sees the world, exists in the world, remembers. Repetition, like stuttering, leads one through and around the vortex of consideration, yet like poetry the language points and articulates, then stutters again, the text as a glitchy archetype of keeping track, of observation, of the harmonious discontinuity of time’s ebb and flow: “There is no break in the harmony, and no seeing anything but for what it is.”

This brilliant, poetic novel weaves a new structure for narrative, forces the reader to consider the complex and profound structures hidden in a record of time, each observation of the utterly quotidian transforming into a lyrical evocation of essential significance. Each repetition is a surprise, and each consideration an impossible enigma. Narrated by a mysterious and clairvoyant consciousness, Blind Spot, is both blind and honest, isolated and compulsive, and achieves with such magnificent beauty a reconceptualization of seeing and reading that one might enter this book through its first lines and wish to never come out again.

Praise for Blind Spot

"This is a gorgeous slippery novel in the mode of Georges Perec or Magdalena Tulli or Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi or . . . Harold Abramowitz! I read it with a tumbling sort of pleasure by a small body of water as a hummingbird with a purple throat came and went. It, the bird, seemed, in its hovering, to be trying to read Blind Spot over my shoulder. Is that why it kept coming back? One impossibly exquisite thing seeking another?"—Danielle Dutton

“It’s one thing to write a novel about trauma – to tell a coherent story, to create (and be comforted by, to whatever extent) a narrative arc of pain and loss. But it’s something else entirely to find oneself inside a series of imagistic and syntactical loops – a Venn diagram of partial thoughts (or dreams or memories) that become more certain and more troubling each time they refuse to relate or resolve. Harold Abramowitz’s Blind Spot is not about anything – about, from the Old English, ‘outside of.’ Instead, it’s a kind of prayer made out of attention (Simone Weil). Incantatory and somatechnic. I fucking love this book. Abramowitz writes the mind and body (in trauma, in everyday life) from the knotted and careful inside."—TC Tolbert

“Like a careful clinician, a mathematician of the soul, Abramowitz takes us on a voyage of cautious deliberation. How does he do it? How is it that he creates such deep suspense and eager, almost anxious, anticipation through such minute & slightly various ministrations of lexicon? Alongside him we become careful detectives of our narrators’ confusions & disappointments even as we try to discover, again alongside him, just where it is that the center of those confusions lie …. It is a strange, unsettling, and beautiful book.”—Veronica Gonzalez

Harold Abramowitz is from Los Angeles.  He is author and co-author of books of poetry and prose, including Dear Dearly DepartedNot Blessed, and UNFO Burns A Million Dollars. Harold writes and edits as part of the collaborative projects eohippus labs, SAM OR SAMANTHA YAMS and UNFO.

Gaijin (Civil Coping Mechanisms)

“I build a body back from these fractured myths and severed edges.”—Jordan Okumura, Gaijin

How can a family be a demolition of the self and a home one lives in? How does a fractured body heal a trauma through connection? Deeply embedded in the novel Gaijin, by Jordan Okumura, is an unsettling nostalgia for family and for her Japanese culture, haunted by whispers and by abandoning, by illness and isolation, by silence and trauma. The novel attempts to simultaneously track a personal rupture and a family, through the painful and awkward reclamation of the self after sexual violence and the evocation of a patriarch who is half dreamed, half real.  The narrative bravely plows forward in reconciling two disparate sources of grief in order to heal them, trying to articulate the inarticulatable in a style that straddles genres—part memoir, part mythology, and part eulogy to a grandfather.Gaijin, a first novel for Okumura, is so powerful in its poetry and aching, it crushes the breath out of you as you read, cracks your chest wide open. Though the sum of Okumura’s exquisite metaphors is often grim, tragic, there is always a glimmer in the yearning.

Praise for Gaijin 

“And what is the measure of self inside grief? Jordan Okumura’s novelGaijin is a body song. By weaving stories of loss and myth, Okumura brings an identity to life, half real, half imagined. I was mesmerized from start to finish.”—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Small Backs of Children

“Labile, alluvial, fricative, abrasive, Gaijin cuts a channel through stone which takes the shape of its own persistence. I want to say your name with a rock beneath my tongue. It stages and restages memory to pinpoint the exact site where the skin broke and the shard sank in, then gestures towards a moment-after wherein this wound, inverted, might become both shield and sword. A nervy, unnerving book.”—Joyelle McSweeney, author ofDead Youth, or, The Leaks

Gaijin makes possible the impossible language of trauma.”— Molly Gaudry, author We Take Me Apart
 
“To pirate, to scratch. To press or be pressed: “into the girl corner.” To watch: “the water run home.” How the cliffs “ignite.” Jordan Okumura’sGaijin is an extraordinary book of poetry written, or so it feels, into the axial space of memory, embodiment and dream. In it, a grandfather, a man “born from tears and war,” moves from space to space, just as the narrator does: the “river floor,” the garage that becomes a Japanese theater, the mouth “that is already closed.” What does it mean to have had a hand in one’s “own erasure”? I was very moved by Okumura’s decision to make a book the site of “wet erosion,” tongueless. And yet the stories pour out, “beautiful” in their “heat.” Towards the question. Of what it would be. “To stop.” I am honored to write in support of Gaijin, which takes it’s place in the contemporary literatures of exile and diaspora: an index of fire and water, “original bone,” and light.”—Bhanu Kapil, author of Schizophrene
 
“Reading Jordan Okumura’s poetic prose will change the way you breathe and the way you move. Her prose reaches inside you, caresses the very core of who you are, and transforms what you thought you knew about love, hope, and desire in unnerving ways. Her writing does not simply remind me of the writing of Carole Maso, Helene Cixous, and Marguerite Duras; her writing extends this tradition of intimate, passionate writing that does not fear the pain of seeing into truth. Gaijin will awaken you to new ways for seeing and feeling. Each time I have read Gaijin, I have come to know something new about myself, about my own heart. It is rare for a first novel to look in such a relentless and courageous way into familial relationships and memories as does Gaijin.”—Doug Rice, author of Between Appear and Disappear
 
The narrator of Jordan Okumura’s haunting and evocative Gaijin says “I “want to live the life of tongues.” But what if that tongue has been inscribed with the language of others? In lyric prose born of breath and body, Okumura wrestles with questions like: How to find one’s self when “memories don’t know how to stay past?” How to “reconcile the possibility of a girl and men” when those men have stolen all possibility from the girl? How to escape the legacy of a father when that father “is me. Wrapped in the stone of me?” In doing so, she gives us a beautifully fractured story of a journey to uncover the history of a woman hidden within the history of a family. I dare you not to fall under Okumura’s spell.”—Peter Grandbois, author of Nahoonkara

Jordan Okumura is a writer and editor. Her work has been published inGargoyleDIRTY:DIRTY (Jaded Ibis Press), Black Rabbit, and First Stop Fiction. Jordan lives and works in Sacramento, California where she is an editor for trade news publications in the agricultural industry and is a regular contributor at Enclave/EntropyGaijin is her first book.

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TOM ZIMMERMAN AND J. ERIC LYNXWILER PRESENT THEIR BOOK SPECTACULAR ILLUMINATION

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on September 4th, 2016

Spectacular Illumination: Neon Los Angeles 1925-1965 (Angel City Press)

Spectacular Illumination: Neon Los Angeles, 1925-1965 is a unique, and indeed, spectacular collection of vintage photos that showcases the glowing neon heritage of the City of Angels. L.A. has long been recognized as the most vibrant city in the U.S., with part of its radiance coming from the signs lining its streets during the Golden Age of neon from 1925 to 1965. Photographer and historian Tom Zimmerman shows images depicting, in both color and black-and-white, what Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and countless other writers have tried to put into words.

More than 200 stunning images fill its pages, mostly in the era’s predominant black-and-white photography —  photos that attest to the amazing communicative power of neon, the light that was revered for its dramatic color. An historic black-and-white view of Broadway, with thousands of neon tubes and flourescent bulbs beaming, captured by photographer J. Howard Mott, instantly expresses why L.A. gained the reputation as a city where everything is new, everything is exciting, and everything is for show. The image of ’Wich Stand that adorns the cover of Spectacular Illumination juxtaposes vivid neon lights with the other classic symbols of the city, a palm tree and a drive-in eatery. And without doubt the neon steals the show. Photographers such as Mott, John Swope, and Will Connell and their work are featured in the pages of Spectacular Illumination, a book meticulously designed and edited by neon historian and graphic designer J. Eric Lynxwiler.
Spectacular Illumination tells a story of a city that has glowed, now glows, and, thanks to institutions such as Southern California’s Museum of Neon Art that preserve the art form, will glow forever.

Tom Zimmerman is a native of Los Angeles and shares a birthday with the city. His prose has been published in Southern California Quarterly, California History, and Los Angeles Times Magazine. His photography has appeared in many magazines and newspapers, as well as in several books on Los Angeles history and architecture. His photos have been exhibited across the country and are in several permanent collections including the Library of Congress, California State Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library. Three books of his photographs have been published: A Day in the Season of the Los Angeles DodgersWednesday at the Pier, and Downtown in Detail. A catalog of his photographic series Neon Noir was published by the Museum of Neon Art, where it was first exhibited. He has also written three historical books. Light and Illusion: The Hollywood Portraits of Ray Jones;Paradise Promoted: The Selling of Los Angeles 1870–1930, and El Camino Real, Highway 101 and the Route of the Daylight.

J. Eric Lynxwiler grew up in Southern California and earned his degree in urban anthropology at UCLA. Popular host of the Museum of Neon Art’s renowned Neon Cruise, he also serves on the museum’s board of directors and has saved dozens of neon signs. Lynxwiler is a graphic designer and co-authored the celebrated book Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles as well as Knott’s Preserved: From Boysenberry to Theme Park, the History of Knott’s Berry Farm.

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KEITH MORRIS PRESENTS HIS BOOK MY DAMAGE WITH JIM RULAND

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on September 4th, 2016

My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor (Da Capo Press)

Keith Morris is a true punk icon. No one else embodies the sound of Southern Californian hardcore. Short and sporting waist–length dreadlocks, Morris is known the world over for his take–no–prisoners approach on the stage and his integrity off of it. Over the course of his forty–year career, he’s battled diabetes, drug and alcohol addiction, and the record industry.

My Damage is more than a book about the highs and lows of a punk rock legend, however. It’s also a look at rock ’n’ roll through the lens of someone who has shared the stage with just about every major figure in the music industry and appeared in cult films like The Decline of Western Civilization and Repo Man. It’s a Hollywood story from a native’s perspective. My Damage is Morris’s streets, his scene, his music—as only he can tell it.

Keith Morris is an icon of American hardcore music. He is a co-founding member of Black Flag, the most recognizable name in West Coast punk rock, and the Circle Jerks, which cemented his reputation at the forefront of hardcore vocalists. He has recorded over fifteen albums, appeared on countless albums and compilations, and has a half-dozen film credits to his name. The intensity of the music produced by his latest bands OFF! and FLAG are equal to his best work from the 70s, 80s, and 90s and add to a legendary career that is still being carved out one gig at a time. A native of California, he has lived in Los Feliz for over twenty years. 

photo by Geoff Moore

Jim Ruland caught the punk rock virus when his mom took him to see the Ramones when he was 15. He has been writing for punk rock zines like "Flipside" since the early 90s and has written for every issue of "Razorcake," America s only non-profit independent music fanzine. He is the author of the award-winning novel "Forest of Fortune" and the short story collection "Big Lonesome." He is the curator of the Southern California-based irreverent reading series Vermin on the Mount. He lives in San Diego.

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GRAHAM MOORE DISCUSSES HIS NEW NOVEL THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT, WITH SAM WASSON

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on September 4th, 2016

The Last Days of Night (Random House)

From Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian, comes a thrilling historical novel—based on actual events—about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America.

In 1888 New York, gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but electric light is in its infancy. The person who can harness this miracle and bring it to the masses, to forever change people’s relationship with night, will make history—and a vast fortune. An untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.

Praise for The Last Days of Night

“In The Last Days of Night, Graham Moore takes us back to the dawn of light—electric light—into a world of invention and skullduggery, populated by the likes of Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, and the novel’s hero, a young lawyer named Paul Cravath (a name that will resonate with ambitious law students everywhere). It’s part legal thriller, part tour of a magical time—the age of wonder—and once you’ve finished it, you’ll find it hard to return to the world of now.”—Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City

“Mesmerizing, clever, and absolutely crackling, The Last Days of Night is a triumph of imagination. Graham Moore has chosen Gilded Age New York as his playground, with outsized characters—Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse—as his players. The result is a beautifully researched, endlessly entertaining novel that will leave you buzzing.” —Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

The Last Days of Night is a wonder, a riveting historical novel that is part legal thriller, part techno-suspense. This fast-paced story about the personal and legal clash over the invention of the light bulb is a tale of larger-than- life characters and devious doings, and a significant meditation on the price we as a society pay for new technology. Thoughtful and hugely entertaining.” —Scott Turow

“The author of The Sherlockian presents another twisty historical novel set at the end of the gaslight era. This time the story takes place in a New York City perched on the very precipice of electricity. The book’s central focus is on American ingenuity as the basis for commercial success and the so-called ‘war of currents’ waged between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla over the creation of the lightbulb. Paul Cravath, the brilliant but inexperienced lawyer hired by Westinghouse to countersue the pugnacious Edison for copyright infringement, unscrupulous behavior, and even violence, provides a first person perspective. Legal battles and the rancor between scientists drive the pace, while a curious romance unmasks yet another underhanded charade. Woven into this complex drama is a philosophical question about invention: Who is the inventor: the one with the idea, the one who makes a working model, or the one to obtain the patent? Who really did invent the lightbulb? A thought-provoking, suspenseful novel, surprising in its focus…illuminative of character…[with] keen biographical insights.” —Booklist

“Moore, again turning to historical events for the basis of a thrilling plot, tackles the ‘war of the currents,’…Amid the bickering of the iconic characters, Paul [Cravath] ends up emerging as the emotional center, trying to hold strands of the case together and stay true to his own moral standards…Moore’s extensive research is apparent, and readers are likely to walk away from the book feeling as informed as they are entertained.” —Publishers Weekly

Graham Moore is the New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian and the Academy Award–winning screenwriter for The Imitation Game, which also won a Writers Guild of America Award for best adapted screenplay. Moore was born in Chicago, received a B.A. in religious history from Columbia University in 2003, and now lives in Los Angeles.

Sam Wasson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M .: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman and two works of film criticism. His latest book is Fosse, a full-scale biography of the legendary director-choreographer. You can visit Sam at www.samwasson.com

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