Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2015

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) (Touchstone Books)

 From online entertainment mogul, actress, and "queen of the geeks" Felicia Day comes a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood. 

The Internet isn't all cat videos. There's also Felicia Day--violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world...or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet geeks and Goodreads book clubs.  After growing up in the south where she was "homeschooled for hippie reasons," Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia's misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star. Felicia's short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia's strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism--just like her memoir. 

Hilarious and inspirational, You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now--even for a digital misfit.

Praise for You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost):

“It's hard to keep up with Felicia Day.  She's an actress, a gamer, a screenwriter, a songwriter, a producer, a director, a webmaster, a costumer, and queen of the geek girls.   It's hard to imagine where such a prodigy could have come from.  Wonder no longer.  Felicia tells all . . . well, most . . . well, some . . . in her new book.  Reading this is like sitting down and having dinner with her, and hearing the story of her life between the clam chowder and the cheesecake.  I can't imagine a more charming or amusing dinner companion. Felicia is a lot of fun, and so is her book.”—GEORGE R. R. MARTIN 

“Reading Felicia Day’s memoir is like going on a road trip with an old friend you never knew you had. This is the perfect book to prove you aren't the only misfit in the world, and to remind you that that's a very good thing.” —JENNY LAWSON, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

“At last, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) finally reveals the secret origin story of everyone's favorite Geek Superheroine! Felicia Day's new memoir is honest, hopeful, and hysterical. It’s the story of a girl who grew up lost and lonely--then became a self-made Internet rockstar.  Reading it will make you feel like you can take on the whole Empire yourself.” —ERNEST CLINE, author of Ready Player One 

“Smart, brave, emotionally raw, and hysterically funny. This is one of the best books ever written about what it's like to be a human being on the internet.” —LEV GROSSMAN, author of The Magicians

“Everything Felicia creates seems to succeed. This book should be no different. It’s a great read–far from ‘horrible’ and worth every ‘Penny.’ See what I did there? It’s a play on…never mind.” —NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, author of Choose Your Own Autobiography and Felicia’s co-star in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

“What’s wonderful about Felicia Day isn’t how much she’s accomplished; it’s what a delightful, real person she’s remained along the way. She is a nerd heroine of the highest order: fiercely honest, refreshingly vulnerable, and unapologetically unique. Felicia kicks major ass.”—AISHA TYLER

“I came for the delightful snark, I stayed for the disarming frankness and the hard-won insights about the Internet. Felicia Day uses the Internet to distribute entertainment, but she understands that it's really there to be the nervous system of the twenty-first century.” —CORY DOCTOROW, Founder of BoingBoing.net

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is exactly like Felicia herself: intriguing, funny, vulnerable, and uniquely cool. If you’ve ever been awkward, ever doubted yourself, ever second-guessed who you are, this book is for you. Reading it is like having the quirkiest, most hilarious, most brilliant person you’ve ever met grab you by the shirtfront and say, ‘HEY. IT’S OKAY TO BE YOU.’” —DEANNA RAYBORN, RITA award-winning and New York Times bestselling author  

“Smart, funny, endearing, nerdy and maybe also a little bit brave — in other words, very much like its author.”—JOHN SCALZI, Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Redshirts 

"You're Never Weird on the Internet is fun, hilarious, and impossible to put down. Reading it is like getting a mega-shot of courage -- to be exactly who you are and no one else, to pursue your dreams fearlessly, to embrace your weirdness and wield it like a superpower. If you want to live a life true to yourself and not what others expect of you, you won't find better inspiration than Felicia Day. If you're not one of Felicia's millions of fans yet—you will be."—JANE McGONIGAL, author ofSuperbetter and Reality is Broken

“Math nerd defies physics!  Felicia Day, who is woven from moonbeams, has written a book that seems lighter than air, but that ends up punching you firmly in the emotions.  Felicia lays out a hilarious tale of how her unique upbringing, eclectic skill set, and killer work ethic led to The Guild, one of the pioneering works of online creativity.  In the process, she pulls you inside her delicate skull, so that the final moving chapters aren’t as much read as they are experienced.  An excellent book.”  —JANE EPENSON, writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once Upon a Time, and Husbands

“Day writes charmingly. . . . [She] is delightfully good company and has an interesting story to tell.”—KIRKUS REVIEWS

“A super (and superquirky) memoir.”—BOOKLIST

“Felicia Day gives us an achingly funny, honest, open look at being 'situationally famous' (I love that phrase), plus the vital art of finding your creative joy, and weathering the storms that follow. It's a wonderful book. Buy it before I grab all the copies.” —RACHEL CAINE, New York Times bestselling author of The Morganville Vampires series

Felicia Day is a professional actress who has appeared in numerous television shows, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and Eureka.  However, Felicia is best known for her work in the web video world, behind and in front of the camera. She costarred in Joss Whedon’s Emmy Award-winning internet musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and also created and starred in the hit web series The Guild.

Felicia is the founder of the online digital channel Geek & Sundry, which was acquired by Legendary Entertainment in 2014. She continues to act as CCO and develop web content and television projects as a producer, writer, and performer. She is also extremely active on social media, has more than 2.4 million Twitter followers, and is the eighth most followed person on Goodreads, where she is also the founder of Vaginal Fantasy, a romance and fantasy book club with almost 14,000 members.

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WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN reads from his new novel THE DYING GRASS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2015

The Dying Grass (Viking)

 Over the last twenty-five years, National Book Award winner William T. Vollmann has been working on what is arguably one of the most ambitious literary projects currently being undertaken by any living novelist – a seven volume sequence of novels called “Seven Dreams” that examine the repeated collisions between native Americans and European colonizers. This summer, Viking will publish the long-awaited new installment in this acclaimed series, The Dying Grass, which tells the story of the epic fighting retreat of the Nez Perce Indians in 1877. 

Defrauded and intimidated at every turn, the Nez Perces, whom Lewis and Clark liked best of all the Indians they met, and who were proud that under all provocations they had never killed any white people, finally went on the warpath. The battles they fought (there were eighteen engagements, including four major battles and four fiercely contested skirmishes) and their long (nearly 1200 miles) retreat from Oregon across Montana to the Canadian border before they finally surrendered, have been taught at West Point and poeticized by Robert Penn Warren.  Vollmann’s main character, however, is not Chief Joseph, whom the press dubbed “The Red Napoleon,” but his pursuer, General Oliver Otis Howard, the brave, shy, tormented, devoutly Christian Civil War veteran.  In this novel, we see him as commander, father, son, husband, friend and killer, in an ever altering myriad of relations with soldiers, scouts, and “hostiles.”

The Dying Grass teems with many other vivid characters on both sides of the conflict, including Chief Joseph’s twelve-year-old daughter Sound of Running Feet, his two wives Springtime and Good Woman, the shell-shocked Colonel  David Perry, who lost the war’s first battle (and his best friend), the Nez Perce war chief Looking-Glass, who trusted that treaties with the Americans would save him, the Three Red Blankets, who seem invulnerable against the Army, and Howard’s personally loyal but increasingly anti-war aide-de-camp, C.E.S. Wood.

In The Dying Grass, Vollmann brings a new chapter of North American history to life with stylistic daring, sardonic wit, rich imagination, and uncompromising intelligence.

Praise for The Dying Grass

“Peerless… an epic study of the Nez Percé War of 1877…Vollmann restores that history with an onrushing immediacy that takes on all the contours of a good Greek tragedy, complete with hubris born of supposed military superiority and an avenging angel taking wings in the form of the flight of an arrow… Vollmann's vivid reconstruction is believable and achingly beautiful, as often rendered in a kind of poetry as in ordinary prose: ‘he spies out the dark-tipped wings of the otherwise white snow goose, / the black beak and white breast of the long-billed curlew / but no brothers or enemies.’ Telegraphic and episodic—so much so that it recalls the later work of Eduardo Galeano—Vollmann's saga is a note-perfect incantation. Stunning.”—Kirkus Reviews

William T. Vollmann has written nine novels, four collections of stories, six works of nonfiction, and a memoir. He has won the National Book Award for Europe Central, the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in California.

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LAYNE MOSLER reads from her memoir DRIVING HUNGRY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2015

Driving Hungry (Pantheon Books)

 Please join us today for a delicious memoir that takes us from Buenos Aires to New York to Berlin as the author, driven by wanderlust and an unrelenting appetite, finds purpose, passion, and unexpected flavor. 
After leaving a tango club following a terrible turn on the dance floor, Layne Mosler impulsively asks her taxista to take her to his favorite restaurant. Soon she's savoring one of the best steaks of her life, and in the weeks after, repeating the experiment with equally delectable results. So begins the gustatory adventure that became the basis for her cult blog, Taxi Gourmet. In New York City the author continues her food quests and meets a pair of extraordinary lady cab drivers who convince her to become a taxi driver herself. In Berlin she becomes as enchanted with the city's aura of restless transformation as she does with the spicy curries, and a certain fellow cabbie who knows as much about Nietzsche as he does about sausage. With her vivid descriptions of places and people and food, Mosler, who has a degree in anthropology and more than a decade of experience in the restaurant trade, has given us a beguiling book that speaks to the beauty of chance encounters and the pleasures of not always knowing your destination.
Layne Mosler is a writer living in Berlin. She has written for New York magazine, the Travel Channel, and numerous other venues. For more information, please visit: www.taxigourmet.com
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MICHAEL HILTZIK discusses his new book BIG SCIENCE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2015

Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex (Simon and Schuster)

 In Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzik tells the fascinating story of how one man and one invention forever changed the course of scientific research.  Hiltzik explains how science went “big,” built the bombs that helped win World War II, and became dependent on government and industry. He also sheds new light on the forgotten genius who started it all, Ernest Lawrence. 

More than eighty years ago in Berkeley, California, a charming and resourceful young scientist with a talent for physics and perhaps an even greater talent for promotion pondered his new invention and declared: “I’m going to be famous!”  His name was Ernest O. Lawrence.  His invention, the cyclotron, would revolutionize nuclear physics, but that was only the beginning of its impact.  It would transform everything about how science was done, in ways that still matter today.  It would deepen our understanding of the basic building blocks of nature. It would help win World War II.   Its influence would be felt in academia, industry, and international affairs. Its progeny include the atomic bomb and the space program. It was the beginning of Big Science.

Praise for Big Science

“A fascinating biography of a physicist who transformed how science is done.”— Kirkus Reviews

“Hiltzik here tells the fascinating story of how this exceptional scientist won support for his epoch-making research tool and then assembled and managed an unprecedented team of experts who used that tool to penetrate subatomic mysteries.  The continuing relevance of such issues will ensure a wide readership for this biographical inquiry into their origins.”— Booklist

“In this dual history of Lawrence and the movement he single-handedly brought into being, Hiltzik… explains how Lawrence’s postwar research exceeded the budgets of universities and philanthropic foundations, necessitating government patronage… his portrait of Lawrence, who gave birth to the modern research lab through sheer force of will, is powerful.”— Publishers Weekly

“Michael Hiltzik tells an epic story, one with arenas of tragedy as well as triumph, and he tells it well.”— Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian

“Einstein famously formulated new theories of the universe while sitting alone in the patent office in Bern. Today, many endeavors in fundamental research require large budgets, elaborate facilities, and huge staffs. How did science become ‘Big Science’?  In this fascinating book, Michael Hiltzik gives us the inside story of this remarkable metamorphosis. This is a gripping biography of Big Science and of the people who originated it.”— Mario Livio, Astrophysicist, and author of Brilliant Blunders

“20th-century science delivered a series of revolutions, none more instantaneous than the microseconds it took to explode the first atomic bomb. By framing this story—and the development of the cyclotron that made it possible—from the Lawrence/Livermore perspective rather than the Oppenheimer/Los Alamos perspective that has dominated most accounts, Michael Hiltzik sheds fresh light on the transition from small science to big science that we take for granted today. Especially timely is a fascinating account of Lawrence’s attempt to return to small science: how do you encourage a small group of scientists to produce big results, rather than the other way around?”— George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who has covered business, technology, and public policy for the Los Angeles Times for more than twenty years.  He currently serves as the Times’s business columnist.  His previous books include Colossus: The Turbulent, Thrilling Saga of the Building of Hoover Dam and The New Deal: A Modern History. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Hiltzik’s other awards include the 2004 Gerald Loeb Award for outstanding business commentary and the Silver Gavel from the American Bar Association for outstanding legal reporting.  He is a graduate of Colgate University and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and lives with his family in Southern California.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2015

Los Angeles Street Food: A History from Tamaleros to Taco Trucks (History Press)

 Los Angeles is the uncontested street food champion of the United States, and it isn't even a fair fight. Millions of hungry locals and wide-eyed tourists take to the streets to eat tacos, down bacon-wrapped hot dogs and indulge in the latest offerings from a fleet of gourmet food trucks and vendors. Dating back to the late nineteenth century when tamale men first hawked their fare from pushcarts and wagons, street food is now a billion-dollar industry in L.A.--and it isn't going anywhere! So hit the streets and dig in with local food writer Farley Elliott, who tackles the sometimes dicey subject of street food and serves up all there is to know about the greasy, cheesy, spicy and everything in between. 

Farley Elliott is a longtime food writer based in Los Angeles. A 2006 graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he grew up (mostly) in the cold confines of Northern New York, in a part of the state that hugs the Canadian border. After fleeing for the sunny side of the country for college, Elliott moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a writer/performer. Elliott's passion for all things delicious actually started on the streets of L.A. when, after many long nights exploring his new city in the late 2000's, he would inevitably land at a taco cart or torta truck to scribble down notes while inhaling the food. Many hundreds of street food dinners later, the idea for his first book was born. Currently, Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor for Eater Los Angeles, which is among the most respected and well-read food sites online. Prior to that, Elliott freelanced for numerous publications, including the alt-weekly newspaper LA Weekly, Serious Eats, Thrillist, Tasting Table, and more. He's also that guy in that Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos video that went viral once.

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LEAH HAYES discusses her graphic novel NOT FUNNY HA-HA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2015

Not Funny Ha-Ha (Fantagraphics)

 Not Funny Ha-Ha is a bold, slightly wry graphic novel illustrating the lives of two young women from different cultural, family, and financial backgrounds who go through two different abortions (medical and surgical). It does not address the events leading up to the pregnancy, or even the decision-making before choosing abortion as an option. It simply shows what happens when a woman goes through it, no questions asked. It follows them through the process of choosing a clinic, reaching out to friends, partners, and/or family…and eventually the procedure(s) itself.

Despite the fact that so many women and girls have abortions every day, in every city, all around us…it can be a lonely experience. Not Funny Ha-Ha is a little bit technical, a little bit moving, and often funny, in a format uniquely suited to communicate. The book is meant to be a non-judgmental, comforting, even humorous look at what a woman can go through during an abortion. Although the subject matter is heavy, the illustrations are light. The author takes a step back from putting forth any personal opinion whatsoever, simply laying out the events and possible emotional repercussions that could, and often do, occur.

Praise for Not Funny Ha-Ha

“This graphic novel is the abortion story that needs to be heard.” — The Huffington Post

“I want everyone who is having, has had, or is considering abortion to have this book. I want everyone who is close to someone who has had, is having or is considering abortion to have this book. I want anyone who feels like they just don’t or can’t understand what it’s like to go forward with, or even think about, abortion as an option to have this book. Really, I just want everyone to have this book, period.” — Heather Corinna, founder and director, Scarleteen: sex ed for the real world

“Reading this book is like sitting down with your cool older sister and having her assuringly and frankly explain a really tough situation you’re facing, and then convince you that you’re going to get through it and be okay. Intimate and kind, straightforward and informative, Leah Hayes clarifies and personalizes the clinical experience a woman can expect when she decides to have an abortion. Even more impressive, the author makes the story a compelling read, with charming artwork and humor.” — Ellen Forney, author of Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me

Leah Hayes is an illustrator, musician, songwriter, and producer. She works out of New York City and Los Angeles.

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J. RYAN STRADAL reads from his debut novel KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST together with JULIA INGALLS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest (Pamela Dorman Books)

From one of our favorite local authors comes a hotly anticipated debut--about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country's most coveted dinner reservation.

 When Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter--starting with pureed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva's journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that's a testament to her spirit and resilience. 

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal's startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life--its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.

Praise for Kitchens of the Great Midwest:

"Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a big-hearted, funny, and class-transcending pleasure. It's also both a structural and empathetic tour de force, stepping across worlds in the American midwest, and demonstrating with an enviable tenderness and ingenuity the tug of war between our freedom to pursue our passions and our obligations to those we love." --Jim Shepard, author of Project X and National Book Award finalist for Like You'd Understand, Anyway

"Tender, funny, and moving, J. Ryan Stradal's debut novel made me crave my mother's magic cookie bars...and every good tomato I've ever had the privilege of eating. Kitchens of the Great Midwest manages to be at once sincere yet sharply observed, thoughtful yet swiftly paced, and the lives of its fallible, realistic, and complicated characters mattered to me deeply. It's a fantastic book."-- Edan Lepucki, bestselling author of California 

"In Kitchens of the Great Midwest, a charming, fast-moving round robin tale of food, sensuality and Midwestern culture, Mr. Stradal has delivered one extremely tasty, well-seasoned debut in what is sure to be a long and savory career."--Janet Fitch, author White Oleander

"From the quite literally burning passions of a lonely eleven-year-old girl with an exceptional palate, to the ethical dilemmas behind a batch of Blue Ribbon Peanut Butter Bars, J. Ryan Stradal writes with a special kind of meticulous tenderness--missing nothing and accepting everything. A superbly gratifying debut."--Meg Howrey, author of The Crane's Dance 

"An impossible-to-put-down, one-of-a-kind novel. The prose is beautiful, the characters memorable, and the plot is surprising at every turn. I have never read a book quite like this--and neither, I'll bet, have you. This stunning debut announces J. Ryan Stradal as a first-rate voice in American fiction. This is a wildly creative, stunningly original, and very moving novel. I can't wait to see what Stradal does next."-- Rob Roberge, author of The Cost of Living 

"A Great American Novel in the fullest sense of the term. Everything you want a book to be."--Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

J. Ryan Stradal is the author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest. Born and raised in Minnesota, he now lives in Los Angeles, where he is Acquisitions Editor at Unnamed Press and the Fiction Editor at The Nervous Breakdown. 

Julia Ingalls is primarily an essayist. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Guernica, and KCRW, among others. From David Mitchell to Alan Ball to Amelia Gray, she's had the pleasure of conversing with the world's finest imaginative writers, a tradition she continues tonight with J. Ryan Stradal.

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LOUISA HALL discusses her new novel SPEAK, together with IVY POCHODA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2015

Speak (Ecco Press)

 A thoughtful, poignant novel that explores the creation of Artificial Intelligence--illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding. In a narrative that spans geography and time, from the Atlantic Ocean in the seventeenth century, to a correctional institute in Texas in the near future, and told from the perspectives of five very different characters, Speak considers what it means to be human, and what it means to be less than fully alive.

A young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend's mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley Wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls. Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps--to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hallexplores how the chasm between computer and human--shrinking rapidly with today's technological advances--echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard, or understood.

Praise for Speak

"Speak reads like a hybrid of David Mitchell and Margaret Atwood; a literary page turner that spans four centuries and examines the idea of who and what we define as human. Louisa Hall has written a brilliant novel."—Philipp Meyer, author of New York Times bestseller The Son

"Speak is that rarest of finds: a novel that doesn't remind me of any other book I've ever read. A complex, nuanced, and beautifully written meditation on language, immortality, the nature of memory, the ethical problems of artificial intelligence, and what it means to be human."—Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

“Louisa Hall’s Speak is a deeply original and intelligent novel. It’s also riveting. I wouldn’t have thought artificial intelligence, as a subject, would make for such a warm and human and psychologically astute novel. I’ll be thinking about Babybots and Hall’s quietly chilling and all-too-plausible vision of the near-future for a long time to come.”—Adelle Waldman, author ofThe Love Affairs of Nathaniel P

Speak is a triumph. With a poet's voice, Louisa Hall reaches into the past and imagines the future to weave a beautifully complex novel about our human need to communicate. The result is a transcendent story about artificial intelligence that heartbreaking and very, very real.”—Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

Louisa Hall grew up in Philadelphia. After graduating from Harvard, she played squash professionally while finishing her pre-medical coursework and working in a research lab at the Albert Einstein Hospital. She holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Texas at Austin, where she currently teaches literature and creative writing, and supervises a poetry workshop at the Austin State Psychiatric Hospital. She is the author of the novel The Carriage House, and her poems have been published in The New Republic, Southwest Review, Ellipsis, and other journals.
Ivy Pochoda is the author of Visitation Street and The Art of Disappearing and has a BA from Harvard University in English and Classical Greek with a focus on dramatic literature and a MFA from Bennington College in fiction. She is a former professional squash player and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

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KAROLINA WACLAWIAK discusses her new novel THE INVADERS, together with ANTONIA CRANE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2015

The Invaders (Regan Arts)

 Please welcome back to Skylight one of our favorite local authors, Karolina Waclawiak! 

 A searing follow-up to Karolina Waclawiak’s critically acclaimed debut novel, How to Get Into the Twin PalmsThe Invaders casts a harsh light on the glossy sheen of even the most “perfect” lives in America’s exclusive beach communities. The novel centers around Cheryl who has never been the right kind of country-club wife and has always felt like an outsider. Now in her mid-forties—facing the harsh realities of aging and a disintegrating marriage—she feels cast adrift by the sparkling seaside community of Little Neck Cove, Connecticut. When her troubled stepson Teddy moves back home after being kicked out of college, she joins him in an epic downward spiral, just as a storm brewing off the coast threatens to destroy the precarious safe haven crashing down around them. With sharp wit and dark humor, The Invaders exposes the lies and insecurities that run like fault lines through our culture, threatening to pitch bored housewives, pill-popping children, and suspicious neighbors headlong into the suburban abyss.

Praise for The Invaders

The Invaders, by the glorious Karolina Waclawiak, is an elegant, ominous book. It’s a sharp, witty novel of manners of the most sinister kind. In Waclawiak’s expert hands, this novel will have you holding your breath and your heart until the very last word.” —Roxanne Gay, Bad Feminist and An Untamed State

“Karolina Waclawiak’s The Invaders is the stiffest of literary drinks—it’ll jolt your system, and make the world around you glow a little differently when you’re done with it. Witty, dark, and honest, this novel tells the hard—but hilarious—truths about aging in America, dysfunctional relationships, and suburban vices.” —Jami Attenberg, The Middlesteins

The Invaders is as crisp as they come, hilarious and alarming in equal measure. This book is a time bomb in madras shorts, ready for golf, sex, and natural disasters.” —Emma Straub, The Vacationers and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures

“Karolina Waclawiak’s The Invaders is a blazing wonder of a novel. So long limited to satire and parody, the pristine world of the American suburbs become, in Waclawiak’s skillful hands, places of tumult, hunger, loneliness and menace. Her heroes are outsiders-on-the-inside and we watch them struggle amid the confinements of their environment and their own complicated histories. As whip-smart and cunning as it is poignant and mysterious The Invaders demonstrates that Waclawiak’s masterful debut novel, How to Get into the Twin Palms, was just the beginning.” —Megan Abbott, author ofDare Me

The Invaders is a gut punch of a novel—a scathing look at privileged people trapped by their own choices, but unable to imagine an alternative to their misery. Karolina Waclawiak is a remarkable writer, able to channel the unflinching clarity of Richard Yates, the off-kilter tenderness of Cheever, and taut narrative energy of crime fiction in a voice that is all her own.” —Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Little Children

“Seamlessly blending literary and genre traditions, Karolina Waclawiak never fails to surprise, delight, and reveal secrets that lesser writers keep hidden. I love her work, and I'm already waiting for the next book.” —Sara Gran, author of Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

“Karolina Waclawiak’s The Invaders is a thrilling meditation on the explosive complexities of marriage, identity, and class—all set against the picturesque yet stultifying landscape of small-town Connecticut. Waclawiak is a master at illuminating the secret selves these characters long to keep hidden, and The Invaders is a wonderfully fierce novel, from a brilliant and essential talent.” —Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth and Find Me

“A witty, vicious, and entirely moving portrait of privilege, alienation, and sexual invisibility set in a Connecticut beach community.” —Kate Zambreno, author of Green Girl

How To Get Into The Twin Palms was a mini-masterpiece of atmosphere and mood; a new book is a cause for celebration.” —Emily Gould, author of Friendship

Karolina Waclawiak received her BFA in Screenwriting from USC School of Cinematic Arts and her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. Her first novel, How To Get Into The Twin Palms, was published by Two Dollar Radio in 2012. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, and The Believer (where she is also an editor). She lives in Los Angeles.

Antonia Crane is a writer, teacher and Moth Story Slam Winner in Los Angeles. She is the author of the memoir Spent(Barnacle Books/Rare Bird Lit March, 2014). She was featured on Lisa Ling’s documentary, “This is Life” recently on CNN. Her other work can be found in Playboy, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Rumpus, Dame Magazine, Salon, PANK magazine, Black Clock, The Weeklings, The Believer, Frequencies, Slake, The Los Angeles Review, The New Black, The Heroin Chronicles and lots of other places. She the CNF editor at Word Riot. She is at work on another memoir about running wild in Bombay, India as a teenager.

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JOSH KUN discusses his book TO LIVE AND DINE IN L.A., together with ROY CHOI

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2015

To Live and Dine in L.A. (Angel City Press)

 Note: This event was previously scheduled for Wed, July 8th, at 7:30 pm, and has now been moved to Friday, July 17th, at 7:30 pm. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 Tonight's event features the book To Live and Dine in L.A. by USC Professor Josh Kun with a Foreword by Chef Roy Choi.To Live and Dine in LA is a huge project of The Library Foundation of Los Angeles based on the Menu Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library. Central to the project are a major exhibition at the Central Library downtown and the book published by Angel City Press. Together, the exhibition and the book ask and address an important question: How did Los Angeles become the modern city the world watches? We know some of the answers all too well. Sunshine. Railroads. Hollywood. Freeways. But there’s another often overlooked but especially delicious and revealing factor: food. Think veggie tacos and designer pizzas, hot dogs on sticks and burgers from golden arches, Cobb Salads and chocolate topped ice cream sundaes, not to mention the healthiest dishes on the planet. Ask anyone who has eaten in L.A.—the city shapes the tastes that predict how America eats. And it always has. 

​With more than 200 menus—some dating back to the nineteenth century—culled from thousands in the Menu Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library, To Live and Dine in L.A. ​is a visual feast of a book. In his detailed history, author Josh Kun riffs on what the food of a foodie city says about place and time; how some people eat big while others go hungry, and what that says about the past and today. Kun turns to chefs and cultural observers for their take on modern: Chef Roy Choi sits down long enough to say why he writes “some weirdass menus.” Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold looks at food as theater, and museum curator Staci Steinberger considers the design of classic menus like Lawry’s. Restaurateur Bricia Lopez follows a Oaxacan menu into the heart of Koreatown. The city’s leading chefs remix vintage menus with a 21st century spin: Joachim Splichal, Nancy Silverton, Susan Feniger, Ricardo Diaz, Jazz Singsanong, Cynthia Hawkins, Micah Wexler, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo cook up the past with new flavors. And, of course, the menus delight: Tick Tock Tea Room, Brown Derby, Trumps, Slapsy Maxie’s, Don the Beachcomber, and scores more. 

Kun tackles the timely and critically important topic of food justice, and shows how vintage menus teach us about more than just what’s tasty, and serve as guides to the politics, economics, and sociology of eating. To Live and Dine in L.A. ​is the first book of its kind—the definitive way to read a menu for more than just what to order. It’s about how to live. And how to dine. In L.A. Spread the word and join the conversation about Los Angeles’ food history online by tagging your tweets and posts with #ToLiveandDineLA.

Josh Kun ​is an Associate Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. His previous collaboration with L.A. Public Library was the award­-winning book and exhibition Songs in the Key of Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. He is author and an editor of several books, including Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border, and Black and Brown Los Angeles: Beyond Conflict and Coalition. As a curator he has worked with the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, Santa Monica Museum of Art, and the National Museum of Jewish History in Philadelphia. Kun curated Songs in the Key of L.A. in 2013 and To Live and Dine in L.A. in 2015, both exhibitions that originated at Los Angeles Central Library galleries.

Roy Choi was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and went on to cook at the internationally acclaimed Le Bernardin. He was named Best New Chef by Food and Wine in 2010. Choi is the co-owner, co-founder, and chef of Kogi BBQ, as well as the restaurants Chego!, A-Frame, Sunny Spot and POT. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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ANDI TERAN reads from her debut novel ANA OF CALIFORNIA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2015

Ana of California (Penguin Paperback Original)

 Many a young reader has been charmed and transported by L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and its spunky, smart heroine, Anne Shirley. Debut novelist Andi Teran reworks this classic coming-of-age tale for the 21st century in Ana of California and gives us a new—and equally loquacious—underdog to root for in Ana Cortez. Teran introduces characters with modern sensibilities and issues while staying true to the heart and spirit of Montgomery’s bestselling series. Teran’s novel also reflects her own Mexican heritage, bringing much needed diversity to contemporary literature.

Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez (“one n, like fauna—not Anna, like ‘banana’”) has just blown it with another foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to attend a farm trainee program in Northern California, run by brother and sister Abbie and Emmett Garber. If she works hard, she’ll be allowed to stay on and file for emancipation when she turns sixteen. Having lived in East L.A. all her life, Ana doesn’t know a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, but she’s out of options. Despite being unskilled and unprepared for hard-working farm life, Ana quickly comes to love Garber Farm and the small town of Hadley. She makes friends with Rye, the daughter of Abbie’s best friend, finds a mentor in Manny, Garber Farm’s foreman, and keeps running into the cute but hard to read Cole Brannan. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she’s ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong. Where can she go once she’s used up all her options? In the grand tradition of Anne of Green Gables, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, and Clueless, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic.

Praise for Ana of California

“Newcomers will find a smart-mouthed heroine, a small town populated by a cast of lovable characters, and zippy dialogue that keeps the plot trotting along. Anne of Green Gables fans will rejoice; . . . Ana's high jinks will leave both types of readers smiling and asking for more.”—Kirkus

“Andi Teran’s first novel is vivid and fully realized, an entire universe expertly condensed into the pages you hold in your hands. Ana herself is a complicated delight, and by the end of the book I wanted to scoop her up into my arms.” —New York Times bestselling author Emma Straub

“What is so memorable about this novel is the reminder that happiness is a choice, a courageous and daring opportunity to express love for the things we value. At the outset we learn that Ana Cortez is an orphan, but as we live with her during one particular summer on Garber Farm we witness the creation of family before our eyes, and admire the passion, humility and valor of one of the most tender-hearted characters in literature today—a jewel of a book.” —Mario Alberto Zambrano, author of Lotería

Andi Teran’s nonfiction has been published by Vanity Fair, Monocle, and the Paris Review Daily. Her interview subjects are varied and fascinating, including Miranda July, Juliette Lewis, Lenny Kravitz, and David Lynch. Other past projects include co-writing and starring in an Off-Broadway play, photographing rocks that look like monsters, and directing a short film. She’s a native of El Paso, Texas, and currently resides in Los Angeles.

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JOSHUA MOHR discusses his novel ALL THIS LIFE, together with TOD GOLDBERG

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2015

All This Life (Soft Skull Press)

 Morning rush hour on the Golden Gate Bridge. Amidst the river of metal and glass a shocking event occurs, leaving those who witnessed it desperately looking for answers, most notably one man and his son Jake, who captured the event and uploaded it to the internet for all the world to experience. As the media swarms over the story, Jake will face the ramifications of his actions as he learns the perils of our modern disconnect between the real world and the world we create on line.

In land-locked Arizona, as the entire country learns of the event, Sara views Jake's video just before witnessing a horrible event of her own: her boyfriend's posting of their intimate sex tape. As word of the tape leaks out, making her an instant pariah, Sara needs to escape the small town's persecution of her careless action. Along with Rodney, an old boyfriend injured long ago in a freak accident that destroyed his parents' marriage, she must run faster than the internet trolls seeking to punish her for her indiscretions. Sara and Rodney will reunite with his estranged mother, Kat, now in danger from a new man in her life who may not be who he - or his online profiles - claim to be, a dangerous avatar in human form.

With a wide cast of characters and an exciting pace that mimics the speed of our modern, all-too-connected lives, All This Life examines the dangerous intersection of reality and the imaginary, where coding and technology seek to highlight and augment our already flawed human connections. Using his trademark talent for creating memorable characters, with a deep insight into language and how it can be twisted to alter reality, Joshua Mohr returns with his most contemporary and insightful novel yet.

Joshua Mohr is the author of the novels Termite Parade (a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice selection), Some Things That Meant the World to Me (one of O magazine's Top 10 Reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller), Damascus, and Fight Song, all published to much critical acclaim. Mohr teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco.

Tod Goldberg is the author of the crime-tinged novels Living Dead Girl (a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize),Fake Liar Cheat, and the popular Burn Notice series. His essay "When They Let Them Bleed," first published by Hobart, was selected by Cheryl Strayed for inclusion in The Best American Essays 2013. He is also the author of the story collectionsSimplify, a 2006 finalist for the SCIBA Award for Fiction and winner of the Other Voices Short Story Collection Prize.

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TAO LIN and MIRA GONZALEZ discuss their new book SELECTED TWEETS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 27th, 2015

Selected Tweets (Short Flight/Long Drive Books)

 Selected Tweets—as the name suggests—is a book comprised of selected tweets from both Tao and Mira. The book operates as a sort of flip book, with Tao’s tweets on one side and Mira’s on the other. The tweets are organized by account (both writers have multiple), and then chronologically within each account, if that makes sense.

SHEILA HETI: How do you imagine people read twitter?

TAO LIN: On their phones I think mostly. I think I’ve read the most Twitter while laying in bed or on my back, or just laying in places, like in parks or in airports. Maybe not the most, but a lot. I’ve dropped my phone on my face many times. I think other people must too, but I rarely hear about this.


SHEILA HETI: What do you think about before you tweet? You once told me that you tweet what makes you feel uncomfortable. So which tweets do you reject, which do you accept?

MIRA GONZALEZ: I wouldn’t necessarily say that I tweet what makes me feel uncomfortable, I think it’s more that I feel comfortable tweeting things that I would never feel comfortable saying in a real life conversation, or even in other places on the internet. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, Twitter is a place where I don’t feel ashamed to say my most shameful thoughts...

Praise for Selected Tweets

“Selected Tweets” features a selection of bleak, depressed, disturbing, funny, and personal tweets that create a fragmented narrative and show how Twitter can serve as a platform for art, storytelling, and connection." - Columbia Spectator

"Mira's tweets are self-deprecating to the point of hilarity, and Tao's are more neurotic—still 'funny' but, like, in the way people sometimes use that word to describe a thing that's behaving oddly, like ''My air conditioner is acting funny.' They both tweet the word 'Xanax' a lot. Get it in May." - The FADER

"Mostly, Twitter resembles a diary that is being written publicly and in real time. To Lin and Gonzalez, twitter is also a tool for writing. Like a director Lin and Gonzalez exhibit their creative power by picking and choosing which tweets to include in the overarching narrative." - The State Press

Tao Lin is the author of the novels TaipeiRichard YatesEeeee Eee Eeee, the novella Shoplifting from American Apparel, the story-collection Bed, and other books. He edits Muumuu House and lives in New York.

Mira Gonzalez is from Los Angeles, California. She is the author of I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together, which was nominated for The Believer Poetry Award and The Goodreads Choice Award. Her work has been published widely in print and online.

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JEFF POLMAN reads from his new novel MYSTERY BALL ‘58 in conversation with DAN EPSTEIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 27th, 2015

Mystery Ball '58 (Grassy Gutter Press)

 It’s 1958, the Giants have just moved to San Francisco, and Snappy Drake, ex-minor league pitcher turned Seals Stadium usher, finds a dead body in his grandstand section on Opening Day. With someone apparently out to frame him, Snappy probes deeper and deeper into the mystery, encountering shady local officials, a smart, fetching female reporter from L.A., and a cast of colorful Bay Area characters who just may or may not be involved. As the pennant battles tighten, the race to identify and stop a murderous madman is running out of time...

Praise for Mystery Ball '58

“Jeff Polman’s latest combines the Golden Era of Baseball with the Golden Era of Pulp to produce a page-turner and must read...” --Joe Sheehan, Sports Illustrated

“Smart and funny, foggy and frightening, Polman reminds us of something we’d somehow forgotten: fiction is fun.” --Scott Simkus, author of Outsider Baseball: The Weird World of Hardball on the Fringe

"Where else could Jack Kerouac and Hammerin' Hank Aaron come together so enjoyably but in the irrepressible mind of Jeff Polman? In Mystery Ball, Polman, master of breathing life into history by playing with it, ventures back into 1958 to create a page-turning whodunit that bubbles over with crackling dialogue, baseball, beatniks, adventure, murder, and the grisly, joyous mess of this random dice roll called life." --Josh Wilker, author of Cardboard Gods

"Mystery Ball '58 just sparkles, full of Polman's signature wit, snappy dialogue, and page-turning storytelling."--Peter J. Schilling, author of The End of Baseball and Carl Barks' Duck: Average American

Former film critic and screenwriter Jeff Polman writes about baseball and culture for the Huffington Post and many other Web sites.MYSTERY BALL ‘58 is his third unique "baseball replay" novel. A New England native and UMass graduate, he lives in Culver City and watches as many games as his wife and son will allow him.

Dan Epstein is an award-winning journalist who covers baseball, music and pop culture for Rolling Stone, Fox Sports, Revolver, Guitar World and several other publications. He's the author of two acclaimed books about baseball in the 1970s, Big Hair and Plastic Grass and Stars and Strikes. He lives in Los Angeles.

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DANI KLEIN MODISETT discusses her new book TAKE MY SPOUSE, PLEASE, together with JOHANNA STEIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 15th, 2015

Take My Spouse, Please (Trumpeter Books)

In love as in comedy, timing is everything. One bad night doesn’t mean it’s time to quit. Have patience: great marriages, like a successful comedy career, take time. Turns out the cardinal rules of comedy have an uncanny resemblance to the “rules” of building a strong marriage. With humor and grace, writer and comedian Dani Klein Modisett shares a map for navigating your marriage through rough patches, bad jokes, and even nights when you bomb.

Take My Spouse, Please shows how thirteen tried-and-true rules of comedy, when applied to marriage, keep you and your spouse connected, enjoying each other, and getting through those inevitable tough times. Bottom line: there is (almost) always room to laugh at a trying situation and, more important, with each other.

Along with anecdotes from well-known comedians, comedy writers, marriage counselors, and long-term spouses, Dani delivers the core premise: humor matters.

Praise for Take My Spouse, Please

“This book makes you realize how valuable laughter is in a marriage. Buy it for your spouse and add years to your relationship.”—Ben Stiller

“A wonderful, humorous read for anyone in a marriage or thinking of being in one. My wife, Estelle, and I had the good fortune of being married for sixty-five years. When anyone asked her about making a marriage last, she always replied, ‘Marry someone who can stand being with you.’”—Carl Reiner

“My wife and I are either killing or bombing in our marriage, and Dani Modisett’s book explains how that’s actually a good thing. Finally, some validation that a marriage between two insane people can be a beautiful thing.”—Jim Gaffigan, comedian

“Having been married for twenty-seven years and writing about relationships for thirty-five years, I can see that Dani Modisett has captured the straight truth in this book. If you aren’t laughing through the years, you aren’t sticking together through the years. Sustaining a marriage is tough stuff, and this book, crammed with stories of resilience and humor, is proof that it is possible.”—Iris Krasnow, best-selling author of The Secret Lives of Wives

“In her quest to get more humor into her family life, Modisett has written a book with great passion and huge heart. A delight for anyone who is, was, or might ever be married.”—Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Treasure

“Filled with humor, aspirational stories, and practical tips, Take My Spouse, Please helped me reflect on my most cherished relationship: my marriage. It made me feel hopeful about what it takes to stay connected, to grow, and most important, to keep laughing together—always.”—Mallika Chopra, author of Living with Intent

“A welcome relief from typical how-to marriage manuals. Highly recommended for everyone who wants more joy and more love in their relationship.”—Ken Page, author of Deeper Dating

“Other than having sex, I can’t think of anything better for two people who love each to do than to laugh together. Modisett knows this and delivers a book with inspiring stories of happy marriages and highly doable advice to help couples of all kinds.”—Jill Soloway, writer and comedian

“For many Irish Catholics, the idea of leaving a marriage after vowing to stay is an idea that if acted upon will lead to eternal damnation. In Dani Modisett’s funny, insightful book, she provides wonderful examples of many marriages that last because of shared happiness and understanding rather than fear of a forever spent in hell.”—Mike O’Malley, producer, writer, and actor

“My life’s work is all about comedy, love, and laughter. Dani manages to look at the most important love relationship we have—our marriage—and see it through the lens of a comedian, coming up with meaningful ideas that can’t help but provide results. What a book!”—Yakov Smirnoff, stand-up comedian and actor

“I got married six months to the day after I met my now-husband. Best and most irrational thing I have ever done. People laughed at me. Now I know why my marriage works so well—it’s because we were two physicians inadvertently following the rules of comedy. Dani nails it, prescribing strategies to keep relationships healthy, honest, and fun. Doctor’s orders: read this book!”—Dr. Cara Natterson, New York Times best-selling author of the American Girl advice book The Care and Keeping of You 

Dani Klein Modisett is a comedian and writer who has been working in the comedy world for the past twenty years. She created and produced several live shows, most notably “Afterbirth . . . Stories You Won’t Read in a Parenting Magazine,” which ran for ten years in Los Angeles and several major U.S. cities. In addition, Dani has written and produced a variety of online video content, including a series for Deepak Chopra, and a short video that is also titled “Take My Spouse, Please,” which was featured in the New York Times. Dani is the editor of the anthology Afterbirth: Stories You Won’t Read in a Parenting Magazine. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesParents MagazineLA Parent Magazine, Mom.me and the Huffington Post. Dani lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her two sons. 

Johanna Stein is a writer/director/author/forward/slash/abuser whose work has been on Comedy Central, CBS, HBO, The Disney Channel, and recently in the viral video, "MomHead". Her comedic essays can be seen in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Parents Magazine and in her book, How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane (and Other Lessons in Parenting from a Highly Questionable Source). For more info: www.johannastein.com.

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