Archive for fiction

SKYLIT: Yxta Maya Murray, “THE WORLD DOESN”T WORK THAT WAY, BUT IT COULD”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, Short Stories, skylit by skylightbooks on September 3rd, 2020

The gripping, thought-provoking stories in Yxta Maya Murray’s latest collection find their inspiration in the headlines. Here, ordinary people negotiate tentative paths through wildfire, mass shootings, bureaucratic incompetence, and heedless government policies with vicious impacts on the innocent and helpless. A nurse volunteers to serve in catastrophe-stricken Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and discovers that her skill and compassion are useless in the face of stubborn governmental inertia. An Environmental Protection Agency employee, whose agricultural-worker parents died after long exposure to a deadly pesticide, finds herself forced to find justifications for reversing regulations that had earlier banned the chemical. A Department of Education employee in a dystopic future America visits a highly praised charter school and discovers the horrific consequences of academic failure. A transgender trainer of beauty pageant contestants takes on a beautiful Latina for the Miss USA pageant and brings her to perfection and the brink of victory, only to discover that she has a fatal secret.

The characters in The World Doesn't Work That Way, but it Could grapple with the consequences of frightening attitudes and policies pervasive in the United States today. The stories explore not only our distressing human capacity for moral numbness in the face of evil, but also reveal our surprising stores of compassion and forgiveness. These brilliantly conceived and beautifully written stories are troubling yet irresistible mirrors of our time.

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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.




SKYLIT: Vanessa Veselka, “THE GREAT OFFSHORE GROUNDS”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on August 24th, 2020

On the day of their estranged father's wedding, half sisters Cheyenne and Livy set off to claim their inheritance. It's been years since the two have seen each other. Cheyenne is newly back in Seattle, crashing with Livy after a failed marriage and a series of dead ends. Livy works refinishing boats, her resentment against her freeloading sister growing as she tamps down dreams of fishing off the coast of Alaska. But the promise of a shot at financial security brings the two together to claim what's theirs. Except, instead of money, what their father gives them is information--a name--which both reveals a stunning family secret and compels them to come to grips with it. In the face of their new reality, the sisters and their adopted brother each set out on journeys that will test their faith in one another, as well as their definitions of freedom.

Moving from Seattle's underground to the docks of the Far North, from the hideaways of the southern swamps to the storied reaches of The Great Offshore Grounds, Vanessa Veselka spins a tale with boundless verve, linguistic vitality, and undeniable tenderness.




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Christina Hammonds Reed, “THE BLACK KIDS” w/ Brandy Colbert

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Y/A, Young Adult, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on August 19th, 2020

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

The Black Kids author Christina Hammonds Reed is in conversation with award-winning author Brandy Colbert.

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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.




Karoline Waclawiak, “LIFE EVENTS” w/ Roxane Gay

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on August 14th, 2020

Karolina Waclawiak’s breakout novel, Life Events, follows Evelyn, who, at thirty-seven, is on the verge of divorce and anxiously dreading the death of everyone she loves. She combats her existential crisis by avoiding her husband and aimlessly driving along the freeways of California looking for an escape—one that eventually comes when she discovers a collective of “exit guides.” Evelyn enrolls in their training course, where she learns to provide companionship and a final exit for terminally ill patients seeking a conscious departure.

She meets Daphne, a dying woman still full of life; Lawrence, an aging porn king; and Daniel, who seems too young to die and whom Evelyn falls for, despite knowing better, not to mention the exit guide code. Each client opens something new in Evelyn, allowing her a chance to access her own grief and confront the self-destructive ways she suppresses her pain. When Evelyn travels through the Southwest to an afterlife convention to further her death education, she must finally face her complicated relationship with her alcoholic father and reconcile her life choices.

Sensitively observed and darkly funny, Life Events is a moving, enlivening story of the human condition: the doldrums of loneliness, the consuming regret of past mistakes, and the thrill, finally, of finding meaning—and love—where you least expect it.

Waclawiak is in conversation with Roxane Gay, whose writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Harper’s Bazaar, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others.

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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.




SKYLIT: Lori Lansens, “THIS LITTLE LIGHT” w/ Milan Cheylov

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on August 12th, 2020

Taking place over the course of 48 hours in 2024, This Little Light draws readers into a universe of born-again Christians and celebrity worship where abortion is once again illegal and both religion and surveillance run amok. Heroine Rory Miller and her best friend, Fee, are on the run after a bomb explodes at their elite Christian private school in their triple-gated California community during their American Chastity Ball, where girls in white gowns pledge to their fathers that they will remain virgins until marriage. As the girls struggle to survive while following their own attempted capture on social media and cable news—crowdsourced by Christian zealots and bounty hunters—Rory blogs their story in real time, determined to leave behind a record in their own words in case they don’t make it out alive.
 
In This Little Light, bestselling author Lori Lansens weaves together the pressing issues of our time—women’s rights, income disparity, religion and politics, immigration—and di˝ uses them through the authentic voice of a 16-year-old navigating a frightening reality. The result is an intense, urgent, and enthralling read about an all-too-believable near future—and the world we already live in.

Lansens is in conversation with husband and TV producer Milan Cheylov.

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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: Aimee Bender, “THE BUTTERFLY LAMPSHADE” w/ Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2020

On the night her single mother is taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, eight year-old Francie is staying with her babysitter, waiting to take the train to Los Angeles to go live with her aunt and uncle. There is a lovely lamp next to the couch on which she’s sleeping, the shade adorned with butterflies. When she wakes, Francie spies a dead butterfly, exactly matching the ones on the lamp, floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before the babysitter can see.

Twenty years later, Francie is compelled to make sense of that moment, and two other incidents — her discovery of a desiccated beetle from a school paper, and a bouquet of dried roses from some curtains. Her recall is exact — she is sure these things happened. But despite her certainty, she wrestles with the hold these memories maintain over her, and what they say about her own place in the world.

As Francie conjures her past and reduces her engagement with the world to a bare minimum, she begins to question her relationship to reality. The scenes set in Francie’s past glow with the intensity of childhood perception, how physical objects can take on an otherworldly power. The question for Francie is, What do these events signify? And does this power survive childhood?

Told in the lush, lilting prose that led the San Francisco Chronicle to say Aimee Bender is “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language,” The Butterfly Lampshade is a heartfelt and heartbreaking examination of the sometimes overwhelming power of the material world, and a broken love between mother and child.

Bender is in conversation with Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, the author of two novels—Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize.

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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.




SKYLIT: Arthur Nersesian, “THE FIVE BOOKS OF (ROBERT) MOSES” w/ Johnny Temple

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on July 27th, 2020

After a domestic terrorist unleashes a dirty bomb in Manhattan in 1970, making the borough uninhabitable, FBI agent Uli Sarkisian finds himself in a world that is suddenly unrecognizable as the United States is faced with its greatest immigration crisis ever: finding housing for millions of its own citizens. The federal government hastily retrofits an abandoned military installation in the Nevada desert, vast in size. Despite the government's best intentions, as the military pulls out of "Rescue City," the residents are increasingly left to their own devices, and tribal warfare fuses with democracy, forming a frightening evolution of the two-party system: the gangocracy. Years after the Manhattan cleanup was supposed to have been finished, Uli travels through this bizarre new New York City, where he is forced to reckon with his past, while desperately trying to get out alive.

 

The Five Books of (Robert) Moses alternates between the outrageous present of Rescue City and earlier in the twentieth century, detailing the events leading up to the destruction of Manhattan. We simultaneously follow legendary urban planner Robert Moses through his early years and are introduced to his equally ambitious older brother Paul, a brilliant electrical engineer whose jealousy toward Robert and anger at the devastation caused by the man's "urban renewal" projects lead to a dire outcome.

 

Arthur Nersesian's most important work to date examines the political chaos of today's world through the lens of the past. Fictional versions of real historical figures populate the pages, from major politicians and downtown drag queens to notorious revolutionaries and obscure poets.

 

Nersesian is in conversation with musician Johnny Temple.

 

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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.




SKYLIT: Kristen Millares Young, “SUBDUCTION”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on July 17th, 2020

Subduction by Kristen Millares Young

Fleeing the shattered remains of her marriage and a betrayal by her sister, in the throes of a midlife freefall, Latina anthropologist Claudia Ranks retreats from Seattle to Neah Bay, a Native American whaling village on the jagged Pacific coast. Claudia yearns to lose herself to the songs of the tribe and the secrets of her guide, a spirited hoarder named Maggie. But when, spurred by his mother’s failing memory, Maggie’s prodigal son Peter returns seeking answers to his father’s murder, Claudia discovers in him the abandon she craves. Through the passionate and violent collision of these two outsiders, Subduction portrays not only their strange allegiance after grievous losses but also their imperfect attempts to find community on the Makah Indian Reservation.

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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: Brandy Colbert, “THE VOTING BOOTH” w/ Nina Lacour

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on July 15th, 2020

Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She's always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?

Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band's first paying gig tonight.

Only problem? Duke can't vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn't spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.

And that's how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva's missing cat), it's clear that there's more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.

Romantic and triumphant, The Voting Booth is proof that you can't sit around waiting for the world to change?but some things are just meant to be.

Author Brandy Colbert is in conversation with Nina Lacour, author of the widely acclaimed Hold StillThe Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You, and the Michael L. Printz Award-winner, We Are Okay.

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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: Rosalie Knecht, “VERA KELLY IS NOT A MYSTERY” w/ Amy Stewart

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, mystery by skylightbooks on July 3rd, 2020

When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective. Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape. Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dominican exiles to the Caribbean. Forever looking over her shoulder, she nearly misses what’s right in front of her: her own desire for home, connection, and a new romance at the local bar.

In Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery, the exciting second installment of the Vera Kelly series, Rosalie Knecht challenges and deepens the Vera we love: a woman of sparkling wit, deep moral fiber, and martini-dry humor who knows how to follow a case even as she struggles to follow her heart.

The “splendid genre-pushing” (People) Vera Kelly series returns in full force as our recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine travels from Brooklyn to a sprawling countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator.

Knecht is joined in conversation by Amy Stewart, best-selling author of the Kopp Sisters series, which are based on the true story of one of America’s first female deputy sheriffs and her two rambunctious sisters.

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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: Sara Sligar and Amy Jo Burns

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on July 1st, 2020

Skylight Events are now on Crowdcast!

Our Crowdcast debut features Sara Sligar (Take Me Apart) and Amy Jo Burns (Shiner) in conversation, discussing their respective books.

Take Me Apart by Sara Silgar

A young archivist’s obsession with her subject’s mysterious death threatens to destroy her fragile grasp on sanity, in a riveting debut novel of psychological suspense

When the famed photographer Miranda Brand died mysteriously at the height of her career, it sent shock waves through Callinas, California. Decades later, old wounds are reopened when her son, Theo, hires the ex-journalist Kate Aitken to create an archive of his mother’s work.

From Miranda’s vast maze of personal effects, Kate pieces together a portrait of a vibrant artist buckling under the pressures of ambition, motherhood, and marriage. As the summer progresses, Kate navigates vicious local rumors and her growing attraction to the enigmatic Theo, all while unearthing the shocking details of Miranda’s private life. But Kate has secrets of her own, and when she stumbles across a diary that may finally resolve the mystery of Miranda’s death, her curiosity starts to spiral into a dangerous obsession.

Shiner by Amy Jo Burns

On a lush mountaintop trapped in time, two women vow to protect each other at all costs-and one young girl must defy her father to survive.

An hour from the closest West Virginia mining town, fifteen-year-old Wren Bird lives in a cloistered mountain cabin with her parents. They have no car, no mailbox, and no visitors-except for her mother’s lifelong best friend. Every Sunday, Wren’s father delivers winding sermons in an abandoned gas station, where he takes up serpents and praises the Lord for his blighted white eye, proof of his divinity and key to the hold he has over the community, over Wren and her mother. 

But over the course of one summer, a miracle performed by Wren’s father quickly turns to tragedy. As the order of her world begins to shatter, Wren must uncover the truth of her father’s mysterious legend and her mother’s harrowing history and complex bond with her best friend. And with that newfound knowledge, Wren can imagine a different future for herself than she has been told to expect. 

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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: Yuri Herrera, “A SILENT FURY” w/ John Gibler

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on June 27th, 2020

We're taking a break from producing Handsell episodes for a bit, so we're going to give you guys an extra Skylit episode to get you through the weekend!

On March 10, 1920, in Pachuca, Mexico, the Compañía de Santa Gertrudis — the largest employer in the region, and a subsidiary of the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company — may have committed murder. 

The alert was first raised at six in the morning: a fire was tearing through the El Bordo mine. After a brief evacuation, the mouths of the shafts were sealed. Company representatives hastened to assert that “no more than ten” men remained inside the mineshafts, and that all ten were most certainly dead. Yet when the mine was opened six days later, the death toll was not ten, but eighty-seven. And there were seven survivors.

A century later, acclaimed novelist Yuri Herrera has reconstructed a workers’ tragedy at once globally resonant and deeply personal: Pachuca is his hometown. A Silent Fury is an act of restitution for the victims and their families, bringing his full force of evocation to bear on the injustices that suffocated this horrific event into silence.

Herrera is in conversation with John Gibler, author of TORN FROM THE WORLD

 

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




LIVE ON ZOOM: Bethany C. Morrow, “A SONG BELOW WATER” w/ Mark Oshiro

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Y/A, Young Adult, Fantasy, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on June 26th, 2020

Bethany C. Morrow's A Song Below Water is the story for today’s readers — a captivating modern fantasy about black mermaids, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today's racism and sexism. In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.

Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year. But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.

Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.

Morrow is in conversation with Mark Oshiro, the author of Anger is a Gift.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




Pedro Jiménez & Matthew Gleeson, “EARTHLY DAYS BY JOSÉ REVUELTAS”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, translated, novels, Mexico, latinx by skylightbooks on June 24th, 2020

Publisher Pedro Jiménez and translator Matthew Gleeson get together to discuss the first-ever English translation of José Revueltas's "most accomplished and controversial novel," Earthly Days.

Like Joyce, Revueltas allows the reader to view the inner depths of his characters; like Proust, he meticulously examines memories, thoughts, and feelings; like Dostoyevsky, he focuses his gaze on the darkest passages of the soul; like Sartre, he dwells on the nausea of existence; and like Simone de Beauvoir, he reflects on the possibility of a new woman, leftist and liberated. Revueltas preceded writers of the Latin American boom such as Cort zar, Garc a M rquez, and even Juan Rulfo, authors who achieved the reputation and fame that Revueltas was denied. If one may have differences with his style or ideology, the structure of the book is impeccable. Each chapter is a perfect story, woven together by an Ariadne-like thread that unites all parts. To conceptually define the book, I would have to coin the oxymoronic term "existentialist Marxism," because Revueltas never ceased to be a disciple of Marx; nevertheless, his vision of humanity is brutally negative and ferocious. In a world bereft of God, all that was left for him to describe was our earthly days, "atrocious human life.




Jean Kyoung Frazier, “PIZZA GIRL”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on June 17th, 2020

In the tradition of audacious and wryly funny novels like The Idiot and Convenience Store Woman comes the wildly original coming-of-age story of a pregnant pizza delivery girl who becomes obsessed with one of her customers.**

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our charmingly dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She's grieving the death of her father (whom she has more in common with than she'd like to admit), avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighborhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickled-covered pizzas for her son's happiness. As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.

Bold, tender, propulsive, and unexpected in countless ways, Jean Kyoung Frazier's Pizza Girl is a moving and funny portrait of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she tries to find her place in the world.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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





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