AMY SPALDING reads from her new young adult novel THE NEW GUY (AND OTHER SENIOR YEAR DISTRACTIONS)

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on April 25th, 2016

The New Guy and Other Senior Year Distractions (Poppy Books)

Senior-class competitions and hunky heartthrobs meet in this hilarious high school story, narrated by a hilariously relatable girl, who exemplifies what it’s like to be a high schooler today.

Neurotic over-achiever Jules McCallister Morgan has her senior year all planned out: get into Brown, keep up her community service hours and become the editor of her prestigious high school’s newspaper. But on only her second day, the new guy at school and boy band sensation, Alex Powell, puts a damper on her plan for perfection by asking her out. Just as Jules comes around to the idea of having a boyfriend, Alex commits the ultimate betrayal when he joins the school’s TV news show that’s putting her paper out of business. Amid cutthroat  competition and schedule overload, Jules must decide what’s more important – college applications or first love.

The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions) encapsulates what it’s like to be a teenage girl today, from first loves to final exams and everything in between.

Praise for The New Guy:

“The sparks that fly between Jules and Alex, the ex-boy band star and newest addition to the senior class, are hot enough to make them a couple worth rooting for...”- Kirkus Reviews

"Amy Spalding writes endearing characters who stumble and soar in the most entertaining ways.”-Melissa Walker, author ofUnbreak My Heart

Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School, and currently manages digital media planning for an advertising agency specializing in indie film. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and can be seen performing around L.A. Amy is also the author of Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)The Reece Malcolm List, and Ink Is Thicker than Water.

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AMY GOODMAN and DAVID GOODMAN discuss their new book DEMOCRACY NOW!: TWENTY YEARS COVERING THE MOVEMENTS CHANGING AMERICA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on April 25th, 2016

Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (Simon & Schuster)

In 1996 Amy Goodman started a radio show called "Democracy Now!" to focus on the issues that are underreported or ignored by mainstream news coverage. Shortly after September 11, 2001, they were broadcasting on television every weekday. Today it is the only public media in the US that airs simultaneously on satellite and cable television, radio, and the Internet. Now Amy and her journalist brother, David, share stories of the progressive heroes, the whistleblowers, the organizers, the protestors who have brought about remarkable, often invisible change over the last two decades in seismic ways. 

This book looks back over the past twenty years of "Democracy Now!" and considers that as the courts and government abdicate their responsibilities, it has fallen to ordinary people to hold the powerful to account. Amy gives voice to these leaderful, not leaderless, movements: the countless charismatic leaders who are taking to the streets in Ferguson, Staten Island, Wall Street, and other places where people are rising up to demand justice. 

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 1,300 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its “Pick of the Podcasts,” along with NBC’s Meet the Press. Goodman has co-authored five New York Times bestsellers. Her latest two, The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope, and Breaking the Sound Barrier, both written with Denis Moynihan, give voice to the many ordinary people standing up to corporate and government power. She co-authored her first three bestsellers with her brother, journalist David Goodman: Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008), Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back (2006) and The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them(2004). Goodman has received the American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Award; the Paley Center for Media’s She’s Made It Award; and the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. Her reporting on East Timor and Nigeria has won numerous awards, including the George Polk Award, Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award. She has also received awards from the Associated Press, United Press International, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Project Censored. Goodman received the first ever Communication for Peace Award from the World Association for Christian Communication. She was also honored by the National Council of Teachers of English with the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language.

David Goodman is an independent journalist, contributing writer for Mother Jones, and the bestselling author of ten books, including four books with his sister, Amy Goodman. His books include the critically acclaimed Fault Lines: Journeys Into theNew South Africa; When the River Rose, a collection of flood stories that raised money for disaster relief his hometown in Vermont; and a series of award-winning historical guidebooks to backcountry skiing in the Northeast. He hosts a popular radio show, The Vermont Conversation. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Outside, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, The Nation, and numerous other publications. He lives in Vermont. Visit him on the web at: www.dgoodman.net

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DIANA BLOCK reads from her new novel CLANDESTINE OCCUPATIONS

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

Clandestine Occupations (PM Press)

A radical activist, Luba Gold, makes the difficult decision to go underground to support the Puerto Rican independence movement. When Luba’s collective is targeted by an FBI sting, she escapes with her baby but leaves behind a sensitive envelope that is being safeguarded by a friend. When the FBI come looking for Luba, the friend must decide whether to cooperate in the search for the woman she loves. Ten years later, when Luba emerges from clandestinity, she discovers that the FBI sting was orchestrated by another activist friend who had become an FBI informant. In the changed era of the 1990s, Luba must decide whether to forgive the woman who betrayed her.

Told from the points of view of five different women who cross paths with Luba over four decades, Clandestine Occupationsexplores the difficult decisions that activists confront about the boundaries of legality and speculates about the scope of clandestine action in the future. It is a thought-provoking reflection on the risks and sacrifices of political activism as well as the damaging reverberations of disaffection and cynicism.

Praise for Clandestine Occupations:

Clandestine Occupations is a triumph of passion and force. A number of memoirs and other nonfiction works by revolutionaries from the 1970s and ‘80s, including one by Block herself, have given us partial pictures of what a committed life, sometimes lived underground, was like. But there are times when only fiction can really take us there. A marvelous novel that moves beyond all preconceived categories.” —Margaret Randall, author of Che on My Mind

“Diana Block creates a vivid and engaging tapestry of how political passion interweaves with the intricacies of personal relationships. Clandestine Occupations takes us into the thoughts and feelings of six different women as each, in her own way, grapples with choices about how to live and act in a world rife with oppression but also brightened by rays of humanity and hope.”—David Gilbert, political prisoner, author of Love and Struggle

“Through this fascinating novel, Diana Block brings to life stories about radical history that will educate and engage today’s activists. Her portrayal of a woman in solitary confinement rings true to experience, offering a raw view of the struggle for resilience under daunting circumstances. Through flights of imagination, the novel gives us hope for political transformations in the future.” —Sarah Shourd, author of A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran

“Diana Block once again challenges our understanding of the ethical essence of revolution. Beyond political theory and practice, the moral dilemmas and turmoils are constant and consistent. Where does your loyalty lie, how does your dedication confront obstacles? These are the questions found in these pages as Diana searches for a just balance in human relationships and politics. Clandestine Occupations captures and occupies the heart and spirit, teaching us what it means to be genuine and sincere in revolutionary life and love.”—Jalil Muntaqim, political prisoner, author We Are Our Own Liberators: Selected Prison Writings

Diana Block was a founding member of San Francisco Women Against Rape and the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee. She spent thirteen years living underground with a political collective committed to supporting the Puerto Rican independence and Black liberation movements. Since returning voluntarily from clandestinity in 1994, Diana has committed herself to anti-prison work, becoming a founding member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and the Jericho Movement. Previous writings include her memoir Arm the Spirit and she is a member of the editorial collective of The Fire Inside newsletter, which has been giving voice to women and transgender prisoners since 1996. She lives in San Francisco with her life partner, former political prisoner Claude Marks.

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KEN CORBETT discusses his new book A MURDER OVER A GIRL, with MAGGIE NELSON

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

A Murder Over a Girl (Henry Holt & Company)

On February 12, 2008, a beautiful morning in Oxnard, CA, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney and the rest of his eighth grade class walked to the computer lab with their teacher, Dawn Boldrin. As his classmates typed their history papers, Brandon quietly stood and shot 15-year-old Larry King—who for just two weeks had been wearing traditionally female accessories and identifying as “Leticia”—twice in the head. 

Larry died in the hospital two days later. Psychologist and NYU professor Ken Corbett was unsettled by the media coverage that sidestepped the issues of gender identity and race, and went to California to attend the trial. In , A Murder Over a Girl, Corbett, a leading expert on gender and masculinity, details the case, and all the social issues still littering the American landscape eight years later. 

The brutal murder begged the question: How this could happen? Ellen DeGeneres spoke out; Newsweek and The Advocateran cover stories. Once again, "a normal boy” like Brandon had taken a gun into a school and killed another student in cold blood. But others, still, wondered: How could this not happen? 

In many ways this was a “perfect storm” of race, poverty, gun violence, and gender identity fueled by ignorance and fear. Brandon had been raised by drug-addicted parents. His mother shot his father days before their wedding, and his father later shot his mother in front of him. His home was a veritable culture of guns. Larry’s birth mother was a 15-year-old drug addicted prostitute. He had recently been removed from his adoptive parents’ home after reporting abuse. Larry identified as gay from the age of 10, and by 15 had realized he was a girl. He wore makeup and stilettos to school with his uniform and had asked the boy who would be his killer to be his valentine. Brandon says he was being sexually harassed by Larry and sought peace the only way he knew how.

Nearly eight years later, we as a country are not on the same page on so many of the major issues at play: gender identity; sexual and racial equality; gun control; drug laws. Neither experts nor lawmakers nor voters can come to a consensus, and yet, teachers—most of whom have received no training in any of these areas—are thrust to the forefront in the classroom.

Praise for A Murder Over A Girl:

“Harrowing, humane, and utterly engaging, A Murder Over a Girl is a triumph of storytelling, delivering deep insight into gender and adolescence while drawing us into a fascinating narrative. It is a book very much of the moment, but at its heart it is a classic tale of human emotion.”—Susan Orlean, New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid Thief

“Ken Corbett was put on earth to write this stunning book, now, at a moment in our history when we need him to be our secret agent, our witness, our guide inside the maelstrom of this mad hatter court.”—PETER CAREY, Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang

“With great compassion, insight, and care, Ken Corbett takes us to the scene in which one transgendered child’s daring and vibrant bid to become a girl met with the murderous rage of a boy well taught in using a gun. A murdered girl is gone, a nearly undocumented life, yet her spectre lives on in this remarkable book, a narration that enters us into the minds of those who make hatred into a form of pernicious reasoning. A Murder Over a Girl is about youth culture, gender, school, and the failures of the legal system, about cunning reversals in argument whereby murderers are cast as victims, and the traces of the dead are nearly effaced. Corbett does justice to this death and to this life with a book both intelligent and loving, exposing a world tragically lacking in those very qualities, calling upon us all to intervene to halt gender violence before it begins.”—Judith Butler, author of Gender Trouble

 “A Murder Over a Girl narrates a searing tragedy, meticulously laying out the aftermath of the crime, exposing the pathos not only of the victim, but also of the classmates, parents, jurors, lawyers, and others who had to grapple with the troubling nuance of the case. And in doing so Corbett unforgettably reveals the flaws of the American judicial system, the destructive influence of sensationalizing mass media, and the blindness of good intentions at the intersection of masculinity, grief, prejudice, and empathy.”—Andrew Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of Far from the Tree

“I’ve never read a book like A Murder Over a Girl. It’s an account of a murder trial, the outcome of which is known; yet, the book is a hard-to-put-down page-turner. It achieves its extraordinary narrative intensity not through any sensationalizing of the facts, but rather through its author’s quiet authority, piercing insights, and his refusal to deliver hasty or easy judgments. Through patience, respect and empathy, Corbett allows us to see how dehumanization conceals a consequential and potentially fatal refusal to confront loss. And in confronting loss, this book renders justice, restoring to the memory of the victim her dignity, her vital subjectivity and her agency.  A Murder Over A Girl is magnificently written, shattering, original and immensely valuable."—Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angels in America

“There are events that break out of a culture as illness breaks out of a body. Ken Corbett has written an account of a crime yes, a trial yes, a tragedy, but he has also perceived a way for us to comprehend the gender dis-ease just below our cultural skin. This is a brilliant and necessary book.”
—Marie Howe, author of What the Living Do and The Kingdom of Ordinary Time

"One young teenager is dead. Another is a murderer. And all of our contemporary dividing lines--race, gender, class, orientation, homophobia, privilege, and fear of the unknown--are drawn in a California courtroom. Telling this devastating story with clarity, empathy, and insight, Ken Corbett brings his profound understanding of the minds of boys--their hopes, their dreams, their terrors, their longings--to bear in the service of making the unimaginable clear to us. This essential book will broaden your mind even as it breaks your heart." —Mark Harris, author of Pictures at A Revolution and Five Came Back

 “Ken Corbett corrals the chaos and trauma of the King murder trial into a riveting story of the “cratered minds” that result from, and perpetrate, violence.  With an analyst’s attunement, he also takes us beyond the courtroom, imagining his way into the lives and minds of Brandon McInerney and Leticia King with nuance and tremendous compassion.  He gives a devastating account of the emotional landscapes of the school, the families, and the communities in which both murderer and victim were and were not held. Corbett’s determination that this crime be named and these lives be told results in a powerful and heartbreaking book.”—GAYLE SALAMON, author of Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality

Ken Corbett is a clinical assistant professor at NYU in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy with a private practice in New York City. He is the author of Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities.

Maggie Nelson is the author of The Argonauts, as well as an American poet, art critic, lyric essayist and nonfiction author of books such as The Red Parts: A Memoir, The Art of Cruelty, Bluets, and Jane: A MurderThe Art of Cruelty was a 2011 Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction. Jane: A Murder was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. Nelson has taught at the Graduate Writing Program of the New School, Wesleyan University, and the School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute; she currently teaches in the CalArts MFA writing program. She was awarded an Arts Writers grant in 2007 from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation. In 2011, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

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ARIS JANIGIAN reads from his new novel WAITING FOR LIPCHITZ AT CHATEAU MARMONT

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

Waiting for Lipchitz at Chateau Marmont (Rare Bird)

Set in two iconic locales—Hollywood's legendary Chateau Marmont and luxurious Fresno's Forestiere's Underground Garden—Waiting for Lipchitz at Chateau Marmont is a bold and colorful critique of the California Dream through the perspective of a once-upon-a-time successful screenwriter and wealth that taunts him. Caught between John O'Brien's Better and, perhaps, a Christopher Guest adaptation of Waiting for Godot, Janigian's Lipchitz is a new take on the absent protagonist and what's inevitably illuminated by its void.

Praise for Waitng for Lipchitz at the Chateu Marmont

''Waiting for Lipchitz at the Chateu Marmont is a marvel, a novel full of tilts and torque, wild fulminations and mordant shrugs. Beneath the stunningly limber prose quivers a rare and compelling tenderness for our irrevocably damaged, irrevocably beautiful world" —Arthur Nersesian, author of The Fuck-Up and Gladyss of the Hunt

"Waiting for Lipchitz the Chateau Marmont is a novel of ideas, or more precisely two 'thought novellas' braided through one another. One does involve waiting for Lipchitz, a producer of 'quality' pictures, at the Chateau. It is the rumination of a more-than-slightly desperate screenwriter, by turns hilarious and despairing, on the demise of Los Angeles and its narcissistic denizens, told in a decadent Industry noir to rival the guilty pleasures of Bret Easton Ellis or Bruce Wagner. Cutting across the grain of that pungent inner dialogue, however, is the same scribe’s recollection of a friendship and long-running conversation with John Hirschman, a larger-than-life raconteur in his own right, recently 'self-exiled' to Fresno. Here, in the flat heat, hidden gardens and agricultural bounty of the Central Valley, Janigian finds a voice closer to Saroyan and Steinbeck, and a California that can still sate more substantial human hungers. As the novel progresses, a sharply observed late-Hollywood parody, in which all 'art' has burned down to the hollow cinders of commodity, gives way to a beautifully turned meditation on the possibility of a more truly commodious life. WL@CM captures two Californias at a time when they have never been less coincident. Janagian serves up a brilliantly bipolar mix of memory and observation, fury and speculation, a story that may free his waiting screenwriter from false tethers to an overhyped city, even as it ties the author fast to a vast, prodigious, if lately unsung state."—Joe Day, author of Corrections and Collections: Architectures for Art and Crime

Aris Janigian is author of three previous novels, Bloodvine, Riverbig, and This Angelic Land. He is also co-author along with April Greiman of Something from Nothing, a book on the philosophy of graphic design. A Ph.D. in psychology, from 1993 to 2005 he was senior professor of Humanities at Southern California Institute of Architecture. He has published in genres as diverse as poetry, social psychology, and design criticism. He was a contributing writer to West, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, a finalist for the William Saroyan Fiction Prize, and the recipient of the Anahid Literary Award from Columbia University.

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CHRISTOPHER SORRENTINO discusses his newest book THE FUGITIVES, with JONATHAN LETHEM

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 13th, 2016

The Fugitives (Simon & Schuster)

From National Book Award finalist Christopher Sorrentino, a bracing, kaleidoscopic look at love and obsession, loyalty and betrayal, race and identity, compulsion and free will.

Sandy Mulligan is in trouble. To escape his turbulent private life and the scandal that's maimed his public reputation, he's retreated from Brooklyn to the quiet Michigan town where he hopes to finish his long-overdue novel. There, he becomes fascinated by John Salteau, a native Ojibway storyteller who regularly appears at the local library. But Salteau is not what he appears to be, a fact suspected by Kat Danhoff, an ambitious Chicago reporter of elusive ethnic origins who arrives to investigate a theft from a nearby Indian-run casino. Salteau's possible role in the crime could be the key to the biggest story of her stalled career. Bored, emotionally careless, and sexually reckless, Kat s sudden appearance in town immediately attracts a restive Sandy. 

As the novel weaves among these characters uncovering the conflicts and contradictions between their stories, we learn that all three are fugitives of one kind or another, harboring secrets that threaten to overturn their invented lives and the stories they tell to spin them into being. In their growing involvement, each becomes a pawn in the others games all of them just one mistake from losing everything. 

Moving, funny, tense, and mysterious, The Fugitives is at once a love story, a ghost story, and a crime thriller. It is also a cautionary tale of twenty-first century American life a meditation on the meaning of identity, on the role storytelling plays in our understanding of ourselves and each other, and on the difficulty of making genuine connections in a world that's connected in almost every way. 

Praise for The Fugitives

"The language of The Fugitives is at once remarkable, startling and invisible. I was completely sucked into the worlds of these characters. It takes a master to make me forget I'm holding a book. Well, I forgot that for more than 300 pages.Brilliant."--Percival Everett 

"A powerful and fiercely unsentimental novel that blazes past all the well-worn pieties about love and loss and leaves them in ashes."--Jenny Offill

“Sorrentino's smartly conceived story is something of a thriller, though more Richard Russo than Robert Ludlum; it's about ruses and masks and our desire to be something other than our imperfectible selves . . . Thoughtful but full of action—and a pleasing entertainment, too.” – Kirkus Reviews

Christopher Sorrentino is the author of five books, including the National Book Award Finalist Trance. His work has appeared in Esquire, Granta, Harper's, The New York Times, Tin House, and many other publications. He lives in New York City.

Jonathan Lethem is the author of seven novels including Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which was named Novel of the Year by Esquire and won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Salon Book Award, as well as the Macallan Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger. He has also written two short story collections, a novella and a collection of essays, edited The Vintage Book of Amnesia, guest-edited The Year's Best Music Writing 2002, and was the founding fiction editor of Fence magazine. His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's and many other periodicals.

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JARETT KOBEK reads from his new novel I HATE THE INTERNET with MATTHEW SPECKTOR

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 13th, 2016

I Hate the Internet (We Heard You Like Books)

What if you told the truth and the whole world heard you? What if you lived in a country swamped with Internet outrage? What if you were a woman in a society that hated women?

Set in the San Francisco of 2013, I Hate the Internet offers a hilarious and obscene portrayal of life amongst the victims of the digital boom. As billions of tweets fuel the city’s gentrification and the human wreckage piles up, a group of friends suffers the consequences of being useless in a new world that despises the pointless and unprofitable.

In this, his first full-length novel, Jarett Kobek tackles the pressing questions of our moment. Why do we applaud the enrichment of CEOs at the expense of the weak and the powerless? Why are we giving away our intellectual property? Why is activism in the 21st Century nothing more than a series of morality lectures typed into devices built by slaves?

Here, at last, comes an explanation of the Internet in the crudest possible terms."

Praise for I Hate the Internet

"Could we have an American Houellebecq? Jarett Kobek might come close, in the fervor of his assault on sacred cows of our own secretly-Victorian era, even if some of his implicit politics may be the exact reverse of the Frenchman's. I just got an early copy of his newest, I Hate The Internet and devoured it - he's as riotous as Houellebecq, and you don't need a translator, only fireproof gloves for turning the pages." -- Jonathan Lethem, The Scofield

"A riproaring, form-follows-function burlesque of the digital age that click-meanders its way like the ADHD freaks we're all becoming, while offering up compelling narrative lines that kept me clicking faster and faster. Read this book. Now." -- Dodie Bellamy

"I Hate the Internet is thought provoking—and so funny! I can’t remember the last book I read that made me laugh this much. Kobek has a gift for seeing things from a different angle and for uncovering lies and invisible structures of society, and he does it in a playful, anarchistic and quirky way. The rows of association in this book—Kobek’s deconstructing voice—will keep you entertained and baffled throughout the reading." -- Dorthe Nors

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

Matthew Specktor is the author of two novels, American Dream Machine and That Summertime Sound, as well as a nonfiction book about the motion picture The Sting. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Harper’sThe Paris Review, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. He is a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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FIRST DRAFT LIVE! featuring VICTORIA AVEYARD, LINDSAY KLINGELE, ELISSA SUSSMAN and SARAH ENNI

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 1st, 2016

Join us as the popular podcast, First Draft, goes LIVE with some of LA's most fantastical KidLit authors. This February,Victoria Aveyard, Lindsey Klingele and Elissa Sussman will sit down with host Sarah Enni to discuss everything magical and mystical in YA literature.

First Draft Live is a bi-monthly panel dedicated to fostering a community of young adult readers within Los Angeles. Through a rotating roster of KidLit authors and pre-determined discussion topics, we ask participants to speak as fans and members of the young adult community. We hope to facilitate a fun and casual conversation between readers and authors in the same vein as First Draft Podcast, the event’s namesake and inspiration.

Victoria Aveyard was born and raised in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a small town known only for the worst traffic rotary in the continental United States. She moved to Los Angeles to earn a BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California. She currently splits her time between the East and West coasts. As an author and screenwriter, she uses her career as an excuse to read too many books and watch too many movies.

Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater. In a previous life she managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon,  Disney,  Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED. 

Lindsey Klingele has worked in the writers' rooms of television shows such as ABC Family's THE LYING GAME and TWISTED. THE MARKED GIRL is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles.

Sarah Enni is an author, journalist, and founder of the First Draft podcast. She's the palest girl in Los Angeles.

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DARRYL HOLTER and WILLIAM DEVERELL discuss their book Woody GUTHRIE LA: 1937-1941

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

Guthrie LA: 1937-1941 (Angel City Press)

“What happens when we push beyond Woody’s iconic image to try to understand how an unemployed hillbilly singer in the late 1930s transformed himself into something else?” writes co-editor Darryl Holter in the book’s first essay. “We learn that transformation started in, and started because of, Los Angeles, a place key to Woody’s evolution."

The book’s twelve essays, richly illustrated by photographs from the era, explore such themes as Guthrie’s early radio success in Los Angeles with the Woody and Lefty Lou Show; his first recordings made on old Presto disks; and the important friendship he forged with the actor and leftist radical Will Geer (later of “Grandpa Walton” fame). Other pieces cover Guthrie’s racial egalitarianism, as he threw off the worst of his Oklahoma and Texas roots and pushed past a notorious lynching in which his father may have participated; his ability to mold evangelical perspectives into politically savvy folk songs; and the impact he still exerts in his songs about migrants and workers looking for their main chance in California. 

“Because Woody Guthrie came to Los Angeles when he did, his music stridently addresses inequities and inequalities amplified by the Depression. In Los Angeles, the ever-observant Dust Bowl troubadour became the urban folksinger,” says co-editor William Deverell. “His time in L.A. created the Woody that—eighty years later—bears witness to America’s promise and its problems.”

In addition to Woody Guthrie L.A. 1937 to 1941Darryl Holter has written books and scholarly articles on labor history and urban revitalization. He has a Ph.D in History from the University of Wisconsin and taught for several years in the History Department at UCLA. Holter manages several family businesses in Los Angeles and is an Adjunct Professor in History at the University of Southern California. He is also a singer-songwriter and a member of Professional Musicians Local 47. His album, Radio Songs: Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles, 1937-1941, was released to critical acclaim in 2015. 

Woody Guthrie L.A. 1937 to 1941 is the latest of several books by William Deverell, a professor of history and the director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West at the University of Southern California. With a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth century American West, Deverell has authored works on political, social, ethnic, and environmental history, including Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past. InWoody Guthrie L.A. 1937 to 1941, he brings together his overlapping passions for the history of American folk music, the Great Depression, and Los Angeles.

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KAZ discusses his new book UNDERWORLD: FROM HOLLYWOOD TO HOBOKEN with BEN SCHWARTZ

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

Underworld: From Hoboken to Hollywood (Fantagraphics Books)

Join underground cartoonist Kaz, and writer Ben Schwartz, to discuss the first ever complete collection of Underworld, the award wining alt-weekly strip of brilliant parody-like characters in their off kilter city of Underworld. 

Praise for Underworld

"Kaz is the last of the Mohicans. True hardcore. His shit is the shit." - Jack Black

"I started reading Kaz' comics in the early '90s-hilarious! I love his distorted point of view. When he came on board to work on SpongeBob, I was nautically nonsensed!" - Stephen Hillenburg

"[Kaz' strip] 'Look-Away Popeye' made me sit and contemplate the medium for two hours. The back of Popeye's head as he looked away! If it wasn't for Kaz I never would have started drawing comics professionally. He made it seem possible." - Tony Millionaire

"Kaz' comics make me feel crazy. But in a delightful way that I'm not sure I want to read anything normal ever again." - Julia Wertz

Born in Hoboken, NJ, Kaz began his comics career in the 1980's as a contributor to Raw magazine. In 1992 Kaz createdUnderworld, published by Fantagraphics, and has continued to create weekly strips that have been published all over the country. Kaz now lives in Los Angeles, working as a writer and animator on shows like SpongeBob Squarepants, andPhineas and Ferb.

Ben Schwartz has written jokes for the 84th Oscars, Letterman monologues, Wits, as Suck.com’s Bertolt Blecht, and his screenplay Home By Christmas is on the 2011 Blacklist. As a journalist and critic, he has written for The New Yorker, Lapham’s Quarterly, Bookforum, The Baffler, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and is currently a judge for theLos Angeles Times Book Prizes for graphic novels and comics. He is currently working on a history of American humor set between the two world wars, published by Fantagraphics. He lives in Los Angeles and can be followed on Twitter at @benschwartzy.

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SELFISH launches ISSUE THREE: GOOD GIRL

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on February 22nd, 2016
Selfish, the feminist memoir magazine, is back with round three. Join us for a night of wine and the exploration of the contradictory notion of being "good girls."

"Good Girl" features the work of 32 contributors and examines the spectrum of disappointment that encompasses the experience of the "Modern Woman" while confronting the very nature of the concept. in honor of every woman who has ever been asked just how she manages to 'do it all,' or has been criticized for not doing enough, issue three will showcase a range of perspectives trapped within and breaking free of the social expectations of Woman.

Our readers will include: 

Ginger Buswell isn't sure. She thinks she writes to grasp the mystery of our corporeal existence. Her thoughts on writing and corporeality verge on the mystical and, at times, the mischievous. She has occasionally enjoyed spreading rumors about René Descartes. During business hours Ginger has served as editor at such prestigious publications as Molossus, When in Drought, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her writing has appeared infrequently in Sparkle & Blink, Harlequin Creature, Yay! LA Magazine, and the A3 Review. She lives in Los Angeles with two well-meaning chihuahuas and several pseudonyms.

Agatha French  is a Los Angeles-based writer, reviewer, and editor. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gigantic, NANO FictionBurrow Press Review, Everyday Genius, and The Nervous Breakdown, among others. She is deputy editor of the online literary magazine Coda Quarterly; co-creator of Four Eyes Project, set to launch in spring 2016; and food editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Marisa Malone is interested in memory, embodiment, and cultural influences on femininity. She explores these themes through writing, letterpress and drawing. She is the author of two self-published chapbooks and her poetry has been published in BlazeVOX Journal. She lives in Oakland, CA and is likely to be found in a thrift store or browsing a book shop.

Yumi Sakugawa is a comic book artist and illustrator, and the author of I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You, Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe, and There Is No Right Way to Meditate. Her comics have also appeared in Bitch, The Believer, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014, The Rumpus, and other publications. A graduate of the fine art program of University of California Los Angeles, she currently lives in Los Angeles, where she spends most of her time as a wannabe foodie and pursuing the next perfect taco-truck taco. You can find her on twitter and instagram.

Charley Star is an award-winning fine art, portrait and lifestyle photographer, as well as a poet and writer. Her portrait and wedding photography have been published in numerous national magazines, several wedding books, and in all the top wedding blogs. Her fine art photography has been exhibited in several exhibitions in LA and Southern California, and she has an upcoming group show at the South East Center for Photography. Her poetry and writing have been published in several national and regional magazines as well as several online parenting blogs. She is working on her first chapbook of poetry. Charley is a mom of three, and therefore spends a lot of time discussing heavy-hitting political issues like whose turn it is for the Legos. She has mastered the art of hiding out in bathrooms to write small novels on her phone without little babes underfoot. She writes a blog on the beauty and heart of motherhood at somethingstrongandtrue.com and lives in LA with her family.

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JESSICA CHIARELLA reads from her debut novel AND AGAIN with KAROLINA WACLAWIAK

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

And Again (Touchstone)

Jessica Chiarella’s inventive debut novel And Again marks the launch of a bold new literary voice. In the spirit of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, And Again follows four present-day terminally ill patients who are granted the opportunity to abandon their diseased bodies and adopt healthy replicas through a revolutionary pilot program: “SUBlife.” 

Free of scars, blemishes, and any trace of their diseases, the bodies themselves are perfect, but patients Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda soon discover that the fresh start they’ve been given has its flaws. Without their old bodies, they’ve lost their physical identities—muscle memory, mature taste buds, impulse control. 

Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his controlling old destructive habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. The four meet weekly in a Chicago hospital to discuss the challenges of reentering their old lives, careers, and relationships. But when SUBlife comes up for FDA approval, they must all confront the implications their new lives now hold for the future of medicine.

Told in alternating perspectives, And Again deftly combines realist and speculative fiction to explore what it means to start life afresh and to ask the question: how much of our identities rest not just in our minds, but in our hearts and bodies?

Praise for And Again

“In Chiarella’s contemplative first novel, four protagonists give astonishing first-person accounts of their participation in a medical experiment called SUBlife, wherein their disease-ridden bodies have been swapped for freshly minted clones…Chiarella’s entrancing prose and fully fleshed characters should garner widespread, enthusiastic praise.”—Booklist

“Chiarella's engaging writing creates so many haunting moments that readers will find themselves moving quickly through the story, as well as awaiting her next work. This is a novel about what it means to be human, with all the flaws and vulnerabilities that implies, and whether we can ever truly begin again.”—Kirkus 

And Again was continually haunting me…Jessica Chiarella has so much talent.” —National Book Award Finalist Susan Straight

Jessica Chiarella grew up in the Chicago area and has a master’s in writing and publishing from DePaul University. She is currently a student in the University of California, Riverside’s Creative Writing MFA program.

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.

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JULIA CLAIBORNE JOHNSON reads from her novel BE FRANK WITH ME

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

Be Frank with Me (William Morrow & Company)

Be Frank with Me, with its eccentric characters in self-imposed isolation, their grand but sometimes misunderstood gestures, and idiosyncratic approach to coping with the ordinary world, captures the intensity of growing up just a little bit different than everybody else. Or, in Frank’s case, a lot different from everybody else. Already called “magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original” (Library Journal), Kirkus summed it up as “the curious case of where’d you go, Salinger.” It’s a spot-on description, as Be Frank with Me has the poignant quirks of Haddon, the effervescent spirit of Semple and, at its center, a Salingeresque reclusive literary legend. 

That legend is the enigmatic M.M. “Mimi” Banning, holed up in her Bel Air mansion for the quarter-century since her classic but still-best-selling first novel’s publication. Broke after losing her savings in a Ponzi scheme, Mimi now must write her long-awaited second book. To ensure the timely delivery of her long-anticipated manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi outlines the parametes for an acceptable assistant: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Mimi’s son, Frank. The kid, Alice discovers, sees world in a very different—but completely fascinating—way. With little to entertain them but the sound of Mimi typing behind closed doors, Alice and her eccentric companion decide to embark on a series of giddy adventures in the greater world of Los Angeles. To occupy her imagination her downtime, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Full of heart and countless “only-in-Hollywood” moments, but with a deep ring of truth, Be Frank with Me is a captivating and unconventional story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.

Praise for Be Frank with Me

“Johnson’s magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original debut goes beyond page-turner status. Readers will race to the next sentence. And the next. Her charming, flawed, quietly courageous characters, each wonderfully different, demand a second reading while we impatiently await the author’s second work.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Witty dialogue, irresistible characters, and a touch of mystery make this sweet debut about a quirky Hollywood family an enjoyable page-turner.” —Booklist

“The curious incident of where’d you go, Salinger: clever, sweet.”—Kirkus Reviews

“What a charmer this book is! From the very first page, I fell hard for Frank, an adorable oddball with anamazing brain, a wardrobe to die for, and a lonely fragility that pierced my heart again and again. When I finished, I wished him and his makeshift, off-beat family well—and immediately began missing him.”—Marisa de los Santos, New York Times-bestselling author of Love Walked In and The Precious One

“There’s so much to love about this novel: the hilarious one-liners, the unforgettable characters, the unexpected moments of tenderness and all the funny, sad, poignant twists and turns this story takes. I lost myself in these pages and you will too.”—John Searles, nationally-bestselling author of Help for the Haunted

“Beautifully written, brimming with insight, mystery, and benevolent wit, Julia Johnson had me gripped from the first chapter to the final page of Be Frank with Me.”—Julia Sweeney, author, actress, comedienne

Be Frank with Me is complex, nuanced, detailed and profound. In other words, funny, in the best, most resonant way. Read it with both eyes because it will delight both the thinky and the feely parts of your brain.” —Dave Foley, comedian and, technically, an actor

“Julia Claiborne Johnson has written an effervescent gem of a novel, expertly balancing on a literary tightrope between lighthearted and heartbreaking. Be Frank with Me is peopled by characters at once utterly unique, and entirely authentic. I may re-read this book just to spend more time with Frank.” —Laura Nicole Diamond, author of Shelter Us

“BE FRANK WITH ME is that rare, hits-me-just-right book I am always hoping to find when browsing: Witty, but never cutesy. Deeply felt, but never sentimental. Peopled with deeply flawed, fully realized characters I cared about. It pulled me in so strongly that I found myself reading in that whole body way that is a rare and luminous pleasure after childhood, so immersed that the phone and the dogs and the kids had to work to pull me out. I loved every minute I spent in Julia Claiborne Johnson’s glass house with her cast of dedicated stone-throwers. This one is special—don’t miss it.”—Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times-bestselling author of The Opposite of Everyone

“Julia Claiborne Johnson has struck gold in creating Frank Banning—a one-of-a-kind exasperating, witty and endearing nine-year-old genius who functions as the beating heart of this marvelous book.”—Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members

Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.

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PSEUDONYMOUS BOSCH reads from his new novel BAD LUCK

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

Bad Luck (Little Brown and Company)

Clay doesn’t believe in dragons. Then again, there was a time when he didn’t believe in magic, either...

Earth Ranch isn’t what it seems. Ostensibly a camp for juvenile delinquents, it’s actually a camp for young magicians. Clay is just getting used to the place when a young castaway, Brett, washes up on the shores of the remote volcanic island that is the camp’s home. Clay offers help and swears secrecy, only to discover that Brett may be a part of a nefarious scheme to capture a dragon rumored to be hidden on the island. Could this dragon be real? Is Brett who he says he is? Can Clay and his friends get to the bottom of the island’s secrets in time to save it from a scorching end? 

Danger, adventure, mischief, mystery, old foes, new friends, and a certain clever narrator make bestselling author Pseudonymous Bosch's sequel to Bad MagicBad Luck, completely irresistible. 

Pseudonymous Bosch is the infamously anonymous author of the bestselling Secret Series. Despite rumors to the contrary, his books are not actually written by his pet rabbit, Quiche; the rabbit is merely his typist.

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BRIAN EVENSON reads from his collection of stories A COLLAPSE OF HORSES, in conversation with MAGGIE NELSON

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

A Collapse of Horses (Coffee House Press)

A stuffed bear’s heart beats with the rhythm of a dead baby, Reno keeps receding to the east no matter how far you drive, and in a mine on another planet, the dust won’t stop seeping in. In these stories, Evenson unsettles us with the everyday and the extraordinary–the terror of living with the knowledge of all we cannot know. Minimalist literary horror, Evenson’s stories work a nightmare axis of doubt, paranoia, and everyday life. 

Praise for Brian Evenson:

“Brian Evenson is one of the treaures of American story writing, a true successor both to the generation of Coover, Barthelme, Hawkes and Co., but also to Edgar Allan Poe.”--Jonathan Lethem

“One of the most provocative, inventive, and talented writers we have working today.”--The Believer

“The bloodfests that sometimes ensue are metaphoric as miniature Francis Bacons. . . [Evenson’s] fiction is repulsive but more ‘moral’ that anything than comes from Bret Ellis or A. M. Homes.”--The Stranger

“There is not a more intense, prolific, or apocalyptic writer of fiction in America than Brian Evenson.”--George Saunders

Praised by Peter Straub for going “furthest out on the sheerest, least sheltered narrativeprecipice,” Brian Evenson has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the World Fantasy Award and the winner of the International Horror Guild Award, the American Library Association’s award for Best Horror Novel, and one of Time Out New York’s top books. The recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and three O. Henry Prizes, Evenson lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directs Brown University’s Literary Arts Program.

Maggie Nelson is the author of The Argonauts, as well as an American poet, art critic, lyric essayist and nonfiction author of books such as The Red Parts: A Memoir, The Art of Cruelty, Bluets, and Jane: A Murder. The Art of Cruelty was a 2011 Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction. Jane: A Murderwas a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir.

Nelson has taught at the Graduate Writing Program of the New School, Wesleyan University, and the School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute; she currently teaches in the CalArts MFA writing program. She was awarded an Arts Writers grant in 2007 from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation. In 2011, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

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