Archive for los angeles

STEFAN BUCHER READS FROM HIS BOOK LETTERHEADS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 22nd, 2017

LetterHeads: An Eccentric Alphabet (Unnamed Press)

From the creator of the popular Daily Monster YouTube series comes a revolutionary new vision for “characters,” one that brings the alphabet hilariously alive.

A very special design book, LetterHeads is the first to feature “sculpted“ portraits of letters, employing 3D modeling software, which has been used almost exclusively by Hollywood’s CGI and video game production community. Until now!

LetterHeads is a graphic design book for creatives of any age, celebrating diversity and inspired by the people of the artist’s hometown of Los Angeles. Infused with unique personalities, surrounded by playful vocabulary and an intriguing color palette, the letters reflect just how alive language can be. The use of ground-breaking 3D technology acts as a link to not just the future of letterform creation, but education itself.

• Molded and carved like a series of classical sculptures, but free of the gaudy paint jobs, the LetterHeads allow the quirks and nuances of each diverse character to emerge.
• The LetterHeads are a landmark approach to letterform creation, combining decorative lettering of the 19th century with the crisp digital modeling of a Pixar blockbuster.
• LetterHeads enfolds playful vocabulary with color literacy, celebrating the diversity of both letterforms and people.

Stefan G. Bucher is an American writer, graphic designer and illustrator. He is the man behind the award-winning California design studio 344 Design. He is also the creator of the popular online animation series Daily Monster. For 100 days he filmed himself drawing a new monster every night, based on random ink blots. Visitors then posted stories about each monster on the blog. The clips have been viewed well over three million times and are collected, along with selected stories, in the book “100 Days of Monsters.” He is the subject of an hour-long documentary film about his life and work, produced as part of lynda.com’s “Creative Inspiration” series.

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ANN WHITFORD PAUL READS FROM HER CHILDREN’S BOOK IF ANIMALS SAID I LOVE YOU

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 22nd, 2017

If Animals Said I Love You (Farrar Straus Giroux)

If animals said “I love you” like we do... how would they say it?

Whale would make bubbles shoot from her spout. Boa would give her hatchlings a hug. Gorilla would snuggle his child to sleep. And across the animal kingdom, every creature would show love in a special way. Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker are back with If Animals Said I Love You, a sweet imagining of love in the animal world.

Praise for If Animals Said I Love You and If Animals Kissed Goodnight

“Love isn't reserved for just parent and child: siblings, cousins, and friends also get in on the act... Surely adult and child pairs reading this together will find ways to mimic the animals' ways of expressing their love.” —Kirkus Reviews, on If Animals Said I Love You

"There are probably not enough synonyms for 'cute' to cover this survey of hypothetical smooches between animal parents and off-spring... The characters radiate unconditional love."—Publishers Weekly, on If Animals Kissed Goodnight

"The imaginative possibilities alone make this one stand out from the glut of sickly sweet bedtime books. Sure to send readers off to a gentle goodnight... after a kiss, of course." —Kirkus Reviews, on If Animals Kissed Goodnight

Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker collaborated on If Animals Kissed Good Night and Little Monkey Says Good Night, a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, which Kirkus Reviews praised as "a perfect good-night read." Ms. Paul lives in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Walker lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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MARY KURYLA READS FROM HER COLLECTION FREAK WEATHER WITH BRENDA WEHLE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 21st, 2017

Freak Weather (Massachusetts Press)

From a nurse who sees a rattlesnake in the pediatric ICU to an animal control officer convinced she’s found her abducted daughter in the house of a dog hoarder, the thirteen stories in Freak Weather are as unpredictable as the atmospheric changes that give this collection its name. With dark and raucous humor, Mary Kuryla creates female characters who, at times, combine a violent urgency with lack of introspection as they struggle to get out from under the thumb of a perceived authority. The intricate language is inseparable from the narrator’s conviction; the characters lie with such bravado they’re soon tangled up in their own webs. This brand of romanticism in a female character is little tolerated, and Freak Weather’s mission—Kuryla’s artistic mission overall—is to scratch at the intolerable. Call it bad instructions for moral
behavior.

Mary Kuryla has been awarded the Pushcart Prize and the Glimmer Train Short Fiction Prize. Several of the stories in this collection have been adapted into award-winning films that premiered at the Sundance, London, Edinburgh, and Toronto International film festivals.

Praise for Freak Weather

“There is a feral quality to some of these stories, an attitude that is truly startling. The language is perfectly matched to the not-so- conflicted women living off venison, weed, and their husband’s paychecks. The territory here is sometimes disturbing; the treatment of these people who are in over their heads is always both tough and surprisingly moving. The ‘action’ resides as much in the brisk, fresh language as in what these people conjure in a crisis. Ultimately, the author delivers stories unlike anyone else’s.”—Amy Hempel, Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction judge and author of The Dog of the Marriage: Stories

“This is what they mean by muscular prose, but with lithe muscles, quick and bright, and dueling senses of swagger and grimness. A striking and satisfying debut.”—Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master: Stories

"What a memorable, witty, imaginative collection this is, beautifully modulated, extravagant yet precise. Each story is startling and expertly hewn, with a perfect balance of toughness and whimsy.”—Joanna Scott, author of De Potter’s Grand Tour

“A powerful collection of stories about women who are unapologetically themselves—often struggling, sometimes drunk, sometimes irresponsible, but in all cases painfully human and alive. Each of these pieces opens a window onto a life and then, before we have time to explain to ourselves how we’re not like that, abruptly slams it shut, leaving us exquisitely off balance.”—Brian Evenson, author of The Warren

“There is much beguiling strangeness in the pages of Freak Weather, but there are no strangers: you know all of these people. They're the slightly scary neighbors, the folks who talk a little too loudly in the convenience store, the children who act older than they should. You've wanted to know about their lives, and now  they're telling you everything. Simultaneously appalling and gorgeous.”—Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy & Other Stories

Mary Kuryla’s collection Freak Weather: Stories was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2016 AWP Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction. She has been the recipient of The Pushcart Prize, as well as the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Prize. Her stories have appeared in Epoch, Shenandoah, Denver Quarterly, Witness, Greensboro Review, Pleiades, The New Orleans Review, The Normal School and Alaska Quarterly Review, among others. She is the author, with Eugene Yelchin, of The Heart of the SnowmanGhost Files: The Haunting Truth, and The Next Door Bear for Harper Children’s Books. Her award-winning shorts and feature films have premiered at Sundance and Toronto. She has written screen adaptations for United Artists and MGM. She teaches screenwriting and media studies at Loyola Marymount University and Emerson, Los Angeles.

Award-winning actress Brenda Wehle has appeared in film and TV (American Beauty, Woman Walks Ahead), and worked extensively in New York, most recently on Broadway in The Crucible. She is currently in Mary Jane at the New York Theatre Workshop. A member of the Guthrie Theater Acting Company, she appeared in over 35 productions. 

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PANIO GIANOPOULOS DISCUSSES HIS NEW COLLECTION OF STORIES HOW TO GET INTO OUR HOUSE AND WHERE WE KEEP THE MONEY WITH CECIL CASTELLUCCI

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 21st, 2017

How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money (Four Way Books)

In this collection’s tour-de-force title story, Ethan, a marketing manager for consumer-goods brands, finds himself in a bizarre standoff with his wife, new boss, and daughter’s swim teacher over the sudden presence in his life of Scudder, Ethan’s graffiti-artist nephew. Before long, Ethan is defacing his boss’s office with dry-erase markers and climbing a condemned building in the dead of night. How swiftly, Gianopoulos reminds us, we become the very thing we’re trying to avoid; how soon we find ourselves at the point of no return: a guy whose prep school girlfriend has just “asked him to break her leg” with a cinderblock “and send her home.”

A love song to the power of the inadvertent and unplanned, this collection tracks a gaggle of lost souls—a bewildered young medical student, a man jealous of his girlfriend’s love for her tiny Pomeranian, and a restless free-diving housewife—as it captures “that itchy, panicky feeling you get when you suspect you’ve stepped into the slowest line at the supermarket.” Its characters persist in lives pockmarked with awkwardness, continually in search of “another parallel version” of themselves. Amid their domestic mayhem, Gianopoulos finds humor and warmth, an animal curled up around a protagonist’s ankle “like a misplaced comma.” How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money is a witty, telling, urbane exploration of the clumsiness of relationships, of the small wars and gigantic missteps that shape our lives with our nearest and not-
always-so-dearest.

Praise for How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money

“A wonderful collection of nine stories combining wry humor, engaging characters, and shrewd psychological insight....Witty, discerning, and laugh-out-loud funny.”--Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

“This is a stunning collection, brilliant in its incisive depictions of the mapless territory of midlife. From the man who despises and tries to lose his girlfriend’s dog to the would-be seducer for whom technology reveals a searing glimpse at how he is perceived by the young, these characters inspire your compassion even as they beg for your forgiveness—and even as they make you laugh out loud. Short story collections rarely arrive this compelling, this accomplished, this imaginative, and this wise. I am already impatient to share this masterful book, which I know will convert more and more readers to the joys of the form.”—Robin Black

“Panio Gianopoulos is the most natural of storytellers, and in his first collection, How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Money, he shows enormous range, mastery and feel for the short story. With echoes ranging from Updike to Murakami to Tom Perrotta, and a wonderfully capacious group of characters, Gianopoulos announces himself as a terrific new voice for the form. This is one to read and savor.”—Daniel Torday

“Panio Gianopoulos’s How to Get into Our House and Where We Keep the Moneyis an auspicious debut. In these smart and knowing stories, smart and knowing people come up against the limits of their knowingness and break through into a deeper humanity.”—David Gates

Panio Gianopoulos is the author of the novella A Familiar Beast. His writing has appeared in Big Fiction, Brooklyn Rail, Catamaran Literary Reader, Chicago Quarterly Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Northwest Review, Rattling Wall, and Tin House. A recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, he has been included in the anthologies The Bastard on the Couch, Cooking and Stealing: The Tin House Nonfiction Reader, and The Encyclopedia of Exes. He lives with his family in New York.

Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth and the Eisner-nominated Odd Duck. She is currently writing Shade the Changing Girl, Vol. 1 Earth Girl Made Easy, an ongoing comic on Gerard Way's DC Young Animal imprint. Her picture book, Grandma's Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal. She lives in Los Angeles.

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CAITLIN DOUGHTY DISCUSSES HER BOOK FROM HERE TO ETERNITYCAITLIN DOUGHTY DISCUSSES HER BOOK FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 21st, 2017

From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (W.W. Norton)

In From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, mortician Caitlin Doughty explores the world’s funeral traditions—from robotic graves in Japan to an Indonesian village where families live with the bodies of their dead for months, even years, prior to the funeral. Following up on her New York Times best-selling book SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES, the author argues that in modern America, funerals have become procedural and impersonal, meant to sanitize and distance the survivors’ from confrontation with mortality—all in the name of profit and “dignity.” The result is a culture pervaded by death anxieties and bereft of traditions that would help people make sense of their own mortal ends. Doughty advocates for alternative rituals designed to save us from the funeral-industrial complex.

In her travels, Doughty encounters funeral traditions that, to our eyes, may appear both beautiful and appalling. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus tells a story about two nations with very different perspectives on death: the Greeks and the Callatians. The Greeks cremate their dead and are repulsed by cannibalism, while the Callatians consume their dead and are repulsed by cremation. Herodotus’s lesson remains true to this day: the funeral traditions of other cultures almost always strike the outsider as barbaric.

Doughty, however, goes beyond ghoulish spectacle to ask how different cultures benefit from their unique funeral traditions and to question how our own culture might learn from them. Readers travel with Doughty as she learns about, and even participates in:

  • The Japanese tradition of kotsuage, the ritual removal of large bone fragments from cremated ashes by family members using chopsticks
  • A nonprofit mobile funeral pyre operation in Colorado that dodged local ordinances to revive a funeral tradition that dates back to prehistory
  • A museum in Guanajuato, Mexico, for the mummies of disinterred corpses whose relatives could not pay the cemetery’s fee for “perpetual” interment; the museum includes a section for Angelitos, dead children whose bodies were believed to connect survivors to favored souls who could advocate for the living in Heaven
  • An American research effort aimed at composting the dead and returning the body to its natural position in the cycle of life, death, and renewal
  • A Bolivian woman’s efforts to collect and care for ñatitas, preserved human skulls that are treated like community advisors and are alleged to grant wishes; the skulls are at the center of conflicts between traditional beliefs and Roman Catholic teachings and, occasionally, enjoy smoking a cigarette

In her encounters with these funeral rites and traditions, Doughty explores the profound value they hold for the community. From Here To Eternity is an eye-opening exploration of the many different, and often surprising, ways humanity embraces the inescapable fact of death, filled with vivid and sometimes shocking details about how diverse cultures send off their dead.

But Doughty’s tour of the borderlands between the living and the dead is never simply morbid. As uncanny and surreal as some traditions may initially appear, when Doughty contrasts them to the vapid and emotionally sterile experiences promoted by America’s funeral industry, the depth and value of these ritualized customs is revealed. In a voice that is sympathetic, endlessly curious, and often engagingly humorous, Doughty advocates for a more humane and involved approach to mourning rituals. With lively illustrations by Landis Blair—whose style is a perfect match for Doughty’s humane and insightful prose—From Here To Eternity is a book about death for the living, and the importance of the rituals that help us understand how a meaningful end can enrich our sense of what it means to be alive.

Mortician Caitlin Doughty—host and creator of “Ask a Mortician” and the New York Times bestselling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes—founded the Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs the nonprofit funeral home Undertaking LA.

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TARA JEPSEN DISCUSSES HER BOOK LIKE A DOG WITH MICHELLE TEA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 11th, 2017

Like a Dog (City Light Publishing)

A scrappy young skateboarder's story of underground worlds and fringe existences, confusing family relationships and the struggle for intimacy.

Paloma is aimlessly winging it through life. A skateboarder in her early 30s, she takes low-paying jobs, drinks neon-colored wine coolers in the park with her best friend, and drives to the Central Valley to skate the empty swimming pools dotting the sun-blasted landscape. Paloma struggles to have a relationship with her brother Peter, whose opiate addiction makes that nearly impossible. She enjoys occasional doses of something like closeness whenever Peter is sober, and these rare moments keep her lunging for his affections. Her delusions about the nature of addiction—along with a steady intake of alcohol—manage to keep the looming threat of his death by overdose at a comfortable enough distance.

When Peter lands a lucrative position managing a pot farm in Mendocino County, he offers Paloma a job. She shines in her new role, selling weed to celebrities in Los Angeles and making good money for the first time. With a new sense of self-confidence she decides to try out the world of stand-up comedy, and though she's absolutely terrible at it, she's happier than she's ever been. As Peter slides into a dangerous spiral, Paloma does her best to roll with the ups and downs, life's beginnings and endings.

Praise for Like a Dog:

"Tara Jepsen's Like a Dog is outrageously funny and soul-scrapingly grim, in the tradition of our most intrepid, shameless, and shame-filled comedians and storytellers. It also announces a singular new voice in American fiction—one which is deeply alive, hard-hitting, and tender."––Maggie Nelsonauthor of The Argonauts

"This book beat the crap out of me. I am bruised and laughing. Thank you Tara Jepsen, may I have another?"—Daniel Handler, author of All The Dirty Parts

"Tara Jepsen captures the absurd, animal humor of residing in a human female body on planet Earth like no other, and Like a Dog sets it loose within a hazy California underground of abandoned skate pools, weed farms and comedy open mics. Eccentric and insidery, taking on the bonds of family and addiction, the effort to find a life and the drive to end it, Like a Dog brims with hyper-conscious gems of hilarity and pathos."––Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave

Tara Jepsen is a writer and actor living in Los Angeles, California. She's appeared in Emmy-winning series Transparent. She and longtime collaborator Beth Lisick created, wrote and acted in original web series Rods and Cones, released by Jill Soloway and Rebecca Odes's Wifey.tv in September 2014, named one of Indiewire's 25 Best Series/Creators of 2014. Tara has written and performed original sketch comedy with Lisick throughout the U.S. since 1999. They have appeared at Dixon Place in NYC, at San Francisco's Sketchfest, at the UCB in Los Angeles, and myriad additional venues. Jepsen has been published by The Believer, xojane.com, and SF Weekly, among others. She has toured and performed extensively with the seminal queer cabaret Sister Spit since 1997. And, she co-hosted the legendary San Francisco open mic K'vetsh at a gay men's bath house for over ten years.

Author, activist, and queer/feminist icon Michelle Tea is the author of five memoirs, including the award-winning Valencia (now a film). Her novels include Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, the first in a Young Adult fantasy trilogy published by McSweeneys. Tea is the Founding Artistic Director of RADAR Productions, a queer-feminist literary non-profit in San Francisco and is the editor of Sister Spit Books, an imprint of City Lights. Her writing has appeared in The Believer, n+1, Buzzfeed, The Bold Italic, Marie Claire, xoJane.com and many other print and web publications.

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CARMEN MARIA MACHADO READS FROM HER NEW SHORT STORY COLLECTION HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 11th, 2017

Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press)

In Her Body and Other PartiesCarmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella "Especially Heinous," Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

Praise for Her Body and Other Parties

“The stories in Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange. Her voracious imagination and extraordinary voice beautifully bind these stories about fading women and the end of the world and men who want more when they’ve been given everything and bodies, so many human bodies taking up space and straining the seams of skin in impossible, imperfect, unforgettable ways.”—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger

“Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties tells ancient fables of eros and female metamorphosis in fantastically new ways. She draws the secret world of the body into visibility, and illuminates the dark woods of the psyche. In these formally brilliant and emotionally charged tales, Machado gives literal shape to women's memories and hunger and desire. I couldn’t put it down.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“Those of us who knew have been waiting for a Carmen Maria Machado collection for years. Her stories show us what we really love and fear.”—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

“Carmen Maria Machado writes a new kind of fiction: brilliant, blindingly weird, and precisely attuned to the perils and sorrows of the times.”—Ben Marcus, author of Leaving the Sea

“Carmen Maria Machado has a vital, visceral, umbilical connection to the places deep within the soul from where stories emanate. With a tenderness that is both touching and terrifying, Her Body and Other Parties gives insight into a cluster of worlds linked by their depth of feeling and penetrating strangeness.”
—Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

“Brilliantly inventive and blazingly smart, these stories have the life-and-death stakes of nightmares and fairy tales; they’re full of urgent, almost unbearable reality. Carmen Machado is an extraordinary writer, an essential voice.”—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

“Her Body and Other Parties will delight you, hurt you, and astonish you as only the smartest literature can. In this collection Machado blends horror, fairy tale, pop culture and myth in mesmerizing ways that feel utterly new. These stories are peerless and brilliant.”—Alissa Nutting, author of Made for Love and Tampa

“Carmen Maria Machado shuffles together fantastic, realistic, popular, and literary genres and then deals winning hand after winning hand. Whether it is reworking fairy tales, rewriting the entire run of Law and Order into a grim fantasy, or diving into unchartered territory entirely Machado's own, Her Body and Other Parties is a deft and thoughtful reclaiming of both literature and genre.”—Brian Evenson, author of A Collapse of Horses

Her Body and Other Parties is genius: part punk rock and part classical, with stories that are raw and devastating but also exquisitely plotted and full of delight. This is a strong, dangerous, and blisteringly honest book—it’s hard to think of it as a ‘debut,’ it's that good.”—Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne

“What Carmen Maria Machado has done with this collection is nothing less than stunning. Just when you think you’ve figured her out, she unveils another layer of story, so unexpected, so profound, it leaves you gasping.”—Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

“With her lush, generative imagination, shimmering language, and utter fearlessness, Carmen Maria Machado is surely one of most ferociously gifted young writers working today. . . . Hilariously inventive, emotionally explosive, wonderfully sexy, Machado’s stories will carry you far from home, upend your reality, and sew themselves to your soul.”—Michelle Huneven, author of Blame and Off Course

“Carmen Maria Machado is the way forward. Her fiction is fearlessly inventive, socially astute, sometimes pointed, sometimes elliptical, and never quite what you’re expecting—yet behind it you can always hear that ancient tale-teller’s voice, bartering for your attention with its dangers and its mysteries, its foolhardy characters pulled this way and that by the ropes of their emotions. . . . There is at once the breath of the new about these stories and the breath of the timeless.”—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

“A form-bending fabulist in the tradition of Kevin Brockmeier, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell, she gleefully seeks out weird shapes and subjects for every story. . . . She writes uncanny, creepy, sexy, funny, feminist, magical-realist, metafictional, pop-cultural, and all-of-the-above stories, and she seems determined never to write the same story twice. Yet for all of its wildly inventive variety, Her Body and Other Parties is unified by the one story it keeps finding new ways to tell: how women can survive in worlds that want them to disappear, whether into marriage, motherhood, death, or (literally) prom dresses.”—Bennett Sims, author of A Questionable Shape
 

Carmen Maria Machado’s work has appeared in Granta, the New Yorker, NPR, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. She lives in Philadelphia. You can visit her website at: www.carmenmachado.com  

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KENNY FRIES DISCUSSES HIS MEMOIR IN THE PROVINCE OF THE GODS WITH EMILY RAPP BLACK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 11th, 2017

In the Province of the Gods (University of Wisconsin Press)

An American's journey of profound self-discovery in Japan, and an exquisite tale of cultural and physical difference, sexuality, love, loss, mortality, and the ephemeral nature of beauty and art.

Kenny Fries embarks on a journey of profound self-discovery as a disabled foreigner in Japan, a society historically hostile to difference. As he visits gardens, experiences Noh and butoh, and meets artists and scholars, he also discovers disabled gods, one-eyed samurai, blind chanting priests, and A-bomb survivors. When he is diagnosed as HIV positive, all his assumptions about Japan, the body, and mortality are shaken, and he must find a way to reenter life on new terms.

Praise for In the Province of Gods

"Like the best memoirs, Kenny Fries’s In the Province of the Gods reminds us of the genre’s twinned truths: first, that the surest way to discover the self is to look out at the world, and second, that the best way to teach others about something is to tell them not ‘what it is,’ but what it means to you. Fries’s deft, questioning prose is as full of compassion as curiosity, and his revelations about himself are no less compelling than what he learns about Japan.”—Dale Peck, author of Martin and John

“Elegant and probing, In the Province of the Gods reads like the log of an early adventurer charting a newly discovered land. History, sexual politics, disability, and wooden fortune sticks are blended into an unexpected, tightly written exploration of Japanese culture. Fries may be the guy on the journey, but we’re the ones making the discoveries.”—Susan R. Nussbaum, author of Good Kings, Bad Kings

“In this subtle page turner, Fries helps reinvent the travel-as-pilgrimage narrative.  He neither exoticizes nor shies away from the potential pitfalls of a western mind traveling abroad; instead he demonstrates how, through an all too rare open heart and a true poet’s eye, bridges can be built, and understanding deepened, one sincere action at a time.”—Marie Mutsuki Mockett, author of Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye

“Kenny Fries writes out of the pure hot emergency of a mortal being trying to keep himself alive. So much is at stake here—health, affection, culture, trauma, language—but its greatest surprise is what thrives in the midst of suffering. A beautiful book.”—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door

Kenny Fries is the author of Body, Remember: A Memoir and The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory, winner of the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. He is the editor of Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out and author of the libretto for The Memory Stone, an opera commissioned by Houston Grand Opera. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.

Photo by Michael R. Dekker

Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir, and The Still Point of the Turning World, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Nonfiction. Her book-length lyric essay, Casa Azul Cripple, which examines the intersection of art, disability, and sex through the life and work of Frida Kahlo, is forthcoming from the New York Review of Books/NottingHill Editions in 2020. She is at work on a book about the resilience of objects and forces in the world called The Wingbeats of Insects and Birds, for which she received a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship. Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California-Riverside, where she teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program and in the School of Medicine. She lives with her husband, writer and editor Kent Black, and their daughter in Redlands, California.

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WRITING WHILE FEMALE: WOMEN’S FICTION, CHICK LIT, AND OTHER MISDEMEANORS WITH TERI EMORY AND HEIDI MASTROGIOVANNI

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

The novelists Teri Emory (Second Acts) and Heidi Mastrogiovanni (Lala Pettibone’s Act Two) have between them well over a century’s life experience, and they’ve got tales to tell. Come hear them discuss how they’ve managed to support their writing habits over many years, how they handle the ageless scourge of rejection, how they create female characters who resemble actual women, how they published debut novels in the seventh decade of life, and how they view “chick lit,” “women’s fiction,” and other labels. (Spoiler alert on the labels: Teri and Heidi are not thrilled about them.)

Lala Pettibone's Act Two (Amberjack Publishing)

Lala Pettibone, a forty-something widow whose outrageous antics befit women half her age, has been imagining her sexy boss Gerard is as smitten with her as she is with him. Enter Gerard’s fabulous girlfriend from Paris. After spending the rest of the day drinking wines straight from the bottle, Lala attends the monthly meeting of her Greenwich Village co-op, where the residents are informed that a toxic wasteland in the building’s basement requires everyone to pony up forty-grand by the end of the week.

Lala very reluctantly decides to sublet her apartment and make a bundle while visiting her Auntie Geraldine in Los Angeles. But good things come her way in sunny California, including inspiration to finish writing an uproarious novel based on her own ridiculous adventures. 

Lala Pettibone's Act Two is a wonderfully hilarious, second-coming-of-age-novel. Bridget Jones has absolutely nothing on Lala in the Late-Bloomer-With-Maybe-Lots-of-Potential-Department.

Heidi Mastrogiovanni is a dedicated animal welfare advocate who lives in Los Angeles with her musician husband and their three rescued senior dogs. She loves to read, hike, travel, and do a classic spit-take whenever something is really funny. Heidi is a graduate of Wesleyan University and was chosen as one of ScreenwritingU’s 15 Most Recommended Screenwriters of 2013. The comedy web series she writes and produces, Verdene and Gleneda, was awarded the Hotspot on the Writers Guild of America’s Hotlist.

Second Acts (Amberjack Publishing)

An unshakable friendship among three women takes root in a college dorm in the late 1960s. Fueled by the bravado of that era, the three women charge into adulthood with lofty ideas and high expectations.

Throughout the decades that follow, they share their joys and shepherd each other through heartache. In the year leading up to 9/11, they are forced to confront hard truths about themselves and the choices they have made over time. They must dispel past regrets and make peace with present circumstances as they begin the second acts of their lives, sustained as always by their abiding friendship.

Teri Emory is living proof that a liberal arts education does not necessarily make a person unemployable. As evidence: She has taught at the University of North Florida, Hunter College, Yeshiva University, and Fordham University and survived a fifteen-year tour of duty as a corporate writer. Her articles and poems have appeared in print and online publications, and she has edited essays and book-length manuscripts on absurdly esoteric topics. Teri was born in the Bronx and grew up in and around New York City. She is proud to have been educated entirely in public schools, from kindergarten at P.S. 77 to graduate school at U.C. Berkeley. She has lived and worked in Manhattan, Berkeley, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, and Rome. A devoted mother and besotted grandmother, she now resides in Las Vegas, married to a man whom she re-met, after almost forty years, at her high school reunion.

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MARTHA BATALHA DISCUSSES HER NEW NOVEL THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURIDICE GUSMAO WITH CORINNE PURTILL

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao (Oneworld Publications)

Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious. For her parents’ sake, she sacrifices her own aspirations to marry Antenor, spending her days ironing his shirts and removing the lumps of onion from his food. But as his professional success grows, so does Euridice’s feeling of restlessness. Casting duty aside, she embarks on various secret projects, only to have each dream crushed in turn by her tradition-loving husband. Antenor eventually restores order in his household – until the day Euridice’s long-lost sister Guida appears at the door with a young child and a terrible story.

Praise for The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao encompasses not only a vast Rio de Janeiro, from North to South and across Downtown, but also spans for 80 years – from 1880 through 1960 – in order to tell the story of numerous families ruled by beautiful, stubborn women. Martha combines drama and humor with an unfailably modern savoir-faire.”—Ruy Castro, author of Bossa Nova and Garrincha

“In a clever and unusual way, Batalha takes the reader for a journey in the streets of the old Rio de Janeiro, filled with its array of memorable characters — a fun and delightful novel.”—Carlos Saldanha, director of the film RIO

“One of the writers to watch in 2017.”—Elle Magazine (Spain)

Martha Batalha studied journalism and literature in Brazil before moving to New York where she worked in publishing. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is her first novel. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her husband and two kids.

Corinne Purtill is a journalist who has reported around the world for publications including GlobalPost (now PRI), CNN, Salon and Quartz, where she is currently a staff writer. She is the author of Ghosts in the Forest, a Kindle Single, and lives in California with her family.

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STEPHEN ELLIOTT DISCUSSES HIS COLLECTION OF ESSAYS SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT IT

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

Sometimes I Think About It (Graywolf Press)

Building on the extraordinary storytelling that characterized his breakout book, The Adderall Diaries, Stephen Elliott tells a powerful story about outsiders and underdogs. Elliott traces his childhood with an abusive and erratic father, his life on the streets as a teenager, and his growing interest in cross-dressing and masochism. His search for dignity and happiness leads him to write of a man who loses his family in a rock slide, of the vexing realities of life in Palestine, and of a young man caught in the prison-industrial complex. And his abiding interest in the spectacle of money in America takes him from pop music and pornography to publishing and the tech industry’s assault on West Los Angeles. Through personal essays, reportage, and profiles written over fifteen years, Stephen Elliott tells with great sympathy the stories of those who are broken and seek to be whole.

Praise for Sometimes I Think About It

“I love these essays so hard I want to chew on them. For the bite of it. Stephen Elliott has the uncanny ability to go out into the culture and locate a self set loose from consumer culture and money identity. When it comes to outsider bodies and lives and stories, Stephen Elliott is there to remind us that the edges are where our cultural shape comes from. Without the edges, the center doesn't even exist. Sometimes I Think About It is an outsider tour de force.”—Lidia Yuknavitch

“In lean, often heartbreaking prose, Stephen Elliott gives us an American landscape defined by lost opportunities for human connection. There are sons without fathers, left unprotected; fathers who cannot love their sons; grown men haunted by the absence of family. In intensely personal essays and intimate reported stories Elliott writes of this painful gap—between our need for closeness and our actual capacity to care for one another.”—Alex Mar

“I am among the many readers who have been waiting impatiently for a new book from Stephen Elliott. I devoured Sometimes I Think About It in a matter of hours and set about rereading it at once. I did this because I read to feel the presence of a wise, true friend on the page and because Stephen Elliott never fails to supply that, plus amazement and sorrow and every detail the rest of us miss. He is writing here in the tradition of Didion and Hunter Thompson. These are fierce meditations on outcasts and outlaws, on what it means to have your world slip out from under you. I cannot think of a writer who reveals to us the terrors and wonder of disequilibrium like Elliott. This is exquisite work from one of our finest writers.”—Steve Almond

“Stephen Elliott’s essays treat the darkest subjects with the lightest touch, showing humanity’s ugliness as one side of a spinning coin, with beauty on the other; how beauty is often suspect, brutality easier to trust. Frankly intimate and frequently funny, Elliott’s observations—on loneliness, on sex work, on the people of Silicon Valley—open distances that you sensed but couldn’t see until he showed you: there, there.”—Padma Viswanathan

Stephen Elliott is the author of The Adderall Diaries and Happy Baby, which was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. He is the founding editor of the Rumpus and the director of the movies About Cherry and After Adderall.

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SARAH SCHULMAN DISCUSSES HER BOOK CONFLICT IS NOT ABUSE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

Conflict Is Not Abuse (Arsenal Pulp Press)

From intimate relationships to global politics, Sarah Schulman observes a continuum: that inflated accusations of harm are used to avoid accountability. Illuminating the difference between Conflict and Abuse, Schulman directly addresses our contemporary culture of scapegoating. This deep, brave, and bold work reveals how punishment replaces personal and collective self-criticism, and shows why difference is so often used to justify cruelty and shunning. Rooting the problem of escalation in negative group relationships, Schulman illuminates the ways in which cliques, communities, families, and religious, racial, and national groups bond through the refusal to change their self-concept. She illustrates how Supremacy behaviour and Traumatized behaviour resemble each other, through a shared inability to tolerate difference.

This important and sure to be controversial book brings insight into contemporary and historical issues of personal, racial and geo-political difference, as tools of escalation towards injustice, exclusion and punishment, whether the objects of dehumanization are other individuals in our families or communities, African Americans at the hands of police, people with HIV, and Palestinians. Conflict Is Not Abuse is a searing rejection of the cultural phenomenon of blame, cruelty, and scapegoating, revealing how those in positions of power exacerbate and manipulate fear of the "other" to avoid facing themselves.

Praise for Conflict Is Not Abuse

With awesome brilliance and insight, Sarah Schulman offers readers new strategies to intervene on all relations of domination both personal and political. The core of
this book provides ways to think and move beyond blaming and/or assuming victimhood -- so that each of us may come to understand the role we assume in creating and sustaining conflicts in all our relations. Sharing myriad ways, critical vigilance can help us all understand that conflict need not be viewed as abuse that essential distinctions may be made between the hurt we experience in conflict and the violence of abuse, Schulman offers a vision of mutual recognition and accountability that liberates. —bell hooks 

It's impossible to be invested in the world and not be invested in this groundbreaking and challenging book. From a position of artist and social critic, Sarah Schulman gives us a detailed and considered reading of some of our most overly determined and venomous conflicts. Conflict Is Not Abuse is a book to interrogate, ponder, and discuss. —Claudia Rankine

Schulman's book could not have come at a better time ... Conflict is a balm against comforting explanations for violence and abuse, ones we know aren't true, just easy. —Village Voice

Conflict's publication could not be timelier ... A sharply observant and relevant text that is already getting its wish for action granted. —Lambda Literary

Conflict is Not Abuse should prove to be essential reading for people interested in psychology, group dynamics, and social justice activism. —Global Comment

A compelling call out of call-out culture and everything that it messily dredges up, brings forward, and shunts away. —Canadian Art

Schulman"s new work is a provocative rethinking of intimate and civil discourse for a rapidly shrinking world ... a rallying cry for civil engagement and engaged civility.—Gay City News

Conflict Is Not Abuse presents a gestalt shift in thinking about conflict, power relations, harm and social responsibility. —The Globe and Mail

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, nonfiction writer, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and AIDS historian, and the author of eighteen books. A Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow, Sarah is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. Her novels published by Arsenal include Rat BohemiaEmpathyAfter Delores, and The Mere Future. She lives in New York.

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MANDY KAHN READS FROM HER BOOK OF POETRY GLENN GOULD’S CHAIR

Posted in , literature, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 10th, 2017

Glenn Gould's Chair (Eyewear Publishing)

Mandy Kahn’s wonderfully inventive and gloriously lyrical second collection of poems, Glenn Gould’s Chair, weaves composer biography and classical music terminology into a compelling, accessible, and unabashedly beautiful consideration of the creative life.

In the collection, Béla Bartók treks into remote villages to record folk songs on the world’s first phonograph, a dying Gustav Mahler is greeted in heaven by Mozart, Igor Stravinsky receives a letter from a music student who wonders what rules are left to break, and Glenn Gould’s chair defends its owner against claims of eccentricity. Kahn—who also works as an opera librettist—explores the challenges and exaltations of art-making in poems that explode with curiosity, incisiveness, and awe—and that build into a lush celebration of the creative process.

Kahn’s 2014 debut collection Math, Heaven, Time—also from Eyewear Publishing—prompted a reviewer from the Los Angeles Review of Books to write, “In using the word “remarkable,” I do mean that the collection is so extraordinary or exceptional as to invite comment. Or perhaps I should have called it striking, because it certainly impresses itself powerfully and deeply upon the observer’s mind or vision. From the moment I was first introduced to Mandy Kahn and her debut collection, I knew I had encountered a voice beyond the common realm...Of the influences she names, Thoreau seems to have left his transcendental nature print most prominently. There’s also a sense of Yeats’s splendor and, at times, the concision of Dickinson, but as with all true visionaries, her alchemy creates a completely new sound — a melopoeia that is both familiar and otherworldly.”

Mandy Kahn is the author of the poetry collection Math, Heaven, Time. Former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser featured Kahn’s poem “At the Dorm” in his newspaper column American Life in Poetry. She frequently collaborates with composers to create new works that combine poetry and classical music and was a librettist for Yuval Sharon’s acclaimed opera Hopscotch. Kahn is coauthor, with Aaron Rose, of the nonfiction bookCollage Culture, which was also released as a record with a score by No Age. She lives in Los Angeles.

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WNBA/LA CELEBRATES NATIONAL READING GROUP MONTH WITH SIEL JU, ABBI WAXMAN AND GABRIELLE ZEVIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 4th, 2017

ctober is National Reading Group Month. Celebrate the joy of reading!

Join WNBA/LA for a panel discussion at Skylight Books with critically-acclaimed authors Siel Ju (Cake Time), Abbi Waxman (The Garden of Small Beginnings), and Gabrielle Zevin (Young Jane Young). 

This event is free and open to all. 

About the authors:

Siel Ju is a writer in Los Angeles. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Feelings Are Chemicals in Transit (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), and Might Club (Horse Less Press, 2014). Her stories and poems appear in ZYZZYVA, The Los Angeles Review, Denver Quarterly, and other publications. She also edits Flash Flash Click, a weekly email lit zine for fast fiction. Siel is the recipient of a residency from The Anderson Center at Tower View and holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Cake Time is her first novel-in-stories.

“Siel Ju’s Cake Time is sharply observed and wonderfully contemporary: these complex, flawed, and real characters live in our current world, with all its confusions and opportunity to connect—or disconnect. It’s about the perils and pleasures of intimacy, and its heroine feels as alive as you and I. A compelling and unflinching debut.” - Edan Lepucki, author of California

Born in England, Abbi Waxman has worked as a copywriter and then a creative director at various advertising agencies in London and New York, including Ogilvy and Mather, Y&R, Grey, and Wunderman. She now writes books, TV shows, and screenplays of her own. 

“It is Waxman’s skill at characterization that lifts this novel far above being just another “widow finds love” story. Clearly an observer, Waxman has mastered the fine art of dialogue as well. Characters ring true right down to Lilian’s two daughters, who often steal the show. This debut begs for an encore from Waxman.”-- Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

Gabrielle Zevin is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than thirty languages. Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, spent more than four months on the New York Times Bestseller list, reached #1 on the National Indie Bestseller list, and has been a bestseller all around the world. She has also written books for children and young adults, including the award-winning Elsewhere.

“This book will not only thoroughly entertain everyone who reads it; it is the most immaculate takedown of slut-shaming in literature or anywhere else.” --Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

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THOM ANDERSEN DISCUSSES HIS BOOK OF ESSAYS SLOW WRITING WITH TOSH BERMAN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on November 4th, 2017

Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema (Visible Press)

Slow Writing is a collection of articles by Thom Andersen that reflect on the avant-garde, Hollywood feature films, and contemporary cinema. His critiques of artists and filmmakers as diverse as Yasujirō Ozu, Nicholas Ray, Andy Warhol, and Christian Marclay locate their work within the broader spheres of popular culture, politics, history, architecture, and the urban landscape. The city of Los Angeles and its relationship to film is a recurrent theme. These writings, which span a period of five decades, demonstrate Andersen’s social consciousness, humour and his genuine appreciation of cinema in its many forms. Thom Andersen’s films include the celebrated documentary essays Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975), Red Hollywood (1996), Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), and The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015). Of the thirty-four texts included in the book, six are hitherto unpublished; others have been revised or appear in different versions to those previously available.

Praise for Slow Writing

“There are few writers and few filmmakers who make me rethink what cinema is more than Thom Andersen. Sometimes this is a matter of introducing fresh perspectives, such as making cinema and architecture more mutually interactive. It’s always a political matter of figuring out just who and where we are, and why.”----- Jonathan Rosenbaum

“In his disarmingly plainspoken introduction, Thom Andersen more or less apologizes for not becoming a film critic, and for not delivering a manifesto. Slow Writing shows us just how terrific a critic he hasn’t (mostly) bothered to be. This book belongs on a very small and special shelf of the most incisive and ungrandiose books by artists.”----- Jonathan Lethem

Thom Andersen has lived in Los Angeles for most of his life. His knowledge of and enthusiasm for the city has deeply informed his work, not least his widely praised study of its representation in movies, Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), which was voted one of the 50 Best Documentaries of All Time in a Sight & Sound critics’ poll. Andersen made his first short films and entered into the city’s film scene as a student of USC and UCLA in the 1960s. His hour-long documentary Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1974) was realised under an AFI scholarship and has lately been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. His research into the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist, done in collaboration with film theorist Noël Burch, produced the video essay Red Hollywood (1996) and book Les Communistes de Hollywood: Autre chose que des martyrs (1994). Andersen’s recent films include Reconversão (2012) on the work of Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, and The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015), a personal history of cinema loosely inspired by Gilles Deleuze. A published writer since 1966, Andersen has contributed to journals such as Film Comment, Artforum, Sight and Sound and Cinema Scope. He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987, and was previously on faculty at SUNY Buffalo and Ohio State University. Also a respected film curator, he has acted as programmer for Los Angeles Filmforum and curated thematic retrospectives for the Viennale. Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema is the first collection of his essays. 

Tosh Berman is a writer and poet.  His two books are Sparks-Tastic (Rare Bird) and a book of poems, The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding (Penny-Ante Editions).  He is also the publisher and editor of his press, TamTam Books, which published the works of Boris Vian, Serge Gainsbourg, Guy Debord, Jacques Mesrine, Ron Mael & Russell Mael (Sparks) Gilles Verlant, and Lun*na Menoh. 

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