Archive for literature

LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Fariha Róisín, “LIKE A BIRD” w/ Tanaïs

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, novels by skylightbooks on September 16th, 2020

Taylia Chatterjee has never known love, and certainly has never felt it for herself. Growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, with her older sister Alyssa, their parents were both overbearing and emotionally distant, and despite idyllic summers in the Catskills, and gatherings with glamorous family friends, there is a sadness that emanates from the Chatterjee residence, a deep well of sorrow stemming from the racism of American society.

After a violent sexual assault, Taylia is disowned by her parents and suddenly forced to move out. As Taylia looks to the city, the ghost of her Indian grandmother dadi-ma is always one step ahead, while another more troubling ghost chases after her. Determined to have the courage to confront the pain that her family can’t face, Taylia finds work at a neighborhood café owned by single mother and spiritualist, Kat. Taylia quickly builds a constellation of friends and lovers on her own, daring herself to be open to new experiences, even as they call into question what she thought she knew about the past.

Taylia's story is about survival, coming to terms with her past and looking forward to a future she never felt she was allowed to claim. Writing this for eighteen years, poet and activist Fariha Róisín’s debut novel Like a Bird is an intense, provocative, and emotionally profound portrait of an inner life in turmoil and the redemptive power of community and love.

Róisín is in conversation with New York author Tanaïs. 

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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: Daniel Mendelsohn, “THREE RINGS”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, history, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on September 14th, 2020

In this genre-defying book, best-selling memoirist and critic Daniel Mendelsohn explores the mysterious links between the randomness of the lives we lead and the artfulness of the stories we tell.

Combining memoir, biography, history, and literary criticism, Three Rings weaves together the stories of three exiled writers who turned to the classics of the past to create masterpieces of their own--works that pondered the nature of narrative itself. Erich Auerbach, the Jewish philologist who fled Hitler's Germany and wrote his classic study of Western literature, Mimesis, in Istanbul... Fran ois F nelon, the seventeenth-century French archbishop whose ingenious sequel to the Odyssey, The Adventures of Telemachus--a veiled critique of the Sun King and the best-selling book in Europe for one hundred years--resulted in his banishment... and the German novelist W. G. Sebald, self-exiled to England, whose distinctively meandering narratives explore Odyssean themes of displacement, nostalgia, and separation from home.

Intertwined with these tales of exile and artistic crisis is an account of Mendelsohn's struggles to write two of his own books--a family saga of the Holocaust and a memoir about reading the Odyssey with his elderly father--that are haunted by tales of oppression and wandering. As Three Rings moves to its startling conclusion, a climactic revelation about the way in which the lives of its three heroes were linked across borders, languages, and centuries forces the reader to reconsider the relationship between narrative and history, art and life.

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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: Rory Waterman, “SWEET NOTHINGS” w/ Andre Naffis-Sahely

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, poetry by skylightbooks on September 12th, 2020
Sweet Nothings is about absences, how they tempt us, and sometimes what they make us do. An absence is a conjuration, not palpably present in longing, imagination or dream. We are lured on by absences, and how they call to us, in Thomas Hardy's memorable phrase.

Rory Waterman's poems sometimes come in sequences; always they are in dialogue with one another, responding, echoing - within and between the book's two sections. At times, the leitmotifs are apparently personal, exploring divisions and painful losses. But we also encounter the largely invented academic Dr Bob Pintle, promoted at work since his cameo in Waterman's previous book, an anti-hero of the modern university system. In this book we also find the zero football score, the zero scores in life's more significant conflicts, and an obverse: the desire to settle at nothing, or for nothing less than what life might offer. Sweet Nothings is in fact a book of hopes and passions - quiet and lyrical at times, but also fiercely witty and bold.

 
Waterman is in conversation with fellow poet Andre Naffis-Sahely.

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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: Bett Williams, “THE WILD KINDNESS” w/ Michelle Tea

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Drugs, nonfiction, spirituality by skylightbooks on September 10th, 2020

The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Odyssey is the lyrical, unforgettable memoir of Bett Williams's relationship with psilocybin mushrooms, otherwise known as magic mushrooms. In pursuit of self-healing, she begins experimenting with mushrooms in solitary ceremonies by the fire. Word soon gets out about her New Mexican desert mushroom farm, though, and people arrive in droves. Not long after, the police read her her Miranda Rights, her relationships fall out of whack, and her dog Rosie just might be CIA.

On a quest to find help through the psychedelic community, Bett is led to Cleveland to meet Kai Wingo, an African American leader within a high-dose psilocybin community, and to Huautla de Jim nez, home of well-known, well-respected curandera Mar a Sabina. Back home, Bett begins a solid ritual practice with the help of her partner and friends, bearing in mind the medicine's indigenous roots and power to transform one's life.

Amidst the mainstream flood of New Age practices and products, The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Odyssey is a dreamlike reminder that psilocybin mushrooms are a medicine of the people, not to be neatly packaged, marketed, or appropriated.


Williams is in conversation with author, poet, and arts organizer Michelle Tea

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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: Nancy Pearl & Jeff Schwager, “THE WRITER’S LIBRARY”

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

In their ebullient new book, The Writer’s Library, America’s favorite librarian Nancy Pearl and noted playwright Jeff Schwager interview a diverse range of America's most notable and influential writers about the books that shaped them and inspired them to leave their own literary mark. The Writer’s Library is a revelatory exploration of the studies, libraries, and bookstores of today’s favorite authors (including Donna Tartt, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Andrew Sean Greer, Laila Lalami, and Michael Chabon) — the creative artists whose imagination and sublime talent make America's literary scene the wonderful, dynamic world it is.




SKYLIT: Dena Igusti, “CUT WOMAN” w/ Ray Jordan Achan

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, poetry, skylit by skylightbooks on September 4th, 2020

Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Middle Eastern Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. Women Studies. "One of the things I love most is when a poetry book forces me to slow down, to linger in every pause between breaths and reckon with the awareness that Reading is, itself, an act of consumption. CUT WOMAN does just this. From 'night // fall' to 'day // break, ' Dena Igusti's speaker forces readers to linger in the spaces both within and between words, bodies, and countries, even when those spaces do not yet exist: 'altar of my body did i give you // a forever // i could not promise? // ... // an altered kind of grief?' These poems slice, piece, project only to gut open. These poems remember despite Memory: 'i purposely forget // the prayer for when someone dies // inna-illahi-something // i always remember how to start // grieving // but // never when or how to let it out of my mouth.'

Igusti is in conversation with actor, director, writer, producer, and executive director of the Exiled Tongues Theater Company Ray Jordan Achan.

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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: 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: Adam O. Davis, “INDEX OF HAUNTED HOUSES”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, poetry by skylightbooks on August 31st, 2020

This is a book of ghost stories, and for the most part, ghosts are jealous monsters, intent upon our destruction. They never appear overtly here, yet we gradually become aware of the spirits in haunted houses in the way they tread over creaky floors, slam doors, and issue sudden gusts of wind. These poems are Koan-like—the fewer the words, the more charged they are. The engine driving the sense of haunting and loss is money, which Adam O. Davis describes as “federal bone” boiling around us. Bison in Nebraska are reduced to bones, “seven/standing men/tall” fodder for the fertilizer used by farmers in the 1800s. There is, too, an equality to the hauntings—every instance has its moment, and persists, despite being in the past, present, or future. Index of Haunted Houses is spooky and sad—a stunning debut, one that will surprise, convince, and most of all, delight. 

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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.




Handsell Ep. 14, “Elisa Garcia”

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

Return of the Handsell! We come back after a few weeks to talk to Elisa Garcia, a Skylight children's book specialist, host of KQBH's "Heartbreak Mondays" show, and possibly the best human on the planet. She's a veteran of the indie bookselling industry and it's a great discussion! Join ussssss.

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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: 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.




SKYLIT: Sarah M. Sala, “DEVIL’S LAKE” w/ Yves Nuno

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 26th, 2020

Poetry. LGBTQIA Studies. What does it mean to claim your space in a world that's ending? Sarah M. Sala's DEVIL'S LAKE breaks open the American moment of unchecked gun violence, climate changes, and the growing rift between "us" and "them" with formal daring. Like a prism, this startling debut fractures into shades of possibility and memory, queering science, nature, and form to lay bare the colors of joy despite a world that seems intent on its destruction.

Sala is in conversation with Skylight employee Yves Nuno.

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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: Morgan Jerkins, “WANDERING IN STRANGE LANDS” w/ Soraya Nadia McDonald

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on August 22nd, 2020

Between 1916 and 1970, six million black Americans left their rural homes in the South for jobs in cities in the North, West, and Midwest in a movement known as The Great Migration. But while this event transformed the complexion of America and provided black people with new economic opportunities, it also disconnected them from their roots, their land, and their sense of identity, argues Morgan Jerkins. In this fascinating and deeply personal exploration, she recreates her ancestors’ journeys across America, following the migratory routes they took from Georgia and South Carolina to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California. 

Following in their footsteps, Jerkins seeks to understand not only her own past, but the lineage of an entire group of people who have been displaced, disenfranchised, and disrespected throughout our history. Through interviews, photos, and hundreds of pages of transcription, Jerkins braids the loose threads of her family’s oral histories, which she was able to trace back 300 years, with the insights and recollections of black people she met along the way—the tissue of black myths, customs, and blood that connect the bones of American history. 

Incisive and illuminating, Wandering in Strange Lands is a timely and enthralling look at America’s past and present, one family’s legacy, and a young black woman’s life, filtered through her sharp and curious eyes.

Jerkins is in conversation with Soraya Nadia McDonald, award-winning cultural critic for The Undefeated, ESPN’s premiere platform covering race, sports, and culture. She writes about film, television, and the arts.

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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: 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.




Colin Dickey, “THE UNIDENTIFIED” w/ Molly Lambert, Tess Lynch, & Emily Yoshida

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on August 18th, 2020

In a world where rational, scientific explanations are more available than ever, belief in the unprovable and irrational–in fringe–is on the rise: from Atlantis to aliens, from Flat Earth to the Loch Ness monster, the list goes on. It seems the more our maps of the known world get filled in, the more we crave mysterious locations full of strange creatures.

Enter Colin Dickey, Cultural Historian and Tour Guide of the Weird. With the same curiosity and insight that made Ghostland a hit with readers and critics, Colin looks at what all fringe beliefs have in common, explaining that today’s Illuminati is yesterday’s Flat Earth: the attempt to find meaning in a world stripped of wonder. Dickey visits the wacky sites of America’s wildest fringe beliefs–from the famed Mount Shasta where the ancient race (or extra-terrestrials, or possibly both, depending on who you ask) called Lemurians are said to roam, to the museum containing the last remaining “evidence” of the great Kentucky Meat Shower–investigating how these theories come about, why they take hold, and why as Americans we keep inventing and re-inventing them decade after decade. The Unidentified is Colin Dickey at his best: curious, wry, brilliant in his analysis, yet eminently readable.

Dickey is joined in conversation by writers Molly LambertTess Lynch, and Emily Yoshida.

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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.





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