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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REBECCA DINERSTEIN discusses her debut novel THE SUNLIT NIGHT, in conversation with MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 1st, 2015

The Sunlit Night (Bloomsbury Publishing)

 From an exhilarating new voice comes a stunning debut novel which Jonathan Safran Foer calls as "lyrical as a poem, psychologically rich as a thriller."

In the beautiful, barren landscape of the Far North, under the ever-present midnight sun, Frances and Yasha are surprised to find refuge in each other. Their lives have been upended-Frances has fled heartbreak and claustrophobic Manhattan for an isolated artist colony; Yasha arrives from Brooklyn to fulfill his beloved father's last wish: to be buried "at the top of the world." They have come to learn how to be alone. But in Lofoten, an archipelago of six tiny islands in the Norwegian Sea, ninety-five miles north of the Arctic Circle, they form a bond that fortifies them against the turmoil of their distant homes, offering solace amidst great uncertainty. With nimble and sure-footed prose, Rebecca Dinerstein reveals that no matter how far we travel to claim our own territory, it is ultimately love that gives us our place in the world.

Praise for The Sunlit Night:

Praise for The Sunlit Night
"Lyrical as a poem, psychologically rich as a thriller, funny, dark, warm, and as knowing of place as any travel book or memoir, The Sunlit Night marks the appearance of a brave talent." --Jonathan Safran Foer

"By turns ravishing and hilarious, The Sunlit Night is more than a shining debut--it's the work of a young master. Dinerstein writes of her two lovers with sensitivity and chutzpah: human drama, a nightless summer, the transformative power of nature. Here's an exciting new voice that sings perfectly in key." --Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life

"[A] captivating debut novel . . . [Dinerstein] writes . . . with humor and compassion. Her prose is lyrical and silky, but it's also specific, with acute observations and precise detail, and she evokes the sun-stroked, barren Norwegian landscape with a striking sense of place. . . With provocative insights about the cruelty of abandonment, the concept of home, and the limits of parental and filial love, Dinerstein's novel is a rich reading experience." --Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review

"Dinerstein's much buzzed-about debut novel is a fanciful Arctic Circle romance between a Russian immigrant raised in a Brighton Beach bakery and a Manhattanite seeking refuge from family problems in a Norwegian artists' colony." --The Forward"

Rebecca Dinerstein is the author of Lofoten, a bilingual English-Norwegian collection of poems. She received her B.A. from Yale and her M.F.A. in Fiction from New York University, where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She lives in Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter @beckydinerstein. For more information on Rebecca and the book, please visit:www.rebeccadinerstein.com

Maggie Shipstead is the author of two novels: Astonish Me and Seating Arrangements, which was a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction. She is a graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her writing has appeared in many publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New Republic, and The Best American Short Stories.

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KATHERINE TAYLOR reads from her newest novel VALLEY FEVER in conversation with MATTHEW SPECKTOR

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 1st, 2015

Valley Fever (Farrar Strauss Giroux)

 A razor-sharp, cross-generational tragicomedy set in California's wine-soaked Central Valley.

 Ingrid Palamede never returns to places she's lived in the past. For her, "whole neighborhoods, whole cities, can be ruined by the reasons you left." But when a breakup leaves her heartbroken and homeless, she's forced to return to her childhood home of Fresno, California. Back in the "real" wine country, where grapes are grown for mass producers like Gallo and Kendall-Jackson, Ingrid must confront her aging parents and their financial woes, soured friendships, and blissfully bad decisions. But along the way, she rediscovers her love for the land, her talent for harvesting grapes, and a deep fondness and forgiveness for the very first place she ever left.

With all the sharp-tongued wit of her first novel, Rules for Saying GoodbyeKatherine Taylor examines high-class, small-town life among the grapes--on the vine or soaked in vodka--in Valley Fever, a blisteringly funny, ferociously intelligent, and deeply moving novel of self-discovery.

Praise for Valley Fever:

Valley Fever goes straight to the heart of it: How are we supposed to live? How to jump through those hoops of fire known as love and work and family, and hopefully emerge with body and soul more or less intact. Or even--dare I say it?--to come through with some measure of peace in ourselves. Katherine Taylor's unflinching novel takes on the big stuff, and does so with an empathy and insight that reward the closest reading. This superb book succeeds on every level."
– Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

“In Katherine Taylor’s stirring and sneakily capacious novel, what begins as a family romance widens out to be nothing less than a portrait of the knotty, complicated relationship between land and the people who make it their life’s work to nurture and sometimes exploit it. Heartbreak comes in the form of relentless heat, ravaging dust, and a perfect grape left to wither on the vine, and the undoing of a once proud family vineyard becomes as potent a tale of love and betrayal as any I’ve recently read. Taylor’s prose is sharp, rueful, hilarious and crackling with life. Her characters' raw, unsentimental affairs with one another and with the earth they till will stay with you long after you’ve left the book’s pages behind.” – Marisa Silver, author of Mary Coin

Katherine Taylor is the author of the novels Valley Fever and Rules for Saying Goodbye. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Town & Country, ZYZZYVA, The Southwest Review and Ploughshares, among other publications. She has won a Pushcart Prize and the McGinnis Ritchie Award for Fiction. She has a B.A. from University of Southern California and a master’s degree from Columbia University, where she was a Graduate Writing Fellow. Katherine lives in Los Angeles.

Matthew Specktor is the author of the novels American Dream Machine and That Summertime Sound. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, the Paris ReviewTin HouseThe Believer, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. He is a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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KARL TARO GREENFELD reads from his new novel THE SUBPRIMES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 22nd, 2015

The Subprimes (Harper)

 A wickedly funny dystopian parody set in a financially apocalyptic future America, from the critically acclaimed author ofTriburbia

In a future America that feels increasingly familiar, you are your credit score. Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have-nothings: Subprimes. Their bad credit ratings make them unemployable. Jobless and without assets, they've walked out on mortgages, been foreclosed upon, or can no longer afford a fixed address. Fugitives who must keep moving to avoid arrest, they wander the globally warmed American wasteland searching for day labor and a place to park their battered SUVs for the night. Karl Taro Greenfeld's trenchant satire follows the fortunes of two families whose lives reflect this new dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-financially-fittest America. Desperate for work and food, a Subprime family has been forced to migrate east, hoping for a better life. They are soon joined in their odyssey by a writer and his family--slightly better off, yet falling fast. Eventually, they discover a small settlement of Subprimes who have begun an agrarian utopia built on a foreclosed exurb. Soon, though, the little stability they have is threatened when their land is targeted by job creators for shale oil extraction. But all is not lost. A hero emerges, a woman on a motorcycle--suspiciously lacking a credit score--who just may save the world. In The Subprimes, Karl Taro Greenfeld turns his keen and unflinching eye to our country today--and where we may be headed. The result is a novel for the 99 percent: a darkly funny comedy about paradise lost and found, the value of credit, economic policy, and the meaning of family.

Praise for The Subprimes

"The Subprimes holds up a funhouse-mirror version of ourselves and our era. Karl Taro Greenfeld has written a masterful, viciously funny satire of our times, one that we ignore at our peril."--Ben Fountain

"Set in a meticulously, terrifyingly imagined all-too-near future, The Subprimes is a potent cocktail of North American myth, equal parts John Steinbeck and Margaret Atwood, with a dash of benzene."--William Gibson

"Greenfeld has a tendency to lean toward parody in his satiric style, but here he employs enough authenticity to terrify, enough black humor to disarm the story's inherent pessimism, and a surprising admiration for faith in its myriad forms."--Kirkus

"The Subprimes admirably -- amazingly -- superimposes all the populist instincts of The Grapes of Wrath onto a dystopian future that is all too visible from our current moment. Greenfeld's compassion and understanding -- this novel's beating heart -- are what grabbed me most."--Charles Bock

"A little Occupy, a little Ed Abbey, and a good deal of hope for solidarity in a screwed-up world -- The Subprimes is a superhero story for the rest of us."--Bill McKibben

"Greenfeld has produced a fascinating novel about life in the age of economic uncertainty. It's a colorful tale of characters living on the edge combined with sharp social insights."--Walter Isaacson

"Sharply observed and engrossing, The Subprimes depicts a future that is simultaneously absurd...and plausible. It would be too scary to read if it weren't so entertaining."--Edan Lepucki

Karl Taro Greenfeld is the author of six previous books: the much-acclaimed novel Triburbia. The memoir Boy AloneNowTrendsChina SyndromeStandard Deviations; and Speed Tribes. His award-winning writing has appeared in The AtlanticHarper’sThe Paris ReviewThe Nation, , The New York Times MagazineBest American Short Stories 2009 and 2013, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012. Born in Kobe, Japan, he has lived in Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. He currently lives in California with his wife, Silka, and their daughters, Esmee and Lola.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 21st, 2015

The Making of Zombie Wars (Farrar Strauss Giroux)

 Script idea #142: Aliens undercover as cabbies abduct the fiancee of the main character, who has to find a way to a remote planet to save her. Title: " Love Trek." 

Script idea #185: Teenager discovers his girlfriend's beloved grandfather was a guard in a Nazi death camp. The boy's grandparents are survivors, but he's tantalizingly close to achieving deflowerment, so when a Nazi hunter arrives in town in pursuit of Grandpa, he has to distract him long enough to get laid. A riotous Holocaust comedy. Title: " The Righteous Love." 

Script idea #196: Rock star high out of his mind freaks out during a show, runs offstage, and is lost in streets crowded with his hallucinations. The teenage fan who finds him keeps the rock star for himself for the night. Mishaps and adventures follow. This one could be a musical: " Singin' in the Brain."

Josh Levin is an aspiring screenwriter teaching ESL classes in Chicago. His laptop is full of ideas, but the only one to really take root is "Zombie Wars." When Josh comes home to discover his landlord, an unhinged army vet, rifling through his dirty laundry, he decides to move in with his girlfriend, Kimmy. It's domestic bliss for a moment, but Josh becomes entangled with a student, a Bosnian woman named Ana, whose husband is jealous and violent. Disaster ensues, and as Josh's choices move from silly to profoundly absurd, The Making of Zombie Wars takes on real consequence.

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, The Lazarus Project, Love and Obstacles, andThe Book of My Lives. When he lives, he lives in Chicago.

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BRUCE McCULLOCH discusses his new memoir LET’S START A RIOT

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 17th, 2015

Let's Start a Riot: How a Young Drunk Punk Became a Hollywood Dad (Harper)

 In his book, Let's Start a Riot: How a Young Drunk Punk Became a Hollywood Dad Bruce chronicles his journey from wild early days as a "young punk" in 1980s Alberta, to his flannel plaid days and futon nights in 1990s Toronto, to becoming a "pajama-clad dad" living in the Hollywood Hills. Taking us from scowling teenager to father of two, this biting, funny collection of personal stories, peppered with moments of surprising poignancy, proves that although this infamous Kid may be all grown up, his singular brand of humor and signature wit remain firmly intact.

Bruce McCulloch is a Canadian actor, writer, comedian and film director. He is known for his work as a member of the Kids in the Hall, the popular comedy troupe, and as a writer for Saturday Night Live. He directed the films Dog Park,Stealing Harvard and Superstar, and has made two acclaimed comedy/music albums, Shame-based Man and Drunk Baby Project. McCulloch has also recently acted in episodes of Workaholics and the new season of Arrested Development. McCulloch recently returned to TV with the series Death Comes to Town. He currently lives in the Hollywood Hills with his family and tours solo and with KITH for sold-out shows.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 14th, 2015

The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, a Rancorous Reportage, a Concise Curriculum of Cool (Touchstone Books)

 From Greg Proops, the beloved star of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and the creator, voice, and general know-it-all behind The Smartest Man in the World podcast, comes a cultural dictionary as hilarious as the man himself, The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, a Rancorous Reportage, a Concise Curriculum of Cool. Greg Proops brings his “gift of gab” (Rolling Stone) and his “bold, never boring voice” (New York Times) to the printed word with this electrifying compendium of essential wisdom and obscure knowledge, ancient rulers and overlooked feminists, and more than one fantasy baseball team.  

The Smartest Book in the World unleashes Proops’s fascinating and far-reaching knowledge, and plenty of laughs too. He offers up a cultural guide to the must-see and must-have albums, riffs on the merits of poetry and proper punctuation, and jaunts through lessons on everything from the history of baseball to how to steal precious art. Filtered through his distinctive voice and Proopsian panache, the exploits of the Roman Emperors read like a gossip column and entire novels fly by in a single sentence. Illustrations throughout by Proops’s wife, the artist Jennifer Canaga, bring inspired visuals to his riotous writing.

Spanning genres and generations, Greg Proops gives readers a rollicking reference guide guaranteed to make anyone the smartest person in the room. This book is the perfect companion to The Smartest Man in the World and an uproarious introduction for the uninitiated.

Greg Proops is a revered stand-up comic from San Francisco, and he records his chart-topping podcast “The Smartest Man in the World” from live shows around the World as well as Cleveland. Mr. Proops has been a voice actor in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and played Bob in Bob the Builder. He has been a guest on @Midnight on Comedy Central; Red Eye; The Late, Late Show; and Chelsea Lately. He lives in Hollywood.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 14th, 2015

The Little Free Library Book (Coffee House Press)

 "Take a book. Return a book." In 2009, Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library as a memorial to his mom. Five years later, this simple idea to promote literacy and encourage community has become a movement. Little Free Libraries--freestanding front-yard book exchanges--now number twenty thousand in seventy countries. The Little Free Library Booktells the history of these charming libraries, gathers quirky and poignant firsthand stories from owners, provides a resource guide for how to best use your Little Free Library, and delights readers with color images of the most creative and inspired LFLs around.

Praise for The Little Free Library Book:

"The Little Free Library is a terrific example of placing books--poetry included--within reach of people in the course of their everyday lives. Free is always a good thing, and the project has a nice give-and-take feel to it. Here's hoping we bump into literature when we turn the next corner--before we have time to resist!"--Billy Collins

"Stewards across the globe can be found within the [Little Free Library Book's] pages, along with helpful how-to's for any question you can conjure, professional blueprints for building your own LFL, and photos of some of the coolest Libraries around."--Loft

“Little Free Library has turned into a worldwide book sharing and social movement--Huffington Post

Margret Aldrich is a freelance writer and editor. Her articles have appeared in the Utne Reader, Experience Life!, and elsewhere. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her family.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 14th, 2015

Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders (Henry Holt & Company)

 A spirited, wry, and utterly original memoir about one woman's struggle to make her way and set up a life after doctors discover a hole the size of a lemon in her brain.

The summer before she was set to head out-of-state to pursue her MFA, twenty-six-year-old Cole Cohen submitted herself to a battery of tests. For as long as she could remember, she'd struggled with a series of learning disabilities that made it nearly impossible to judge time and space--standing at a cross walk, she couldn't tell you if an oncoming car would arrive in ten seconds or thirty; if you asked her to let you know when ten minutes had passed, she might notify you in a minute or an hour. These symptoms had always kept her from getting a driver's license, which she wanted to have for grad school. Instead of leaving the doctor's office with permission to drive, she left with a shocking diagnosis--doctors had found a large hole in her brain responsible for her life-long struggles. Because there aren't established tools to rely on in the wake of this unprecedented and mysterious diagnosis, Cole and her doctors and family create them, and discover firsthand how best to navigate the unique world that Cole lives in. Told without an ounce of self-pity and plenty of charm and wit, Head Case is ultimately a story of triumph, as we watch this passionate, loveable, and unsinkable young woman chart a path for herself.

Praise for Head Case

Head Case is hilarious, moving, thought-provoking: it will change the way you think about what it means to move through the world, no matter the shape of your own human brain.  Cole Cohen's brain is unusual, and her voice is indelible: this is a wonderful book by a wonderful writer.  I can't wait to see what she writes next.”—Elizabeth McCracken

"Terrifically readable, while still being piercing and honest about different kinds of struggle, some familiar, some utterly her own. Besides that, Cole Cohen's also really funny. And unafraid of being bleak. And funny/bleak. I so enjoyed being carried along by Cohen's voice."—Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

"Rich with yearning and ache, conveying a scrunched sense of claustrophobia and imagery of cinematic quality. . .The author also delivers flashes of humor to add levity to the proceedings. A beautifully wrenching memoir as piercing as smelling salts."--Kirkus (starred review)"

"Head Case is funny, touching, acerbic, and emotional; it vividly evokes the world as she experiences it and leaves you feeling you have met an exceptional, tough, indomitable character. " --Susan Orlean

"I'm delighted and inspired by Cole Cohen's Head Case, an account of herself that shines throughout with her particular brand of perseverance, humor, hard-won clarity and wisdom." --Maggie Nelson, author of The Art of Cruelty

"Cole Cohen writes with poignant clarity about her life of continual disorientation--the result of a hole in her parietal lobe. I laud her persistence, her humor, her gracious prose, and most of all, her honesty - and, as the mother of a child likewise afflicted with an "invisible disability," I am grateful for this revelatory memoir. Cohen's challenges are as universal as their cause is unique, and Head Case, so raw and artful both, is an important book. Bravo!"--Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This

"Cole Cohen writes with clarity, humor and honesty about her own unique brain, but Head Case is also about the very human journey of learning to navigate the big world from inside one's one mind. This is a fascinating and brave memoir."--Ramona Ausubel, author of No One is Here Except All of Us and A Guide to Being Born

Cole Cohen graduated from the California Institute of the Arts MFA program in Writing and Critical Studies in 2009. She was a finalist for the Bakeless Prize and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs prize in Nonfiction and she has been a Yaddo Fellow. She currently lives in Santa Barbara, California where she works as the Events and Program Coordinator for UC Santa Barbara's Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 14th, 2015

Jacob The Mutant (Phoneme Media)

 Conceived of as a set of fragmentary manuscripts from an unpublished Joseph Roth novel, Mario Bellatin's Jacob the Mutant is a novella in a perpetual state of transformation--a story about a man named Jacob, an ersatz rabbi and the owner of a roadside tavern. But when reality shifts, so does Jacob, mutating into another person entirely, while the novella mutates into another story. Cleverly translated by Jacob Steinberg, this Phoneme Media edition of a new novel by one of Mexico's most notorious and celebrated writers includes a translator's afterword and explanatory maps by illustrator Zsu Szkurka.

Praise for Mario Bellatin:

"Everyone talks about inventing their own language, but Mario Bellatin actually does it." --Francisco Goldman

Mexican writer Mario Bellatin has published dozens of novels with major and minor publishing houses throughout Latin America, Europe, and the United States, including Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction, published in 2014 by Phoneme Media. A Practicing Sufi, Bellatin has won many international prizes, including, most recently, Cuba's 2015 José María Arguedas Prize.

David Shook has translated Mario Bellatin's Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction, and The Large Glass: Three Autobiographies, forthcoming from Phoneme Media in December. He and Bellatin have collaborated to make films on three continents. Shook's own poetry has been nominated for the Forward Prize and long-listed for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. 

Jacob Steinberg was born in Stony Brook, New York, in 1989. A poet, translator, and critic, his publications includeMagulladón and Ante ti se arrodilla mi silencio. As a translator he has worked with Sam Pink, Luna Miguel, and Mario Bellatin, among others. Scrambler Books released his first English-language collection, Before You Kneels My Silence, as well as the first volume of his translations of contemporary Argentine poet Cecilia Pavón. He currently lives in New York.

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COLIN WINNETTE discusses his new novel HAINTS STAY, together with KAROLINA WACLAWIAK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 14th, 2015

Haints Stay (Two Dollar Radio)

 From a rising star in the indie lit world comes a striking new Acid Western in the tradition of Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man or Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff

Brooke and Sugar are killers. Bird is the boy who mysteriously woke beside them between towns. The story follows the middling bounty hunters after they’ve been chased from town, and Bird, each in pursuit of their own brand of belonging and justice. It features gunfights, cannibalism, barroom piano, a transgender birth, a wagon train, a stampede, and the tenuous rise of the West’s first one-armed gunslinger. 

Haunting, surreal, and possessing an unsettling humor, Haints Stay will ensure Winnette’s growing reputation as an imaginative stylist and one of the most striking voices of his generation. 

Praise for Haints Stay

“The unexpectedness of Colin Winnette’s fiction is nothing less than thrilling. Haints Stay is a solid, layered work of genre-defying beauty.”—The Lit Pub

Haints Stay puts to mind the very best contemporary novels of the old West, including those by powerhouses like Charles Portis, Patrick DeWitt, Robert Coover, Oakley Hall, E.L. Doctorow and Sheriff Cormac McCarthy himself, not to mention Thomas McGuane’s classic screenplays for The Missouri Breaks and Tom Horn. But Colin Winnette has his own dark and delightful and surprising agenda. Be wary. He might be the new law in town." —Sam Lipsyte

“Life is nasty, brutish, and short in this noir-tinged Western... that falls somewhat uncomfortably between ‘Deadwood’ and The Crying Game. It sounds like a cross between Daniel Woodrell and Elmore Leonard right up until Winnette flips the script.”—Kirkus Reviews

“If the Western genre could be thought of as a pile of old stones, Haints Stay is a particular piece of lovely spit-shined agate at the top, gleaming in invitation, and under its glow the others are changed.” —Amelia Gray

“Funny, brutal and haunting, Haints Stay takes the traditional Western, turns it inside out, eviscerates it, skins it, and then wears it as a duster. This is the kind of book that would make Zane Grey not only roll over in his grave but rise undead from the ground with both barrels blazing.”—Brian Evenson

“From his curiously harrowing Animal Collection to the glorious guts of Fondly, I trust wherever Colin Winnette’s imagination sees fit to take me. And now — with Haints Stay — we venture to the lawless old West for a story stitched out of animal skins and language that glimmers like blood diamonds. This is a dangerous novel; let’s read it and risk our lives together.”—Saeed Jones

“Before the novel ends, there’s cannibalism, an amputation, a bloody jailhouse shoot-out, a surprise birth, and the slaughter of a town’s entire population. [A] portrait of the frontier as a place where desperation and death were always near at hand.”—Publishers Weekly

“I loved it. Loved it! Haints Stay had me from the very first line—the visceral ante upped and crescendoing nearly every page. Humor, gore, that wonderful unsettling feel you get when you’re reading a book that excites you and kind of scares you as well?,Yes, please.”—Lindsay Hunter

Colin Winnette is the author of several books, including the SPD bestseller Coyote, and Fondly, listed among Salon's "best books of 2013." His writing has appeared in the Believer, the American Reader, McSweeney's, and 9th Letter, among other places. His prizes include the NOS Book Contest (for Coyote) and Sonora Review's Short Short Fiction Prize. He was a finalist for Gulf Coast Magazine's Donald Barthelme Prize for short prose and the Cleveland State University Poetry Center's First Book Award. He conducts a semi-regular interview series for Electric Literature and is an associate editor of Pank magazine. He lives in San Francisco.

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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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2015

The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (Featherproof Books)

Jessica Hopper's music criticism has earned her a reputation as one of the firebrands of the form, a keen observer and fearless critic not just of music, but the culture around it, revealing new truths that often challenge us to consider what it is to be a fan. 

With this premiere volume, spanning from her punk fanzine roots to her landmark piece on R. Kelly's past, The First Collection leaves no doubt why the New York Times has called Hopper's work "influential." Not merely a selection of two decades of Hopper's most engaging, thoughtful and humorous writing, this book serves as a document of the last 20 years of American music making and the shifting landscape of music consumption.

Through this vast range of album reviews, essays, columns, interviews, and oral histories, Hopper chronicles what it is to be truly obsessed with music, the ideas in songs and albums, how fantasies of artists become complicated by real life, and just what happens when you follow that obsession into muddy festival fields, dank basements, corporate offices or court records.

Jessica Hopper is a music and culture critic whose work regularly appears in GQ, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and theChicago Tribune. She is a senior editor at The Pitchfork Review and the music editor at Rookie. Her essays have appeared inBest Music Writing for 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011. Hopper was the longtime music consultant for This American Life. Her book, The Girls' Guide to Rocking, was named one of 2009's Notable Books For Young Readers by the American Library Association. She lives in Chicago with her husband and young sons. 

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MARIAN PALAIA reads from her debut novel THE GIVEN WORLD

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2015

The Given World (Simon & Schuster)

 Spanning over twenty-five years of a radically shifting cultural landscape, The Given World is a major debut novel about war's effects on those left behind, by an author who is "strong, soulful, and deeply gifted" (Lorrie Moore, "New York Times" bestselling author of Birds of America)

In 1968, when Riley is thirteen, her brother Mick goes missing in Vietnam. Her family shattered, Riley finds refuge in isolation and drugs until she falls in love with a boy from the reservation, but he, too, is on his way to the war. Riley takes off as well, in search of Mick, or of a way to be in the world without him. She travels from Montana to San Francisco and from there to Vietnam. Among the scarred angels she meets along the way are Primo, a half-blind vet with a secret he can't keep; Lu, a cab-driving addict with an artist's eye; Phuong, a Saigon barmaid, Riley's conscience and confidante; and Grace, a banjo-playing girl on a train, carrying her grandmother's ashes in a tin box. All are part of a lost generation, coming of age too quickly as they struggle to reassemble lives disordered by pain and loss. At center stage is Riley, a masterpiece of vulnerability and tenacity, wondering if she'll ever have the courage to return to her parents' farm, to its ghosts and memories--resident in a place she has surrendered, surely, the right to call home.

Praise for The Given World:

In The Given World, Marian Palaia has assembled a collection of restive seekers and beautifully told their stories of love and lovelessness, home and homelessness, with an emphasis on both makeshift and enduring ideas of family. It has been a long time since a first book contained this much wisdom and knowledge of the world. She has a great ear for dialogue, a feel for dramatic confrontation, and a keen understanding of when background suddenly becomes foreground. She is a strong, soulful, and deeply gifted writer--Lorrie Moore, author of Bark

"The Given World is astonishing in every regard: the voice, the range of characters, the charismatic, colloquial dialogue, the ability to summon, through telling detail, geographically diverse worlds that are far flung, but still cohere. Vietnam, counter-cultural San Francisco, the Vietnam War draft's resonance on a Montana reservation, all give evocative shape and texture to an historical era. It's edgy, often cutting, humorous, and impassioned.--Rob Nixon

From the moment I met Riley I was drawn into her world, which is really ours, America in the last century as it careened into this one. I found this novel as thrilling and surprising as a ride on a vintage motorcycle, along the winding, sometimes hair-raising but always arresting ride that is Riley's life. It is a trip I will always remember.--Jesse Lee Kercheval, author ofMy Life as a Silent Movie

"Marian Palaia has imaginatively engaged the Vietnam War these many decades later and transformed it into a brilliant and complex narrative able to transcend that war, all wars, all politics, all eras and illuminate the great and eternally enduring human quest for self, for an identity, for a place in the universe. The Given World is a splendid first novel by an exciting new artist."--Robert Olen Butler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"Marian Palaia is a writer of remarkable talent. In Riley, she has captured Vietnam's long shadow with prose that cuts straight to the bone. Readers who enjoyed Jennifer Egan's The Invisible Circus will love The Given World.--Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist

"Not all the American casualties of Vietnam went to war. In stunning, gorgeous prose, in precise, prismatic detail, Palaia begins with that rupture and works her way deep into the aftermath -- its impact on one person, on one family, on one country. Riveting and revelatory."--Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

"Some rare books give you the sense that a writer has been walking around with a story for years, storing it up, ruminating on it. This is one of those books. I'm grateful for the slow and patient emergence of these words on the page. No sentence is wasted. However long The Given World took, it was worth every minute."--Peter Orner, author of The Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

"Marian Palaia is a writer of startling grace and sensuous lyricism--reading her, you feel as if you've never heard language this beautiful and this true."--Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife

Marian Palaia was born in Riverside, California, and grew up there and in Washington, DC. She lives in San Francisco and has also lived in Montana, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nepal, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer. She is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received the 2012 Milofsky Prize. She was a 2012-2013 John Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University and is a recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation Fellowship. Her work has been published in The Virginia Quarterly Review and TriQuarterly. Marian has also been a truck driver, a bartender, and a logger.

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