Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 26th, 2014

Does Santa Exist? A Philosophical Investigation (Dutton Books)

A humorous philosophical investigation into the existence of Santa--from a co-executive producer of "The Big Bang Theory," the #1 sitcom on television.

Metaphysics isn't ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholarEric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer.

Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: There are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. In Does Santa Exist? Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unreal--and failed. From there he turns to mysticism's attempts to resolve such paradoxes, surveying Buddhism, Taoism, early Christianity, Theosophy, and even the philosophers at UC Berkeley under whom he studied. Finally, this brilliant comic writer alights on--surprise--comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life, using examples from "The Big Bang Theory," Monty Python's cheese shop sketch, and many other pop-culture sources.

Finally Kaplan delves deeper into what this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with life's biggest questions: If we're all going to die, what's the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?

Praise for Does Santa Exist?

"Eric Kaplan's Does Santa Exist? is the funniest book of philosophy since...well, ever."--Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama "and author of "Life in Hell"

"If you can put this book down, you should see a doctor. Kaplan's message burrows into the mind, beats up a few beliefs and then leaves with a triumphant bang."--Michael Gazzaniga, Professor of Psychology University of California Santa Barbara, Director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, and Founder of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society

"Exceptionally interesting, rigorous and I found it not only weirdly funny but deeply moving."--Hubert Dreyfus, Professor of Philosophy, University of California Berkeley, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

"This is truly a book that I wish I had written. Eric brings great clarity of thought to some of the deepest questions of the mind and our understanding of the world. And he's really funny." --Daniel Levitin, New York Times Bestselling author of This is Your Brain on Music, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at McGill University, Dean of Arts and Humanities, Minerva Schools at KGI

"Eric Kaplan is more than a talented comedy writer. He is a deep soul, an intellectual master, and a brilliant communicator of the subtleties of the intersections between faith and logic. He will have you laughing, thinking harder than you've ever thought, and falling in love with the process of intellectual exploration all over again. A masterpiece."--Mayim Bialik, PhD (neuroscience, UCLA), actress known for her roles as Blossom Russo in "Blossom" and Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler in "The Big Bang Theory"

Eric Kaplan is a co-executive producer of (and writer for) the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Previously he wrote for The Late Show with David Letterman, Futurama, and Flight of the Concords. Kaplan graduated from Harvard and is currently completing his dissertation in philosophy at UC Berkeley.

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REBBECCA BROWN reads from her novel THEY BECOME HER and PATTY SEYBURN reads from her poetry collection PERFECTA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 26th, 2014

They Become Her (What Books)                                                  

Perfecta (What Books)

Join us tonight for the fall launch party for one of Skylight Books' favorite local presses, What Books!

Rebbecca Brown's debut novel, They Become Her, received Honorable Mention in the 2009-2010 Starcherone Innovative Fiction contest. It tells the story of Delia Bacon, the first to propose that Shakespeare did not write his own works and whose own literary ambition inspired a life filled with fame and scandal. Three fictional biographies of contemporary writers--all sharing the name Rebbecca Brown--become involved in Delia's quest, complicating who is writing whose fictional biography. They Become Her is poetically rich, provocatively questioning identity, the relationships between texts and their authors, and the predicaments in which many artists inevitably find themselves. It invites a self-reflexive entanglement with the reader, who won't be able to resist playing along to the unexpected end.

Smart and funny, gorgeous and frightened. Whether at the racetrack or in the cul-de-sac. Asking questions of the flawed self or of the idyllic, Patty Seyburn's poems look headlong at the living world and use all of it. The poems are winding and discursive but also include short, eye-rolling lyrics. Dinner party politics join with lines from Hass, the Bible, and the memory of Detroit. Characters in Seyburn's poems do what we all do, only with the skepticism of Plato.

Rebbecca Brown received her Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2007. Her work has appeared in journals such as American Literary Review, Confrontation, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, Eclipse, Requited, H_ngm_n and Ekleksographia. She received an Honorable Mention from the Academy of American Poets, the Rachel Sherwood Prize for Poetry, First Place in the LACC Writing Contest for Creative Nonfiction, and has taught as a Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Lecturer at Kannur University in Kerala, India. THEY BECOME HER is her first novel. She lives in New York City and teaches at Hunter College.

Patty Seyburn has published four books of poems, Perfeccta (What Books, 2014), Hilarity (New Issues Press, 2009), Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002), and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998). She teaches at California State University, Long Beach, and co-edits Pool: A Journal of Poetry.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 26th, 2014

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

When the San Jose mine collapsed outside of Copiapo, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days. The entire world watched what transpired above-ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, but the saga of the miners' experiences below the Earth's surface--and the lives that led them there--has never been heard until now.

For Deep Down Dark, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales. These thirty-three men came to think of the mine, a cavern inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, as a kind of coffin, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer. Even while still buried, they all agreed that if by some miracle any of them escaped alive, they would share their story only collectively. Hector Tobar was the person they chose to hear, and now to tell, that story.

The result is a masterwork of narrative journalism--a riveting, at times shocking, emotionally textured account of a singular human event. Deep Down Dark brings to haunting, tactile life the experience of being imprisoned inside a mountain of stone, the horror of being slowly consumed by hunger, and the spiritual and mystical elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place. In its stirring final chapters, it captures the profound way in which the lives of everyone involved in the disaster were forever changed.

Praise for Deep Down Dark

"Hector Tobar takes us so far down into the story and lives of the Chilean miners that his reconstruction of a workplace disaster becomes a riveting meditation on universal human themes. Deep Down Dark is an extraordinary piece of work." --George Packer

"In this masterful dissection of the 2010's dramatic sixty-nine day ordeal by thirty-three trapped Chilean miners, Hector Tobar weaves a suspenseful narrative that moves back and forth between the waking nightmares of the buried men, and those of their families on the earth's surface. In Deep Down Dark, Hector Tobar takes us deftly to the very cliff-edge of human survival." --Jon Lee Anderson

"It's almost hard to believe that Hector Tobar wasn't himself one of the trapped Chilean miners, so vivid, immediate, terrifying, emotional, and convincing is his Homeric narration of this extraordinary incident. Deep Down Dark is a literary masterpiece of narrative journalism, surgical in its reconstruction, novelistic in its explorations of human personality and nuance. In a manner that feels spiritual, Tobar puts himself at the service of his story, and his fidelity to and unquenchable curiosity about every fact and detail generates unforgettable wonderment and awe." --Francisco Goldman

"A gripping narrative, taut to the point of explosion." --"Kirkus Reviews "(starred review)

Hector Tobar is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a novelist. He is the author of The Barbarian Nurseries, Translation Nation, and The Tattooed Soldier. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he is a native of the city of Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and three children.

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JAMES ELLROY reads from his novel PERFIDIA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2014

Perfidia (Knopf)

Please welcome back to Skylight one of L.A.'s most iconic crime writers, James Ellroy!

The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States teeters on the edge of war. The roundup of allegedly treasonous Japanese Americans is about to begin. And in L.A., a Japanese family is found dead. Murder or ritual suicide? The investigation will draw four people into a totally Ellroy-ian tangle: a brilliant Japanese American forensic chemist; an unsatisfiably adventurous young woman; one police officer based in fact (William H. "Whiskey Bill" Parker, later to become the groundbreaking chief of the LAPD), the other the product of Ellroy's inimitable imagination (Dudley Smith, arch villain of "The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz)." As their lives intertwine, we are given a story of war and of consuming romance, a searing expose of the Japanese internment, and an astonishingly detailed homicide investigation. In "Perfidia," Ellroy delves more deeply than ever before into his characters' intellectual and emotional lives. But it has the full-strength, unbridled story-telling audacity that has marked all the acclaimed work of the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction."

Praise for Perfidia

"Perfidia is a brilliant, breakneck ride. Nobody except James Ellroy could pull this off. He doesn't merely write--he ignites and demolishes."
--Carl Hiaasen

"A return to the scene of Ellroy's greatest success and a triumphant return to form. . . . His character portrayals have never been more nuanced or--dare we say it--sympathetic. . . . A disturbing, unforgettable, and inflammatory vision of how the men in charge respond to the threat of war. It's an ugly picture, but just try looking away."
--"Booklist", starred review

"A sprawling, uncompromising epic of crime and depravity."
--"Publishers Weekly"

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy-American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood's a Rover-and the L. A. Quartet novels, The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L. A. Confidential, and White Jazz. He lives in Los Angeles.

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ELISSA SUSSMAN reads from her young adult novel STRAY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2014
Stray (Greenwillow Books)
A cross between The Handmaid's Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, Stray is part coming-of-age story, part fairy tale, part adventure, part sweet romance.
Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.
When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray. But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her--magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take. After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn't it? 
Elissa Sussman received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, DreamWorks, and Sony Imageworks. You can find her name in the credits of The Croods, Hotel Transylvania, The Princess and the Frog, and Tangled. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue dog, Basil. Stray is her first novel.
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B.J. NOVAK reads and signs his children’s book THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2014

The Book With No Pictures (Dial Books for Young Readers)

We're delighted to present the Los Angeles launch event for The Book With No Pictures, the new children's book from actor and author B.J. Novak (One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories).

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 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 ofThe Book With No Pictures here at Skylight Books. Signing line tickets will become available the day the book goes on sale: Tuesday, September 30, 2014. 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.

Once you have your signing line ticket, these are the guidelines for the signing:

  • For every copy of The Book With No Pictures purchased, B.J. Novak will sign one copy of One More Thing
  • Only The Book With No Pictures will be personalized; copies of One More Thing will be signed only
  • This signing is for books only; please leave other memorabilia at home
  • We won't be able to accommodate posed photos, but you are welcome to take photos from the line as he signs (no flash, please)

Thank you for your cooperation!

B.J. Novak's The Book With No Pictures turns the turns the notion of the picture book on its head, by delivering a text-only story book for young children. You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .


Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.

Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)

B.J. Novak is well known for his work on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series The Office as an writer, actor, director, and executive producer. He is also known for his work as a standup comedian and his performances in motion pictures such as Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. Novak’s collection of short stories One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories (Knopf) was published earlier this year to rave reviews. The New York Times Book Review called it “hugely pleasurable...droll and smart in spades, but often humane and vulnerable, too..." The Washington Post called Novak “a gifted observer of the human condition and a very funny writer capable of winning that rare thing: unselfconscious, insuppressible laughter.” He is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in English and Spanish literature.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2014

Man Alive (City Lights/Sister Spit)              

Cha-Ching!/The Beautifully Worthless (City Lights/Sister Spit)

Join us tonight for a spectacular reading from one of the most iconic publishing houses in the country, City Lights and its radical imprint, Sister Spit.

In Man AliveThomas Page McBee attempts to answer that question by focusing on two of the men who most impacted his life--one, his otherwise ordinary father who abused him as a child, and the other, a mugger who threatened his life and then released him in an odd moment of mercy. Standing at the brink of the life-changing decision to transition from female to male, McBee seeks to understand these examples of flawed manhood as he cobbles together his own identity.

In Cha-Ching!, Theo, our scruffy, big-hearted, and quick-witted heroine, is not so much down on her luck as delivered luckless into a culture where the winners and losers have already been decided. Her adventures in getting over take her from San Francisco to New York City, from dyke bars to telemarketing outfits, casinos to free clinics. With the signature poet's voice that has won her awards and acclaim, Ali Liebegott investigates the conjoined hearts of hope and addiction in an unforgettable story of what it means to be young and broke in America. 

Praise for Man Alive:
"Thomas Page McBee's memoir grips you like a thriller yet reads with the lyricism of poetry as he details how a brush with violence sent him on quest to untangle a sinister past, and freed him to become the man he was meant to be."— Michelle Tea

"Man Alive is a sweet, tender hurt of a memoir. Thomas Page McBee deftly recounts what has shaped him into the man he has become and how--from childhood trauma to a mugging in Oakland where he learned of his body's ability to save itself. This is a memoir about forgiveness and self-discovery, but mostly it's about love, so much love. McBee takes us in his capable hands and shows us what it takes to become a man who is gloriously, gloriously alive." -- Roxane Gay.

"Thomas Page McBee's story of how he came to claim both his past and his future is by turns despairing and hopeful, exceptional and relatable. To read it is to witness the birth of a fuller, truer self. I loved this book." -- Ann Friedman

Praise for Cha-Ching!

"Cha-Ching! is a rush - the clatter of youth on the angry move, the rattling of dreamy gambles in crappy apartments, the desperate crash of falling for someone despite the million reasons why and the bang! bang! bang! of our tender hearts."—Daniel Handler, author of Why We Broke Up

"Cha-Ching! is so raw with need that I found myself itching that addict's itch to chase the seemingly impossible."—Karolina Waclawiak, deputy editor of The Believer and author of How to Get Into the Twin Palms

"The Beautifully Worthless is an outrageous act of kindness."—Eileen Myles

"She's insanely talented, it's mad. The Beautifully Worthless crisscrosses the USA, like Close to the Knives, like Kerouac, desperately seeking out everything occluded and driven, a frenzy of seeking frozen into poetry. "—Kevin Killian

Thomas Page McBee writes the column "Self-Made Man" for the Rumpus, and his writings on gender have appeared in The New York Times and via, VICE, BuzzFeed, and Salon. Thomas gives lectures on masculinity and media narratives across the country. He lives in New York City.
Ali Liebegott is the author of the award-winning books The Beautifully Worthless and The IHOP Papers. In 2010 she took a train trip across America interviewing female poets for a project titled, The Heart Has Many Doors; excerpts from these interviews are posted monthly on The Believer Logger. Along with a reprint of her road classicThe Beautifully Worthless, her newest novel Cha-Ching! was released by City Lights/Sister Spit in the spring of 2013. In addition, she is the founding editor at Writers Among Artists whose first publication, Faggot Dinosaur, was released in 2012.
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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2014

Walker on Water (Unnamed Press)

 Join us for a very special event as one of Skylight Book's favorite local presses, Unnamed Press.

A woman cultivates a knack for walking on water, but is undermined by her husband's brain, which he removes each night when he returns home from work; a couple overcomes the irksome mischief of the gods; a skeptical dragon wonders what sex is all about: this is the world of Kristiina Ehin.

From the 2007 British Poetry Society Popescu prize winner for European poetry in translation: a series of comic, surreal adventures. Kristiina Ehin's quirky voice takes each story directly from the dream state, at times stubborn and resistant, at other times masochistically compliant. Ehin offers up modern folktales in which the very nature of our human identity is at stake-rampant with images and archetypes both new and old, and mediated by the abrupt changes we can only experience in dreams.

Praise for Walker on Water

"The pages drip in rich images and complex emotions in Kristiina Ehin's wildly imaginative and surrealistic collectionWalker on Water. It's Etgar Keret meets Aimee Bender meets Michael Cisco meets Aesop. It's three-headed twins, a woman who inadvertently bites the arms off her husbands, and a Life Story who has a pesky Brain's Monkey. It's a wholly original and revolutionary read."—Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep and A Head Full of Ghosts

"Wow! I love this book!"—Mark Mothersbaugh, lead singer of DEVO

"Sharp, jarring, and darkly funny, the stories in Walker on Water move seamlessly and defiantly between the real and the surreal, reinventing folklore, redefining fiction, and daringly reexamining relationships."—Susan Steinberg, author of Spectacle

Kristiina Ehin is the author of Walker on Water, out June 2014 from the Unnamed Press and translated from the original Estonian by Ilmar Lehtpere. An internationally renowned poet, her collection The Drums of Silence was awarded the British Poetry Society Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation in 2007, and her collection 1001 Winters has been nominated for the same prize in 2013.  In her native Estonia, Ehin has published six volumes of poetry, three books of short stories and a retelling of South-Estonian folk tales. She has written plays, as well as poetic radio broadcasts. She has won Estonia’s most prestigious poetry prize for Kaitseala—a book of poems and journal entries written during a year spent living as a nature reserve warden on an otherwise uninhabited island off Estonia’s north coast.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2014

Conquering the Electron: The Geniuses, Visionaries, Egomaniacs and Scoundrels Who Built Our Electronic Age

(Rowman and Littlefield)

Conquering the Electron offers readers a true and engaging history of the world of electronics. Beginning with the discoveries of static electricity and magnetism and ending with the creation of the smartphone and the iPad, this book shows the interconnection of each advance to the next one on the long journey to our modern day technologies. Exploring the combination of genius, infighting, and luck that powered the creation of the electronic age we inhabit today, Conquering the Electron debunks the hero worship that so often plagues the stories of great advances.

Want to know how AT&T s Bell Labs developed semiconductor technology and how its leading scientists almost came to blows in the process? Want to understand how radio and television work and why RCA drove their inventors to financial ruin and an early grave? Conquering the Electron offers these stories and more, presenting each revolutionary technological advance right alongside the blow-by-blow personal battles that all too often took place.

Praise for Conquering the Electron

"Conquering the Electron contains an amazing number of little-known facts about the giants who shaped technology and still have an impact today. This book is an interesting read and an inspiration to engineers, entrepreneurs, and young people who aspire to make a difference. It will also provide ample conversation material for any social encounter.--Dr. Milton Chang, former CEO of Newport Corporation and New Focus, Inc. and author of Toward Entrepreneurship

"Best history of electronics ever. Derek Cheung is an outstanding technologist and businessperson, and he gets the technical and business details right. This is a great story of a mighty industry."--David Rutledge, Tomiyasu Professor of Engineering, Caltech

Eric Brach is a lecturer in English West Los Angeles College in Culver City, California. He is the author of Billy the Hill and the Jump Hook, and has been a contributor to national magazines, newspapers, and academic journals, including Bleacher Report, Box Office, and The Onion. He lives in Culver City, California.

Jennifer Ouellette is the author of four popular science books, including The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse. She also served as editor for The Best Online Science Writing 2012.

Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times Book Review. She blogs for Scientific American, and she co-hosts the Virtually Speaking Science podcast for Blog Talk Radio. She also holds a black belt in jujitsu.

Alex Korb is a postdoctoral neuroscience researcher at UCLA. His research focuses on mood disorders and the development of brain stimulation techniques using focused ultrasound. Since 2010, he has written the neuroscience blog PreFrontal Nudity for

When he takes off his lab coat, Alex coaches the UCLA women's ultimate frisbee team, using his knowledge of brain and behavior to unlock their peak performance. His book The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression will be released in spring 2015 by New Harbinger Publications.

Kyle Hill is a science writer based in Los Angeles, California. His work has been published by Scientific American, WIRED, Popular Science, Slate, and the Boston Globe, and he has appeared as an expert on Fox News, Al Jazeera America, and Huffington Post Live, among others.

Kyle currently serves as the science editor for the popular Nerdist podcast, and in 2013, WIRED named him one of the 20 science communicators to follow. He graduated with a masters degree from Marquette University.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2014

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe (Adams Media)

Please join us as one of Skylight Books' favorite (and best-selling) artists celebrates the launch of her newest book.

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe erases the boundaries of the standard self-help book and sets you free on a visual journey of self-discovery. Inside you will find nine metaphysical lessons set against a surreal backdrop of intricate ink illustrations and dreamlike instructions that require you to open your heart to unexplored inner landscapes. From setting fire to your anxieties to sharing a cup of tea with your inner demons, you will learn how to let go and truly connect with the world around you.

Whether you need a little inspiration or a completely new life direction, Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe provides you with the necessary push to find your true path—and a whimsical adventure to enjoy on the way there. 

Yumi Sakugawa is a comic book artist and the author of I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You. She is a regular comic contributor to The Rumpus and, and her short comic stories “Mundane Fortunes for the Next Ten Billion Years” and “Seed Bomb” were selected as Notable Comics of 2012 and 2013 respectively by the Best American Comics series editors (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Her comics have also appeared in Bitch, the Best American Non­Required Reading 2014, Folio, Fjords Review, and other publications. A graduate from the fine art program of University of California, Los Angeles, she lives in southern California. Visit her on the web

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BEN LERNER reads from 10:04, in conversation with RACHEL KUSHNER

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 11th, 2014

10:04 (Faber & Faber)

For tonight's event Ben Lerner will be joined by one of Skylight's favorite local authors, Rachel Kushner!

A beautiful and utterly original novel about making art, love, and children during the twilight of an empire, Ben Lerner's first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, was hailed as "one of the truest (and funniest) novels . . . of his generation" (Lorin Stein, "The New York Review of Books"), "a work so luminously original in style and form as to seem like a premonition, a comet from the future" (Geoff Dyer, "The Observer"). Now, his second novel departs from Leaving the Atocha Station's exquisite ironies in order to explore new territories of thought and feeling.

In the last year, the narrator of 10:04 has enjoyed unexpected literary success, has been diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition, and has been asked by his best friend to help her conceive a child, despite his dating a rising star in the visual arts. In a New York of increasingly frequent super storms and political unrest, he must reckon with his biological mortality, the possibility of a literary afterlife, and the prospect of (unconventional) fatherhood in a city that might soon be under water.

In prose that Jonathan Franzen has called "hilarious . . . cracklingly intelligent . . . and original in every sentence," Lerner captures what it's like to be alive now, when the difficulty of imagining a future has changed our relation to our present and our past. Exploring sex, friendship, medicine, memory, art, and politics, 10:04 is both a riveting work of fiction and a brilliant examination of the role fiction plays in our lives.

Praise for 10:04

"Reading Ben Lerner gives me the tingle at the base of my spine that happens whenever I encounter a writer of true originality. He is a courageous, immensely intelligent artist who panders to no one and yet is a delight to read. Anyone interested in serious contemporary literature should read Ben Lerner, and 10:04 is the perfect place to start." --Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Marriage Plot

"Ben Lerner is a brilliant novelist, and one unafraid to make of the novel something truly new. 10:04 is a work of endless wit, pleasure, relevance, and vitality." --Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers

Ben Lerner is a poet, novelist, essayist, and critic. He has been a Fulbright scholar, a finalist for the National Book Award, a Howard Foundation fellow, and a Guggenheim fellow. In 2011 he won the Preis der Stadt Müenster für Internationale Poesie, the first American to receive this honor. He is the author of a novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, and the poetry collections The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. Lerner is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.

Rachel Kushner is the author of THE FLAMETHROWERS, which was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, shortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, longlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and a New York Times Top Five Novel of 2013. Kushner's debut novel, TELEX FROM CUBA, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. Kushner's fiction and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Paris Review, among other places. She is the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship.

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ELIZABETH GORCEY reads from her children’s book GOING TO THE PARK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 11th, 2014

Going to the Park (Bowie Books + Liv on Life Series)

Going to the Park is the first book in the Liv On Life Series. It tells the story of Liv and Bowie  (her Boxer dog) realizing that Mom and Dad need a break from the stresses of work. Liv and Bowie convince their Mom and Dad to put down the technology and head out together for a fun day at the park!

The Liv On Life book series was inspired by Elizabeth’s daugher, Olivia, and the joy she has brought to the lives of her mother and others. In encouraging Olivia to embrace, cherish and use her authentic voice, Elizabeth has realized how much parents can, and must, learn from the purity and honesty of a child's perspective.

Director, producer and actor Elizabeth Gorcey has expanded her repertoire to book publishing with the LIV ON LIFE (”LOL”) children’s book series. The twelve-book series is written from the endearing perspective of Elizabeth’s daughter, Olivia, who shares her insights and observations on modern-day life. Elizabeth currently lives in LA with her family. When not making films or publishing books, she works diligently on her non-profit art program for terminally ill children called the CARING STROKES ART PROGRAM. For more info, please vist

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 11th, 2014

The Dog (Pantheon Books)

The author of the best-selling and award-winning Netherland now gives us his eagerly awaited, stunningly different new novel: a tale of alienation and heartbreak in Dubai. 

Distraught by a breakup with his long-term girlfriend, the hero of this novel leaves New York to take an unusual job in a strange desert metropolis. In a Dubai at the height of its self-invention as a futuristic Shangri-La, our protagonist struggles with his new position as the "family officer" of the capricious and very rich Batros family. And he struggles, even more helplessly, with the "doghouse," a seemingly inescapable condition of culpability in which he feels himself constantly trapped--even if he's just going to the bathroom, or reading e-mail, or scuba diving. A comic and philosophically profound exploration of what has become of humankind's moral progress, The Dog is told with Joseph O'Neill's hallmark eloquence, empathy, and storytelling mastery. It is a brilliantly original, achingly funny fable for our globalized times. 

 Praise for The Dog:
"Clever, witty, and profoundly insightful, this is a beautifully crafted narrative about a man undone by a soulless society."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Shades of Kafka and Conrad permeate O’Neill’s thoughtful modern fable of exile, a sad story that comments darkly on the human condition and refuses bravely to trade on the success of Netherland."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Joseph O'Neill is the author of the novels Netherland (which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award), This Is the Life, and The Breezes, and Blood-Dark Track: A Family History. He lives in New York and teaches at Bard College. 

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 3rd, 2014
The Betrayers (Little Brown and Company)
Please welcome back to Skylight Books David Bezmozgis, the award-winning author of Free World and Natasha and Other Stories. His latest, The Betrayers is a compact saga of love, duty, family, and sacrifice from a rising star whose fiction is "self-assured, elegant, perceptive . . . and unflinchingly honest" (New York Times)
These incandescent pages give us one fraught, momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a Soviet Jewish dissident who now finds himself a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the settlements in the West Bank, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior, and the besieged couple escapes to Yalta, the faded Crimean resort of Kotler's youth. There, shockingly, Kotler comes face-to-face with the former friend whose denunciation sent him to the Gulag almost forty years earlier. In a whirling twenty-four hours, Kotler must face the ultimate reckoning, both with those who have betrayed him and with those whom he has betrayed, including a teenage daughter, a son facing his own moral dilemma in the Israeli army, and the wife who once campaigned to secure his freedom and stood by him through so much.
Stubborn, wry, and self-knowing, Baruch Kotler is one of the great creations of contemporary fiction. An aging man grasping for a final passion, he is drawn inexorably into a crucible that is both personal and biblical in scope. In prose that is elegant, sly, precise, and devastating in its awareness of the human heart, David Bezmozgis has rendered a story for the ages, an inquest into the nature of fate and consequence, love and forgiveness. The Betrayers" is a high-wire act, a powerful tale of morality and sacrifice that will haunt readers long after they turn the final page. 
Praise for The Betrayers
The Betrayers is a moral thriller in the tradition of Bernard Malamud, but the generosity, grace, and wisdom of the writing belong entirely to David Bezmozgis. The magic of fiction is that it makes the reader care deeply about imaginary strangers, and Bezmozgis is a magician.”—Aleksandar Hemon, National Book Award finalist for The Lazarus Project
“This outstanding novel definitively establishes David Bezmozgis as one of the foremost writers of his generation.”
—Ben Fountain, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
“This unforgettable novel squanders no words in its brilliant, deft depictions of love, of memory, of compassion—and, ultimately, despite its title, of loyalty.”—Edith Pearlman, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award forBinocular Vision 
David Bezmozgis moved from Latvia to Canada at the age of six. After studying English literature at McGill University and fine arts at the Southern California School of Cinema-Television, he created his first documentary in 1999, entitled L.A. Mohel, capturing the busy lives of three mohels (Jewish ritual circumcisers) in Los Angeles. His debut short story collection, Natasha and Other Stories, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book and was nominated for a Governor General's Award. Bezmozgis is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
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BARBARA THOMASON presents 100 NOT SO FAMOUS VIEWS OF L.A., in conversation with DAVID ULIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on September 26th, 2014

100 Not So Famous Views of L.A. (Prospect Park Books)

Join us tonight for a very special visual presentation by local painter Barbara Thomason.

For four years, artist Barbara Thomason roamed her beloved Los Angeles, seeking the vistas, nooks, bridges, signs, streets, and landmarks that most captivated her. Inspired by the color, compositions, and tonal changes of Hiroshige’s acclaimed print series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, this grand project resulted in one hundred paintings, all of which Thomason executed in Cel-Vinyl to resemble woodblock ink in texture and tone.

Each of these original paintings have now been beautifully reproduced and are accompanied by the artist’s personal commentary and historical insight about her subject matter—an alchemical mix that results in a unique and splendid tour of the vibrancy, quirkiness, charm, and essential personality of a great American city.

Praise for 100 Not So Famous Views of L.A.

“This is Los Angeles without its history of forgetting, no longer rootless, placeless, but instead, through Thomason’s transforming imagination, the embodiment of place.”—David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times book critic (from the Foreword)

“Everyone who loves L.A. is going to want this book. Once you get the idea, it becomes addicting—you're compelled to pore over each page. She had me at Felix, the strangely ironic cat that lorded over all of my really awful late-night food choices as an undergrad at USC. It’s the perfect hostess/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/anyone who lives in or has ever loved L.A. gift.” —Greg Freitas, Traveler’s Bookcase (Los Angeles, CA)

Barbara Thomason is a Los Angeles-based artist and professor of printmaking, sculpture, and painting at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her paintings, drawings, and prints have been shown in exhibitions at many galleries, museums, and universities. She received a masters degree in printmaking from California State University, Long Beach, and worked as a master printer in lithography at the renowned Gemini G.E.L., where she printed for Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenberg, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Ed Ruscha, Ellsworh Kelly, and many others. She has been on the art faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Redlands; Otis College of Art and Design; and other fine institutions.

David Ulin" is a book critic for the Los Angeles Times and the editor of The Library of America's Writing Los Angeles.

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