MEGAN ABBOTT LAUNCHES HER NEW NOVEL YOU WILL KNOW ME

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

You Will Know Me (Little Brown and Company)

The audacious new novel about family and ambition from "one of the best living mystery writers" ("Grantland") and bestselling, award-winning author of The FeverMegan Abbott. 

How far will you go to achieve a dream? That's the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits--until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers--about her daughter's fears, her own marriage, and herself--forces Katie to consider whether there's any price she isn't willing to pay to achieve Devon's dream. 

From a writer with "exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl" (Janet Maslin), You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of parental sacrifice, furtive desire, and the staggering force of ambition. 

Praise for You Will Know Me:

“Almost unbearably tense, chilling and addictive, You Will Know Me deftly transports the reader to the hyper-competitive arena of gymnastics where the dreams and aspirations of not just families but entire communities rest on the slender shoulders of one teenage girl. Exceptional."–Paula Hawkins, author of the #1 bestseller The Girl on the Train

"Is there anything Megan Abbott can't do? We will have to wait for the answer to that question because You Will Know Me continues her formidable winning streak. This story of an ordinary family with an extraordinary child is gorgeously written, psychologically astute, a page-turner that forces you to slow down and savor every word... And, yes -- please forgive me -- she totally sticks the landing."–Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Hush Hush

“Megan Abbott’s latest thriller plunges readers into the shockingly realistic life of young, female gymnasts whose severely regulated lives come with unthinkable consequences. Gritty, graphic, and yet beautiful and dreamlike in the way the story unfolds, You Will Know Me comes barreling at you with all the power and urgency of a high-speed train, as Abbott asserts herself as one of the greatest crime writers of our time.”–Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

“That rarefied sweet spot between unnerving psychological suspense and a family drama with heart, You Will Know Me induces equal parts dread and unease, empathy and warmth. The pages couldn't turn fast enough as I dug deeper into the peculiar and fascinating Knox-family world, trying to figure out who was lying, who was telling the truth, and who was dangerous. Luscious writing, a timely and unique premise, and an ending that will haunt you all summer long.”–Jessica Knoll, author of the New York Times bestseller Luckiest Girl Alive

You Will Know Me takes you into the dark heart of family, a journey that feels more menacing with every page. Abbott cranks the tension up in this disturbing tale of exactly what we are prepared to do for our children - I was reading compulsively into the night. A beautifully written, gripping read that feels unshakeably real.”–Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of eight novels, including The Fever and Dare Me. She received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian. Megan is currently a staff writer on HBO's forthcoming David Simon show, The Deuce. She lives in New York City. 

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SELFISH LAUNCHES ISSUE FOUR: HOT AND BOTHERED

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

Selfish Issue Four: Hot and Bothered

Selfish, the feminist memoir magazine, is back with its fourth and boldest issue yet. Join us for a night of wine and the sweaty tension that comes from trying to become and trying to be. You know the one, don't you? Come hear six of the 30 contributors read about what has them feeling hot and bothered. Guaranteed to make you warm in some regard or another. And seriously, don't forget that we'll have wine. 

Our readers will include: 

Allison Noelle Conner is a writer and zine-maker of Haitian descent. Currently she is at work on her first book, a prose project exploring institutionalization, possessions, and unbecoming from the perspective of an anxious young woman. She lives in Los Angeles.

Bonnilee Kaufman attended the Lambda Literary Foundation writing retreat for emerging voices (2012) and is an active member of the QueerWise senior writing collective. She has been published in the anthologies: Ghosts of the HolocaustMilk and Honey--A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry; on-line at BayLaurelL50+& journalsRiver's VoicesConceptions Southwest & Sinister Wisdom.

A. Nicole Kelly is a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow who received an MFA from the Programs in Writing at UC Irvine. Her essays have been published byEntreMundos and yr an adult, and her fiction has appeared in Drunken Boat,ZYZZYVAFiction Southeast, and The Carolina Quarterly. She is a host ofBitchface, a feminist podcast featuring the words, sounds, and stories of dope women. Raised in the south and based in LA, she is working on a novel in New York City and a collection of short stories that take place around the world. 

Dacy Lim is a writer and photographer with a tendency to make bad drawings. She is about to start an MFA program for Creative Writing at Kingston University where she hopes to indulge in her obsession with the mouth. If she's not making a fool of herself with her friends, she's sitting at home making a fool of herself in front of her dog. Currently she is trying to figure out what to figure out next. Follow her on IG: @lacydim or read some occasionally inspired words at her blog www.yourbroad.weebly.com.

Kelsey Nolan is a writer, editor, professional book-slinger, and bottom-shelf wine extraordinaire. She received her Masters in Professional Writing from USC and spends her time asking people if they know what that is. Other interests include dealing with inbox anxiety, hyping LA, and binging on literature. 

Chloe Isabella Parks is an LA-based art director and co-founder of the bi-annual magazine, Object Journal (objectjournal.com). Her background lies in design, and has spent her formative years working for fashion tech companies in Los Angeles. Always keeping humor as a focus of her work, she aims to create optimistic designs that create playful conversations. She doesn’t usually write poems, but she did for this project and she might very well do it again!!

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WRITEGIRL STUDENTS READ THEIR ORIGINAL WORK

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

Join WriteGirl at 5pm to hear new creative voices by teen girls! Get inspired as WriteGirl teens speak their minds and read their original work. The reading will be the culmination of a series of five summer workshops that WriteGirl is holding July 20 through August 6 at The Huntington in Pasadena. Please RSVP at rsvp@writegirl.org or (213) 253-2655. For information about WriteGirl, visit www.writegirl.org.

WriteGirl is a creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills to empower teen girls.

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JESSE REKLAW DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK LOVF

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

LOVF (Fantagraphics)

LOVF is the sketchbook companion of a man literally losing his mind. Homeless and broke after giving all his stuff to punk rock heroin dealers, he ends up off his meds and on a secret quest from Portland to Brooklyn, DC, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle. He throws himself into every experience like it was his last; like it should be his last. With wild energy, promiscuity, criminal activity, and substance abuse, this becomes a full-blown manic episode... all of it captured by LOVF, the trusty sidekick. Jammed with cartoons, mad schemes, psychedelic portraits, and notes from the road, LOVF is a travel journal, and a mirror of the post-traumatic dreamworld its author can’t escape from. After losing his house, his job, his partner, and his best friend, he is triple-diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder, PTSD, and crippling chronic pain. As a self-professed over-achiever, he made sure things only got worse from there. Getting beat up in the street, running from the law, getting dragged out of a creek and into a mental hospital… it’s a Kerouacian meltdown of cross-hatching, spattered marker, crayons, glitter, tape, nail polish, white-out, fingerpainting, rain, wine, stickers, and word balloons, like the found diary of a homeless crazyman, turned into a comic book.

"Equal parts confounding, bleak, psychedelic, and beautiful. I'm ever grateful to Jesse and Fantagraphics for preserving and sharing such intimate vulnerabilities with the world."
--Craig Thompson [Blankets, Habibi]

Jesse Reklaw grew up in Sacramento, studied at UC Santa Cruz, and completed a master’s degree in computer science at Yale University. In 1995, while pursuing a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, he began self-publishing comics and dropped out of Yale to be a cartoonist. His other books includeCouch TagApplicant, and The Night of Your Life.

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TOM LUTZ DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK DRINKING MARE’S MILK ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 15th, 2016

Drinking Mare's Milk on the Roof of the World: Wandering the Globe from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar (OR Books)

Tom Lutz is addicted to journeying. Sometimes he stops at the end of the road, sometimes he travels further. In this richly packed portmanteau of traveler’s tales, we accompany him as he drives beyond the blacktop in Morocco, to the Saharan dunes on the Algerian border, and east of Ankara into the Hittite ruins of Boğazkale. We ride alongside as he hitches across Uzbekistan and the high mountain passes of Kyrgyzstan into western China. We catch up with him as he traverses the shores of a lake in Malawi, and disappear with him into the disputed areas of the Ukraine and Moldova. We follow his footsteps through the swamps of Sri Lanka, the wilds of Azerbaijan, the plains of Tibet, the casinos of Tanzania, the peasant hinterlands of Romania and Albania, and the center of Swaziland, where we join him in watching the king pick his next wife. All along the way, we witness his perplexity in trying to understand a compulsion to keep moving, ever onward, to the ends of the earth.

Praise for Tom Lutz

“Move over Pico Iyer: Tom Lutz has returned to town with an irresistible book of true stories about accidental intimacies in unexpected places. His encounters on the road, described in gorgeous prose, are brief but intense. Lighting out for the territories has never seemed so enthralling.”—Jon Wiener

“Highly intelligent, stimulatingly eclectic, and impressively learned.” —Salon on Lutz's Doing Nothing

“In these provocative and personal travel essays, Tom Lutz walks the seam between memory and landcape, finding traces in the physical that illuminate the inner life. Smart, pointed, funny, and surprising, Lutz's journeys reveal both the writer and the world he navigates, offering not epiphany so much as engagement, which is, of course, the only thing that counts.” —David L. Ulin

Tom Lutz is Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books and teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. His previous books include Doing Nothing: A History of LoafersLoungers, Slackers, and Bums and Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears.

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MEHNAZ SAHIBZADA READS FROM HER NEW CHAPBOOK SUMMER FORGETS TO WEAR A PETTICOAT

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 14th, 2016

Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat (Finishing Line Press)

Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat explores the author's passions & obsessions. These include subjects as varied as cooking, religion, fashion, and mystery novels. Set against the backdrop of Los Angeles, the poems in this chapbook suggest that to embrace the mystery of existence, one must play detective.

Mehnaz Sahibzada was born in Pakistan and raised in Los Angeles. She holds an M.A. in Religious Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and she is a 2009 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her short story, "The Alphabet Workbook," appeared in the August 2010 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Her poetry chapbook, Tongue-Tied: A Memoir in Poems, was published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press, and her second chapbook, Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared in publications such as Asia WritesThe Rattling Wall,Wide Awake and Pedestal Magazine. An English teacher, she lives in southern California.

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DANIEL LISI DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK WORLD OF WARCRAFT, WITH JARETT KOBEK, GABE DURHAM, AND BROCK WILBUR

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 14th, 2016

World of Warcraft (Boss Fight Books)

At more than 100 million user accounts created and over $10 billion made, it is not only the most-subscribed MMORPG in the world, but the highest-grossing video game of all time. Ten years after its launch, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft is less a game and more a world unto itself, and it's a world Daniel Lisi knows well. More time in his high school years was spent in Azeroth than in his hometown of Irvine, CA—a home he happened to share with Blizzard itself.

Now that Lisi has founded his own game development studio, WoW remains his most powerful example of just how immersive and consuming a game can be. Based on research, interviews, and the author's own experience in a hardcore raiding guild, Lisi's book examines WoW's origins, the addictive power of its gameplay loop, the romances WoW has both cemented and shattered, the enabling power of anonymity, and the thrill of conquering BlizzCon with guildmates you've known for years and just met for the first time.

Daniel Lisi is the CEO and co-founder of Game Over, a video game development studio based in Los Angeles, CA. He's a member of Art Share LA's board of directors and facilitates an incubator for individual artists and their projects.

Jarett Kobek is a Turkish-American writer living in California. His novellaATTA was called “highly interesting,” by the Times Literary Supplement, has appeared in Spanish translation, been the subject of much academic writing, and was a recent and unexplained bestseller in parts of Canada. His most recent book is I Hate the Internet. Presently, he's working on a book about Ol' Dirty Bastard's first album for Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series. 

Gabe Durham is the founder, editor, and publisher of Boss Fight Books. His novel FUN CAMP was one of BuzzFeed's 17 Books We Loved in 2013. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Brock Wilbur is a nightmare man with a heart of solid gold. Born in Salina, Kansas and booklearn'd at the Northwestern University in Chicago, Brock is a 6'7" writer slash comedian now living in Los Angeles. He has some books and standup albums and films that you might enjoy, and you can track them all down on the internetwebs. He accepts tributes in the form of video games and gin -- like an adult.

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NATASHIA DEON READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL GRACE WITH DAVID ULIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 11th, 2016

Grace (Counterpoint Press)

For a runaway slave in the 1840s south, life on the run can be just as dangerous as life under a sadistic Massa. That’s what fifteen-year-old Naomi learns after she escapes the brutal confines of life on an Alabama plantation. In Natashia Deón’s debut Grace: A Novel Naomi must leave behind her beloved Momma and sister Hazel and take refuge in a Georgia brothel run by a freewheeling, gun-toting Jewish madam named Cynthia. There, amidst a revolving door of gamblers, prostitutes, and drunks, Naomi falls into a star-crossed love affair with a smooth-talking white man named Jeremy who frequents the brothel’s dice tables too often.

The product of Naomi and Jeremy’s union is Josey, whose white skin and blonde hair mark her as different from the other slave children on the plantation. Having been taken in as an infant by a free slave named Charles, Josey has never known her mother, who was murdered at her birth. Josey soon becomes caught in the tide of history when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaches the declining estate and a day of supposed freedom quickly turns into a day of unfathomable violence that will define Josey—and her lost mother—for years to come.

Deftly weaving together the stories of Josey and Naomi—who narrates the entire novel unable to leave her daughter alone in the land of the living—Grace is a sweeping, intergenerational saga featuring a group of outcast women during one of the most compelling eras in American history. 

It is a universal story of freedom, love, and motherhood, told in a dazzling and original voice set against a rich and transporting historical backdrop.

Praise for Grace

“Deón’s powerful debut is a moving, mystical family saga . . . The book provides penetrating insight into how confusing, violent, and treacherous life remained in the South after the Emancipation Proclamation, and how little life improved for freed slaves, even after the war. The omnipresences of Naomi’s ghost renders the story wide-angled, vast, and magical. Deón is a writer of great talent, using lyrical language and convincing, unobtrusive dialect to build portraits of each tragic individual as the sprawling story moves to its redemptive end.”—Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“[T]his is a brave story, necessary and poignant; it is a story that demands to be heard. This is the violent, terrifying world of the antebellum South, where African-American women were prey and their babies sold like livestock. This is the story of mothers and daughters—of violence, absence, love, and legacies. Deón's vivid imagery, deft characterization, and spellbinding language carry the reader through this suspenseful tale. A haunting, visceral novel that heralds the birth of a powerful new voice in American fiction.” —Kirkus Starred Review

 “In her gripping debut novel, Deón, awarded a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship, among other honors, dramatizes alliances formed by women in a violent place and time with adroit characterizations, a powerful narrative voice, and the propulsive plotting of a suspense novel… Deón stays in control of her complex material, from its clever parallel structure to the women’s psychological reactions to relentless tension. Readers will ache for these strong characters and yearn for them to find freedom and peace.” —Booklist Starred Review

“There are moments of love in this harsh, affecting first novel, but the story mostly conveys the taking of personal freedom and human dignity. The presence of the apparition is fanciful, but it works well in bringing resolution to an imbalanced set of happenings.”—Library Journal

“One of those rare novels so assured, so beautiful and so singular in voice that it almost seems besides the point to say it's a debut (and yet it is). Natashia Deón's Grace is a powerfully telling tale of two generations of women and those in their lives over a nation-defining period of American history. This is when slavery was fought for and ended on this very ground. This is also when tribulation and hardship did not just end because slavery finally did. The sparks of determination, resilience, aspiration, hope, and, grace (yes), all burn, even against great odds, helping light the way. Set 150 years and more ago, Grace carries resonance and meaning for us today. I can't wait to put this in readers' hands.”—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company

 “Natashia Deón’s gorgeous debut is not only a piercing and unwavering exploration of slavery and its legacy, but also a fierce insistence that we honor and acknowledge the ghosts that haunt our America today. Like all important, classic books, Grace makes a story we think we know, the story of our country and its people, dazzling and new. This is not a book anyone is going to be able to put down—or forget.” —Dana Johnson, author ofElsewhere, California, nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

"The ghost narrator in Grace articulates how she feels when she falls in love: filled. It is precisely how this flawlessly constructed novel will leave you. With muscular prose whose poetry is unforced, Deón lights a fire under the feet of her characters, women and men consumed by their fidelity to each other and untamed by their circumstances, who charge through history at the speed of thought. Deón makes the case anew that the facts of the past can only be understood by training an unflinching gaze upon the human beings who survived its horrors and proves on every page that only a consummate writer is equal to the task." —Ru Freeman, author of A Disobedient Girl and On Sal Mal Lane

“Natashia Deón’s superlative, gorgeously written debut grips you by the throat, exploring a teeming, post-Civil War world where the emancipation of slaves can be anything but freedom, violence is as casual as a cough, and love between a mother and a daughter can transcend even death. Scorchingly brilliant, this is one novel that already feels like a classic.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

“People will compare this book to Twelve Years a Slave, Cold Mountain, andBeloved, and those are fair comparisons for the kind of time and place here, and the evocation of the south 150 years ago. But reading it, I thought of murder ballads, those songs of melancholy and injustice. Natashia Deón’s genius lies, in part, in writing a book that sustains a murder ballad’s intensity for hundreds of pages and gets into your bones like a song.”—Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me and The Faraway Nearby

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

David L. Ulin is the author or editor of eight previous books, including The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is book critic of the Los Angeles Times.

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WENONAH HAUTER DISCUSSES FRACKOPOLY WITH ED BEGLEY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 11th, 2016

Frackolopy: the Battle for the Future of Energy and the Enviornment (New Press)

Over the past decade, a new and controversial energy extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has rocketed to the forefront of U.S. energy production. With fracking, millions of gallons of water, dangerous chemicals, and sand are injected under high pressure deep into the earth, fracturing hard rock to release oil and gas.

A history of the fracking industry, Frackopoly exposes how more than 100 years of political influence peddling facilitated the control of our energy system by a handful of corporations and financial institutions. It provides the public policy backstory and the history of deregulation that has turned our communities into sacrifice zones.

The book also examines the powerful interests that have supported fracking, including leading environmental groups, and looks at the growing movement to ban fracking and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Praise for Frackopoly

“At this critical juncture in human history, Frackopoly is a must-read. Rich in history and science, it allows us to understand how we’ve got to this point and gives us the courage to continue the fight. Wenonah Hauter and Food & Water Watch were essential in legitimizing the call to ‘ban fracking’ across the United States. Her book is a powerful account of that vital necessary struggle and where we have to go from here.”—Josh Fox, director of Gasland and How to Let Go of the World (and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change)

“Real life anti-fracking superhero Wenonah Hauter delivers the definitive story on how big oil and gas corporations captured our political system and schemed to frack America—and the growing grassroots movement to retake our democracy and protect our planet.”—Mark Ruffalo, actor, director, and advisory board member of Americans Against Fracking

“Even though I have lived every chapter of this book, from beginning to end, I couldn’t, as a reader, put it down. What makes Frackopoly so riveting is not the economic evidence, public health data, and the political analysis—although that’s all here, too—but the brilliance of the author as the teller of this tragic-yet-hopeful tale. Wenonah Hauter is that rare narrator—a gifted writer and an environmental leader with a box seat in the public arena. A must-read for all who care about climate change, democracy, clean water, breathable air, and energy policy. Which is to say, all of us. Read this book and let your eyes be opened to the hoodwinking of America by the fracking industry.”—Sandra Steingraber, biologist and author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment

“A truly powerful manifesto about one of the greatest environmental fights on our planet today—from one of its greatest champions!”—Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author of Oil and Honey

“A gripping and encyclopedic survey of the fracking menace, from the rise of a fossil-fueled U.S. oligarchy to the growing global wave of hard-won fracking bans. Hauter skillfully reveals fracking’s twin legacy: ghost towns, poisoned and quaking landscapes, and a scorching atmosphere on the one hand—and a remarkable wave of courage, resistance, and rising community power on the other.””—Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything andThe Shock Doctrine
Reviews

“Hauter delivers a passionate history and critique of the energy industry, from Standard Oil to Enron … [A] journalistic exposé of fracking outrages in which aggressive entrepreneurs in pursuit of profits wreak havoc on the land and poison the water.”– Kirkus Reviews

“If Hauter had written this as a novel using the same characters, countries and global intrigue, it would quickly become an international bestseller and a miniseries would soon follow. She describes bigger-than-life captains of industry and colorful small-time scoundrels who play the system for their own gain. There are secret meetings and global conspiracies…a page turner.”—National Catholic Reporter

Wenonah Hauter is an activist, author and progressive policy advocate. She is the founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch, an organization that, under her leadership, has fundamentally transformed the national debate about hydraulic fracturing (fracking), energy and the environment.

Inspired by the works of his Academy Award-winning father, Ed Begley Jr.became an actor. He first came to audiences’ attention for his portrayal of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the long-running hit television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six Emmy nominations. Since then, Ed has moved easily among feature, television and theatre projects.

Ed co-starred in the Woody Allen movie Whatever Works with Larry David, as well as the Seth Rogan/Judd Apatow film Pineapple Express, and a number of Christopher Guest films, including A Mighty WindBest In Show and For Your Consideration. Other feature film credits include Batman ForeverThe Accidental Tourist and The In-Laws.

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EMMA RATHBONE READS FROM HER NEW NOVEL LOSING IT

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 11th, 2016

Losing It (Riverhead Books)

Losing It is the story of Julia Greenfield, a former collegiate swimming star who finds herself at age 26, stuck in a dead-end job, living in a city she hates, and, oh yeah, still a virgin. Determined to re-route herself from her stalled life – and lose that pesky V-card once and for all – Julia travels to spend the summer with her mysterious aunt Vivienne in a small town in North Carolina. Much to her dismay, she soon finds out that Vivienne, age 58, is a virgin, too. In a summer populated by an unforgettable cast of colorful characters, Julia attempts to solve the riddle of her aunt, all while trying to avoid the same fate. Let’s just say…hijinks ensue.

Losing It brilliantly explores the sort of madness that grows out of a single-minded obsession and the all-too-relatable feeling of looking up and realizing that life has moved forward – or hasn’t – in ways you hadn’t anticipated. Rathbone effortlessly captures the unique vernacular particular to women of her generation and to anyone exploring the differences between sex and love. Alongside the wry, subtle humor is a poignant look at the messiness of becoming a human adult. 

“A slightly neurotic and wholly hilarious meditation on the difference between love and lust, The One and close enough, Losing It is about so much more than a quest for sex: It's a confrontational narrative about all the other stuff that goes along with it, and the intimate decisions we make that shape our lives for better — and worse.”— Refinery29 “20 Books Perfect for Your Summer Vacay”

“A hilarious story…Rathbone’s novel is a wry look at relationships.”— Purewow “The Ultimate 2016 Summer Books Guide”

“A charming, truthful story about a lovably imperfect young woman whose virginity has overstayed its welcome; a witty and insightful novel about the mysteries of human connection.”—Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me

“Every single page of Emma Rathbone’s Losing It contains a line so funny, so awkward, so perfect, that you do not want this momentous summer to end. Rathbone’s writing feels effortless, but it detonates in such wonderful ways. An amazing book.”—Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

“[A] charming second novel… [Losing It’s] distinct delight is the nimble dance its author plays with the somewhat frivolous conceit, embracing its pulpiness to entertain, and pushing it to surprising places.”—Publishers Weekly

“Amusing but also smart about people and unexpectedly sweet.”—Kirkus Reviews

Emma Rathbone is the author of the novel The Patterns of Paper Monsters. She is the recipient of a Christopher Isherwood Grant in Fiction, and her work can also be seen in the New Yorker and Virginia Quarterly Review . A graduate of the University of Virginia Creative Writing Program, she lives in Los Angeles and is on the writing staff for the forthcoming Jenji Kohan produced Netflix comedy series Glow.

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ZYZZYVA ISSUE NO. 106 LAUNCH EVENT

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

Please welcome ZYZZYVA's Southern California All-Stars!

Though a San Francisco publication, ZYZZYVA has championed writers, poets, and artists from the Southland since its founding in 1985. Come hear recent contributors Lou Mathews, Melissa Yancy, Jim Gavin, David Hernandez, and special guest Dana Johnson read from their work, and find out whyZYZZYVA is considered one of the country's finest literary journals. Emceed by ZYZZYVA Contributing Editor David L. Ulin.

Issue No. 106 offers for your enjoyment more of the country’s finest stories, poetry, essays, and visual art.

Jim Gavin is the author of Middle Men, published by Simon & Schuster. His fiction has appeared in The New YorkerThe Paris ReviewZoetrope,EsquireThe Mississippi Review, and ZYZZYVA.

Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark forthcoming from Counterpoint in August 2016. She is also the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California. Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in the Paris ReviewCallaloo, and the Iowa Review, among others. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.

David Hernadez's most recent book of poetry is Dear, Sincerely. His other collections include HoodwinkedAlways Danger and A House Waiting for Music. He has been awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, AGNI, and The Best American Poetry. David teaches creative writing at California State University, Long Beach and is married to writer Lisa Glatt.

David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Ear to the Ground, written with Paul Kolsby. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, his other books includeSidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the EssayThe Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time; and the Library of America's Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award.

Melissa Yancy is the recipient of a 2016 NEA Literature Fellowship, and winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press for her short fiction collection Dog Years, which will be published in late 2016. Her stories have appeared in Glimmer TrainOne Story,Prairie SchoonerZyzzyva, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles and works as a fundraiser for health care causes.

Lou Mathews has received a Pushcart Prize, a Katherine Anne Porter Prize, National Endowment for the Arts and California Arts Commission fellowships in fiction. His stories have been published in Black ClockTin HouseNew England Review, 40+ other literary magazines, ten fiction anthologies and several textbooks. His first novel, L.A. Breakdown was an L.A. Times Best book. This is his first appearance in ZYZZYVA.

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MARGARET WAPPLER READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL NEON GREEN WITH GUY BRANUM

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

Neon Green (Unnamed Press)

It's the summer of 1994 in suburban Chicago: Forrest Gump is in theaters, teens are reeling from the death of Kurt Cobain, and you can enter a sweepstakes for a spaceship from Jupiter to land in your backyard. Welcome to Margaret Wappler's slightly altered 90s. Everything's pretty much the way you remember it, except for the aliens.

When a flying saucer lands in the Allens' backyard, family patriarch and environmental activist Ernest is up in arms. According to the company facilitating the visits, the spaceship is 100 percent non-toxic, but as Ernest's panic increases, so do his questions: What are the effects of longterm exposure to the saucer and why is it really here? 

The family starts logging the spaceship’s daily fits and starts but it doesn't get them any closer to figuring out the spaceship's comically erratic behavior. Ernest’s wife Cynthia and their children, Alison and Gabe, are less concerned with the saucer, and more worried about their father’s growing paranoia (not to mention their mundane, suburban existences). Set before the arrival of the internet, Neon Green will stun, unnerve, and charm readers with its loving depiction of a suburban family living on the cusp of the future.

Praise for Neon Green

“Part historical novel, part alternative history, Neon Green captures the suburban-American experience at the cusp of the Internet Age, and asks its readers to consider what unites—and what threatens—a family. Strange yet accessible, goofy yet also, somehow, heartbreaking, a debut to be reckoned with.”— Edan Lepucki

"Deeply moving, unsentimentally nostalgic, surreal, and hilarious, Wappler’s alternate 1990s unravels the curiosities and sufferings that reveal our character and transform our souls." —J. Ryan Stradal

"Neon Green is an extraordinary, inventive literary triumph. Evoking the imaginative pleasures of Lydia Davis, Aimee Bender, and Don DeLillo, Neon Green depicts family life, environmentalism, marriage, illness, and spaceships with ingenuity and sophistication." — Joe Meno

Margaret Wappler has written about the arts and pop culture for the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, Elle, Cosmo, New York Times, and several other publications. Neon Green is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles and can be heard weekly on the pop culture podcast, Pop Rocket.

Guy Branum is a writer and comedian best known for serving as “Staff Homosexual” on Chelsea Lately and his performance as Natalie Portman’s sassy gay friend in No Strings Attached. Noticing a trend? He’s appeared on E!, MTV, G4, CurrentTV and lots of other channels you’d need to upgrade your cable to watch. He’s written for Punk’d on MTV and Fashion Police on E!. That means he’s watched the Grammys at Joan Rivers’s house. Jealous? Guy also writes for the “Gay Voices” section of The Huffington Post and occasionally makes web vidoes where he dances around without his shirt on. But mostly, Guy is very, very beautiful and good at having sex.

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CHERYL LU-LIEN TAN READS FROM HER NEW BOOK SARONG PARTY GIRLS WITH HILLARY JORDAN

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

A brilliant and utterly engaging novel--Emma set in modern Asia--about a young woman's rise in the glitzy, moneyed city of Singapore, where old traditions clash with heady modern materialism.

On the edge of twenty-seven, Jazzy hatches a plan for her and her best girlfriends: Sher, Imo, and Fann. Before the year is out, these Sarong Party Girls will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh--Western expat--husbands with Chanel babies (the cutest status symbols of all) quickly to follow. Razor-sharp, spunky, and vulgarly brand-obsessed, Jazzy is a determined woman who doesn't lose.

As she fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, this bombastic yet tenderly vulnerable gold-digger reveals the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore's glamorous nightclubs and busy streets, its grubby wet markets and seedy hawker centers. Moving through her colorful, stratified world, she realizes she cannot ignore the troubling incongruity of new money and old-world attitudes which threaten to crush her dreams. Desperate to move up in Asia's financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed?

Vividly told in Singlish--a colorful Singaporean English with its distinctive cadence and slang--Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of this young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Tan brings not only Jazzy, but her city of Singapore, to dazzling, dizzying life.

Born and raised in Singapore, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York–based journalist and author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family, and edited the fiction anthology Singapore Noir. She has been a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, InStyle magazine, and theBaltimore Sun.

Photo by James Veall

Hillary Jordan is the author of the novels Mudbound and When She Woke and the digital short “Aftermirth”, all published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. The two novels have been translated into ten languages. Mudbound won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for socially conscious fiction and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. It is currently being made into a major motion picture, which is expected to be released in 2017. Hillary has a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia. She's currently at work on a sequel to Mudbound called Fatherlands. She in lives in Brooklyn, NY, along with half the writers in America.

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ZACKARY DRUCKER AND RHYS ERNST DISCUSS THEIR BOOK RELATIONSHIP WITH JACK HALBERSTAM

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 31st, 2016

Relationship (Prestel Publishing)

Male becomes female. Female becomes male. Life becomes art. Private becomes public. A major feature of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, this series of photographs that the New York Times called “extremely provocative” explores ideas of transformation both physical and psychological. It’s the story of two people in love, in a culture where the notion of gender has become more fluid and at a time when trans people have never been more accepted. As both subjects and creators of these images, Drucker and Ernst, both of whom transitioned gender, represent themselves in the midst of shifting subjectivities and identities. Collectively, these photographs, which have been compared to the work of Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, and Cindy Sherman, document the story of their romantic and creative collaboration over a period of six years. Simultaneously narrative and documentary, they touch on a host of dynamics, offering autobiography as ambiguity and unraveling identity as a construction.

Praise for Relationship

Documenting a six-year relationship with photos, video stills, letters and ephemera, this book is a stunning, intimate, and wholly original visual narrative by two rising artists who “put[s] queer consciousness on the front burner.” -The New York Times

Zackary Drucker is an independent artist, cultural producer, and trans woman who breaks down the way we think about gender, sexuality, and seeing. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including the Whitney Biennial 2014, MoMA PS1, Hammer Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, MCA San Diego, and SF MoMA, among others. Drucker is an Emmy-nominated Producer for the docu-seriesThis Is Me, as well as a Co-Producer on Golden Globe and Emmy-winningTransparent. She is a cast member on the E! docu-series I Am Cait.

Rhys Ernst is a filmmaker and artist. His work investigates transgender identity in the context of larger narratives, and seeks to develop and expand the portrayal of trans lives in media. He is a Co-Producer of Amazon’s Transparent and created the title sequence for the series. 

Ernst was nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award for directing and producing the webseries Transparent: This Is Me, and in 2016 he teamed up with Focus Features to create the online series We've Been Around, a collection of short films on transgender pioneers. 

In addition to the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Ernst has shown work at Sundance, Oberhausen, and The Hammer Museum; he has won awards at Outfest, Chicago International Film Festival and the LA Transgender Film Festival; he was a Point Scholar, a Project Involve Fellow, and was awarded with the 2015 Point Foundation Horizon Award for his work on transgender representation in the media.

Jack Halberstam is Visiting Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of MonstersFemale Masculinity, In A Queer Time and PlaceThe Queer Art of Failure and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures around the country and internationally every year. Lecture topics include: queer failure, sex and media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film, animation. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book for Duke UP titled WILD THING on queer anarchy, performance and protest culture, and a short book on transgenderism titled Trans* for UC Press.

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JENNIFER GRAYSON DISCUSSES HER NEW BOOK UNLATCHED

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 22nd, 2016

Unlatched: The Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy (Harper)

In Unlatched, Grayson transcends today’s “mommy wars” to offer the first incisive look at the many cultural, corporate, political, and technological factors that have transformed an essential human function into one of the most controversial thrive-and- survive issues of our time. 

Today, in our age of social media, the debate—vocal and contentious—is everywhere. In her book, Grayson contends that nearly daily, another breastfeeding blowup finds its way into the headlines: “Facebook Removes Photos of Women Breastfeeding, Citing Content as ‘Offensive’! Michelle Obama and Michele Bachmann Come to Blows on the Politics of Breast Pumps! Gisele Bündchen Reveals Breastfeeding Selfie on Instagram!” Says Grayson, “Even the release of scientific breastfeeding studies sent thousands of commenters running to the message boards, as women proclaimed themselves either ‘lactivists’ or proud bottle-feeders, each camp pointing fingers at the other.”

Yet as a new mother herself, Grayson had grappled with her own nursing decisions. “Breast is best may have been deposited into our national consciousness, and it may finally have become consensus in the medical establishment, yet still, we all felt pretty conflicted, even queasy about breastfeeding,” she relates. It wasn’t even until Grayson became a mother that she, admittedly a child of the Great Formula Age, began to consider the constellation of impacts of having missed out on this profound connection. Breastfeeding her own children and finding herself drawn into the larger story, she set off on a worldwide search for answers about the first, most fundamental experience of life. She discovered that the issues involved were momentous. Determined to present the full story about the connection of breastfeeding to the health and well-being of our children, in Unlatched Grayson weaves a meticulously reported and riveting journey through our breastfeeding history—from biblical times to eighteenth century France, from modern-day Mongolia to inner-city Los Angeles. Along the way, she takes readers behind the scenes at a human milk research laboratory, interviews controversial breastfeeding figures, and shares stories about nursing mothers around the world, including her own experience extended breastfeeding her two daughters. 

Fascinating, far-reaching and yet intimate, Unlatched is essential reading not just for American parents and parents-to- be, but for anyone interested in the endurance of our species.

Praise for Unlatched:

"Unlatched is an intelligent, often funny, deftly written page-turner. Honestly, I'm surprised at how enthusiastically I find myself recommending a book about breastfeeding. Perfect not just for new parents, but for anyone who loves a good read. ---Anne Hathaway

"Grayson's book beautifully explains how we got to the breastfeeding brouhaha that exists in America today. This book is recommended reading for anyone who has breasts or loves them. ---Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein

"I'm hearing more and more that the root of much evil in our bad health is formula-feeding instead of breastfeeding, and with terrific investigative chops Jennifer Grayson nails the most insidious part of this: the government's role in hocking formula to the most vulnerable among us. ---Michael Moss, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and New York Times bestselling author of Salt, Sugar, Fat

"Unlatched is a deeply engaging, highly personal, well researched, and thoughtfully balanced account of how modern society has denormalized breastfeeding."---Marion Nestle is professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of, among other books,What to Eat.

"Unlatched is an essential book, not only for every parent to-be, but for physicians as well. Jennifer Grayson asks all the right questions, and it is clear that we must stop letting politics, money, and societal expectations trump good science." ---Dr. Lauren Streicher, renowned women's health expert, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever

Jennifer Grayson is an environmental journalist and Huffington Post columnist whose work has appeared in publications including USA Today, The Washington Post, and American Baby, for which she appeared on the cover. She is a frequently interviewed expert on environmental issues, and is regularly consulted and featured by media outlets including MSNBC, WGN, McClatchy and Entrepreneur. Jennifer’s personal experiences as a new mother struggling with to-breastfeed-or- not-to breastfeed issues, coupled with her lifelong fascination with our vanishing connection to the natural world, led to her work on Unlatched. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters.

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