UC IRVINE MFA STUDENTS READ FROM THEIR WORK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 16th, 2016

The UC Irvine MFA Reading Series is a program that provides current graduate students in fiction and poetry the opportunity to showcase their work to an audience of their peers and the greater community of Southern California.

The reading will feature pieces by poets  Stefan Karlsson and Sarah Peace, and fiction writers Lara Fitzjerrald and William Hawkins. 

Lara Fitzjarrald likes rivers and birds. She has a daughter who has two kittens. They're all from California.

Sarah Peace is from Geneseo, New York. She received her B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia, where she also studied writing and dance. 

Stefan Karlsson is a poet from Redlands, California. He completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA, where he served as editor for the literary journal, Westwind. His poems have appeared in The Great American Literary Magazine, Forklift, Ohio, and CIRCLE Poetry Journal.

William Hawkins is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His most recent publication, "Grandma's Sex Robot", can be found on Tinhouse.com.

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NOAH HAWLEY DISCUSSES HIS NEW NOVEL BEFORE THE FALL, TOGETHER WITH BOB ODENKIRK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 16th, 2016

Before the Fall (Grand Central Publishing)

From the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critics' Choice, and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of the TV show "Fargo" comes "the" thriller of the year.

On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together. 

Praise for Before the Fall:

"Before the Fall is an astonishing, character-driven tour-de-force. The story is a multi-layered, immersive examination of truth, relationships, and our unquenchable thirst for the media's immediate explanation of unfathomable tragedy."--Karin Slaughter, #1 internationally bestselling author

"This isn't just a good novel; it's a great one. I trusted no one in these pages, yet somehow cared about them all. Before the Fall brings a serrated edge to every character, every insight, and every wicked twist."--Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The President's Shadow

"A masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy, and shameful media hype...a gritty tale of a man overwhelmed by unwelcome notoriety, with a stunning, thoroughly satisfying conclusion."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Before the Fall is a ravishing and riveting beauty of a thriller. It's also a deep exploration of desire, betrayal, creation, family, fate, mortality, and rebirth. It's one part Dennis Lehane, one part Dostoevsky. I was spellbound from first page to last; I haven't fully recovered yet."--Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours

"I started and finished Before the Fall in one day. That begins to tell you what kind of smart, compellingly dramatic read it is. So read it."--James Patterson, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of the Alex Cross and Michael Bennett series

"Like the successful screenwriter that he is, Hawley piles on enough intrigues and plot complications to keep you hooked."--Kirkus Reviews

"A pulse-pounding story, grounded in humanity."--Booklist (starred review)

Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, Critics’ Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced, and served as show runner for ABC’s "My Generation" and "The Unusuals" and was a writer and producer on the hit series "Bones." Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and show runner on FX’s award-winning series, "Fargo."

Bob Odenkirk has written for the TV shows "Saturday Night Live" (where he famously wrote "The Motivational Speaker" sketch), and "The Ben Stiller Show" (where he wrote the infamous "Manson Lassie" sketch), and then Bob went and created (and starred in) "Mr. Show with Bob and David," which has been called "the American Monty Python."  He's also had a creative hand in creating "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" and "The Birthday Boys" sketch show on IFC.  As an actor, Bob has had memorable roles as the agent Stevie Grant on "The Larry Sanders Show," the character of Saul Goodman on AMC's "Breaking Bad," and Director Alexander Payne’s Oscar-nominated film "Nebraska," as well as FX's award-winning series, "Fargo." Bob's comedy scripts and short essays have appeared in "The New Yorker," "Vice", and "Filter" magazine, among other publications.

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DEBBIE GRABER READS FROM HER COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES KEVIN KRAMER STARTS ON MONDAY WITH MATT FLANAGAN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 5th, 2016

Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday (Unnamed Press)

Debbie Graber’s debut short story collection, Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday is a trenchant and searing satirical look at office life that is as astute and hilarious as Joshua Ferris’s And Then We Came to the End.

These thirteen stories skewer corporate culture, as told through souls adrift in a khaki-clad purgatory. And Graber knows from what she writes – she has held a number of jobs in corporate America, which informed her gimlet-eyed writing. One of the aspects of the workplace that most interested her are the personas are forced to adopt. “It’s like they exist in a far flung area of the time space continuum where reason seems to always be taking a vacation day,” says Graber, “If we’re spending all these hours in make-believe land, what does that say about the work we are doing? What does it say about us?
 
In Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday, our hero Kevin Kramer is the new Senior Vice President of the Products Profit center at Production Solutions. He has worked hard for all his success, perfected the non-clammy handshake, and speaks “corporate” like a second language. But our Kevin Kramer harbors many dark secrets. As do many of the characters in Graber’s stories: An HR manager trying desperately to maintain order, even as the entire software department vanishes under mysterious circumstances. An estranged (and possibly deranged) sister devises her reunion by throwing together a DIY wedding shower. A man who wears a Chewbacca costume feels he is uniquely qualified to divide the world into winners and losers. And a call center representative tries to give himself a pep talk after a particularly egregious client interaction.

With a wit and voice all its own, with Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday, Debbie Graber announces herself as a literary talent to watch.

Praise for Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday

“The stories in Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday are funny and funny-sad, formally bold, and a total delight to read. Graber captures perfectly the absurdities of contemporary, corporate America and her fabulous debut reminds us that we are all searching for meaning and human connection, whether it be from friends, family, or reply-all emails.”-Edan Lepucki, author of California

“Debbie Graber's stories are crisp, sardonic, and funny—as antic and acerbic as they are intelligent and alert. A sly and incisive observer of human nature, Debbie Graber will win you over with this delightful debut.”-Sara Levine, author of Treasure Island!!!

"Evil, evil, evil stories-- If you know the devil, you should buy him this for Christmas."-Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday offers satirical fiction that causes you to howl with laughter at the same moment its sharply exposed horrors cut into you. Debbie Graber's stories capture the absurdities of the 21st century corporate workplace in which white-collar millenials find their inboxes always brimming with new incentives for betrayal and self-betrayal. Neither the powerless nor the powerful outrun their demons in these brilliantly funny and bruising tales of American "enterprise."-Kevin McIlvoy, author ofThe Fifth Station

Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday skewers that place where so many of us spend our days and about which we spend the other hours of our lives complaining: the modern workplace. In this bitingly funny, precisely crafted collection, Debbie Graber takes on office excess: happy hours, overtime, trysts, and petty grievances. In doing so, she questions our societal notions of success and failure and invites us to laugh at our bosses and coworkers and, perhaps most of all, ourselves—knowing that if we don’t laugh, we just might cry. Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday is satire at its most incisive.”-Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade

"With laugh-out-loud humor and a wildly keen eye for detail, Graber doesn't just brilliantly satirize our heavily corporate and medicated world, she wonderfully eviscerates it."-J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Debbie Graber has performed at Second City, worked in an office, and received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from U.C. Riverside at Palm Desert.  Her stories have appeared in The Nervous Breakdown, Harpers, Zyzzyva, Hobart, and elsewhere. Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday is her first collection of stories. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Matt Flanagan began his career as a writer for The Late Show With David Letterman, wrote movies you haven't seen, and several shows that were canceled after 13 episodes. He currently writes for Disney Channel's Stuck In The Middle and co-hosts a storytelling podcast called Tell It Anyway with his wife Jennie Josephson.

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MARGARET GUROFF DISCUSSES HER BOOK THE MECHANICAL HORSE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 5th, 2016

The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life (University of Texas Press)

In this lively cultural history, the journalist Margaret Guroff reveals how the bicycle has transformed American society, from making us mobile to empowering people in all avenues of life.

Filled with lively stories, The Mechanical Horse reveals how the bicycle transformed American life. As bicycling caught on in the nineteenth century, many of the country’s rough, rutted roads were paved for the first time, laying a foundation for the in-terstate highway system. Cyclists were among the first to see the possibilities of self-directed, long-distance travel, and some of them (including a fellow named Henry Ford) went on to develop the auto-mobile. Women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses—as well as their restricted gender roles—so they could ride. And doctors recognized that aerobic exercise actually benefits the body, which helped to modernize medicine. Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle’s story is really the story of a more mobile America—one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life.

“A provocative, in-depth analysis of the two-wheeler’s shifting influence on American society. Highly recommended.” —David Herlihy, author ofBicycle: The History

"Guroff makes a solid case for the bicycle as transformative in times of war (it was useful during World War I, for example, as “unobtrusive, gasoline- and forage-free transport”), and she maintains that bicycles inspired the Wright brothers in their airplane design. A bright, enthusiastic cultural history."—Kirkus Review

Margaret Guroff is a magazine editor. She is also the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick, an online annotation of Herman Melville’s classic novel. She teaches writing at the Johns Hopkins University

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CHARLOTTE SHANE DISCUSSES HER MEMOIR PROSTITUTE LAUNDRY, IN CONVERSATION WITH ANN FRIEDMAN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on June 5th, 2016

Prostitute Laundry 

In the winter of 2014, writer and sex worker Charlotte Shane sent out her confessional letter to a small but devoted mailing list. In the months that followed, readership grew to over 5,000 subscribers who followed her candid, unstinting, sometimes heartbreaking meditations. Word spread quickly, garnering the project recognition from outlets such as The Washington Post and NPR.

This intimate investigation is one young woman’s best attempt at understanding her own rich, conflicted life, and the forces that act upon it. The collection is a thoughtful serial memoir about love, sex, money, and identity—how those forces can break us, and how they can make us whole again.

Praise for Prostitute Laundry 

"Every form of writing has an author whose work helped define it; for TinyLetter, that author is Charlotte Shane. I don’t think anyone understood what a TinyLetter really could be until Shane began her Prostitute Laundry series in February of 2014 . . . It felt like reading a novel in serial form, spiked with the knowledge that these experiences were drawn from someone’s daily reality. And then, there’s the prose, which is absolutely hypnotic—intimate, confessional, and even self-scouring in a way that’s unspeakably rare." — Brooklyn Magazine

"Her writing . . . is in turns incisive and tender, embracing human frailty with bracing honesty". — The Establishment

Charlotte Shane is an essayist and author best known for her lyric personal writing, which garnered national attention when distributed in the form of her letters-turned-book, Prostitute Laundry, which The Guardian likened to work by Charles Dickens, and Vice called "addictive [and] intimate." 

Ann Friedman is a freelance journalist who writes about gender, politics, technology, and culture. She is a columnist for New York magazine and theLos Angeles Times, and a contributing editor to The Gentlewoman.  She also co-hosts the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, makes hand-drawn pie charts, and sends a popular weekly email newsletter. Find her work at annfriedman.com.

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ROBERT S. LEVINSON reads from his novel THE STARDOM AFFAIR

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

The Stardom Affair (Five Star Publishing)

Newspaper columnist Neil Gulliver and his ex-wife, "Sex Queen of the Soaps" Stevie Marriner, are back.

It's decades ago, when the internet was in its infancy. Neil is summoned to the apartment of actor Roddy Donaldson, leader of the "Diapered Dozen" gang of teenage movie stars, by condo manager Sharon Glenn. Roddy is in bed clinging to life alongside two dead girls, no memory of who they are or how they got there. Evidence points to him as their killer.

At the urging of Roddy's mother, a prominent casting director, Neil chases after the truth, encountering a motley cast of suspects: among them nasty Nicky Edmunds, co-starring with pal Roddy in Tough Times Two, and glamorous Jayne Madrigal, a high-powered press agent with whom Neil is smitten when Stevie introduces them at a lavish Stardom Magazine gala. Also: rap superstar Maxie Trotter and his manager, Roscoe Del Ruth; Gene Coburn and Knox Lundigan, millionaire partners in Stardom House companies revolutionizing the internet; model-songstress Aleta Haworth, who knows more than she's telling; fading film star Brian Armstrong, who harbors dark truths; and Stevie's mother, Juliet, and her fiancé, Bernie Flame, a computer whiz who may be able to find answers for Neil in the secret underground world of the Web.

More bodies fall and Neil faces an ugly death before the killer of the two girls is revealed in this fast-paced mystery-thriller by an author who knows Hollywood's many sins and secrets from the inside out.

Praise for The Stardom Affair

“The author has delivered a fast-paced, surprisingly dark, not-surprisingly witty thriller that includes a scene of movieland sex and violence more nightmarish than anything devised by Nathanael West or David Lynch”—Dick Lochte, award-winning author of Sleeping Dog, a New York Times Book of the Year

 “When one of Hollywood's hottest young stars finds himself in a tangle with two dead bodies and almost dead of a drug overdose himself, Neil Gulliver's reporter's instincts are aroused, and he's plunged into an ever darker world of sex, drugs, and murder.  The patter is snappy, the writing is sharp, and the observations are pointed as a dagger in another winner from Levinson.”—Bill Crider, award-winning author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes mysteries

“From big box office powerbrokers to L.A.'s seething underworld of designer drugs and porn movies, you're in for the roller-coaster ride of your reading life.  But then, it's no surprise –Robert S. Levinson is a master of style and suspense.  Buy this book and enjoy!”  -- Gayle Lynds, New York Times best-selling author of The Assassins

“Robert S. Levinson handles the hardboiled style of storytelling with soft, sure hands. Neil Gulliver continues to be one of the most reliable main characters in the genre. And, along with his ex-wife, Stevie Marriner, they continue to channel Nick & Nora Charles. Reading The Stardom Affair is time well spent.”—Robert J. Randisi, best-selling author of the Rat Pack mysteries, founder of the Private Eye Writers of America and the annual Shamus Awards, co-founder of Mystery Scene Magazine

Robert S. Levinson, the best-selling author of fourteen crime thrillers, in The Stardom Affair brings back newspaper columnist Neil Gulliver and his ex-wife, “Sex Queen of  the Soaps” Stevie Marriner, who co-starred in his first four novels. Bob’s background includes stints as a newspaper reporter, founder of what became the world’s largest PR firm specializing in rock-and-roll, and a television writer-producer of myriad music, awards, and comedy specials. A Shamus Award nominee and a Derringer Award winner, he served four years on the Mystery Writers of American national board of directors, two as president of the Los Angeles chapter, two years on the Writers Guild of America-West board, and four terms as president of the Hollywood Press Club. 

Bob’s short stories appear regularly in the Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines and have carried for years in various mystery anthologies and “year’s best” collections. He was voted several times onto Queen’s annual Readers Poll of favorites. His non-fiction has appeared in Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Written By Magazine of the Writers Guild of America West, Westways, and Los Angeles Magazine. Bob wrote and produced two MWA annual “Edgar Awards” shows and two International Thriller Writers “Thriller Awards” shows. His plays Transcript and Murder Times Two had their world premieres at the annual International Mystery Writers Festival. 

Bob resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Sandra, and Rosie, their loveable, bossy Besenji Mix. 

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ALEXANDRE VIDAL PORTO reads from his newest novel SERGIO Y.

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

Sergio Y. (Europa Editions)

A startling and inspirational work of transgender fiction by a leading figure in Brazil’s “New Urban” fiction movement.

Armando is one of the most renowned therapists in Saõ Paulo. One of his patients, a 17-year-old boy by the name of Sergio, abruptly interrupts his course of therapy after a trip to New York. Sergio’s cursory explanation to Armando is that he has finally found his own path to happiness and must pursue it. For years, without any further news of Sergio, Armando wonders what happened to his patient. He subsequently learns that Sergio is living a happy life in New York and is now a woman, Sandra. Not long after this startling discovery, however, Armando is shocked to read about Sandra’s unexpected death. In an attempt to discover the truth about Sergio and Sandra’s life, Armando starts investigating on his own.

Sergio Y. is a unique and moving story about gender, identity, and the search for happiness.

Praise for Sergio Y.

Sergio Y. is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time…I gush about it to everyone I meet.”—Zoë Perry, translator of Paulo Coelho

“With Sergio Y., Alexandre Vidal Porto makes clear why he is one of the essential writers in Brazilian contemporary literature.”—Luiz Ruffato

“Readers will find it impossible to put this book down.”—José Castello

"Porto’s captivating, impeccably structured novel is a detective story wrapped around a deeper exploration of identity. [...] The result is a methodical and deeply layered narrative about the sacrifices we make in the search for happiness."--Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

Alexandre Vidal Porto was born in Saõ Paulo. A career diplomat, a Harvard-trained lawyer, and a human rights activist, he writes a regular column for Folha de S. Paulo. His fiction has appeared in some of the most respected literary publications in Brazil and also abroad. Sergio Y. was the winner of the Paraná Literary Prize for best novel. To learn more about Alexandre Vidal Porto please visit: www.alexandrevidalporto.com.

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BRENDAN JONES reads from his debut novel THE ALASKAN LAUNDRY

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

The Alaskan Laundry (Mariner Books)

A fresh debut novel about a lost, fierce young woman who finds her way to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing, as far as the icy Bering Sea 

Tara Marconi has made her way to The Rock, a remote island in Alaska governed by the seasons and the demands of the world of commercial fishing. She hasn't felt at home in a long while. Her mother's death left her unmoored and created a seemingly insurmountable rift between her and her father. But in the majestic, mysterious, and tough boundary-lands of Alaska she begins to work her way up the fishing ladder from hatchery assistant all the way to King crabber. She learned discipline from years as a young boxer in Philly, but here she learns anew what it means to work, to connect, and in buying and fixing up an old tugboat how to make a home she knows is her own. A beautiful evocation of a place that can't help but change us and a testament to the unshakable lure of home, The Alaskan Laundry also offers an unforgettable story of one woman's journey from isolation back to the possibility of love.

Praise for The Alaskan Laundry

"This novel is a rarity -- a gripping, straight-forward, old-fashioned novel about coming of age (a woman, no less) in Alaska. It is reminiscent of the best of Wallace Stegner."--Richard Ford 

"This is a truly towering debut novel. Brendan Jones charts new novelistic territory and sends back moving dispatches from the frontiers of the human heart."--Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master's Son

"The Alaskan Laundry is a gorgeous and powerful novel that succeeds both as a page-turning adventure story and an evocative exploration of the meaning ofhome. With acute psychological precision and a naturalist's attention to detail, Brendan Jones has created a hauntingly beautiful novel that will stay with me for a long time."--Molly Antopol, author of The Unamericans 

"A taut, page-turning narrative, an indomitable heroine, and a rich cast of characters all steeped ina world where you can smell the tang of kelp at low tide, the creak of seiners at their moorings, hear the rustling of the Southeast Alaska rain forest. The Alaskan Laundry plunges the reader into the heart and soul of a unique commercial fishing culture and the story of Tara Marconi, as she struggles for respect, love, inner peace, and a place to call her own. A cinematic tour de force, it offers up an empowering message of hope and resilience."-- Nick Jans, author of A Wolf Called Romeo 

"There are the easy journeys, the ones that take us where we mean to travel, and there are those we shy from, the dark and uncertain treks of the soul. Without flinching, nineteen-year-old Tara ventures from South Philly to the male-dominated Rock, an island off the coast of Alaska. True to her boxer instincts, Tara comes out swinging, unsure what the island will make of her. As layers of her former life wash away, she proves as raw and tender as the landscape, as striking and unforgettable. A promising debut, true to the core a novel of grit and redemption."--Deb Vanasse, author of Cold Spell andOut of the Wilderness 

"The Alaskan Laundry is a novel of bracing air that gets deep into your lungs. As Tara Marconi reinvents herself in Alaska, we see all facets of the American dream of self-reliance and boundless possibility play out on the stage of the Last Frontier. A strong, singular person grows in these pages. Like a protagonist in a Daniel Woodrell novel, she is stubborn, heroic, and capable of anything."--Will Chancellor, author of A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall

"A fresh voice in contemporary realism arrives on the scene in this coming-of-age novel. Fierce and flawed, protagonist Tara Marconi leaves the Lower 48 behind to cut her teeth on the Alaskan wilderness, searching for salvation in the notion that 'people come to Alaska to wash themselves clean.' Jones's dynamic love of America's last frontier comes through in spare, gripping prose."--Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist

After receiving a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University, where he boxed for the Blues team, Brendan Jones made his living in Alaska in carpentry and commercial fishing. He has published work in the New York Times, Ploughshares, Narrative Magazine, Popular Woodworking, The Huffington Post, and recorded commentaries for NPR. A recipient of grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the MacDowell Colony, he is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author VIET THANH NGUYEN discusses his new book NOTHING EVER DIES: VIETNAM AND THE MEMORY OF WAR

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

Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (Harvard University Press)

All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of the conflict Americans call the Vietnam War and Vietnamese call the American War—a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both nations. 

From a kaleidoscope of cultural forms—novels, memoirs, cemeteries, monuments, films, photography, museum exhibits, video games, souvenirs, and more—Nothing Ever Dies brings a comprehensive vision of the war into sharp focus. At stake are ethical questions about how the war should be remembered by participants that include not only Americans and Vietnamese but also Laotians, Cambodians, South Koreans, and Southeast Asian Americans. Too often, memorials valorize the experience of one’s own people above all else, honoring their sacrifices while demonizing the “enemy” —or, most often, ignoring combatants and civilians on the other side altogether. Visiting sites across the United States, Southeast Asia, and Korea, Viet Thanh Nguyen offers penetrating interpretations of the way memories of the war help to enable future wars or struggle to prevent them.
 
Drawing from this war, Nguyen offers a lesson for all wars by calling on us to recognize not only our shared humanity but our ever-present inhumanity. This is the only path to reconciliation with our foes, and with ourselves. Without reconciliation, war’s truth will be impossible to remember, and war’s trauma impossible to forget.

Praise for Nothing Ever Dies:

"Beautifully written, powerfully argued, thoughtful, provocative".--Marilyn B. Young, author of The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990

"Nothing Ever Dies provides the fullest and best explanation of how the Vietnam War has become so deeply inscribed into national memory. Nguyen's elegant prose is at once deeply personal, sweepingly panoramic, and hauntingly evocative."--Ari Kelman, author of A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek"

"Is there hope for an ethics of memory, or for peace? Nothing Ever Dies reveals that, in our collective memories of conflict, we are still fighting the Forever War. Nguyen's distinctive voice blends ideas with family history in a way that is original, unique, exciting. A vitally important book."--Maxine Hong Kingston, author of To Be a Poet"

"Inspired by the author's personal odyssey, informed by his wide-ranging exploration of literature, film, and art, this is a provocative and moving meditation on the ethics of remembering and forgetting. Rooted in the Vietnam War and its aftermath, it speaks to all who have been displaced by war and revolution, and carry with them memories, whether their own or of others, private or collective, that are freighted with nostalgia, guilt, and trauma.--Hue-Tam Ho Tai, editor of The Country of Memory: Remaking the Past in Late Socialist Vietnam"

Viet Thanh Nguyen, the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Sympathizerwas born in Vietnam and raised in America. His stories have appeared in Best New American Voices, TriQuarterly, Narrative, and the Chicago Tribune and he is the author of the academic book Race and Resistance, and a new work of nonfiction, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (Harvard University Press, March 2016). He teaches English and American Studies at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles. He tweets at @viet_t_nguyen. 

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MARINAOMI discusses her new graphic memoir TURNING JAPANESE, with YUMI SAKUGAWA

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

Turning Japanese (2D Cloud)

In 1995, 22-year-old Mari has just exited a long-term relationship, moving from Mill Valley to San Jose, California. Soon enough she falls in love, then finds employment at an illegal hostess bar for Japanese expats, where she is determined to learn the Japanese language and culture. She hopes to finally connect with her Japanese relatives without her mother as a translator and filter. Turning Japanese is a story about otherness, culture clashes, generation gaps and youthful impetuosity.

Praise for Turning Japanese

“It is a tremendous blessing to read anything that comes from a skillful graphic memoirist like MariNaomi. In Turning Japanese, her unflinching honesty, open heart and hard-earned wisdom challenges us to embrace the unexpected detours that unfold in our own lives. The empty spaces in her minimalist artwork contain many wells of unspoken feelings that linger with you long after you finish reading her book.”  -- Yumi Sakugawa, author of Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe

Praise for MariNaomi’s Past Work

“Refreshing and poignant...” -- Publishers Weekly 

“In Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, MariNaomi weaves a crazy-quilt of despair, hope, lost loves, new beginnings, horrible regrets, hilarious memories, and above all else, survival. Her beautiful, spare line is stripped of all but the most important details in order to impart the greatest emotional impact in a given story, creating a delicate storytelling rhythm built on restraint, subtlety and total vulnerability. Her short autobiographical anecdotes create a gestalt of a person who has lived and viewed life with a curious intellect and her heart on her sleeve.” -- Rob Clough, The Comics Journal

“...just how a girl does it in this day and age.” -- ELLE Magazine 

“Packed with wisdom and raw experience.” -- BUST Magazine 

MariNaomi is the author and illustrator of the SPACE Prize-winning graphic memoir Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22, the Eisner-nominated Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories, and her self-published Estrus Comics. Her work has appeared in over sixty print anthologies, and has been featured on such websites as The Rumpus, The Weeklings, LA Review of Books, Midnight Breakfast, Truth-out, XOJane, Buzzfeed, Bitch Media, and more. She is also the creator and curator of the Cartoonists of Color Database and the LGBTQ Cartoonists Database.

Yumi Sakugawa is a comic book artist and the author of I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You. She is a regular comic contributor to The Rumpus and Wonderhowto.com, and her short comic stories “Mundane Fortunes for the Next Ten Billion Years” and “Seed Bomb” were selected as Notable Comics of 2012 and 2013 respectively by the Best American Comics series editors (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Her comics have also appeared in Bitch, the Best American Non­Required Reading 2014, Folio, Fjords Review, and other publications. A graduate from the fine art program of University of California, Los Angeles, she lives in southern California. Visit her on the web at www.yumisakugawa.com.

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JOSHUA CLOVER discusses his book RIOT. STRIKE. RIOT

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

Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings (Verso)

Riots are coming, they are already here, more are on the way. They deserve an adequate theory.

Ferguson. Tottenham. Clichy-sous-Bois. Oakland. In recent decades we have returned to an “age of riots” as the prominent form of struggle against the abuses of capitalism. This theoretical and historical account by award-winning poet Joshua Clover explores how riots, the leading form of protest in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, are supplanted by the strike in the early nineteenth century, and then re-emerged as the preeminent form in the early 1970s. 

From the early years of workers’ demands for increased wages through riots to recent social demands for economic equlity through occupations, Clover looks at historical moments like the economic crisis of 1968 and the decline of organized labor from the perspective of changes in protest tactics. As social unrest against government and corporate abuses continues to grow, this valuable history and theoretical framework will help guide future activists in their struggles for justice. 

Praise for Riot. Strike. Riot. 

“Riot, in this absolutely necessary book, is considered as differential procedure and rigorous improvisational method, as essential repertoire on the way from general malaise to general strike. But then this conception folds tightly yet disorderly into a new and open set of questions. It’s not that the raging, ragged entrance to the new golden age is the new golden age. It’s not that theory can’t bear a riot. It’s just that riot makes new ways of seeing what theory can and can’t do and imposes upon us a kind of knowledge of our own embarrassing and already given resources of enjoyment. Joshua Clover says riot deserves a proper theory but here—sly, stone cold—he gives us more than that. Now we have some guidelines for the new and ongoing impropriety that fleshes forth and fleshes out our optimal condition.”—Fred Moten, scholar, activist, poet and author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical TraditionHughson’s Tavern, B. JenkinsThe Feel Trio and co-author of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study

“In its sweep, rigor, and elegance, Riot Strike Riot is pleasurable and provocative, worthy of the urgent debates it should inspire.”—Jeff Chang author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation and Who We Be: The Colorization of America.

Riot. Strike. Riot. is the crystalline analysis of this fraught moment - between communism and anarchism, between street protest and economic strike. Clover’s text is clear without being simple, contemporary yet historical, and affectionate without being mawkish - much like a riot, in fact, it opens up the future while remembering that the past is comprised of little other than exploitation, exclusion and the kinds of violence that deliberately are attributed to the very people who suffer most from it.”—Nina Power is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University and the author of One-Dimensional Woman.

Joshua Clover is a professor of Literature and Critical Theory at the University of California Davis. A widely published essayist, poet, and cultural theorist, his most recent books are Red Epic and 1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About.

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NICELLE DAVIS presents THE WALLED WIFE with JACKIE BANG, ALEXIS RHONE FANCHER, ASHLEY INGUANTA, JENNIFER BRADPIECE and JUICEE COUTURE

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

The Walled Wife (Red Hen Press)

A woman is buried so a church will rise. Nicelle Davis’ The Walled Wife unearths from the long-standing text “The Ballad of the Walled-up Wife,” a host of issues that continue to plague women in the contemporary world: the woman’s body as sacrifice; the woman’s body as tender or currency; the woman’s body as disposable; the woman’s body as property; the woman’s body as aesthetic object; the woman’s body unsafe in the world she must inhabit, and in the hands of the people she loves. By unearthing “this fucked-up story,” found in a centuries-old folktale (The Ballad of the Walled-Up Wife) Nicelle Davis’ poems remind us that narratives, like the individuals and cultures that produce them, are imperfect structures. However, through her intelligent and effective use of craft and voice, and the heartbreaking vulnerability with which she engages the perspectives within and without the story, Davis avoids simple replication; she does not “rebuild a corrupt structure.” Rather, she exhibits in The Walled Wife the powerful and expansive possibilities of narrative. This collection makes space (in the narrative, and thus in the reader, and thus in the culture) for so much—for remorse from the builder, for sorrow from the husband, but mostly for this sacrificed woman to be angry, to feel betrayed, to be avenged, to tend to her inner life in the hours of her death, to speak her truth, and insist on her humanity. These poems allow the wife to mourn her stolen life, and as we mourn with her, they enrich our possibilities for empowerment and empathy in the narratives of our lives. 

A poetry reading for ugly bridesmaid dresses. Poetry readings, refreshments, photo ops, and an ugly bridesmaid contest competition. Moderated by Juicee Courture. 

Nicelle Davis is a California poet, collaborator, and performance artist who walks the desert with her son J.J. in search of owl pellets and rattlesnake skins. She is the author of four poetry collections including her most recent, The Walled Wife, from Red Hen Press. In the Circus of You is available from Rose Metal Press, Becoming Judas, is available from Red Hen Press and her first book, Circe, is available from Lowbrow Press. Her poetry film collaborations with Cheryl Gross have been shown across the world. She is currently working on the manuscript/play, On the Island of Caliban which was recently workshopped by The Industrial Players. She has taught poetry at Youth for Positive Change, an organization that promotes success for youth in secondary schools, MHA, Volunteers of America in their Homeless Youth Center, and with Red Hen’s WITS program. She currently teaches at Paraclete High School.

 photo by Sascha Vaughn, Dress by Pavlina Janssen

Jackie Bang’s work has appeared in ZYZZYVA and The Alaska Quarterly Review and most recently their piece, "Rent Easy" in The Los Angeles Poetry Circus Chapbook. They are currently at work on Dinner Bait, a book length end-of-love story set in a New Orleans of adjunct teaching and sex work ten years after Katrina. They are working also on a related psych, folk, blues erotica record with their partner in poetry performance Caspar Sonnet. Both works engages the possibility for species transformation in the human response to climate change through high stakes eroticism as metaphor. Jackie Bang lives and teaches in the IE.

Alexis Rhone Fancher’s poem, “when I turned fourteen, my mother’s sister took me to lunch and said:” was chosen by Edward Hirsch for inclusion in The Best American Poetry of 2016. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (Sybaritic Press, 2014), and State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (KYSO Flash Press, 2015). Alexis is published in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Menacing Hedge, Blotterature, Slipstream, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles, Chiron Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly

 Photo by Baz Here

Ashley Inguanta is a writer and photographer who is driven by landscape, place. She is the author of three collections:The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press), For The Woman Alone (Ampersand Books), and Bomb (forthcoming with Ampersand Books in 2016). Her work has appeared in PANK, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, Bartleby Snopes, Adrienne: A Poetry Journal of Queer Women, OCHO, Corium Magazine, the Rough Magick anthology, and other literary spaces. Ashley is also the Art Director of SmokeLong Quarterly. Currently she is working with musician Sarah Morrison, creating a series of projects and performances that combine music, visual art, and language.

Jennifer Bradpiece was born and raised in the multifaceted muse, Los Angeles, where she still resides. She has her Bachelors in Creative Writing from Antioch University. When not rescuing Pit Bulls, she tries to remain active in the Los Angeles writing and art scene: she has interned at Beyond Baroque, and often collaborates with multi-media artists on projects. Her poetry has been published in various journals, anthologies, and online zines, including 491 Magazine, The Mas Tequila Review, and Redactions. She has poetry forthcoming in Rip Rap Journal and The Whiskey Fish Review among others. 

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OTIS COLLEGE GRADUATE WRITING STUDENTS read from their work

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on May 12th, 2016

Please join us for a reading with the graduate writing students of Otis College of Art and Design. The readers will include:

N.J. Arps has a lifelong fascination with art, science, and fairytales, and has always wondered whether wishing wells grant wishes first-come-first serve, or if they operate using a more need-based fulfillment system.

Emily Ansara Baines is the author of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook and The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook. Her work has appeared on Jezebel,The Huffington Post, The Independent, The Bold Italic, XOJane, Narrative, andHello Giggles, where she is a contributing writer. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and an invisible cat named Rufus. Her favorite word is murmur.

Raised in Dallas, Texas and Ontario, California, Garcia Bassier's writing shifts between poetry and prose. Her work has appeared in Torrid Literature Journal and The Corvus Review. Her current project is a book of prose poetry about growing up in the Inland Empire.

Niko Nelson is a poet living in Los Angeles and plans on leaving. She enjoys traveling at high velocities and making books, though she requests you ask in person if she has actually done so. Her sixth-month trajectory includes living in a van and reading poems to strangers on streets. Niko used to be a journalist, and will probably be one again for the money.

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INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY!

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on May 12th, 2016

Join us today as we celebrate the 3rd Annual Independent Bookstore Day! After the popularity of the innaugural Californa Bookstore Day the event has gone national and been proclaimed Independent Bookstore Day by the rest of the country! 

Today, we'll have special, limited edition items from authors and artists like Anthony Bourdain, Kate DiCamillo, Ann Patchett, and Neil Gaiman. Special non-book items include coloring books, posters, tea towels, plushies, and a 7" vinyl record. Show up early as these items will be first come, first served (one of each item per customer!).

Also, also! Skylight Books will be unveiling, for Independent Bookstore Day (!!), a special, exclusive t-shirt collaboration between Otherwild and Carolyn Pennypacker-Riggs inspired by Rad American Women A-Z: Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped History and Our Future

And finally! starting at 2pm, BouquetEssence HardenJen Wang, Charlyne Yi and friends will be reading from Rad American Women and performing the song "X is For" from the special Independent Bookstore Day vinyl record. This companion record to the NYT bestselling Rad American Women A-Z (by Kate Schatz & Miriam Klein Stahl) was created just for Independent Bookstore Day. 

Side A features "X is For...," an original alphabet song by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs of Bouquet. Side B is a lively and poetic reading of the "X" chapter from the book featuring the voices of ANGELA DAVIS, REBECCA SOLNIT, CHARLENE YI, ALICE BAG, AMINATOU SOW & ANN FRIEDMAN of Call Your Girlfriend Podcast/Empire, and many more rad women! Includes a poster with lyrics and chords, and free digital download instructions. 

Get weird/loud/sassy/soulful/rockful/thoughtful and come celebrate your love for independent bookstores the Skylight way!

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MANUEL GONZALES discusses his new book THE REGIONAL OFFICE IS UNDER ATTACK!, with JIM GAVIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on May 12th, 2016

The Regional Office is Under Attack! (Riverhead Books)

In a world beset by amassing forces of darkness, one organization the Regional Office and its coterie of super-powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation. At its helm, the mysterious Oyemi and her oracles seek out new recruits and root out evil plots. Then a prophecy suggests that someone from inside might bring about its downfall. And now, the Regional Office is under attack. 

Recruited by a defector from within, Rose is a young assassin leading the attack, eager to stretch into her powers and prove herself on her first mission. Defending the Regional Office is Sarah who may or may not have a mechanical arm fiercely devoted to the organization that took her in as a young woman in the wake of her mother's sudden disappearance. On the day that the Regional Office is attacked, Rose's and Sarah's stories will overlap, their lives will collide, and the world as they know it just might end. 

Weaving in a brilliantly conceived mythology, fantastical magical powers, teenage crushes, and kinetic fight scenes, The Regional Office Is Under Attack!"is a seismically entertaining debut novel about revenge and allegiance and love.

Praise for The Regional Office is Under Attack!

“[A] wry and propulsive work of inventive fiction by a terrific young writer! Read it!”—Jess Walter, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins

“Delightfully weird, weirdly delightful! Manuel Gonzales clearly has a labyrinth of a brain—all stuffed with monsters, trapdoors, and complicated heroes. Sign me up as a member of the fan club, please.”—Kelly Link, author of Get in Troubleand Magic for Beginners

“With exuberant prose and a corkscrew plot, Manuel Gonzales vanquishes artistic orthodoxies, tiresome genre boundaries and every humdrum narrative convention in sight, leaving in his wake a riveting story of secrets, betrayals, and vengeance!” —Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn and Gold Fame Citrus

“[A]n exciting new voice."—Aimee Bender, The New York Times Book Review

“It’s easy to compare Manuel Gonzales to George Saunders, but it would be just as easy to compare him to Borges or Márquez or Aimee Bender . . . He makes the extraordinary ordinary, and his playfulness is infectious.”—Benjamin Percy,Esquire

“Manuel Gonzales has an imagination that's as expansive and open as a Texas prairie.”—Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

“A brand-new American literary voice.”—Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet

The Regional Office is Under Attack! is wickedly subversive, suspenseful, and thoughtful, all at once—but most of all, it's just fun to read, from the first  sentence to the last. Put down your expectations and pick up this book.  It'll hit you like a lightning bolt.”—Jess Row, author of Your Face in Mine

“Wild, visionary, ablaze with heart and riot, The Regional Office is Under Attack! is unforgettable—an epic love story that confronts our future with a howl and fireworks.”—Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters

Manuel Gonzales is the author of the acclaimed story collection The Miniature Wife, winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. A graduate of the Columbia University Creative Writing Program, he teaches writing at the University of Kentucky and the Institute for American Indian Arts. He has published fiction and nonfiction in Open City, Fence, One Story, Esquire, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, andThe Believer. Gonzales lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children.

Jim Gavin’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Esquire, Slice, The Mississippi Review, andZYZZYVA. He lives in Los Angeles.

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