Archive for essays

SKYLIT: Aisha Redux, “STUPID BLACK GIRL”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, BIPOC by skylightbooks on August 28th, 2020
In this book, a first generation American New Yorker uses her bold voice to share life experiences through the lens of race, culture, and spirituality. Exploring topics ranging from night terrors, to schizophrenia, to gentrification, to the author's personal September 11th story. Illustrated with stunning artwork created in response to the essays, this book is a unique collection.

Aisha Redux was raised in New York City by parents who emigrated from West Africa. She is now living in the South Bronx. Stupid Black Girl is her debut title.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Wayne Koestenbaum, “FIGURE IT OUT” w/ Maggie Nelson

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, essays, LGBTQ by skylightbooks on July 8th, 2020

In his new nonfiction collection, poet, artist, critic, novelist, and performer Wayne Koestenbaum enacts twenty-six ecstatic collisions between his mind and the world. A subway passenger’s leather bracelet prompts musings on the German word for “stranger”; Montaigne leads to the memory of a fourth-grade friend’s stinky feet. Wayne dreams about a handjob from John Ashbery, swims next to Nicole Kidman, reclaims Robert Rauschenberg’s squeegee, and apotheosizes Marguerite Duras as a destroyer of sentences. He directly proposes assignments to readers: “Buy a one-dollar cactus, and start anthropomorphizing it. Call it Sabrina.” “Describe an ungenerous or unkind act you have committed.” “Find in every orgasm an encyclopedic richness . . . Reimagine doing the laundry as having an orgasm, and reinterpret orgasm as not a tiny experience, temporally limited, occurring in a single human body, but as an experience that somehow touches on all of human history.” Figure It Out is both a guidebook for, and the embodiment of, the practices of pleasure, attentiveness, art, and play.

Koestenbaum is in conversation with Maggie Nelson, author of nine books of poetry and prose, including the National Book Critics Circle Award winner The ArgonautsThe Art of Cruelty: A ReckoningBluetsThe Red Parts, and Jane: A Murder.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




LIVE ON ZOOM: “OBJECT LESSONS” Group Reading

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on June 29th, 2020

Object Lessons is a series of concise, collectable, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Each book starts from a specific inspiration: an historical event, a literary passage, a personal narrative, a technological innovation-and from that starting point explores the object of the title, gleaning a singular lesson or multiple lessons along the way. Featuring contributions from writers, artists, scholars, journalists, and others, the emphasis throughout is lucid writing, imagination, and brevity. Object Lessons paints a picture of the world around us, and tells the story of how we got here, one object at a time.

Our readers are Dinah Lenney, Steve Mentz, Steven E. Jones, Rolf Halden, and Erik Anderson.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

 




WRITEGIRL 4 Group Reading

Posted in skylight books, poetry, fiction, Feminism, Short Stories, nonfiction, anthology, essays by skylightbooks on March 10th, 2020

WriteGirl is an innovative nonprofit organization that empowers teen girls through creative writing. Join us for this special chance to hear WriteGirl teens speak their minds and read their original poetry and prose. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be surprised—you won’t want to miss it! 

In WriteGirl’s new award-winning anthology, This Moment: Bold Voices from WriteGirl, 180 teens share stories, poems, memoirs, scripts and songs about their hopes and fears, loves and losses, amigas and pan dulce, as they navigate a challenging present and uncertain future with determination and grace. Their words inspire reflection and ignite action. The book includes a Creativity Starter Kit with 15 fresh writing activities to inspire young writers. This Moment is available for purchase at Skylight Books.




Ejeris Dixon & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, “BEYOND SURVIVAL” w/ Guests

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Crime, nonfiction, anthology, essays, activism, politics by skylightbooks on March 4th, 2020

Afraid to call 911, but not sure what to do instead? Read this book! Beyond Survival collects tools, strategies and personal stories of the struggle to create safety, justice and accountability beyond the criminal justice system. 

This long-awaited and deeply necessary book documents some of the work of the transformative justice movement- collecting everything from personal stories of successful interventions in abuse and violence to guides to being accountable if you’ve been abusive, from strategies to support folks having emotional crises without calling 911 to toolkits for creating safer party spaces and community safety zones from ICE.  Along the way, there’s plenty of personal essays and reflections from long time organizers on the state of the movement, and visions for the future we’re building that will bring us all home.  

Editors Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha are in conversation with activist-contributors Amita Swadhin and Raquel Lavina.

 




Molly Lambert, Geoff Dyer and Tosh Berman discuss “I USED TO BE CHARMING: THE REST OF EVE BABITZ”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism, biography by skylightbooks on November 1st, 2019

Eve Babitz knew everyone, tried everything (at least once), and was never shy about sharing her thoughts on any subject, be it sex, weight loss, drug use, or her ambivalence toward New York City. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Babitz wrote on a wild variety of topics for some of the biggest publications around, from Esquire to Vogue to The New York Times Book ReviewI Used to Be Charming brings together this nonfiction work. All previously uncollected, these pieces range from sharp personal essays on body image and the male gaze to playful meditations on everything from ballroom dancing to kissing to perfume. There are breathtaking celebrity profiles, too. In one, Nicolas Cage takes her for a ride in his '67 Stingray and in another she dishes about dragging Jim Morrison to bed before the Doors had even settled on a band name ("Jim was embarrassing because he wasn't cool, but I still loved him," she writes). In another essay, the author ponders her earliest days in the spotlight, posing nude with Marcel Duchamp, and in another, the never-before-published title essay, she writes about the tragic accident that compelled her to leave that spotlight behind forever.




Mike Pearl, “THE DAY IT FINALLY HAPPENS” w/ Brian Merchant

Posted in , skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, technology by skylightbooks on October 28th, 2019

If you live on planet Earth you’re probably scared of the future. How could you not be? Some of the world’s most stable democracies are looking pretty shaky. Technology is invading personal relationships and taking over jobs. Relations among the three superpowers—the US, China, and Russia—are growing more complicated and dangerous. A person watching the news has to wonder: is it safe to go out there or not?

Taking inspiration from his virally popular Vice column “How Scared Should I Be?,” Mike Pearl in The Day It Finally Happens games out many of the “could it really happen?” scenarios we’ve all speculated about, assigning a probability rating, and taking us through how it would unfold. He explores what would likely occur in dozens of possible scenarios—among them the final failure of antibiotics, the loss of the world’s marine life, a complete ban on guns in the US, and even the arrival of aliens—and reports back from the future, providing a clear picture of how the world would look, feel, and even smell in each of these instances.

Pearl is in conversation with Brian Merchant, a journalist, producer, and author, focusing on science & technology.




Leslie Jamison, “MAKE IT SCREAM, MAKE IT BURN” w/ Chris Kraus

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays by skylightbooks on October 24th, 2019

With the virtuosic synthesis of memoir, criticism, and journalism for which she has become known, Leslie Jamison offers us fourteen new essays that are by turns ecstatic, searching, staggering, and wise. In its kaleidoscopic sweep, Make It Scream, Make It Burn creates a profound exploration of the oceanic depths of longing and the reverberations of obsession.

Among Jamison’s subjects are 52 Blue, deemed “the loneliest whale in the world”; the eerie past-life memories of children; the devoted citizens of an online world called Second Life; the haunted landscape of the Sri Lankan Civil War; and an entire museum dedicated to the relics of broken relationships. Jamison follows these examinations to more personal reckonings — with elusive men and ruptured romances, with marriage and maternity — in essays about eloping in Las Vegas, becoming a stepmother, and giving birth.

Jamison is in conversation with Chris Kraus, the author of four novels and three books of art and cultural criticism.




Jess Row, “WHITE FLIGHTS”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on October 3rd, 2019

At the heart of White Flights, a meditation on whiteness in American fiction and culture, Jess Row ties “white flight”—the movement of white Americans into segregated communities, whether in suburbs or newly gentrified downtowns—to white writers setting their stories in isolated or emotionally insulated landscapes. Row uses brilliant close readings of work from well-known writers such as Don DeLillo, Annie Dillard, Richard Ford, and David Foster Wallace to examine the ways these and other writers have sought imaginative space for themselves at the expense of engaging with race.




INTERSECTIONALLIES

Posted in , skylight books, book stores, books, Y/A, Young Adult, Children's Fiction, nonfiction, essays, LGBTQ by skylightbooks on August 13th, 2019

In poetic stanzas, IntersectionAllies introduces the stories of nine kids from diverse backgrounds. Authors Carolyn Choi, LaToya Council, and Chelsea Johnson use each character’s story to explain how children’s safety concerns are shaped by their intersecting identities, such as class, sexuality, dis/ability, race, religion, and citizenship—what is known in academic and activist circles as “intersectionality."

 

IntersectionAllies features introductions by law professor Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term intersectionality, and Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, author of Intersectionality: An Intellectual History, and artwork by illustrator Ashley Seil Smith. The stories in IntersectionAllies also suggest ways in which friends can support one another, or be an “ally,” despite different positions in life. The authors believe that forward-looking feminism must start with children, and IntersectionAllies shows that children’s literaturecan be the gateway to educating entire households.




Johanna Fateman and Amy Scholder, “LAST DAYS AT HOT SLIT”

Posted in , skylight books, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, essays, biography by skylightbooks on April 30th, 2019

Radical feminist author Andrea Dworkin was a caricature of misandrist extremism in the popular imagination and a polarizing figure within the women's movement, infamous for her antipornography stance and her role in the feminist sex wars of the 1980s. She still looms large in feminist demands for sexual freedom, evoked as a censorial demagogue, more than a decade after her death. Among the very first writers to use her own experiences of rape and battery in a revolutionary analysis of male supremacy, Dworkin was a philosopher outside and against the academy who wrote with a singular, apocalyptic urgency.

Last Days at Hot Slit brings together selections from Dworkin's work, both fiction and nonfiction, with the aim of putting the contentious positions she's best known for in dialogue with her literary oeuvre. The collection charts her path from the militant primer Woman Hating (1974), to the formally complex polemics of Pornography (1979) and Intercourse (1987) and the raw experimentalism of her final novel Mercy (1990). It also includes "Goodbye to All This" (1983), a scathing chapter from an unpublished manuscript that calls out her feminist adversaries, and "My Suicide" (1999), a despairing long-form essay found on her hard drive after her death in 2005.




T. Kira Madden, “LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS GIRLS” w/ Allie Rowbottom

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, biography by skylightbooks on April 24th, 2019

Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden’s raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.

As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.

With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai’i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It’s a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.

Madden is in conversation with Allie Rowbottom, author of Jell-O Girls.




Brittany Ackerman, “THE PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE” w/ Davy Rothbart

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on January 23rd, 2019

When my brother was in high school he attempted to build a perpetual motion machine to save the world. That machine was my brother's experiment; this book is mine. It is in the text where I dissect our relationship and try to understand myself. In undertaking this project, I had to research, which meant looking at photo albums, interviewing my brother and parents, asking friends and family what I was like when I was little, etc. Like my brother once said after reading my work, "We color these memories differently," I knew that in order to methodically calculate the moments I had to meticulously plot out what it was I was trying to say. In this way, the collection is like a science project. This book is how I will try to save my brother, or more largely how I will attempt to save the world by making people understand the pain we've all been through, the visceral pain that accompanies longing for some past impossibility. My preparation has been "in the field" and living through it, gathering notes, experiences, and findings; it has all been one giant experiment--to see if we could make it out alive.

Ackerman is in conversation with Davy Rothbart, a bestselling author, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, creator of Found Magazine, and contributor to public radio's This American Life.




Heather Havrilesky, “WHAT IF THIS WERE ENOUGH?” w/ Ann Friedman

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2018

Why do our modern lives feel more difficult despite the world’s promises of limitless opportunity? When things go wrong, why do we always blame ourselves? We live in a time of extreme delusion, disorientation, and dishonestly — yet despite our uncertainties, anxieties, and resentments, we’re nevertheless instructed to sweep all hesitations or doubts under the rug and continue to fearlessly conquer the future.

How did we get here? And more importantly — can we imagine a different way of living?

In What if this Were Enough?Heather Havrilesky examines just how we’ve landed in this bewildering spot in our collective history — how traditions of forced cheer and optimism, along with our fixation on success and constant improvement have been ingested and metabolized to become a warped filter through which we see ourselves and others.

Havrilesky is in conversation with journalist and cultural critic Ann Friedman.




David Ulin, “THE LOST ART OF READING”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on September 10th, 2018

The new introduction and afterword bring fresh relevance to this insightful rumination on the act of reading--as a path to critical thinking, individual and political identity, civic engagement, and resistance.

Former LA Times book critic David Ulin expands his short book The Lost Art of Reading, rich in ideas, on the consequence of reading to include the considerations of fake news, siloed information, and the connections between critical thinking as the key component of engaged citizenship and resistance. Here is the case for reading as a political act in both public and private gestures, and for the ways it enlarges the world and our frames of reference, all the while keeping us engaged.





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