Archive for literature

Jaime Hernandez, “IS THIS HOW YOU SEE ME?” w/ Nina Gregory

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, Comics/Graphic Novels, fiction by skylightbooks on May 17th, 2019

In Love and Rockets, Jaime Hernandez has followed the lives of his queer, Chicano cast of characters for over 30 years of romance, heartbreak, and the self-awareness that comes with age. Is This How You See Me? hones in on Jaime’s two most beloved characters, Maggie and Hopey, flashing backward and forward in time to reveal how the passage of time has molded these young LA punks into complex, middle-aged women. An intimate look at how people change and drift apart, yet remain deeply affected by their formative years, this graphic novel brings Hernandez’s L&R series full circle.

Hernandez is in conversation with Nina Gregory, senior editor for NPR's Arts Desk.

Sehba Sarwar, “BLACK WINGS”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on May 15th, 2019

Spanning two continents, Sehba Sarwar's Black Wings is the story of Laila and Yasmeen, a mother and daughter, struggling to meet across the generations, cultures, and secrets that separate them. Their shared grief, as well as the common bond of unhappiness in their marriages, allows them to reconnect after seventeen years of frustration, anger and misunderstandings.

Laila Lalami, “THE OTHER AMERICANS” w/ Charles Finch

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, mystery by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2019

From Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami comes The Other Americans, a timely and powerful new novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant--at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.

Late one spring night, as Driss Guerraoui is walking across a darkened intersection in California, he's killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui's daughter Nora, a jazz composer who returns to the small town in the Mojave she thought she'd left for good; his widow, Maryam, who still pines after her life in the old country; Efraín, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora's and an Iraqi War veteran; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son's secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself. 

As the characters--deeply divided by race, religion, and class--tell their stories, connections among them emerge, even as Driss's family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love--messy and unpredictable--is born.

Lalami is in conversation with Charles Finch, bestselling author of the Charles Lenox mysteries.

Sally Rooney, “NORMAL PEOPLE” w/ Karolina Waclawiak

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction by skylightbooks on May 2nd, 2019

Sally Rooney’s award-winning and critically lauded debut novel, Conversations with Friendsintroduced her as a fiercely intelligent new voice in literary fiction and set the book world buzzing. Praised by the likes of Zadie Smith, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Celeste Ng, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award–winning author has been hailed as “the first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism.” Now, Rooney brings her remarkable psychological acuity and sharp, exacting prose to her highly anticipated second novel, Normal People.

Marianne and Connell grow up in the same small town in Ireland, but they live in different worlds. Connell is the school’s top football player, a star student, popular and admired. Marianne is a stubborn outcast, uninterested in winning the affection of her peers. Unbeknown to their classmates, Marianne’s family employs Connell’s mother as a cleaner. Despite the gulf separating their social and economic lives, the teenagers share an undeniable connection, and the two embark on a relationship that will test the limits of what they know about each other—and themselves. When Connell and Marianne are both accepted to study at Trinity College, their dynamic is turned upside down. Marianne thrives in the rarefied social life she finds on campus, while Connell hovers on the periphery, fumbling to find his footing. As they confront the power and danger of intimacy throughout their years in college, they are forced to find out how far they will go to save each other.

Rooney is in conversation with Karolina Waclawiak, author of How to Get Into the Twin Palms and THE INVADERS.

Kenji C. Liu and Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, poetry by skylightbooks on May 1st, 2019

Using an invented poetry method called frankenpo (frankenstein poetry), Kenji C. Liu takes existing texts and remixes them, creating multi-faceted poems that investigate the relationship between toxic masculinity and forms of violence plaguing our modern society. In Monsters I Have Been, Liu also explores the male-male erotic and marginalized masculinities that are urgently needed as a counterweight to today’s dominant hypermasculinity. By challenging perceived gender norms with his playful, yet poignant, new form, the reader is directed toward a wider, more inclusive definition ofwhat it means to be a "man."

Winner of the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, The Inheritance of Haunting, by Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, is a collection of poems contending with historical memory and its losses and gains carried within the body, wrought through colonization and its generations of violence, war, and survival.

The driving forces behind Rhodes’s work include a decolonizing ethos; a queer sensibility that extends beyond sexual and gender identities to include a politics of deviance; errantry; ramshackled bodies; and forms of loving and living that persist in their wild difference. Invoking individual and collective ghosts inherited across diverse geographies, this collection queers the space between past, present, and future. In these poems, haunting is a kind of memory weaving that can bestow a freedom from the attenuations of the so-called American dream, which, according to Rhodes, is a nightmare of assimilation, conquest, and genocide. How love unfolds is also a Big Bang emergence into life—a way to, again and again, cut the future open, open up the opening, undertake it, begin.

These poems are written for immigrants, queer and transgender people of color, women, Latin Americans, diasporic communities, and the many impacted by war.


Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, Comics/Graphic Novels, fiction by skylightbooks on April 29th, 2019

When a group of outcasts have to leave the valley, how will they survive the toxicity of the big city?

Richard is a benevolent but tough leader. He oversees everything that happens in the valley, and everyone loves him for it. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his friends—Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog, and Ellie Squirrel—take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard’s strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they’ve ever known.

Michael DeForge’s Leaving Richard’s Valley expands from a bizarre hero’s quest into something more. As this ragtag group makes their way out of the valley, and then out of the park and into the big city, we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters, and more. DeForge is idiosyncratically funny but also deeply insightful about community, cults of personality, and the condo-ization of cities. These eye-catching and sometimes absurd comics coalesce into a book that questions who our cities are for and how we make community in a capitalist society.

Six Years of Unnamed Press w/ Mukherjee, Nemett, & Decker

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction by skylightbooks on April 25th, 2019

Join us for a celebration of Los Angeles's own Unnamed Press featuring their two most recent releases: The Body Myth by Rheea Mukherjee and We Can Save Us All by Adam Nemett

Mukherjee and Nemett are in conversation with actress and director Josephine Decker.

G. Willow Wilson, “THE BIRD KING”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction by skylightbooks on April 22nd, 2019

It’s 1491 and a party representing the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrives to negotiate the terms of the sultan’s surrender, but Hassan has a secret—he can make maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality with his pen and paper. His magical gift, which has proven useful to the sultan’s armies in wartime and entertained a bored Fatima who has never stepped foot outside the palace walls, could now be seen as sorcery and a threat to the Christian Spanish rule. Fatima befriends one of the women, little realizing that her new friend Luz represents the Inquisition and soon Fatima must risk everything to save Hassan, and taste the freedom she has never known.

As Fatima and Hassan flee the forces of the Inquistion in search of safe harbor, they are helped along the way by a jinn who has taken a liking to them—Vikram the Vampire, who readers may remember from Alif the Unseen.

The Bird King is an epic adventure from an essential voice in American fiction. It is a jubilant story that challenges us to consider what true love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

Aatif Rashid, “Portrait of Sebastian Khan”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction by skylightbooks on March 29th, 2019

For art-loving (and lady-loving) Sebastian Khan, does college really have to end?

Sebastian Khan is 380 days away from the end of college. An art history major with a fondness for the Pre-Raphaelites and a dislike of long-term commitments (romantic and otherwise), Sebastian starts dating Fatima, who’s determined to transition smoothly from campus life to a stable white-collar professional career. Sebastian’s membership in Model United Nations, though, takes him to colleges across North America, foisting upon him all manner of temptations and testing his commitment to Fatima and his readiness for adulthood.

Part satire of college life circa 2011 and part serious exploration of art’s fundamental unreality, Portrait of Sebastian Khan is a humorous coming-of-age novel about a charismatic but emotionally stunted Muslim American Don Draper, who wins as many hearts as he breaks.

Mark Doten, “TRUMP SKY ALPHA” w/ Nathan Deuel

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction by skylightbooks on March 27th, 2019

Twice a week, the president pilots his ultraluxury airship Trump Sky Alpha between DC, NYC, and Mar-a-Lago, delivering a streaming YouTube address to the nation. In this speech he trumpets his successes and blasts his enemies, until one day his words plunge the world into nuclear war. One year later, with 90 percent of the world’s population destroyed, a journalist named Rachel has taken refuge in the Twin Cities Metro Containment Zone. Rachel accepts an assignment to document the final throes of humor on the internet in those moments before the war, hoping along the way to discover the final resting place of her wife and daughter.

What she uncovers in an archive of the internet’s remnants, hidden amid spiraling memes and Twitter jokes, are references to a little-known book that inspired a shadowy hacktivist group called the Aviary. Their role in the downfall of the internet, and the enigmatic presence of a figure known only as Birdcrash, take on immense and terrifying dimensions as Rachel ventures further into the ruins of the internet. Mark Doten, author of The Infernal, brilliantly details how the internet has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, laying the groundwork for the tumult of our current political moment and for the future headed our way.

Doten is in conversation with Nathan Deuel, author of Friday Was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East.


Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, novels by skylightbooks on March 25th, 2019

how does a person dislodge the scenes
that burn inside them like arsoned cars?

Ali Liebegott is reeling from a fresh, painful divorce. She wallows in grief and overassigns meaning to everyday circumstance, clinging to an aging Dalmatian and obsessing over dead birds. Going through the motions of teaching and walking her dog, she eventually decides to hit the road: Ali and Rorschach at the Center of the World.

This autobiographical novel-in-verse, The Summer of Dead Things, is a chronicle of mourning and survival, documenting depression and picking apart failed intimacy. But Ali Liebegott’s poetry is laced with compassion, for herself and the reader and the world, as she learns to balance the sting of death with the tender strangeness of life. 

Liebegott is joined in conversation by Michelle Tea, the author of the young adult novels Mermaid in Chelsea Creek and Girl at the Bottom of the Sea, as well as numerous books for grown-ups.


Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on March 13th, 2019

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband's frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.

In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, twenty-six-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her twelfth birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano's being moved--and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be...


UC Irvine MFA Student Reading

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, poetry, fiction, Short Stories, nonfiction, anthology by skylightbooks on March 11th, 2019

Please join us for an evening with UC Irvine MFA students Mason BoylesJustine YanKatherine Damm, and Daniel Levin as they read from their work. 


Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction by skylightbooks on March 7th, 2019

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy's scent--from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers--he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that's come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

Nikki Darling, “FADE INTO YOU”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction by skylightbooks on February 26th, 2019

In this debut work of autofiction, high school junior Nikki Darling roams the uncanny suburban sprawl of the San Gabriel Valley. Nikki is ambivalent about her grades and even about showing up for class, instead flitting between a series of irresponsible and nominally illegal adolescent experiences. Left to her own devices by absent parents, she flings herself into punk music and counterculture, hoping to evade the intergenerational silence passed down through the women in her family. Fade Into You is a poignant reminder of how it feels to be a young girl both trapped and set free by looming future expectations, and a tribute to the discomfort and joy of growing up in the in-between—between Mexican and white, earnest and unruly, street smart and vulnerable.

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