CHELSEA MARTIN DISCUSSES CACA DOLCE WITH MIRA GONZALEZ

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 6th, 2017

Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life (Soft Skull Press)

From a cult favorite and indie-press bestseller who has been called “the preeminent chronicler of Internet-age malaise” (Lena Dunham) and “an exquisite original” (Chloe Caldwell), a candid, tender, and very funny book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family.

In a fresh, subversive voice that charts her trajectory from a dead-end California town to a burgeoning career as an author and illustrator, cult favorite Chelsea Martin returns with her debut essay collection, Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow LIfe. Blending the poignant wit of David Sedaris in his bestseller Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim with the feminist candor of Melissa Broder’s So Sad Today and Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out of It, CACA DOLCE is a book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family—and about growing up weird, and poor, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Chelsea examines her varied experiences: as an eleven-year- old atheist, trying to will an alien visitation to her neighborhood; fighting with her stepfather and grappling with a Tourette’s diagnosis as she becomes a teenager; falling under the sway of frenemies and crushes in high school; going into debt to afford what might be a meaningless education at an expensive art college; navigating the messy process of falling in love with a close friend; and struggling for independence from her emotionally manipulative father and her hometown family and friends.

Praise for Caca Dolce:

“Martin’s honest writing exists above the confines of fear and social norms. She is a breath of pure oxygen in a literary environment that often shies away from female grit. . . her writing is sweaty, uncomfortable, and enchanting. She taps into the consciousness of her past selves with precision and care, respecting the integrity and desires of those younger women. A sure hit for fans of Sara Benincasa’s Agorafabulous! and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A wild ride of a memoir, and a true glimpse into the mind of an artist as she’s figuring out what life is all about.” —Nylon

“Martin, a writer who’s earned a cult following with her books Mickey and Even Though I Don’t Miss You, turns to nonfiction in her debut essay collection, bringing her irreverent voice to tales of childhood, crushes, art school and the California town she grew up in where people just can’t seem to leave.” —Huffington Post

“The arc of growing self-awareness lends the story both gravity and an odd appeal.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply human—it’s a lonely book that made me feel less alone.” —Melissa Broder, author of So Sad Today

“I highly enjoyed Caca Dolce—a weird, funny, moving, complex memoir that’s excitingly like if Diane Williams edited a 500-page novel down to 200 pages.” —Tao Lin, author of Taipei

“Chelsea Martin is one of the best American writers alive. Savage and sharp, tender and hilarious, Martin’s Caca Dolce is a book like she’s never written before. You’ll only think one thing after reading it. Chelsea Martin can do anything.” —Scott McClanahan, author of The Sarah Book

“Chelsea Martin delivers neon electric jolts of reality in deadpan perfection. Refreshing, hilarious, self-deprecating, as far from pretentious as you can get.” —Molly Brodak, author of Bandit

“I’m probably not Chelsea Martin’s biggest fan because I’m sure she has legitimate stalkers, but I’m way up there. Gold, gold I tell ya.” —Mary Miller, author of The Last Days of California

“If David Sedaris were younger, hipper, and had once subscribed to Cat Fancy, he might write like this.”—Elizabeth Ellen, author of Person/a

Chelsea Martin is the author of Everything Was Fine Until Whatever;The Really Funny Thing About ApathyEven Though I Don’t Miss You, which was named one of the Best Indie Books of 2013 by Dazed magazine; and Mickey. Her work has appeared in publications including Buzzfeed, Hobart, Lenny Letter, Vice, and Catapult, and chosen as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016. She is a comic artist and illustrator and the creative director of Universal Error and currently lives in Washington State.

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FRAN KRAUSE DISCUSSES HIS NEW COMIC THE CREEPS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 6th, 2017

The Creeps (Ten Speed Press)

A follow-up to the New York Times best-selling Deep Dark Fears: a second volume of comics based on people’s quirky, spooky, hilarious, and terrifying fears. 

Illustrator, animator, teacher, and comic artist Fran Krause has touched a collective nerve with his wildly popular web comic series–and subsequent New York Times best-selling book–Deep Dark Fears. Here he brings readers more of the creepy, funny, and idiosyncratic fears they love illustrated in comic form–such as the fear that your pets will tell other animals all your embarrassing secrets, or that someone uses your house while you’re not home–as well as two longer comic short-stories about ghosts.

Fran Krause is an animator and cartoonist. He is currently a teacher in the character animation program at CalArts, creator of several cartoons, and the creator of the Deep Dark Fears webcomic series and book.

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DAVID ROCKLIN READS FROM HIS NEW NOVEL THE NIGHT LANGUAGE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 6th, 2017

The Night Language (Rare Bird Books)

The Night Language tells the story of a young man, Prince Alamayou of Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia), who is taken from his home and the Abyssinian war to the court of Queen Victoria—a world he knows nothing about.

With him is Philip Layard, a young apprentice to one of the doctors on the battlefield in Abyssinia, who becomes Alamayou's guardian, only friend, and eventually, the love of his life. When Parliament accuses Alamayou of murder, the young prince is sentenced to return to Abyssinia, where he will be executed.

His only hope comes from the very thing that cannot be uttered: the unexpected and forbidden love between Alamayou and Philip.

Inspired by true events, The Night Language is a unique novel of love, loss, and the consequences of repressive societies.

Praise for The Night Language

"The Night Language is a rare achievement: lush language and classic storytelling with a contemporary feel that renders its history palpable. It is also a love letter to the artist, the outcast, the othered. Keep it by your bedside, read it in the early hours—it will not fail to inspire you."
Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

"Not since Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient have I read a novel in which a character—the story and skinsong of Alamayou—has haunted language, history, and heart so intensely. David Rocklin's novel The Night Language is a book of longing. Longing for history to unravel and retell itself around those whose buried voices and bodies truly mattered, longing for time to reverse and make decolonization possible, power giving way to intimacy, longing for art to bring a body back home, longing for language to unmoor itself and bring us back to life. If you read one novel this year, let it be The Night Language. It is still possible for a reader’s heart to be broken back open." 
Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of JoanThe Small Backs of Children, and The Chronology of Water

"The Night Language is a postcard sent from a lost time and place but postmarked today. As he surveys the crisscross borders of gender and race in a troubled past, David Rocklin draws a line around the heart of our troubled present: the price of war, the privilege of wealth, the poison of xenophobia. Also: the wordless power of love. The shadows of two black men, an African prince and a British apprentice, dance together out of a forgotten history right into the here and now."
Martin Pousson, author of Black Sheep Boy

David Rocklin is the author of The Luminist and the founder/curator of Roar Shack, a monthly reading series in Los Angeles. He was born and raised in Chicago and now lives in LA with his wife, daughters, and a 150 lb Great Dane who seriously needs to stay on his own bed. He’s currently at work on his next novel, The Electric Love Song of Fleischl Berger.

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LISKA JACOBS READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL CATALINA WITH DAVID ULIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 5th, 2017

Catalina (Farrar/MCD)

A magnetic, provocative debut novel chronicling a young woman’s downward spiral following the end of an affair

Elsa Fisher is headed for rock bottom. At least, that’s her plan. She has just been fired from MoMA on the heels of an affair with her married boss, and she retreats to Los Angeles to blow her severance package on whatever it takes to numb the pain. Her abandoned crew of college friends (childhood friend Charlotte and her wayward husband, Jared; and Elsa’s ex-husband, Robby) receive her with open arms, and, thinking she’s on vacation, a plan to celebrate their reunion on a booze-soaked sailing trip to Catalina Island.

But Elsa doesn’t want to celebrate. She is lost, lonely, and full of rage, and only wants to sink as low as the drugs and alcohol will take her. On Catalina, her determined unraveling and recklessness expose painful memories and dark desires, putting everyone in the group at risk.

With the creeping menace of Patricia Highsmith and the bender-chic of Bret Easton Ellis, Liska Jacobs brings you inside the mind of an angry, reckless young woman hell-bent on destruction—every page taut with the knowledge that Elsa’s path does not lead to a happy place. Catalina is a compulsive, deliciously dark exploration of beauty, love, and friendship, and the sometimes toxic desires that drive us.

Praise for Catalina

Catalina is an extraordinarily engaging study in the tension of opposing forces: youth and world-weariness, beauty and unreliability, good intentions and roads to hell. The backbone of the novel is its relentless unwillingness to apologize for its main character—not for her faults, not for her complexities. Hot damn and about time. Liska Jacobs writes with teeth; this book’s got bite.”—Jill Alexander Essbaum, New York Times-bestselling author of Hausfrau

Catalina’s feminist fatale narrator, Elsa, has both the heartbroken cynicism of Daisy Buchanan and the inscrutable seductiveness of Carmen in The Big Sleep. Liska Jacobs writes crystal-clear, hypnotically sensual prose, and Catalina is California noir at its darkest and sharpest.”—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and In the Drink

“In her propulsive debut, Liska Jacobs tells the story of a beautiful young woman’s dissolute downward spiral with precision and insight. Catalina deftly explores the desperate social frontiers where the morals of the privileged class dissolve. You won’t be able to look away.”—J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times-bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest?

Catalina is true California, down to the bones and skin, a novel about the places Liska Jacobs knows in her soul. Beauty and the body as currency and betrayal, seekers of love and comfort—her characters blow all that up, and just when you think you know what will happen, Catalina swerves and you are along for the ride.”—Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon

“Sophisticated and surprising, Catalina brings an excitingly modern vibe to the time-honored story of a young woman coming undone in California. Like a love child of Joan Didion and Kate Braverman, Liska Jacobs is a master of menacing cool and the seductive havoc wreaked by self-destruction.”—Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men and Every Kind of Wanting

Liska Jacobs holds an MFA from the University of California, Riverside. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of BooksLiterary HubThe Millions, and The Hairpin, among other publications. Catalina is her first novel.

Photo by Jordan Bryant

David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Ear to the Ground.A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, his other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the Library of America's Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award.

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STEFAN BUCHER READS FROM HIS BOOK LETTERHEADS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 22nd, 2017

LetterHeads: An Eccentric Alphabet (Unnamed Press)

From the creator of the popular Daily Monster YouTube series comes a revolutionary new vision for “characters,” one that brings the alphabet hilariously alive.

A very special design book, LetterHeads is the first to feature “sculpted“ portraits of letters, employing 3D modeling software, which has been used almost exclusively by Hollywood’s CGI and video game production community. Until now!

LetterHeads is a graphic design book for creatives of any age, celebrating diversity and inspired by the people of the artist’s hometown of Los Angeles. Infused with unique personalities, surrounded by playful vocabulary and an intriguing color palette, the letters reflect just how alive language can be. The use of ground-breaking 3D technology acts as a link to not just the future of letterform creation, but education itself.

• Molded and carved like a series of classical sculptures, but free of the gaudy paint jobs, the LetterHeads allow the quirks and nuances of each diverse character to emerge.
• The LetterHeads are a landmark approach to letterform creation, combining decorative lettering of the 19th century with the crisp digital modeling of a Pixar blockbuster.
• LetterHeads enfolds playful vocabulary with color literacy, celebrating the diversity of both letterforms and people.

Stefan G. Bucher is an American writer, graphic designer and illustrator. He is the man behind the award-winning California design studio 344 Design. He is also the creator of the popular online animation series Daily Monster. For 100 days he filmed himself drawing a new monster every night, based on random ink blots. Visitors then posted stories about each monster on the blog. The clips have been viewed well over three million times and are collected, along with selected stories, in the book “100 Days of Monsters.” He is the subject of an hour-long documentary film about his life and work, produced as part of lynda.com’s “Creative Inspiration” series.

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ANN WHITFORD PAUL READS FROM HER CHILDREN’S BOOK IF ANIMALS SAID I LOVE YOU

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 22nd, 2017

If Animals Said I Love You (Farrar Straus Giroux)

If animals said “I love you” like we do... how would they say it?

Whale would make bubbles shoot from her spout. Boa would give her hatchlings a hug. Gorilla would snuggle his child to sleep. And across the animal kingdom, every creature would show love in a special way. Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker are back with If Animals Said I Love You, a sweet imagining of love in the animal world.

Praise for If Animals Said I Love You and If Animals Kissed Goodnight

“Love isn't reserved for just parent and child: siblings, cousins, and friends also get in on the act... Surely adult and child pairs reading this together will find ways to mimic the animals' ways of expressing their love.” —Kirkus Reviews, on If Animals Said I Love You

"There are probably not enough synonyms for 'cute' to cover this survey of hypothetical smooches between animal parents and off-spring... The characters radiate unconditional love."—Publishers Weekly, on If Animals Kissed Goodnight

"The imaginative possibilities alone make this one stand out from the glut of sickly sweet bedtime books. Sure to send readers off to a gentle goodnight... after a kiss, of course." —Kirkus Reviews, on If Animals Kissed Goodnight

Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker collaborated on If Animals Kissed Good Night and Little Monkey Says Good Night, a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, which Kirkus Reviews praised as "a perfect good-night read." Ms. Paul lives in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Walker lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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MARY KURYLA READS FROM HER COLLECTION FREAK WEATHER WITH BRENDA WEHLE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 21st, 2017

Freak Weather (Massachusetts Press)

From a nurse who sees a rattlesnake in the pediatric ICU to an animal control officer convinced she’s found her abducted daughter in the house of a dog hoarder, the thirteen stories in Freak Weather are as unpredictable as the atmospheric changes that give this collection its name. With dark and raucous humor, Mary Kuryla creates female characters who, at times, combine a violent urgency with lack of introspection as they struggle to get out from under the thumb of a perceived authority. The intricate language is inseparable from the narrator’s conviction; the characters lie with such bravado they’re soon tangled up in their own webs. This brand of romanticism in a female character is little tolerated, and Freak Weather’s mission—Kuryla’s artistic mission overall—is to scratch at the intolerable. Call it bad instructions for moral
behavior.

Mary Kuryla has been awarded the Pushcart Prize and the Glimmer Train Short Fiction Prize. Several of the stories in this collection have been adapted into award-winning films that premiered at the Sundance, London, Edinburgh, and Toronto International film festivals.

Praise for Freak Weather

“There is a feral quality to some of these stories, an attitude that is truly startling. The language is perfectly matched to the not-so- conflicted women living off venison, weed, and their husband’s paychecks. The territory here is sometimes disturbing; the treatment of these people who are in over their heads is always both tough and surprisingly moving. The ‘action’ resides as much in the brisk, fresh language as in what these people conjure in a crisis. Ultimately, the author delivers stories unlike anyone else’s.”—Amy Hempel, Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction judge and author of The Dog of the Marriage: Stories

“This is what they mean by muscular prose, but with lithe muscles, quick and bright, and dueling senses of swagger and grimness. A striking and satisfying debut.”—Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master: Stories

"What a memorable, witty, imaginative collection this is, beautifully modulated, extravagant yet precise. Each story is startling and expertly hewn, with a perfect balance of toughness and whimsy.”—Joanna Scott, author of De Potter’s Grand Tour

“A powerful collection of stories about women who are unapologetically themselves—often struggling, sometimes drunk, sometimes irresponsible, but in all cases painfully human and alive. Each of these pieces opens a window onto a life and then, before we have time to explain to ourselves how we’re not like that, abruptly slams it shut, leaving us exquisitely off balance.”—Brian Evenson, author of The Warren

“There is much beguiling strangeness in the pages of Freak Weather, but there are no strangers: you know all of these people. They're the slightly scary neighbors, the folks who talk a little too loudly in the convenience store, the children who act older than they should. You've wanted to know about their lives, and now  they're telling you everything. Simultaneously appalling and gorgeous.”—Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy & Other Stories

Mary Kuryla’s collection Freak Weather: Stories was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2016 AWP Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction. She has been the recipient of The Pushcart Prize, as well as the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Prize. Her stories have appeared in Epoch, Shenandoah, Denver Quarterly, Witness, Greensboro Review, Pleiades, The New Orleans Review, The Normal School and Alaska Quarterly Review, among others. She is the author, with Eugene Yelchin, of The Heart of the SnowmanGhost Files: The Haunting Truth, and The Next Door Bear for Harper Children’s Books. Her award-winning shorts and feature films have premiered at Sundance and Toronto. She has written screen adaptations for United Artists and MGM. She teaches screenwriting and media studies at Loyola Marymount University and Emerson, Los Angeles.

Award-winning actress Brenda Wehle has appeared in film and TV (American Beauty, Woman Walks Ahead), and worked extensively in New York, most recently on Broadway in The Crucible. She is currently in Mary Jane at the New York Theatre Workshop. A member of the Guthrie Theater Acting Company, she appeared in over 35 productions. 

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PANIO GIANOPOULOS DISCUSSES HIS NEW COLLECTION OF STORIES HOW TO GET INTO OUR HOUSE AND WHERE WE KEEP THE MONEY WITH CECIL CASTELLUCCI

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 21st, 2017

How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money (Four Way Books)

In this collection’s tour-de-force title story, Ethan, a marketing manager for consumer-goods brands, finds himself in a bizarre standoff with his wife, new boss, and daughter’s swim teacher over the sudden presence in his life of Scudder, Ethan’s graffiti-artist nephew. Before long, Ethan is defacing his boss’s office with dry-erase markers and climbing a condemned building in the dead of night. How swiftly, Gianopoulos reminds us, we become the very thing we’re trying to avoid; how soon we find ourselves at the point of no return: a guy whose prep school girlfriend has just “asked him to break her leg” with a cinderblock “and send her home.”

A love song to the power of the inadvertent and unplanned, this collection tracks a gaggle of lost souls—a bewildered young medical student, a man jealous of his girlfriend’s love for her tiny Pomeranian, and a restless free-diving housewife—as it captures “that itchy, panicky feeling you get when you suspect you’ve stepped into the slowest line at the supermarket.” Its characters persist in lives pockmarked with awkwardness, continually in search of “another parallel version” of themselves. Amid their domestic mayhem, Gianopoulos finds humor and warmth, an animal curled up around a protagonist’s ankle “like a misplaced comma.” How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money is a witty, telling, urbane exploration of the clumsiness of relationships, of the small wars and gigantic missteps that shape our lives with our nearest and not-
always-so-dearest.

Praise for How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money

“A wonderful collection of nine stories combining wry humor, engaging characters, and shrewd psychological insight....Witty, discerning, and laugh-out-loud funny.”--Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

“This is a stunning collection, brilliant in its incisive depictions of the mapless territory of midlife. From the man who despises and tries to lose his girlfriend’s dog to the would-be seducer for whom technology reveals a searing glimpse at how he is perceived by the young, these characters inspire your compassion even as they beg for your forgiveness—and even as they make you laugh out loud. Short story collections rarely arrive this compelling, this accomplished, this imaginative, and this wise. I am already impatient to share this masterful book, which I know will convert more and more readers to the joys of the form.”—Robin Black

“Panio Gianopoulos is the most natural of storytellers, and in his first collection, How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money, he shows enormous range, mastery and feel for the short story. With echoes ranging from Updike to Murakami to Tom Perrotta, and a wonderfully capacious group of characters, Gianopoulos announces himself as a terrific new voice for the form. This is one to read and savor.”—Daniel Torday

“Panio Gianopoulos’s How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Moneyis an auspicious debut. In these smart and knowing stories, smart and knowing people come up against the limits of their knowingness and break through into a deeper humanity.”—David Gates

Panio Gianopoulos is the author of the novella A Familiar Beast. His writing has appeared in Big Fiction, Brooklyn Rail, Catamaran Literary Reader, Chicago Quarterly Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Northwest Review, Rattling Wall, and Tin House. A recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, he has been included in the anthologies The Bastard on the Couch, Cooking and Stealing: The Tin House Nonfiction Reader, and The Encyclopedia of Exes. He lives with his family in New York.

Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth and the Eisner-nominated Odd Duck. She is currently writing Shade the Changing Girl, Vol. 1 Earth Girl Made Easy, an ongoing comic on Gerard Way's DC Young Animal imprint. Her picture book, Grandma's Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal. She lives in Los Angeles.

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CAITLIN DOUGHTY DISCUSSES HER BOOK FROM HERE TO ETERNITYCAITLIN DOUGHTY DISCUSSES HER BOOK FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 21st, 2017

From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (W.W. Norton)

In From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, mortician Caitlin Doughty explores the world’s funeral traditions—from robotic graves in Japan to an Indonesian village where families live with the bodies of their dead for months, even years, prior to the funeral. Following up on her New York Times best-selling book SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES, the author argues that in modern America, funerals have become procedural and impersonal, meant to sanitize and distance the survivors’ from confrontation with mortality—all in the name of profit and “dignity.” The result is a culture pervaded by death anxieties and bereft of traditions that would help people make sense of their own mortal ends. Doughty advocates for alternative rituals designed to save us from the funeral-industrial complex.

In her travels, Doughty encounters funeral traditions that, to our eyes, may appear both beautiful and appalling. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus tells a story about two nations with very different perspectives on death: the Greeks and the Callatians. The Greeks cremate their dead and are repulsed by cannibalism, while the Callatians consume their dead and are repulsed by cremation. Herodotus’s lesson remains true to this day: the funeral traditions of other cultures almost always strike the outsider as barbaric.

Doughty, however, goes beyond ghoulish spectacle to ask how different cultures benefit from their unique funeral traditions and to question how our own culture might learn from them. Readers travel with Doughty as she learns about, and even participates in:

  • The Japanese tradition of kotsuage, the ritual removal of large bone fragments from cremated ashes by family members using chopsticks
  • A nonprofit mobile funeral pyre operation in Colorado that dodged local ordinances to revive a funeral tradition that dates back to prehistory
  • A museum in Guanajuato, Mexico, for the mummies of disinterred corpses whose relatives could not pay the cemetery’s fee for “perpetual” interment; the museum includes a section for Angelitos, dead children whose bodies were believed to connect survivors to favored souls who could advocate for the living in Heaven
  • An American research effort aimed at composting the dead and returning the body to its natural position in the cycle of life, death, and renewal
  • A Bolivian woman’s efforts to collect and care for ñatitas, preserved human skulls that are treated like community advisors and are alleged to grant wishes; the skulls are at the center of conflicts between traditional beliefs and Roman Catholic teachings and, occasionally, enjoy smoking a cigarette

In her encounters with these funeral rites and traditions, Doughty explores the profound value they hold for the community. From Here To Eternity is an eye-opening exploration of the many different, and often surprising, ways humanity embraces the inescapable fact of death, filled with vivid and sometimes shocking details about how diverse cultures send off their dead.

But Doughty’s tour of the borderlands between the living and the dead is never simply morbid. As uncanny and surreal as some traditions may initially appear, when Doughty contrasts them to the vapid and emotionally sterile experiences promoted by America’s funeral industry, the depth and value of these ritualized customs is revealed. In a voice that is sympathetic, endlessly curious, and often engagingly humorous, Doughty advocates for a more humane and involved approach to mourning rituals. With lively illustrations by Landis Blair—whose style is a perfect match for Doughty’s humane and insightful prose—From Here To Eternity is a book about death for the living, and the importance of the rituals that help us understand how a meaningful end can enrich our sense of what it means to be alive.

Mortician Caitlin Doughty—host and creator of “Ask a Mortician” and the New York Times bestselling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes—founded the Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs the nonprofit funeral home Undertaking LA.

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TARA JEPSEN DISCUSSES HER BOOK LIKE A DOG WITH MICHELLE TEA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 11th, 2017

Like a Dog (City Light Publishing)

A scrappy young skateboarder's story of underground worlds and fringe existences, confusing family relationships and the struggle for intimacy.

Paloma is aimlessly winging it through life. A skateboarder in her early 30s, she takes low-paying jobs, drinks neon-colored wine coolers in the park with her best friend, and drives to the Central Valley to skate the empty swimming pools dotting the sun-blasted landscape. Paloma struggles to have a relationship with her brother Peter, whose opiate addiction makes that nearly impossible. She enjoys occasional doses of something like closeness whenever Peter is sober, and these rare moments keep her lunging for his affections. Her delusions about the nature of addiction—along with a steady intake of alcohol—manage to keep the looming threat of his death by overdose at a comfortable enough distance.

When Peter lands a lucrative position managing a pot farm in Mendocino County, he offers Paloma a job. She shines in her new role, selling weed to celebrities in Los Angeles and making good money for the first time. With a new sense of self-confidence she decides to try out the world of stand-up comedy, and though she's absolutely terrible at it, she's happier than she's ever been. As Peter slides into a dangerous spiral, Paloma does her best to roll with the ups and downs, life's beginnings and endings.

Praise for Like a Dog:

"Tara Jepsen's Like a Dog is outrageously funny and soul-scrapingly grim, in the tradition of our most intrepid, shameless, and shame-filled comedians and storytellers. It also announces a singular new voice in American fiction—one which is deeply alive, hard-hitting, and tender."––Maggie Nelsonauthor of The Argonauts

"This book beat the crap out of me. I am bruised and laughing. Thank you Tara Jepsen, may I have another?"—Daniel Handler, author of All The Dirty Parts

"Tara Jepsen captures the absurd, animal humor of residing in a human female body on planet Earth like no other, and Like a Dog sets it loose within a hazy California underground of abandoned skate pools, weed farms and comedy open mics. Eccentric and insidery, taking on the bonds of family and addiction, the effort to find a life and the drive to end it, Like a Dog brims with hyper-conscious gems of hilarity and pathos."––Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave

Tara Jepsen is a writer and actor living in Los Angeles, California. She's appeared in Emmy-winning series Transparent. She and longtime collaborator Beth Lisick created, wrote and acted in original web series Rods and Cones, released by Jill Soloway and Rebecca Odes's Wifey.tv in September 2014, named one of Indiewire's 25 Best Series/Creators of 2014. Tara has written and performed original sketch comedy with Lisick throughout the U.S. since 1999. They have appeared at Dixon Place in NYC, at San Francisco's Sketchfest, at the UCB in Los Angeles, and myriad additional venues. Jepsen has been published by The Believer, xojane.com, and SF Weekly, among others. She has toured and performed extensively with the seminal queer cabaret Sister Spit since 1997. And, she co-hosted the legendary San Francisco open mic K'vetsh at a gay men's bath house for over ten years.

Author, activist, and queer/feminist icon Michelle Tea is the author of five memoirs, including the award-winning Valencia (now a film). Her novels include Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, the first in a Young Adult fantasy trilogy published by McSweeneys. Tea is the Founding Artistic Director of RADAR Productions, a queer-feminist literary non-profit in San Francisco and is the editor of Sister Spit Books, an imprint of City Lights. Her writing has appeared in The Believer, n+1, Buzzfeed, The Bold Italic, Marie Claire, xoJane.com and many other print and web publications.

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CARMEN MARIA MACHADO READS FROM HER NEW SHORT STORY COLLECTION HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 11th, 2017

Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press)

In Her Body and Other PartiesCarmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella "Especially Heinous," Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

Praise for Her Body and Other Parties

“The stories in Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange. Her voracious imagination and extraordinary voice beautifully bind these stories about fading women and the end of the world and men who want more when they’ve been given everything and bodies, so many human bodies taking up space and straining the seams of skin in impossible, imperfect, unforgettable ways.”—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger

“Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties tells ancient fables of eros and female metamorphosis in fantastically new ways. She draws the secret world of the body into visibility, and illuminates the dark woods of the psyche. In these formally brilliant and emotionally charged tales, Machado gives literal shape to women's memories and hunger and desire. I couldn’t put it down.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“Those of us who knew have been waiting for a Carmen Maria Machado collection for years. Her stories show us what we really love and fear.”—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

“Carmen Maria Machado writes a new kind of fiction: brilliant, blindingly weird, and precisely attuned to the perils and sorrows of the times.”—Ben Marcus, author of Leaving the Sea

“Carmen Maria Machado has a vital, visceral, umbilical connection to the places deep within the soul from where stories emanate. With a tenderness that is both touching and terrifying, Her Body and Other Parties gives insight into a cluster of worlds linked by their depth of feeling and penetrating strangeness.”
—Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

“Brilliantly inventive and blazingly smart, these stories have the life-and-death stakes of nightmares and fairy tales; they’re full of urgent, almost unbearable reality. Carmen Machado is an extraordinary writer, an essential voice.”—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

“Her Body and Other Parties will delight you, hurt you, and astonish you as only the smartest literature can. In this collection Machado blends horror, fairy tale, pop culture and myth in mesmerizing ways that feel utterly new. These stories are peerless and brilliant.”—Alissa Nutting, author of Made for Love and Tampa

“Carmen Maria Machado shuffles together fantastic, realistic, popular, and literary genres and then deals winning hand after winning hand. Whether it is reworking fairy tales, rewriting the entire run of Law and Order into a grim fantasy, or diving into unchartered territory entirely Machado's own, Her Body and Other Parties is a deft and thoughtful reclaiming of both literature and genre.”—Brian Evenson, author of A Collapse of Horses

Her Body and Other Parties is genius: part punk rock and part classical, with stories that are raw and devastating but also exquisitely plotted and full of delight. This is a strong, dangerous, and blisteringly honest book—it’s hard to think of it as a ‘debut,’ it's that good.”—Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne

“What Carmen Maria Machado has done with this collection is nothing less than stunning. Just when you think you’ve figured her out, she unveils another layer of story, so unexpected, so profound, it leaves you gasping.”—Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

“With her lush, generative imagination, shimmering language, and utter fearlessness, Carmen Maria Machado is surely one of most ferociously gifted young writers working today. . . . Hilariously inventive, emotionally explosive, wonderfully sexy, Machado’s stories will carry you far from home, upend your reality, and sew themselves to your soul.”—Michelle Huneven, author of Blame and Off Course

“Carmen Maria Machado is the way forward. Her fiction is fearlessly inventive, socially astute, sometimes pointed, sometimes elliptical, and never quite what you’re expecting—yet behind it you can always hear that ancient tale-teller’s voice, bartering for your attention with its dangers and its mysteries, its foolhardy characters pulled this way and that by the ropes of their emotions. . . . There is at once the breath of the new about these stories and the breath of the timeless.”—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

“A form-bending fabulist in the tradition of Kevin Brockmeier, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell, she gleefully seeks out weird shapes and subjects for every story. . . . She writes uncanny, creepy, sexy, funny, feminist, magical-realist, metafictional, pop-cultural, and all-of-the-above stories, and she seems determined never to write the same story twice. Yet for all of its wildly inventive variety, Her Body and Other Parties is unified by the one story it keeps finding new ways to tell: how women can survive in worlds that want them to disappear, whether into marriage, motherhood, death, or (literally) prom dresses.”—Bennett Sims, author of A Questionable Shape
 

Carmen Maria Machado’s work has appeared in Granta, the New Yorker, NPR, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. She lives in Philadelphia. You can visit her website at: www.carmenmachado.com  

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KENNY FRIES DISCUSSES HIS MEMOIR IN THE PROVINCE OF THE GODS WITH EMILY RAPP BLACK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 11th, 2017

In the Province of the Gods (University of Wisconsin Press)

An American's journey of profound self-discovery in Japan, and an exquisite tale of cultural and physical difference, sexuality, love, loss, mortality, and the ephemeral nature of beauty and art.

Kenny Fries embarks on a journey of profound self-discovery as a disabled foreigner in Japan, a society historically hostile to difference. As he visits gardens, experiences Noh and butoh, and meets artists and scholars, he also discovers disabled gods, one-eyed samurai, blind chanting priests, and A-bomb survivors. When he is diagnosed as HIV positive, all his assumptions about Japan, the body, and mortality are shaken, and he must find a way to reenter life on new terms.

Praise for In the Province of Gods

"Like the best memoirs, Kenny Fries’s In the Province of the Gods reminds us of the genre’s twinned truths: first, that the surest way to discover the self is to look out at the world, and second, that the best way to teach others about something is to tell them not ‘what it is,’ but what it means to you. Fries’s deft, questioning prose is as full of compassion as curiosity, and his revelations about himself are no less compelling than what he learns about Japan.”—Dale Peck, author of Martin and John

“Elegant and probing, In the Province of the Gods reads like the log of an early adventurer charting a newly discovered land. History, sexual politics, disability, and wooden fortune sticks are blended into an unexpected, tightly written exploration of Japanese culture. Fries may be the guy on the journey, but we’re the ones making the discoveries.”—Susan R. Nussbaum, author of Good Kings, Bad Kings

“In this subtle page turner, Fries helps reinvent the travel-as-pilgrimage narrative.  He neither exoticizes nor shies away from the potential pitfalls of a western mind traveling abroad; instead he demonstrates how, through an all too rare open heart and a true poet’s eye, bridges can be built, and understanding deepened, one sincere action at a time.”—Marie Mutsuki Mockett, author of Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye

“Kenny Fries writes out of the pure hot emergency of a mortal being trying to keep himself alive. So much is at stake here—health, affection, culture, trauma, language—but its greatest surprise is what thrives in the midst of suffering. A beautiful book.”—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door

Kenny Fries is the author of Body, Remember: A Memoir and The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory, winner of the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. He is the editor of Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out and author of the libretto for The Memory Stone, an opera commissioned by Houston Grand Opera. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.

Photo by Michael R. Dekker

Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir, and The Still Point of the Turning World, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Nonfiction. Her book-length lyric essay, Casa Azul Cripple, which examines the intersection of art, disability, and sex through the life and work of Frida Kahlo, is forthcoming from the New York Review of Books/NottingHill Editions in 2020. She is at work on a book about the resilience of objects and forces in the world called The Wingbeats of Insects and Birds, for which she received a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship. Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California-Riverside, where she teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program and in the School of Medicine. She lives with her husband, writer and editor Kent Black, and their daughter in Redlands, California.

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LARRY SMITH AND SPECIAL GUESTS DISCUSS SIX WORDS FRESH OFF THE BOAT

Posted in by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America (Kingswell)

Marrying the acclaimed immigration-themed ABC Television Network series Fresh Off the Boat with the New York Times bestselling Six-Word Memoirseries by Larry Smith, Kingswell Press is thrilled to publish Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America

This timely and unique crowd-sourced book of immigration stories — each told in six words —  captures hundreds of memoirs on the experience from across America, spanning cultures and generations, to paint a powerful portrait of who we are as a country, and where we came from.

Contributors include refugees (“Refugee went from burkas to bachelors,” “Boat person finds freedom in America”); students (“I only speak Spanish on weekends,” “Hoping my school lunch doesn’t ‘smell’”); armed forces personnel (“Salvadoran immigrant raises US Navy diver,” “Retired Marine, looked upon as outsider”); an astronaut (“From migrant farmworker to NASA astronaut”); an Olympiad (“Albanian Olympiad flees for America: reborn”); and a Teen Jeopardy winner (“Land of opportunity lets me learn”).

The book also includes coming-to- America stories from a number of notable actors, authors, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and political figures, among them:

M. Night Shyamalan: “My accent has become my voice.”
Aziz Ansari: “Every immigrant’s journey is truly incredible.” 
Arianna Huffington: “Another Greek Odyssey, thriving in America.”
Mario Batali: “Joyous polyglot, cooked with the world.” 
Jeremy Lin: “Abandoned the piano for a basketball.”  
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “Nobody is ever just a refugee.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “Indian mother: Ford’s first female engineer.” 
Junot Díaz: “We immigrants are America’s true superpower.”
Narciso Rodriguez: “Immigrant son proudly dresses First Lady.”
George Takei: “Even after internment, still love America.” 
Gabourey Sidibe: “We all have traditional Muslim names.”
Madeleine Albright: “In 1948, I was a refugee.”

The book also includes six words from the cast and creative team of Fresh Off the Boat, many of whom are immigrants or the children of immigrants, as well as several longer essays that expand on a six-word story, providing first-person accounts, both joyful and harrowing, of coming to America.

With more than one million available on SixWordsMemoirs.com already, Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America is sure to tug at the heartstrings, create meaningful connection, and provide an accessible conversation starter between generations to get together and share the incredible journeys, personal, humorous moments, and unique experiences that shaped and impacted their lives along the way to the creation of an American dream.

Called “on a quest to spark the creativity of aspiring writers” by O, The Oprah MagazineLarry Smith is the creator of the global phenomenon, the Six-Word Memoirs project, a bestselling series of books, board games, and live-event series. Since 2006, more than one million short life stories have been shared on SixWordMemoirs.com, and countless more in classrooms, churches, veterans’ groups, speed-dating sessions, and more. Prior to launching Six-Word Memoirs, Larry was a journalist whose work can be found in The New York TimesESPN The MagazinePopular ScienceSlate, and other publications. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, writer Piper Kerman.

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WRITING WHILE FEMALE: WOMEN’S FICTION, CHICK LIT, AND OTHER MISDEMEANORS WITH TERI EMORY AND HEIDI MASTROGIOVANNI

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

The novelists Teri Emory (Second Acts) and Heidi Mastrogiovanni (Lala Pettibone’s Act Two) have between them well over a century’s life experience, and they’ve got tales to tell. Come hear them discuss how they’ve managed to support their writing habits over many years, how they handle the ageless scourge of rejection, how they create female characters who resemble actual women, how they published debut novels in the seventh decade of life, and how they view “chick lit,” “women’s fiction,” and other labels. (Spoiler alert on the labels: Teri and Heidi are not thrilled about them.)

Lala Pettibone's Act Two (Amberjack Publishing)

Lala Pettibone, a forty-something widow whose outrageous antics befit women half her age, has been imagining her sexy boss Gerard is as smitten with her as she is with him. Enter Gerard’s fabulous girlfriend from Paris. After spending the rest of the day drinking wines straight from the bottle, Lala attends the monthly meeting of her Greenwich Village co-op, where the residents are informed that a toxic wasteland in the building’s basement requires everyone to pony up forty-grand by the end of the week.

Lala very reluctantly decides to sublet her apartment and make a bundle while visiting her Auntie Geraldine in Los Angeles. But good things come her way in sunny California, including inspiration to finish writing an uproarious novel based on her own ridiculous adventures. 

Lala Pettibone's Act Two is a wonderfully hilarious, second-coming-of-age-novel. Bridget Jones has absolutely nothing on Lala in the Late-Bloomer-With-Maybe-Lots-of-Potential-Department.

Heidi Mastrogiovanni is a dedicated animal welfare advocate who lives in Los Angeles with her musician husband and their three rescued senior dogs. She loves to read, hike, travel, and do a classic spit-take whenever something is really funny. Heidi is a graduate of Wesleyan University and was chosen as one of ScreenwritingU’s 15 Most Recommended Screenwriters of 2013. The comedy web series she writes and produces, Verdene and Gleneda, was awarded the Hotspot on the Writers Guild of America’s Hotlist.

Second Acts (Amberjack Publishing)

An unshakable friendship among three women takes root in a college dorm in the late 1960s. Fueled by the bravado of that era, the three women charge into adulthood with lofty ideas and high expectations.

Throughout the decades that follow, they share their joys and shepherd each other through heartache. In the year leading up to 9/11, they are forced to confront hard truths about themselves and the choices they have made over time. They must dispel past regrets and make peace with present circumstances as they begin the second acts of their lives, sustained as always by their abiding friendship.

Teri Emory is living proof that a liberal arts education does not necessarily make a person unemployable. As evidence: She has taught at the University of North Florida, Hunter College, Yeshiva University, and Fordham University and survived a fifteen-year tour of duty as a corporate writer. Her articles and poems have appeared in print and online publications, and she has edited essays and book-length manuscripts on absurdly esoteric topics. Teri was born in the Bronx and grew up in and around New York City. She is proud to have been educated entirely in public schools, from kindergarten at P.S. 77 to graduate school at U.C. Berkeley. She has lived and worked in Manhattan, Berkeley, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, and Rome. A devoted mother and besotted grandmother, she now resides in Las Vegas, married to a man whom she re-met, after almost forty years, at her high school reunion.

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MARTHA BATALHA DISCUSSES HER NEW NOVEL THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURIDICE GUSMAO WITH CORINNE PURTILL

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao (Oneworld Publications)

Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious. For her parents’ sake, she sacrifices her own aspirations to marry Antenor, spending her days ironing his shirts and removing the lumps of onion from his food. But as his professional success grows, so does Euridice’s feeling of restlessness. Casting duty aside, she embarks on various secret projects, only to have each dream crushed in turn by her tradition-loving husband. Antenor eventually restores order in his household – until the day Euridice’s long-lost sister Guida appears at the door with a young child and a terrible story.

Praise for The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao encompasses not only a vast Rio de Janeiro, from North to South and across Downtown, but also spans for 80 years – from 1880 through 1960 – in order to tell the story of numerous families ruled by beautiful, stubborn women. Martha combines drama and humor with an unfailably modern savoir-faire.”—Ruy Castro, author of Bossa Nova and Garrincha

“In a clever and unusual way, Batalha takes the reader for a journey in the streets of the old Rio de Janeiro, filled with its array of memorable characters — a fun and delightful novel.”—Carlos Saldanha, director of the film RIO

“One of the writers to watch in 2017.”—Elle Magazine (Spain)

Martha Batalha studied journalism and literature in Brazil before moving to New York where she worked in publishing. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is her first novel. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her husband and two kids.

Corinne Purtill is a journalist who has reported around the world for publications including GlobalPost (now PRI), CNN, Salon and Quartz, where she is currently a staff writer. She is the author of Ghosts in the Forest, a Kindle Single, and lives in California with her family.

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