MIKE MASSIMINO DISCUSSES HIS BOOK SPACEMAN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe (Crown Archetype)

Mike Massimino’s childhood fascination with space was born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, but his journey to actually becoming an astronaut was as unlikely as it is compelling. He grew up in a blue-collar Long Island town where going to college was a big deal; going to space was unthinkable. He was six-foot- three, with poor eyesight and a fear of heights, and (he’ll be the first to tell you) never the best athlete or smartest kid in the class. Even after he made it through Columbia and MIT, he was rejected three times by NASA before he finally made the cut. With his new book, Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, Massimino has written an inspiring ode to following your dreams and finding your place in this world—or out of it.

Massimino is a celebrity astronaut, the closest thing his generation has to an Armstrong or a John Glenn. He has 1.3 million Twitter followers, and has appeared on The Big Bang Theory, The Late Show with David Letterman, and more. In Spaceman, he puts the reader in the flightsuit, catapults them into space, and shows them the ins and outs of life in microgravity. With humor, humility, and intelligence, Massimino narrates the arduous process of becoming an astronaut – from training on T-38 jets to preparing, physically and mentally, for the journey to the cosmos. He recounts the surreal beauty of his first spacewalk with awe and childlike wonder, and candidly describes the fascinating complexity (and paralyzing anxiety) of making an emergency repair to the Hubble Space Telescope. How do you remove one-hundred- and-eleven very tiny screws from a machine that was never designed to be fixed, in space, all while worrying if you’re about to slip up and inadvertently ruin humankind’s chance discover life on other planets?

Massimino praises the innovation and camaraderie of the space program, revealing the affable nature that helped get him picked for missions in the first place (“Very few jerks have ever been to space,” he jokes). He writes movingly about the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and about his enduring love for the Hubble, which he and his fellow astronauts would be tasked with saving on his final mission. His voice is magnetic and singular, an ordinary guy who made it into one of the most elite clubs in the world – those who have left the planet and lived to tell about it. Spaceman invites us into a rare, wonderful world where the nerdiest science meets the most thrilling adventure, and pulls back the curtain on just what having “the right stuff” really means.

Praise for Spaceman

“Every generation of astronauts needs a storyteller—a person with wit, humor, and passion who has lived our collective dreams of space exploration and returned to tell us all about it. Mike Massimino is that person. He's that Astronaut. And this is his story.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Mike Massimino writes about space with an astronaut’s eye and an engineer's precision. You'll be impressed with his journey and his perspective on where a well-developed space program can take us in the future.”—Senator John Glenn

“Inspired by moonwalkers, Mike grew up, became an astronaut, and fixed the Hubble Space Telescope, all while remaining some kinda’ humble. You can’t help but follow him from Long Island to the bottom of the spacewalk practice pool, then 350 miles up and back. He’s a spaceman through and through; he tells how hard work can take you out of this world.”—Bill Nye, the Science Guy, CEO of the Planetary Society

“Like Mike Massimino, I was a kid in the 1960s who dreamed of being an astronaut. But I get seasick in a row boat, so turned to math. Massimino made it to space.  And his incredible journeys, filled with grit, courage, suspense and thrills, are told with such candor and delight, that for a brief moment I felt I’d finally made it to space too. Read this book and be inspired to reach for the impossible.”—Brian Greene, Columbia University, author of The Fabric of the Cosmos

“A smooth combination of personal history and immersive storytelling…Massimino makes having "the right stuff" both breathtaking and formidable. A vivid, engrossing, and enthusiastically written memoir of aeronautic ambition.”Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

“Readers will be delighted and moved by retired astronaut Massimino’s almost childlike wonder and enthusiasm, coupled with his humility, as he recounts the magnificence of space, the camaraderie of NASA in good times and bad, and a genuine gratitude for his good fortune…This is an engaging and uplifting memoir that’s sure to give readers a deeper appreciation for the U.S. space program and inspire some future astronauts.”—Publishers Weekly

Mike Massimino served as an astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 1996 to 2014. He is the veteran of two NASA space flights, STS-109 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in March 2002 and STS-125 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in May 2009. A graduate of Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massimino currently lives in New York City.

00:0000:00



VANESSA HUA READS FROM HER DEBUT COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES DECEIT AND OTHER POSSIBILITIES, WITH NAOMI HIRAHARA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

Deceit and Other Possibilities (Willow Books)

In this powerful debut collection, Vanessa Hua gives voice to immigrant families navigating a new America. Tied to their ancestral and adopted homelands in ways unimaginable in generations past, these memorable characters straddle both worlds but belong to none.

From a Hong Kong movie idol fleeing a sex scandal, to an obedient daughter turned Stanford imposter, to a Chinatown elder summoned to his village, to a Korean-American pastor with a secret agenda, the characters in these ten stories vividly illustrate the conflict between self and society, tradition and change. In “What We Have is What We Need,” winner of The Atlantic student fiction prize, a boy from Mexico reunites with his parents in San Francisco. When he suspects his mother has found love elsewhere, he fights to keep his family together.

With insight and wit, she writes about what wounds us and what we must survive. Her searing stories explore the clash of cultures and the complex, always shifting allegiances that we carry in ourselves, our family, and our community. Deceit and Other Possibilities marks the emergence of a remarkable new writer.

Praise for Deceit and Other Possibilities

"Vanessa Hua inhabits in graceful and heartbreaking detail the people of her stories: strivers and betrayers, lovers and the landless, all of them on their way to transcendence in her hands. – Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon   

"Fast-paced, dazzling, smart, and fun, Vanessa Hua's debut collection illustrates the insanities and heartbreaks on both sides of the Pacific." – Gary Shteyngart, author of  Little Failure and  Super Sad True Love Story

"Deceit and Other Possibilities gives us characters whose lives are constrained and yet also enriched by different borders, cultures, and traditions. A bracing and beautiful debut, full of fire and light."–Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account

"Complicated, cosmopolitan and utterly contemporary, Deceit and Other Possibilities is a richly enjoyable collection.  Hua is expert at creating both empathy and suspense whether it's in the emptiness of a national park or the crowded space of an international flight.  These stories will jump right off the page into the reader's imagination."–Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

For nearly two decades, Vanessa Hua has covered Asia and the diaspora in journalism and in fiction, writing about the ways immigrants bring their traditions, their histories, and their ambitions to America. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award for Fiction, and is a past Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at San Jose State University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, FRONTLINE/World, Washington Post, Guernica, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. A former staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, she has filed stories from China, South Korea, Panama, Burma and Ecuador. She is a graduate of Stanford University and UC Riverside's MFA program. She lives in the Bay Area with her family.

Naomi Hirahara is an award-winning novelist and nonfiction writer. Her Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Southern California-based gardener and Hiroshima survivor, has been published in Japanese, Korean and French. The sixth in the series, Sayonara Slam, was released in May of this year. Her short stories have been included in Los Angeles Noir, Asian Pulp and Hanzai Japan. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, she also is involved in the preservation of Japanese American and regional history in the form of books and exhibitions.

 
00:0000:00



DIANA WAGMAN READS FROM HER NOVEL EXTRAORDINARY OCTOBER AND FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK READS FROM HER NOVEL THE ELEMENTALS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

With the launch of her first young adult novel, Diana Wagman along with Francesca Lia Block will discuss crossover between the YA genre and adult fiction.

Extraordinary October (Ig Publishing)

October is an ordinary girl. From her plain looks to her average grades, there seems to be nothing special about her. Then, three days before her eighteenth birthday, she develops a strange itch that won t go away, and her life is turned upside down. Suddenly, she can hear dogs talk, make crows fly, and two new and very handsome boys at school are vying for her affections. After she starts transplanting herself through solid rock, October learns that she is not ordinary at all, but the daughter of a troll princess and a fairy prince, and a pawn in a deadly war between the trolls and the fairies. Now October will have to use all of her growing powers to save her family, and stop a mysterious evil that threatens to destroy the fairy world. 

In the fantastical vein of authors such as Julie Kagawa and Holly Black, Extraordinary October takes us on a magical journey from the streets of Los Angeles to the beautiful and mythical underground fairy kingdom. 

Praise for Extraordinary October

"In an auspicious debut for teens, adult author Wagman proves particularly adept at mixing genres and maintains a terrific balance between fantastical (and occasional macabre) happenings and genuine teen perceptions."--Kirkus Review

Extraordinary October is author Diana Wagman’s first novel for Young Adults. She has written five novels for adults, most recently Life #6.  Her stories and essays have been published in The LA Times, Conjunctions, The Colorado Review and elsewhere and included in the anthologies LA Noir and MFA vs. NYC.  

The Elementals (Griffin)

From a star YA writer Francesca Lia Block, author of the Weetzie Bat books, comes an adult novel about a student, haunted by the disappearance of a friend, who must face the truth

The Elementals is on one level a contemporary story about a young woman, Ariel Silverman, facing the challenges of her first years away at college in Berkeley, California, while her mother battles cancer at home in Los Angeles. But the book takes on deeper, stranger meanings when we contend with Ariel's obsession with the disappearance of her best friend, Jeni, who vanished without a trace a few years before. Her emptiness of spirit seems finally to find some healing with three mysterious, beautiful and seductive young people living in a strange old house in the Berkeley hills. But at what price? 

Praise for The Elementals

“The uniqueness of Ariel as a character as well as the mystery that unravels during the course of the book will make [The Elementals] appealing to both teen and adult readers… An engaging portrait.” – BUST Magazine  

"The late great Diana Wynne Jones would approve of Lia Block's The Elementals, a hypnotic account of a girl's first years in college following the disappearance of her best friend on a school trip and the diagnosis of her mother's cancer. As a portrait of a troubled and impressionable girl, Ariel Silverman shimmers in the very air between page and eyelashes. Tam Lin meets the tabloids." —Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz

Francesca Lia Block is the author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry. She received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association and from the New York Times Book Review, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. She was named Writer-in-Residence at Pasadena City College in 2014. Her work has been translated into Italian, French, German Japanese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Portuguese. Francesca has also published stories, poems, essays and interviews in The Los Angeles Times, The L.A. Review of Books, Spin, Nylon, Black Clock and Rattle among others. In addition to writing, she teaches fiction workshops at UCLA Extension, Antioch University,  and privately in Los Angeles where she was born, raised and currently still lives.

00:0000:00



JON KLASSEN LAUNCHES HIS NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK WE FOUND A HAT

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

We Found a Hat (Candlewick Press)

Hold on to your hats for the conclusion of the celebrated hat trilogy by Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.

Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles, and there is only one hat. . . . Evoking hilarity and sympathy, the shifting yes tell the tale in this brilliantly paced story in three parts, highlighting Jon Klassen’s visual comedy and deceptive simplicity.

The delicious buildup takes an unexpected turn that is sure to please loyal fans and newcomers alike.

Praise for We Found A Hat

*“In this concluding volume of a thematic trilogy, Klassen employs all his trademark dry wit and deadpan humor to tell the story of a hat-related caper. . . . The conclusion might surprise even those familiar with Klassen’s twist endings, and the growing tensions, simple narrative, and  intriguing details will endear this to many.” – Booklist (starred review)
 
*“Readers who think they know what's coming will be wrong... Instead, Klassen considers the instant at which a decision to act can break either way, depending on who's tempted and whether anyone else is watching. In contrast to the first two books, which relied on a certain conspiratorial menace, this one ends with a moment of grace and a sky full of stars. All three stories are about justice. It's just that justice doesn't always mean the same thing.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
*“A different but wholly delightful and thought-provoking capper to Klassen’s ingenious series.” – School Library Journal (starred review)
 
*“The tenderness in this book (with its uplifting ending) is just as surprising  as the black humor in the earlier ones. While the book is richer in the context of the two previous volumes, Klassen leaves enough space for uninitiated readers to make their own meaning out of this story about a hat—but, here, also about an enduring and precious friendship.” – The Horn Book (starred review)

Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, and This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal. He is the illustrator of two Caldecott Honor Books, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn, both written by Mac Barnett, as well as House Held Up by Trees, written by Ted Kooser. Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jon Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.

00:0000:00



MELISSA YANCY READS FROM HER NEW COLLECTION OF STORIES DOG YEARS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

Dog Years (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Many of these richly layered stories juxtapose the miracles of modern medicine against the inescapable frustrations of everyday life: awkward first dates, the indignities of air travel, and overwhelming megastore cereal aisles. In “Go Forth,” an aging couple attends a kidney transplant reunion, where donors and recipients collide with unexpected results; in “Hounds,” a woman who runs a facial reconstruction program for veterans nurses her dying dog while recounting the ways she has used sex as both a weapon and a salve; and in “Consider this Case,” a lonely fetal surgeon caring for his aesthete father must reconsider sexuality and the lengths people will go to have children.

Melissa Yancy’s personal experience in the milieus of hospitals, medicine, and family services infuse her narratives with a rare texture and gravity. Keenly observed, offering both sharp humor and humanity, these stories explore the ties that bind—both genetic and otherwise—and the fine line between the mundane and the maudlin. Whether the men or women that populate these pages are contending with illness, death, or parenthood, the real focus is on time and our inability to slow its progression, and to revel in those moments we can control.

Praise for Dog Years

“The smart, intricate, carefully crafted stories in Dog Years reminded me of Lauren Groff’s Delicate, Edible Birds for both their ambition and extraordinary beauty.”—Richard Russo

“Melissa Yancy’s stories make me swoon with recognition. They’re funny and sad in the same breath; they’re incredibly well executed; they’re about the endlessly fascinating machinery of relationships, about the weird intersections of medical technology and human dignity, and about the ways time catches up with everyone in the end. I’ve been waiting a long time for her stories to be collected in a book; Dog Years is cause for celebration.”—Anthony Doerr

Melissa Yancy’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Glimmer Train, Zyzzyva, and other publications. She is the recipient of a 2016 NEA Literature Fellowship. Stories in Dog Years have won the Glimmer Train Fiction Open, The Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize, and received special mention in the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Los Angeles where she works as a fundraiser for healthcare causes.

00:0000:00



PHOEBE ROBINSON DISCUSSES HER BOOK YOU CAN’T TOUCH MY HAIR WITH MICHAELA WATKINS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain (Plume Books)

A keenly observed, humorous essay collection from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster (2 Dope Queens) Phoebe Robinson, in which she discusses what it's like to be the black friend, how to cope with others who have white guilt, and, of course, why you can't touch her hair.

NOTE: As with all Skylight Books events, this reading is free and open to the public (first come, first served).  But because we're expecting a sizable crowd at this event, we'll be giving out numbered tickets to the signing line to keep things organized.  To get a ticket to the signing line, you must purchase a copy of You Can't Touch My Hair here at Skylight Books. Tickets will be available starting Tues, October 4th, 2016, the book's publication date.  They will be available in-store, or you can order on our website and leave a note in the "Order Comments" field.  We will also hold a ticket for you if you order and pay for a book over the phone. For further information on the signing guidelines, please be sure and check back, as we will be updating this listing as the date approaches. Thank you for your cooperation! 

Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she asserts, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the nonsense you are handed every day. Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she's been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the minority friend," as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she's been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isn't that...white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; she's been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page. As personal as it is political, You Can't Touch My Hair is an utterly modern essay collection: one that examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases, all told from Robinson's singularly witty point of view.

Praise for You Can't Touch My Hair

"You Can't Touch My Hair is the book we need right now. Robinson makes us think about race and feminism in new ways, thanks to her whip-smart comedy and expert use of a pop culture reference. The future is very bright because Robinson and her book are in it." --Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent

"A must-read Phoebe Robinson discusses race and feminism in such a funny, real, and specific way, it penetrates your brain and stays with you."--Ilana Glazer, co-creator and co-star of Broad City 

"Phoebe Robinson has a way of casually, candidly rough-housing with tough topics like race and sex and gender that makes you feel a little safer and a lot less alone. If something as wise and funny as You Can't Touch My Hair exists in the world, we can't all be doomed. Phoebe is my hero and this book is my wife."--Lindy West, New York Times bestselling author of Shrill 

"You Can't Touch My Hair is one of the funniest books about race, dating, and Michael Fassbender. The world is burning, and Phoebe Robinson is the literary feminist savior we've been looking for."--Hasan Minhaj, senior correspondent onThe Daily Show 

"Phoebe Robinson says the things that need to be said, and does so eloquently and hilariously."--Mara Wilson, author of Where Am I Now?

"Moving, poignant, witty, and funny a promising debut by a talented, genuinely funny writer."--Publishers Weekly 

"Uproarious Robinson reflects on the annoying parts of black life in America with humor and soul."--RedBook 

Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actress whom Vulture.com, Essence, and Esquire have named one of the top comedians to watch. She has appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyersand Last Call with Carson Daly; Comedy Central’s Broad CityThe Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and@midnight with Chris Hardwick; as well as the new Jill Soloway pilot for Amazon I Love Dick. Robinson’s writing has been featured in The Village Voice and on Glamour.com, TheDailyBeast.com, VanityFair.com, Vulture.com, and NYTimes.com. She was also a staff writer on MTV’s hit talking head show, Girl Code, as well as a consultant on season three of Broad City. Most recently, she created and starred in Refinery29’s web series Woke Bae and, alongside Jessica Williams of The Daily Show, she is the creator and costar of the hit WNYC podcast 2 Dope Queens as well as the host of the new WNYC podcast Sooo Many White Guys. Robinson lives and performs stand-up in Brooklyn, NY, and you can read her weekly musings about race, gender, and pop culture on her blog, Blaria.com (aka Black Daria).

Michaela Watkins hails from the Los Angeles main stage company, The Groundlings Theater, where many distinguished SNL alum have performed. Watkins joined the "SNL" cast mid-season of the 2008-09 season and made her mark with spot-on impressions of Arianna Huffington, Barbara Walters and Kathie Lee Gifford's sidekick Hoda Kotb. 

Watkins can currently be seen starring in the hit Hulu show Casual, now picked up for a third season.  She plays the lead role of "Valerie Cole", a newly divorced sex therapist who is just re-entering the world of casual dating.

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., and raised in Boston, Watkins pursued a career in regionaltheater before moving to Los Angeles. She studied acting and theater, and received her B.F.A. from Boston University.

00:0000:00



MICAH PERKS READS FROM HER NEW NOVEL WHAT BECOMES US WITH MICHELLE TEA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

What Becomes Us (Outpost 19)

In What Becomes Us, the new novel by Micah Perks, twin fetuses tell the story of their mild-mannered mother who abandons her controlling husband to start fresh in a small town in upstate New York. But her seemingly ideal neighbors are violently divided by the history Evie is teaching at the high school—the captivity and restoration of colonist Mary Rowlandson, a watershed conflict that leads our little narrators to ask big questions about love, survival, coveting the man next door and what exactly is a healthy appetite.

Praise for What Becomes Us

"Micah Perks' book has everything a reader could hope for -- her language is lively, her characters appealing. Set in a storied landscape, with themes of independence and community. Romance! History! Food! Plus a tale to tell and some surprising people to tell it. There is real magic here. Micah magic! Completely original, completely delightful."- Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

“Micah Perks is one of the most radiantly original writers around. What Becomes Us, exhilarating and terrifying, is a novel I love for its wild beauty, its offbeat inventiveness, it’s effervescent language, and the artfulness with which it has been shaped. This is a brilliant novel.”- Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen

"No matter where we come from, we all get born again American. Micah Perks is our literary doula working beside the midwives who haunt our American beginnings: Mary Rowlandson, Queen Weetamoo, and civil disobedient missionary Ma -- rebirthing us even as we are fetal captives in generational cycles of puritanical pioneering and savagery. We emerge with insatiable hunger, innocent and corruptible, and Micah Perks, with gentle wit and deft storytelling, coaxes us to love and song."- Karen Tei Yamashita, author of I Hotel

“Micah Perk's wonderful and surprising new novel proves that the life of a small-town schoolteacher can be by turns comic, dramatic, joyful, and violent. For one thing, its wise and observant narrators are unborn twins.”- Alison Lurie, author of Foreign Affairs and The Language of Houses

"I've been obsessed with Mary Rowlandson for 20 years, and was delighted to find that Micah Perks writes about her with fireworks. This is a warm, wild, hilarious, eccentric and moving book." - Lauren Groff

Micah Perks is the author of a novel, We Are Gathered Here, a memoir, Pagan Time, and a long personal essay, Alone In The Woods: Cheryl Strayed, My Daughter and Me. Her short stories and essays have won five Pushcart Prize nominations and appeared in Epoch, Zyzzyva, Tin HouseThe Toast, OZY and The Rumpus, amongst many journals and anthologies. Excerpts of What Becomes Us won a National Endowment for The Arts grant and The New Guard Machigonne 2014 Fiction Prize. She received her BA and MFA from Cornell University and now lives with her family in Santa Cruz where she co-directs the creative writing program at UCSC.

Michelle Tea is the author of twelve books, most recently the dystopic half-memoir Black Wave. She curates the Amethyst Editions series for Feminist Press. Her writing has appeared in Harpers, Cosmopolitan, The Believer, Marie Claire and other discordant publications. 

00:0000:00



ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ AND DINA GILIO-WHITAKER DISCUSS THEIR BOOK “ALL THE REAL INDIANS DIED OFF” AND 20 OTHER MYTHS ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 19th, 2017

“All the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans (Beacon Press)

“All the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans critically deconstructs persistent myths about American Indians that have taken hold in the United States. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker tackle a wide range of myths about Native American culture (“Indians Are Naturally Predisposed to Alcoholism”) and history (“Columbus Discovered America”) and trace how they developed. They deftly show how these myths are rooted in the fears and prejudice of European settlers and in the larger political agendas of the settler state aimed at acquiring Indigenous land, and that they can be traced to narratives of erasure and disappearance.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. After receiving her PhD in history at the University of California at Los Angeles, she taught in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico. She lives in San Francisco.

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is an award-winning journalist and columnist at Indian Country Today Media Network. A writer and researcher in Indigenous studies, she is currently a research associate and associate scholar at the Center for World Indigenous Studies. She lives in San Clemente, CA.

00:0000:00



KATE SCHATZ AND MIRIAM KLEIN STAHL PRESENT THEIR BOOK RAD WOMEN WORLDWIDE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 16th, 2017

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates And Punks, And  other revolutionaries who shaped history (Ten Speed Press)

From the authors of the New York Times bestselling book Rad American Women A-Z, comes a bold new collection of 40 biographical profiles, each accompanied by a striking illustrated portrait, showcasing extraordinary women from around the world.

In Rad Women Worldwide, writer Kate Schatz and artist Miriam Klein Stahl tell fresh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. Featuring an array of diverse figures from Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica), this progressive and visually arresting book is a compelling addition to women's history.

RAD Facts!

  • Rad Women Worldwide tells 40 stories from 31 countries.
  • Artist Miriam Klein Stahl created the papercut illustrations in the book using paper, pencil, and an X-Acto knife.
  • The book features an additional 250 names of rad women from around the world for readers to continue their own research.
  • Rad Women A-Z has been featured everywhere from NPR and MSNBC to Teen Vogue, MTV, Elle, and Buzzfeed. It also won Best Picture Book at the 2016 Northern California Independent Bookseller Association Awards.

Kate Schatz is a feminist writer, educator, editor, and the author of the 33 1/3 book Rid of Me: A Story. Miriam Klein Stahl is an artist, educator, and activist. They are the author and illustrator, respectively, of Rad American Women A-Z and both live in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

00:0000:00



ALEXANDER MAKSIK DISCUSSES HIS NEW NOVEL SHELTER IN PLACE, WITH MARISA SILVER

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 16th, 2017

Shelter in Place (Europa Editions)

 

Set in the Pacific Northwest in the jittery, jacked-up early 1990s, Shelter in Place, by one of America’s most thrillingly defiant contemporary authors, is a stylish literary novel about the hereditary nature of mental illness, the fleeting intensity of youth, the obligations of family, and the dramatic consequences of love.

Joseph March, a twenty-one year-old working class kid from Seattle, has just graduated college, has fallen in love with the fiercely independent Tess Wolff, and his future beckons, unencumbered, limitless, magnificent. Joe’s life implodes when he starts to suffer the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and, not long after, his mother kills a man she’s never met with a hammer. Later, spurred on by his mother’s example and her growing fame, Tess enlists Joe in a secret, violent plan that will forever change their lives.

Maksik sings of modern America’s battered soul and of the lacerating emotions that make us human. Magnetic and masterfully told, Shelter in Place is about the things in life we are willing to die for, and those we’re willing to kill for.

Praise for Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place is a magnificent novel. Alexander Maksik charts the legacy of violence and the limits of justice with grace, power, and clarity.”—Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

“Unsettling and honest, a remarkably insightful portrait of mental illness, Shelter in Place is elegiac, savage and mournful, a beautifully written novel about the echoes of our actions, of love and its consequences.”—Aminatta Forna, author of The Hired Man

Shelter In Place is a love story like none I’ve ever read before…Densely ruminative, and bracingly unromantic, the ballad of Tess, Joe, and his parents tests the brutal outer-limits of patriarchy, the bleak realities of untreated mental illness, and the nature of loyalty in a world where every woman is out for herself.  And every man, as well.”—Kate Bolick, author of Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own 

“An unsettling and beautiful exploration of mental illness, love, violence, family and sexual politics. Maksik’s artful story outruns all sorts of received ideas and cliched narratives...You’ll be haunted by it in the best possible way.”—Katie Roiphe, author of The Violet Hour

“On every page we’re reminded of the paradox of how mysterious, thorny, and delicate family relationships can be.”—Kirkus Reviews

Alexander Maksik is the author of the novels You Deserve Nothing and A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2013, as well as finalist for both the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. His writing has appeared in The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper's, Tin House, Harvard Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and Narrative Magazine, among other publications. He is a contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler, and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize as well as fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust and The Corporation of Yaddo.

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.

00:0000:00



MIKE ROBERTS READS FROM HIS DEBUT NOVEL CANNIBALS IN LOVE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 16th, 2017

Cannibals in Love (FSG Originals)

It’s strange to even think about, but an entire generation came of age in the world of George W. Bush and his administration. For a decade and a half, tens of millions of young Americans watched their country go to war, slide up to the brink of a depression, and navigate seismic shifts in race, gender, and sexual identity politics…all while trying to go to college, get jobs, and live lives as normally as they could. Now, almost a decade removed from that time comes a debut novel that chronicles one young man’s life in the tumultuous eight years of Bush’s America: Cannibals in Love.

Told in a series of vignettes and based largely on the experiences of the author, Cannibals in Love is a bildungsroman for a generation still grappling with the full effects of the bizarre 2000s. Beginning shortly after the fall of the World Trade Center as the main character is about to graduate from college, the book captures the peculiar blend of lost and carefree aimlessness that comes from watching the generation that preceded yours screw everything up pretty royally. Jumping forward through events both national and personal - from the Beltway sniper to falling in love for the first time – and featuring chapters in all the places twentysomethings go to discover themselves, including New York, Austin, and Portland, Cannibals in Love is a funny, sad, and moving depiction of a new lost generation.

Mike Roberts is a screenwriter whose adaptation of Brad Land’s memoir Goat was produced by James Franco and premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Though he began writing Cannibals in Love during a time of personal and professional hardship, it was while writing the novel that his screenplay work began to take off, and he ended up putting the book on hold while he finished his other projects. As a result, the book mirrors the growth and maturation of the author in a sense of literary realtime.

00:0000:00



VIET THANH NGUYEN READS FROM HIS NEW COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES THE REFUGEES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 16th, 2017

The Refugees (Grove Press)

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction but also the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen’s next fiction book, The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. 

With the coruscating gaze of The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. 

The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.

NOTE: As with all Skylight Books in-store events, this reading is free and open to the public (first come, first served). But because we're expecting a large crowd at this event, we'll be giving out numbered tickets to the signing line to keep things organized:

  • To get a ticket to the signing line, you must purchase a copy of The Refugees here at Skylight Books. Tickets will be available beginning February 7, 2017, the book's publication date.
  • For all website orders for this event, be sure to leave a note in the Order Comments field that you would like a ticket and plan to attend the event.
  • Can't attend? If you would like a signed book but will not be able to attend, click Signed Copy after adding the book to your cart and we'll do our best to get it signed for you. You  may pick up this book in the store after the event, or have it shipped to you.
  • Skylight's Friends with Benefits members get priority signing line tickets (and 20% off this and all other event books each month), so be sure to mention your membership (or join) when you order the book.

Praise for The Refugees

“Precise without being clinical, archly humorous without being condescending, and full of understanding; many of the stories might have been written by a modern Flaubert, if that master had spent time in San Jose or Ho Chi Minh City . . . [Nguyen’s] stories, excellent from start to finish, transcend ethnic boundaries to speak to human universals.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Each searing tale in Nguyen’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-winning The Sympathizer is a pressure cooker of unease, simmering with unresolved issues of memory and identity for the Vietnamese whose lives were disrupted by the “American War.” …Nguyen is not here to sympathize…but to challenge the experience of white America as the invisible norm. .” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Nguyen…presents a collection of fluidly modulated yet bracing stories about Vietnamese refugees in the U.S., powerful tales of rupture and loss that detonate successive shock waves. . . . Each intimate, supple, and heartrending story is unique in its particulars even as all are works of piercing clarity, poignant emotional nuance, and searing insights into the trauma of war and the long chill of exile, the assault on identity and the resilience of the self, and the fragility and preciousness of memories.”–Booklist (starred review)

“For Nguyen groupies desperate for future titles (including a Sympathizer sequel), [The] Refugees is a highly gratifying interlude. For short fiction fans of other extraordinary, between-culture collections such as Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, Nguyen won’t disappoint.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“A delight . . . The short story is a beautiful affirmation of the supreme importance of art in our daily lives. And Viet Thanh Nguyen drives that point home brilliantly.”—Mekong Review

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. His novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as five other awards. He is also the author of the nonfiction books Nothing Ever Dies and Race and Resistance. The Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, he lives in Los Angeles.

00:0000:00



OTTESSA MOSHFEGH DISCUSSES HER NEW SHORT STORY COLLECTION HOMESICK FOR ANOTHER WORLD, WITH KRISTINE MCKENNA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 16th, 2017

Homesick for Another World (Penguin Press)

Ottessa Moshfegh's debut novel Eileen was one of the literary events of 2015. Garlanded with critical acclaim, it was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. But as many critics noted, Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories. Homesick for Another World is the rare case where an author's short story collection is if anything more anticipated than her novel. 

And for good reason. There's something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh's stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O'Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We're in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.

Praise for Eileen

"Eileen is anything but generic. Eileen is as vivid and human as they come... Moshfegh, whose novella, ‘McGlue,' was published last year, writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind--playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything... There is that wonderful tension between wanting to slow down and bathe in the language and imagery, and the impulse to race to see what happens, how it happens.”  -New York Times Book Review

“The attention that is now greeting Moshfegh’s first novel is not undeserved. Eileen is a remarkable piece of writing, always dark and surprising, sometimes ugly and occasionally hilarious. Its first-person narrator is one of the strangest, most messed-up, most pathetic—and yet, in her own inimitable way, endearing—misfits I’ve encountered in fiction. Trust me, you have never read anything remotely like Eileen.” -Washington Post 

“Her best work yet . . . What makes Moshfegh an important writer—and I'd even say crucial—is that she is unlike any other author (male, female, Iranian, American, etc.). And this sui generis quality is cemented by the singular savage suburban noir of Eileen . . . Here is art that manages to reject artifice and yet be something wholly new and itself in sheer artistry.” - The Los Angeles Times
 
 “Wonderfully unsettling first novel . . .  When the denouement comes, it’s as shocking as it is thrilling. Part of the pleasure of the book (besides the almost killing tension) is that Eileen is mordantly funny . . . this tale belongs to both the past and future Eileen, a truly original character who is gloriously unlikable, dirty, startling—and as ferociously human as the novel that bears her name.”-San Francisco Chronicle

“Charmingly disturbing. Delightfully dour. Pleasingly perverse. These are some of the oxymorons that ran through my mind as I read Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh's intense, flavorful, remarkable new novel. ‘Funny awful’ might be another one. I marveled at myself for enjoying the scenes I was witnessing, and wondered what dark magic the author had employed to make me smile at them.” -NPR.ORG

Ottessa Moshfegh received the Plimpton Prize for her stories in the Paris Review, and was granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.  Her novella, McGlue, won the inaugural Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. Eileen won her the PEN Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her newest collection of short-stories, Homesick for Another World, will be published by the Penguin Press in January 2017.  She currently lives in Los Angeles.  

Kristine McKenna is a Los Angeles based writer. Her biography of David Lynch, Life & Work, will be published by Random House in 2017.

00:0000:00



ALAN SEPINWALL DISCUSSES HIS BOOK TV: THE BOOK, WITH JON HAMM

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 14th, 2017

TV (The Book) Two Experts Pick The Greatest American Shows of All Time (Grand Central Publishing)

Is The Wire better than Breaking Bad? Is Cheers better than Seinfeld?What's the best high school show ever made? Why did Moonlighting really fall apart? Was the Arrested Development Netflix season brilliant or terrible? 

For twenty years-since they shared a TV column at Tony Soprano's hometown newspaper-critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have been debating these questions and many more, but it all ultimately boils down to this:  What's the greatest TV show ever? 

That debate reaches an epic conclusion in TV (THE BOOK). Sepinwall and Seitz have identified and ranked the 100 greatest scripted shows in American TV history. Using a complex, obsessively all- encompassing scoring system, they've created a Pantheon of top TV shows, each accompanied by essays delving into what made these shows great. From vintage classics like The Twilight Zone and I Love Lucy to modern masterpieces like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, from huge hits like All in the Family and ER to short-lived favorites like Firefly and Freaks and Geeks, TV (THE BOOK) will bring the triumphs of the small screen together in one amazing compendium. 

Praise for TV (The Book)

TV (The Book) is going to start fights and I mean that as the highest compliment. In fact, the book is more fun if you disagree with its authors, informed and thoughtful as they are. But bring your best game because they sure did."—Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling novelist

"What fun to dive into a book that not only inspires but invites debate over your favorite TV shows.  Which ones truly deserve to be in the Pantheon? Which ones did or didn’t make the cut? Any book that celebrates everything from The Sopranos to Rocky and Bullwinkle gets my attention…and deserves yours."—Leonard Maltin, film critic/historian/lifelong TV junkie

“I hate Top Ten lists and am existentially opposed to numerically rating television shows, so this book is my worst nightmare! You should buy it anyway, because Alan and Matt are shrewd, witty and insightful critics, even if they are wrong about Cheers being better than 30 Rock.”—Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker

“It’s the Golden Age of TV,  yes, but  TV: The Book shows we are also in the Golden Age of  TV criticism. In the same way so many of us made Leonard  Maltin’s Movie Guide or Pauline Kael’s or David Thomson’s  review collections our film bibles, readers will be poring over this magnificent volume for years to come. An essential, provocative and irresistible tome from two of our greatest critics.”—Megan Abbott, best-selling author of The Fever and You Will Know Me

Alan Sepinwall has been writing about television for close to twenty years. Formerly a TV critic for Newark’s Star-Ledger (Tony Soprano’s hometown paper), he currently writes the popular blog What's Alan Watching? on HitFix.com. he is the author of The Revolution was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever (Touchstones, 2012) which the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani named one of her 10 Favorite Books of 2012. 

Jon Hamm is an American actor, director, and television producer best known for his nuanced portrayal of the high-powered, philandering advertising executive Don Draper on the AMC's dramatic series Mad Men. His work has earned him numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, Television Critics Association Award and a Critics’ Choice Television Award, as well as multiple Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations.

00:0000:00



NIGHT OF SILENCED VOICES: A BANNED BOOKS WEEK CELEBRATION, WITH SPECIAL GUESTS STEPH CHA, NATASHIA DEON AND CHRIS TERRY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 14th, 2017

Night of Silenced Voices: A Banned Books Week Celebration

Join us as we—together with the Banned Books Week Coalition and partner bookstores around the country—celebrate banned books, with a special focus on diversity.  Join the Skylight staff, as well as special guests, forBanned Books Week Open Mic, take part in our Blind Date with A Banned Book sale (15% off) and keep an eye out for Skylight Books Banned Books shelftalkers highlighting some of the most regularly banned/challenged books.

The Banned Books Week Coalition is a national alliance of like minded organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. Our Banned Books Week event on Tuesday, September 27th will be held in conjunction with other similar events hosted at partner bookstores across the country, including Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (NYC),  Book Cellar (Chicago), Politics & Prose (DC), Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver), Powell's Books (PDX), and Books & Books (Miami).

Steph Cha is the author of Follow Her HomeBeware Beware, and Dead Soon Enough. She's the noir editor for the L.A. Review of Books and a regular contributor to the L.A. Times and USA Today. She lives in her native city of Los Angeles with her husband and basset hound.

Natashia Deón is the recipient of a PEN Center US Emerging Voices Fellowship and has been awarded fellowships and residencies at Yale, Bread Loaf, Dickinson House in Belgium, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Named one of 2013’s Most Fascinating People by LA Weekly, she has a MFA from UC Riverside and is the creator of the popular LA-based reading series, Dirty Laundry Lit. A practicing lawyer, she currently teaches law at Trinity Law School. Her debut novel, Grace, was published this past June by Counterpoint Press.

Chris L. Terry’s debut novel Zero Fade (Curbside Splendor) was on the Best of 2013 lists by Kirkus Reviews, Slate Magazine, and the American Library Association. He has taught creative writing everywhere from grade schools to prisons to senior centers, and is currently working on a novel about a mixed-race punk bassist with a black imaginary friend.

00:0000:00




« Older episodes ·