NIA KING AND ELENA ROSE PRESENT QUEER & TRANS ARTISTS OF COLOR VOLUME 2 WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

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

Queer & Trans Artists of Color Vol 2

A celebration of queer and trans black and brown genius...building on the groundbreaking first volume, Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives, Nia King is back with a second archive of interviews from her podcast We Want the Airwaves. She maintains her signature frankness as an interviewer while seeking advice on surviving capitalism from creative folks who often find their labor devalued.

In this collection of interviews, Nia discusses biphobia in gay men's communities with Juba Kalamka, helping border-crossers find water in the desert with Micha Cardenas, trying to preserve Indigenous languages through painting with Grace Rosario Perkins, revolutionary monster stories with Elena Rose, using textiles to protest police violence with Indira Allegra, trying to respectfully reclaim one's own culture with Amir Rabiyah, taking on punk racism with Mimi Thi Nguyen, the imminent trans women of color world takeover with Lexi Adsit, queer life in WWII Japanese American incarceration camps with Tina Takemoto, hip-hop and Black Nationalism with Ajuan Mance, making music in exile with Martin Sorrondeguy, issue-based versus identity-based organizing with Trish Salah, ten years of curating and touring with the QTPOC arts organization Mangos With Chili with Cherry Galettte, raising awareness about gentrification through games with Mattie Brice, self-publishing versus working with a small press with Vivek Shreya, and the colonial nature of journalism school with Kiley May. The conversation continues. Bear witness to QTPOC brilliance.

Included in the evening will be performances by: 

Ryka Aoki is the author of Seasonal Velocities, He Mele a Hilo (A Hilo Song) and Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul. She has been honored by the California State Senate for her “extraordinary commitment to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the visibility and well-being of Transgender people. Ryka was the inaugural performer for the first ever Transgender Stage at San Francisco Pride, and has performed in venues including the San Francisco Pride Main Stage, the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival, the National Queer Arts Festival, and Ladyfest South. Ryka also appears in the recent documentaries “Diagnosing Difference” and “Riot Acts.” She has MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is the recipient of a University Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is a professor of English at Santa Monica College.

Winner of the People Before Profits Poetry Prize, Meliza Bañales aka Missy Fuego is the author of Say It With Your Whole Mouth (Poems) and the Xicana-Punk-Rock-Coming-of-Age novel Life Is Wonderful, People Are Terrific which was a 2016 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. She was a fixture in the San Francisco Bay Area spoken-word and slam communities from 1996-2010, where she became the first Xicana to win a poetry slam championship in 2002. She is a Visiting Professor of Literature and Counter-Culture at UC San Diego and the feature film of her novel is currently in pre-production in Los Angeles.

Nadia Ann Abou-Karr is an artist, writer and practitioner of holistic healing arts. She has been self publishing her own zines since middle school, with the most recent being THE ICONOCLAST Revolutionary Love series which highlights the complexities and confusion that arise from loving in the 5th dimension. Ultimately she always come back to the realization that self love is the best kind, and she uses all of her creative production to create an optimal climate for free love.

Kim Tillman is an LA-based singer/songwriter, lead singer of the band Tragic Gadget and half of the music duo Kim Tillman & Silent Films. Her songs have been featured in film and television including American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky, the 2014 documentary feature Off the Floor, on Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and the ABC Family series Switched at Birth. Armed with a honey-velvet voice and precise, evocative lyrics, she aims simply to move you.

Praise for Queer & Trans Artists of Color Vol 2

“Nia King’s essential project is about demystifying the artist’s life, and centering expression at the heart of radically diverse QTPOC lives. This second volume of artists’ voices is full of heart and wisdom, struggle and triumph. Another must-read for anyone dedicated to living creatively.” —Jeff Chang, author of Who We Be and We Gon’ Be Alright

“With all the talk in the entertainment industry about a lack of diverse voices in our media, Nia King does the big work that is necessary to rescue the entertainment industry from itself. She is going out there to highlight these voices, not because they are diverse, but because they are absolutely necessary.” —W. Kamau Bell, host of United Shades of America

Queer and Trans Artists of Color, Volume 2 continues to amplify beautiful voices that need to be heard. Refreshingly honest and illuminating, these interviews combine to form a powerful statement on the journey of the artist, and the person behind the art, towards creating a world where we can all thrive as our true selves.” —Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day and Pym

“Nia King once again provides a vital space where LGBTQ artists of color can share their unique experiences working in their creative fields. This volume, like its predecessor, will be a must-read for years to come.” —Hari Kondabolu, writer and comedian

“This book shines a spotlight on QTPOC artists, activists and self-proclaimed weirdos, a group who rarely receive such attention. Through fluid and compelling conversations with King, readers learn about the creative processes, identities, organizing, and politics that inform their art. This is a beautiful archive as well as a rich source of information for creative people seeking inspiration.” —Farzana Doctor, author of All Inclusive and Six Metres of Pavement

“In this new volume Nia King continues the invaluable work of amplifying the voices and interrogating the ideas of a new generation of joyous, committed creators. If you want to know who is shaping the culture of the next century, this is a book you must have: a book brimming with honesty, intelligence and heart.” —Nayland Blake, artist and professor

“This book is a revolutionary literary gesture, providing both practical information to artists and also doing the work of expanding the archive. I love the way that King brings interviews to the page, disseminating artists’ knowledge while also creating a window into their language and lives. The honesty of the unscripted conversations feels both intimate and subversive.”—Virgie Tovar, author of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion

Nia King is a queer Black, Lebanese, Hungarian, and Jewish artist and activist from Canton, Massachusetts living in Oakland, California. She is the author of Queer & Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives and the host and producer of We Want the Airwaves podcast. Her writing and comics have been published in Colorlines, East Bay Express and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory. She has spoken about her work at schools and conferences such as Stanford University, Swarthmore College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Facing Race, the Allied Media Conference, and the National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference. You can find more of her work at artactivistnia.com and contact her at NiaKing@zoho.com.

Elena Rose, a Filipina-Ashkenazi trans lesbian mestiza, rode stories out of rural Oregon and hasn’t stopped telling since. As an ordained minister, writer, and organizer, she has been published in magazines including Aorta and Make/shift, co-founded the Speak! Radical Women of Color Media Collective, co-curated the acclaimed National Queer Arts Festival show Girl Talk: A Trans and Cis Women’s Dialogue, works as a nationally-recognized interfaith educator on justice issues, and serves on the boards of the Solar Cross Temple and the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples. She can be contacted at takingsteps@gmail.comand on Twitter @burnlittlelight.

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CYLIN BUSBY READS FROM HER NEW YA NOVEL THE STRANGER GAME

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 13th, 2017

The Stranger Game (Balzer & Bray/HarperTeen)

The Stranger Game is a dark, suspenseful, and twisty novel that is Gone Girl for teens. Perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart.

When Nico Morris's older sister mysteriously disappears, her parents, family, and friends are devastated. But Nico can never admit what she herself feels: relief at finally being free of Sarah's daily cruelties. Then the best and worst thing happens: four years later, after dozens of false leads, Sarah is found.

But this girl is much changed from the one Nico knew. She's thin and drawn, when Sarah had been golden and athletic; timid and unsure, instead of brash and competitive; and strangest of all, sweet and kind, when she had once been mean and abusive. Sarah's retrograde amnesia has caused her to forget almost everything about her life, from small things like the plots of her favorite books and her tennis game to the more critical where she's been the last four years and what happened at the park on the fateful day she vanished. Despite the happy ending, the dark details of that day continue to haunt Nico, and it becomes clear that more than one person knows the true story of what happened to Sarah. . . .

Praise for The Stranger Game

"[Cylin] Busby has skillfully constructed a plot with enough suspenseful twists to keep readers on their toes from start to finish. An unusual, captivating mystery.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[Cylin] Busby’s tense mystery alternates between Nico and Sarah’s points of view, using the tactic of an unreliable narrator to great effect while exploring how tragedy can alter every detail of a family’s existence. A final twist leads to a surprising and utterly satisfying conclusion.” — Publishers Weekly

Cylin Busby is the author of numerous articles and several teen books, including the acclaimed memoir The Year We Disappeared and the novel Blink Once. A former editor with Teen magazine, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family. You can visit her online at www.cylinbusby.com.

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SAM MCPHEETERS DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK EXPLODED VIEW

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 13th, 2017

Exploded View (Sky Horse Publishing)

It's 2050, and LAPD Detective Terri Pastuzka has drawn the short straw with her first assignment of the new decade. Someone has executed one of the city's countless immigrants, and no one (besides the usual besieged advocacy groups) seems to much care. Even Terri herself is already looking ahead to her next case before an unexpected development reveals there s far more to this corpse than meets the eye. 

And a lot already meets the eye. In a city immersed in augmented reality, the LAPD have their own superior network of high-tech eyewearPanOpts, the ultimate panopticonallowing Terri instant access to files and suspects and literal insertion into the crime scene using security footage captured from every angle the day the murder occurred. What started as a single homicide turns into a string of unsolved murders that tie together in frightening ways, leading Terri down a rabbit hole through Los Angeles s conflicting realitiesaugmented and virtual, fantastically rumored and harrowingly truetowards an impossible conclusion. 

Exploded View is the story of a city frozen in crisis, haunted by hardship and overwhelmed by refugees, where technology gives everyday citizens the power to digitally reshape news in real time, and where hard video evidence is impotent against the sheer, unrelenting power of belief. After all, when anyone can forge their own version of the truth, what use is any other reality? 

Praise for Exploded View

"A police procedural that says as much about the present day as it does about the culture of the near-future. With an ending that will leave you reeling, Exploded View forces you to question everything you think you know about reality."--Richard Cox, author of The Boys of Summer 

"The book's powerful themes, the relationship of police to policed, trust in governmental authority, trust in the media, immigrant tensions, and generational changeare sharply executed . . . [Exploded View] might just leave you hesitating before taking the next reblogged video at face value."--Kirkus 

"The writing is raw and the dialogue is real; Exploded View is not a story of what could be, but what may well be, and in the not-too-distant future, at that."--Steven John, author of Outrider and Three A.M.

Sam McPheeters was born in 1969 and raised in Albany, NY. Starting in 1989, he led several punk bands, including NY's Born Against. In the following 15 years, he sold nearly 100,000 records and toured 17 times across the US, Europe, and Japan. Since 2009, he has written for The Believer, Chicago Reader, Criterion, The Stranger, Vice, and The Village Voice. His first novel, The Loom of Ruin, was published in 2012.

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LAURENCE RICKELS DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK THE PSYCHO RECORDS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 28th, 2017

The Psycho Records (Wallflower Press)

Skylight Books and Villa Aurora are proud to present Laurence A. Rickels, reading from his newest book The Psycho Records.

The Psycho Records follows the influence of the primal shower scene within subsequent slasher and splatter films. American soldiers returning from World War II were called “psychos” if they exhibited mental illness. Robert Bloch and Alfred Hitchcock turned the term into a catch-all phrase for a range of psychotic and psychopathic symptoms or dispositions. They transferred a war disorder to the American heartland. Drawing on his experience with German film, Hitchcock packed inside his shower stall the essence of schauer, the German cognate meaning “horror.” Later serial horror film production has post-traumatically flashed back to Hitchcock’s shower scene. In the end, though, this book argues the effect is therapeutically finite. This extensive case study summons the genealogical readings of philosopher and psychoanalyst Laurence Rickels. The book opens not with another reading of Hitchcock’s 1960 film but with an evaluation of various updates to vampirism over the years. It concludes with a close look at the rise of demonic and infernal tendencies in horror movies since the 1990s and the problem of the psycho as our most uncanny double in close quarters.

Laurence A. Rickels is professor in art and theory at the Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe. He is the author of Aberrations of Mourning (1988), The Case of California (2001), Nazi Psychoanalysis (2002), The Vampire Lectures (1999), The Devil Notebooks (2008), Ulrike Ottinger: The Autobiography of Art Cinema (2008), I Think I Am: Philip K. Dick (2010), and Germany: A Science Fiction (2015).

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JESS ROTTER LAUNCHES HER NEW BOOK I’M BORED

Posted in , literature, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 28th, 2017

I'm Bored (Hat & Beard Press)

Jess Rotter: I'm Bored is a Gary-Larson-meets-The Muppets variety show, a terrific trip composed of drawings filled with recurring characters--ranging from walruses to wizards to life warriors, who are all, like the rest of us, seeking their daily salvation. A wizard paddles on a lonely sea, his flag proclaiming "I'm trying." An ostrich hitchhikes in the desert, holding up a sign with her destination--"Bliss." A walrus wearing an AC/DC shirt looks mellowly at the viewer underneath the refrain "I'm bored."

Part art book, part comic book compilation, and partly a skeptical but loving take on those Successories motivational posters for the office, this book (designed by the artist and with a foreword by Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte) features the whimsical, wonderfully whacked-out work of artist and illustrator Jess Rotter.

Informed by a deep knowledge and love for the world of 1970s rock 'n' roll, the work of Jess Rotter was inspired by her father's vinyl covers and comic books growing up. "Part Peter Max, part Fritz the cat" (as Rotter described an early aesthetic influence), Rotter's illustrations have appeared on everything from public murals to album covers (to name a few: Best Coast, Linda Perhacs, Wooden Shjips, Country Funk Volumes I & II and This Record Belongs To), and on projects for clients including MTV, Converse, Target, Red Bull, Indiewire and Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter. Her T-shirt label, Rotter and Friends (launched in 2006) resulted in collaborative capsule collections for The Gap and Urban Outfitters, and official band merchandising for acts such as the Grateful Dead, Sly Stone, Rodriguez, Big Star, Kurt Vile and more.

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JOHN DARNIELLE READS FROM HIS NEW NOVEL UNIVERSAL HARVESTER

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 27th, 2017

Universal Harvester (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Jeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa a small town in the center of the state, the first a in Nevada pronounced ay. This is the late 1990s, and while the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut, there are still regular customers, a rush in the late afternoon. It s good enough for Jeremy: It s a job, quiet and predictable, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck.

But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of "Targets" an old movie, starring Boris Karloff, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the store, she has an odd complaint: There's something on it, she says, but doesn t elaborate. Two days later, a different customer returns "She's All That," a new release, and complains that there s something wrong with it: There's another movie on this tape.

Jeremy doesn't want to be curious. But he takes a look and, indeed, in the middle of the movie the screen blinks dark for a moment and "She's All That" is replaced by a black-and-white scene, shot in a barn, with only the faint sounds of someone breathing. Four minutes later, "She's All That" is back. But there is something profoundly unsettling about that scene; Jeremy's compelled to watch it three or four times. The scenes recorded onto "Targets" are similar, undoubtedly created by the same hand. Creepy. And the barn looks much like a barn just outside of town.

There will be no ignoring the disturbing scenes on the videos. And all of a sudden, what had once been the placid, regular old Iowa fields and farmhouses now feels haunted and threatening, imbued with loss and instability and profound foreboding. For Jeremy, and all those around him, life will never be the same.

John Darnielle’s first novel, Wolf in White Van, was a New York Times bestseller, a National Book Award nominee, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction, and was widely hailed as one of the best novels of the year. He is the writer, composer, guitarist, and vocalist for the band the Mountain Goats. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and sons.

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STEVE ERICKSON READS FROM HIS NEW NOVEL SHADOWBAHN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 27th, 2017

Shadowbahn (Blue Rider Press)

In Granta Jonathan Lethem called Steve Erickson’s forthcoming novel Shadowbahn "Jaw-dropping … Erickson weaves a playlist for the dying American century with his usual lucid-dreaming prose. I've read every novel he's ever written and I'll still never know how he does it: A tour-de-forcer's tour de force." A prescient book about a divided USA, Shadowbahn is a winding and reckless ride through intersections of danger, destiny, and the conjoined halves of a ruptured nation.

The sleep of reason produces monsters, said Goya—including monsters of architecture and history that meet, most uneasily, in the pages of Erickson's latest. It's a startling scenario, a kind of deus ex machina at the beginning instead of the end of a story: What would happen if, two decades after their collapse, the twin towers of the World Trade Center were to loom up in the South Dakota Badlands? Well, it being America, they turn into a tourist attraction made all the more alluring by the fact that there's a presence up on the top floors of the southern building—a presence that just happens to be the revenant brother of another American icon. It would be a spoiler to get too much into specifics of that fellow's identity and why on earth he happens to be inhabiting a building he never lived to see, but suffice it to say that with this book, perhaps his oddest yet, Erickson stakes a claim to be one of the most centrifugal writers at work today. Even then, he works his magic mostly by conjuring sci-fi-ish plotlines and then having characters move across them in more or less realistic ways: youngsters on their way to visit family on the coast are pulled down a dusty rabbit hole into a place that requires conversations on Adlai Stevenson, Elvis, the old folk song "Shenandoah," Dealey Plaza, Churchill, Wounded Knee, RFK ("Was his big brother being metaphorical now? Ironic? Literary?"), and the whole swirl, for better and worse, of American history. Whatever is normal is upended, but it's all oddly believable. Throughout, Erickson, a master of the mot juste, writes with archly elegant lyricism: "He heads toward a west that is the dreamer's true north, where the desert comes looking for us and curls at the door, a wild animal made of our ashes…." Think Philip K. Dick on smoother acid and with a more up-to-date soundtrack, and you've got something of this eminently strange, thoroughly excellent book.

Praise for Shadowbahn

“A great, great, great, great novel. I could say more -- about its big-world heartedness and old-world shadowness, about twins and towers, brothers and sisters, road trips and all the borders we design and transgress, and of course Erickson’s beautiful heart-bit music -- but it would still add up to the same thing: great.  Sung, of course.”–Mark Z. Danielewski, author of The Familiar

“Steve Erickson is one of America’s greatest living novelists.  He is always inventive, always engaging, always surprising. In Shadowbahn, Erickson combines the social novel, the science fiction novel, the pop music essay, the comedic set piece, and the family novel into a wild, idiosyncratic tour de force.”–Dana Spiotta

“Not sure whether Steve Erickson's off-kilter whoppers have gotten more plausible or the country gets more and more unhinged.  He and his book's bewitching nouns, from the Badlands to "La Bamba," are good company either way.”–Sarah Vowell

Shadowbahn maps out an American counter-history where events that have touched all Americans, and people from all over the world, are given new shape and speak in new voices.  As both a revisioning of a national story and a family drama, the book has a simultaneous weight and lightness, an older person’s high seriousness and the ability of younger people to see right through it.”--Greil Marcus

Steve Erickson is the author of nine other novels, including Zeroville, which James Franco has adapted for film, Our Ecstatic Days, and These Dreams of You and two nonfiction books that have been published in ten languages. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, such as EsquireRolling StoneSmithsonianAmerican Prospect, and Los Angeles, for which he writes regularly about film, music, and television. Erickson is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently he teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

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WHAT BOOKS PRESENTS CAROLIE PARKER, SARAH MACLAY, AND HOLADAY MASON

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 27th, 2017

What Books Press is proud to present two new books of LA poetry-- Mirage Industry, by Carolie Parker and The " She" Series: A Venice Correspondence, which is a braided collaboration of poems by Sarah Maclay and Holaday Mason. 

Mirage Industry

Mirage Industry is a collection of poems suggested by the social landscape of Los Angeles. A fairly reckless experiment in rearranging the natural world to serve human needs, the city borrows from a broad inventory of cultural models, adopted with a heavy dose of fantasy and inaccuracy. Whether breathing fire or air, the poems issue from this freewheeling approach to building place, combining random methods of composition with more formal structures. Mirage Industry draws on the author’s practice in the visual arts, her background in comparative literature and her experiences teaching humanities and art history.

Carolie Parker has a background in visual arts and foreign languages. She was recently a MacDowell Fellow in poetry and a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. Her work has come out in The Denver Quarterly, Now Culture, River Styx and Trickhouse. She teaches humanities and art history at LA Trade Tech College in Central Los Angeles.

The "She" Series: A Venice Correspondence

This collaboration, The “ She” Series: A Venice Correspondence, is a unique exploration of the mysterious feminine aspects of human experience which “unfolds between the poetic voices of Holaday Mason and Sarah Maclay, revealing a multifaceted universe—almost painfully private—where “She” appears as a dream-like composite of sexuality, longing, awareness and courage” (Mariano Zaro).

Sarah Maclay is the author of Music for the Black Room (2011), The White Bride (2008), Whore (2004), all from U of Tampa Press. A 2016 COLA Fellow and 2015 Yaddo resident, she’s also received a Pushcart Special Mention and the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry. Her poems and criticism appear in APR, The Writer’s Chronicle, FIELD, The Best American Erotic Poetry: From 1800 to the Present, PloughsharesPoetry International, where she’s long served as Book Review Editor, and many other spots. A native of Montana, graduate of Oberlin and VCFA, she lives in Venice, California, teaches poetry and creative writing at LMU, and conducts Mini-Master Classes at Beyond Baroque.

Holaday Mason is the author of The Red Bowl: A Fable in Poems, (Red Hen Press) 2016, The “She” Series: A Venice Correspondence (collaboration with Sarah Maclay, What Books Press, fall 016), Towards the Forest, 2007, Dissolve, 2011 (New River Press, University of Minnesota) & two chapbooks. “The Weaver’s Body”, was finalist with honorable mention for 014 Dorset Prize & her chapbook “Transparency” was finalist for the Snowbound 2015. Pushcart nominee, widely published, co- editor of Echo 68, poetry editor of Mentalshoes.com, she is also a fine art photographer & a psychotherapist since 1996. 

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EDEN SHER DISCUSSES HER NEW BOOK THE EMOTIONARY: A DICTIONARY OF WORDS THAT DON’T EXIST FOR FEELINGS THAT DO, WITH JULIA WERTZ

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 23rd, 2017

The Emotionary: A Dictionary of Words That Don't Exist for Feelings That Do (Razorbill)

Feeling guilty about wanting to just stay home and see no one? Guiltroversion. Are you ever introduced to someone, and immediately forget their name, seconds after they’ve told you? Namenesia.

If you have ever struggled for the perfect word to describe a feeling or situation you were experiencing, The Emotionary: A Dictionary of Words That Don’t Exist for Feelings That Do by Eden Sher and illustrated by Julia Wertz, is your hilarious guide to those feelings.

All of her life, Eden Sher, has suffered from dyscommunicatia (n. the inability to articulate a feeling though words). She decided last year that whenever she had an emotion for which she had no word, she would make one up. The result of this is The Emotionary, which lives at the intersection of incredibly funny and very useful. Illustrated by acclaimed graphic novelist Julia Wertz, The Emotionary is chock full of words you always wanted/never knew you needed often accompanied by illustrations of hilarious and all-too- familiar situations.

From irredependent (adj. unable to ask for help under any circumstances) to fauxbration (n. the phenomenon of feeling your phone vibrate, often out of desperate expectation, when in fact no one is trying to contact you and you will probably die alone), The Emotionary will help you put all your complicated feelings into words, so you can recognize them for what they are.

Eden Sher is an actress best known for her role as Sue Heck on the nationally syndicated TV series The MiddleThe Middle is the lead-in to Modern Family and has an average of 7.5 million viewers tuning in for the past 6 years. Eden has been nominated for a Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series four times, winning in 2013. She is also the voice of Star on the animated series, Star vs. The Forces of Evil. The Emotionary is her first book.

Julia Wertz has published five graphic novels, including Drinking at the Movies and The Infinite Wait, and does monthly history comics for the New Yorker and Harper's Magazine.

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LIDIJA DIMKOVSKA READS FROM HER NOVEL A SPARE LIFE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 23rd, 2017

A Spare Life (Two Lines Press)

It is 1984, and 12-year- old twins Zlata and Srebra live in communist Yugoslavia. In many ways their lives are like that of young girls anywhere, except for one immense difference: Zlata’s and Srebra’s bodies are conjoined at their heads.

A Spare Life tells the story of their emergence from girls to young adults, from their desperately poor, provincial childhoods to their determination to become successful, independent women. After years of discovery and friendship, their lives are thrown into crisis when an incident threatens to destroy their bond as sisters. They fly to London, determined to be surgically separated—but will this dangerous procedure free them, or only more tightly ensnare them?

In A Spare Life master poet and award-winning novelist Lidija Dimkovska lovingly tells the lives of two astonishing girls caught up in Eastern Europe’s transition from communism to democracy. A saga about families, sisterhood, and being outcasts, A Spare Life reveals an existence where even the simplest of actions is unlike any we’ve ever experienced.

Praise for A Spare Life

“A Spare Life uses the boldest of metaphors – the life of conjoined twins – to embody the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. This strange and wonderful novel brings to mind Elena Ferrante and Magda Szabó.”— Katie Kitamura, author of The Longshot and A Separation

“Dimkovska has an eye for detail befitting of a poet and the stark, unrelenting prose of a master storyteller. A Spare Life is a weird and wonderful book.”— Sara Nović, author of Girl at War, finalist for the LA Times Book Prize

Lidija Dimkovska is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature for A Spare Life. She is also the author of the poetry collection pH Neutral History (Copper Canyon Press, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, and Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006). She lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Christina E. Kramer is a professor of Slavic and Balkan languages and linguistics at the University of Toronto. She is the author of numerous books on the Macedonian language and the Balkans and is the translator of Freud's SisterThe Time of the Goats, and My Father';s Books. She lives in Toronto.

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SHOCK AND AWE: GLAM ROCK AND ITS LEGACY, FROM THE SEVENTIES TO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, WITH DEAN WAREHAM

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on February 23rd, 2017

Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-First Century (Dey Street Books)

Following the musical innovations and cultural upheavals of the 1960s, rock music in the 1970s was in the doldrums: airwaves were dominated by mellow country-rock, earnest singer-songwriters, earth-toned hippie jam bands, and samey-sounding boogie outfits. Then flaring up against the drab denim-clad backdrop, there came glam: the first true teenage rampage of the new decade, a movement spearheaded by artists like David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T. Rex and Roxy Music, that reveled in artifice and spectacle.

For the first time, Shock and Awe offers an introduction to a period packed with amazing music and magnetic characters, but also an accessible and entertaining cultural history situating glam rock in its social and political context. Breaking with the long-haired liberation generation, seventies glam celebrated illusion and artifice over truth and sincerity; it shunned the natural, organic, and wholesome in favor of the constructed and artificial. With intelligent, thoughtful analysis and commentary, Simon Reynolds pursues fresh angles on the central figures of glam—who inspired new heights of stage persona and fandom, even inspiring concert audiences to dress like the star performer—as well as other major artists who caught the theatricality of 70s glimmer. 

Shock and Awe focuses on the classic glam rock period, 1971-1975, but also the wider repercussions: the musical leaps, sensation and glamour as social movement, and the personality cult of pop. Exploring the genre’s major themesfame, androgyny, decadence, science fiction—Simon Reynolds tracks glam’s legacy as it unfolded across subsequent decades, ultimately showing how it prophesied 21st-century pop culture, with its obsessions with celebrity, extreme fashion statements, and theatrical excess.
 
Simon Reynolds started his journalistic career in 1986 as a staff writer for the British weekly music paper Melody Maker. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Spin, Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Artforum, The Wire, The Guardian, Slate, Frieze and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of four books and five collections of essays and interviews. His books have been translated into ten languages. Born in London, a resident of New York for most of the 90s and 2000s, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children. 

Dean Wareham is a musician and writer. He was a founding member of indie rock bands Galaxie 500 and Luna, and his memoir Black Postcards was published by Penguin Press. 

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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.

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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.

 
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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.

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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.

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