Archive for skylight books

SARAH MANGUSO DISCUSSES HER NEW BOOK 300 ARGUMENTS WITH ETHAN NOSOWSK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

300 Arguments (Graywolf Press)

A “Proustian minimalist on the order of Lydia Davis” (Kirkus Reviews), Sarah Manguso is one of the finest literary artists at work today. To read her work is to witness acrobatic acts ofcompression in the service of extraordinary psychological and spiritual insight.

300 Arguments, a foray into the frontier of contemporary nonfiction writing, is at first glance a group of unrelated aphorisms. But, as in the work of David Markson, the pieces reveal themselves as a masterful arrangement that steadily gathers power. Manguso’s arguments about desire, ambition, relationships, and failure are pithy, unsentimental, and defiant, and they add up to an unexpected and wise piece of literature.

Praise for 300 Arguments

“A writer's life, solitary and complex, broken apart—not into shards but puzzle pieces. . . . A slim, poetic self-portrait that opens up as you read it and stays in the mind.”—Kirkus Reviews

300 Arguments shook me. It’s dark, but the darkness comes from a refusal to look away. Its humor is wounded but present. Is it possibly a sort of novel? The writer says somewhere, ‘This book is the good sentences from the novel I didn’t write.’ The idea holds up when applied, and the attentive reader will intuit an encompassing narrative. Sarah Manguso deserves many such readers.”—JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN

“A new book by Sarah Manguso is always a cause for celebration. She is a poet-philosopher of the highest order who combines a laser-sharp intellect with a lyric gift and a capacious, generous heart. She is one of my favorite writers, and with 300 Arguments she deepens her inquiry into the very essence of what it is to be human.”—DANI SHAPIRO

Sarah Manguso is the author of three book-length essays, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay; a story collection; and two poetry collections. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches at St. Mary’s College.

Ethan Nosowsky is Editorial Director at Graywolf Press. He began his career at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and has also been Editorial Director at McSweeney’s. He has edited books by Jeffery Renard Allen, Hilton Als, Kevin Barry, David Byrne, Vikram Chandra, Geoff Dyer, Dave Eggers, Sarah Manguso, Maggie Nelson, and Jenny Offill among many others. He lives in Oakland, California.

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EMILY FRIDLUND READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL HISTORY OF WOLVES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

History of Wolves (Grove Atlantic)

History of Wolves is the story of fourteen-year- old Linda, who lives with her parents in an abandoned commune in the icy woods of Northern Minnesota. Isolated at home and at school, Linda finds unusual company in her beautiful classmate, Lily, and her charismatic History teacher, Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is accused of possessing child pornography, Linda’s world shifts dramatically. Things seem to look up when the Gardner family moves in across the lake. Linda is welcomed into their home as their son, Paul’s, babysitter. However, this sense of belonging, and her newfound feelings of purpose come at an unexpected price—Linda is drawn into secrets that she doesn’t understand and is eventually forced to make decisions that will affect her entire life.

Praise for History of Wolves

“[A] stellar debut . . . A sense of foreboding subtly permeates the story . . . [the] wordsmithing is fantastic, rife with vivid turns of phrase. Fridlund has elegantly crafted a striking protagonist whose dark leanings cap off the tragedy at the heart of this book, which is moving and disturbing, and which will stay with the reader.”—Publishers Weekly (starred boxed review) 

“An atmospheric, near-gothic coming-of-age novel turns on the dance between predator and prey . . . Fridlund is an assured writer . . . The novel has a tinge of fairy tale, wavering on the blur between good and evil, thought and action. But the sharp consequences for its characters make it singe and sing—a literary tour de force.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

“The writing is beautiful . . . a triumph of tone and attitude. Lovers of character-driven literary fiction will embrace this.”—Booklist (starred review)

“First thing you see is the bracing intelligence of the book’s young narrator – no big-eyed sentiments for Linda, raised amid blighted ideals in the ceaseless winters and vast swamps of northern Minnesota. So observant is Linda that you trust her instantly, but it’s her own search for trust, for connection even at enormous cost, that will hold you to the final hour. Emily Fridlund’s language is generous and precise, her story grief-tempered and forcefully moving. History of Wolves is the loneliest thing I’ve read in years, and it’s gorgeous. These are haunted pages.” —Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River

“As exquisite a first novel as I’ve ever encountered. Poetic, complex, and utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful.”—T. C. Boyle

“So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain building inside this book. And I mean that in the best way. What powerful tension and depth this provides! I’m so excited for readers to encounter the talent and roiling intelligence of Emily Fridlund.”—Aimee Bender

Emily Fridlund grew up in Minnesota and currently resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Her fiction has appeared in a variety of journals, including Boston Review, Zyzzyva, FiveChapters, New Orleans Review, Sou'wester, New Delta Review, Chariton Review, Portland Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. The opening chapter of History Wolves won the 2013 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for fiction, and Fridlund's collection of stories, Catapult, won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and will be published by Sarabande in the fall of 2017.

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VANESSA DAVIS LAUNCHES HER NEW GRAPHIC MEMOIR SPANIEL RAGE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

Spaniel Rage (Drawn & Quarterly)

Join Los Angeles-based cartoonist Vanessa Davis as she presents her latest release Spaniel Rage: a collection of frank, intimate pencil drawings created over the course of one year to chronicle her life as a single woman in New York. Filled with self-deprecating anecdotes about her anxieties, intimate moments between friends and lovers, and mingling general observations and wry truths about life in the Big City, Spaniel Rage is a witty tour de force that grabs you by the heartstrings.

Vanessa Davis's autobiographical comics delighted readers ten years ago when she first began telling stories about her life in New York as a young single Jewish woman. More observational than confessional, Spaniel Rage is filled with frank and immediate pencil drawn accounts of dating woes, misunderstandings between her and her mother, and conversations with friends. Her keen observation of careless words spoken casually is refreshingly honest, yet never condemning. Unabashedly, Davis offers up gently self-deprecating anecdotes about her anxieties and wry truths about the contradictions of life in the big city. These comics are sexy, funny, lonely, beautiful, spare, and very smart—the finest work from a natural storyteller.

Praise for Spaniel Rage

"These comics are a gift. Casual, but precise, Davis has an emotional and intellectual range that creeps up on you with a warmth and a sensibility to the page that feels revelatory. Spaniel Rage is a brave, deeply felt work." Sammy Harkham, Kramers Ergot

"Loose, perfect cartooning. Vanessa Davis is one of the very best." Michael DeForge, Big Kids, Ant Colony, and Lose

"Vanessa's comics feel like a phone call with your best, warm, funny friend. I've kept this book close at hand for the last decade, re-reading it over lunches, in baths, and curled up in bed at night." Lisa Hanawalt, Bojack Horseman, Hot Dog Taste Test

"I spent my 20s reading and re-reading this book. I'm still looking for clues in its warm, perfect drawings and clear, quiet voice a grateful ghost in the white spaces, standing by Vanessa's side." Eleanor Davis, How To Be Happy

Vanessa Davis was born in Florida and currently lives in Los Angeles. She’s a cartoonist and illustrator who has contributed to Vice, the New York Times, Lucky Peach, and Tablet.

 
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DANIELLE KRYSA DISCUSSES HER BOOK YOUR INNER CRITIC IS A BIG JERK, WITH MARTHA RICH

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative (Chronicle Books)

This book is duct tape for the mouth of every artist's inner critic. Silencing that stifling voice once and for all, this salve for creatives introduces ten truths they must face in order to defeat self-doubt. Each encouraging chapter deconstructs a pivotal moment on the path to success fear of the blank page, the dangers of jealousy, sharing work with others and explains how to navigate roadblock. Packed with helpful anecdotes, thoughts from successful creatives, and practical exercises gleaned from Danielle Krysa's years of working with professional and aspiring artists plus riotously apt illustrations from art world darling Martha Rich this book arms readers with the most essential tool for their toolbox: the confidence they need to get down to business and make good work.

Danielle Krysa has a BFA in Fine Arts, and a post-grad in graphic design. She is the writer/curator behind the contemporary art site, The Jealous Curator. In 2014 she published two books, both with Chronicle Books, titled Creative Block and Collage. Her third book, Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk was released in October 2016. Danielle has also had the great pleasure of speaking at TEDx  PIXAR, Creative Mornings, CreativeLive, Altitude Summit, and was interviewed for several video segments on Oprah.com.

Martha Rich is a Philadelphia-based artist working in both the commercial and fine art fields. Drawing, painting, using words, while being absurd and funny, and having a penchant for painting food is what she does.

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STEVE ERICKSON READS FROM HIS NEW NOVEL SHADOWBAHN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

Shadowbahn (Blue Rider Press)

In Granta Jonathan Lethem called Steve Erickson’s forthcoming novel Shadowbahn "Jaw-dropping … Erickson weaves a playlist for the dying American century with his usual lucid-dreaming prose. I've read every novel he's ever written and I'll still never know how he does it: A tour-de-forcer's tour de force." A prescient book about a divided USA, Shadowbahn is a winding and reckless ride through intersections of danger, destiny, and the conjoined halves of a ruptured nation.

The sleep of reason produces monsters, said Goya—including monsters of architecture and history that meet, most uneasily, in the pages of Erickson's latest. It's a startling scenario, a kind of deus ex machina at the beginning instead of the end of a story: What would happen if, two decades after their collapse, the twin towers of the World Trade Center were to loom up in the South Dakota Badlands? Well, it being America, they turn into a tourist attraction made all the more alluring by the fact that there's a presence up on the top floors of the southern building—a presence that just happens to be the revenant brother of another American icon. It would be a spoiler to get too much into specifics of that fellow's identity and why on earth he happens to be inhabiting a building he never lived to see, but suffice it to say that with this book, perhaps his oddest yet, Erickson stakes a claim to be one of the most centrifugal writers at work today. Even then, he works his magic mostly by conjuring sci-fi-ish plotlines and then having characters move across them in more or less realistic ways: youngsters on their way to visit family on the coast are pulled down a dusty rabbit hole into a place that requires conversations on Adlai Stevenson, Elvis, the old folk song "Shenandoah," Dealey Plaza, Churchill, Wounded Knee, RFK ("Was his big brother being metaphorical now? Ironic? Literary?"), and the whole swirl, for better and worse, of American history. Whatever is normal is upended, but it's all oddly believable. Throughout, Erickson, a master of the mot juste, writes with archly elegant lyricism: "He heads toward a west that is the dreamer's true north, where the desert comes looking for us and curls at the door, a wild animal made of our ashes…." Think Philip K. Dick on smoother acid and with a more up-to-date soundtrack, and you've got something of this eminently strange, thoroughly excellent book.

Praise for Shadowbahn

“A great, great, great, great novel. I could say more -- about its big-world heartedness and old-world shadowness, about twins and towers, brothers and sisters, road trips and all the borders we design and transgress, and of course Erickson’s beautiful heart-bit music -- but it would still add up to the same thing: great.  Sung, of course.”–Mark Z. Danielewski, author of The Familiar

“Steve Erickson is one of America’s greatest living novelists.  He is always inventive, always engaging, always surprising. In Shadowbahn, Erickson combines the social novel, the science fiction novel, the pop music essay, the comedic set piece, and the family novel into a wild, idiosyncratic tour de force.”–Dana Spiotta

“Not sure whether Steve Erickson's off-kilter whoppers have gotten more plausible or the country gets more and more unhinged.  He and his book's bewitching nouns, from the Badlands to "La Bamba," are good company either way.”–Sarah Vowell

Shadowbahn maps out an American counter-history where events that have touched all Americans, and people from all over the world, are given new shape and speak in new voices.  As both a revisioning of a national story and a family drama, the book has a simultaneous weight and lightness, an older person’s high seriousness and the ability of younger people to see right through it.”--Greil Marcus

Steve Erickson is the author of nine other novels, including Zeroville, which James Franco has adapted for film, Our Ecstatic Days, and These Dreams of You and two nonfiction books that have been published in ten languages. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, such as EsquireRolling StoneSmithsonianAmerican Prospect, and Los Angeles, for which he writes regularly about film, music, and television. Erickson is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently he teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

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MARK SUNDEEN DISCUSSES HIS BOOK THE UNSETTLERS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America (Riverhead Books)

Today's Americans are looking to escape: faced with drastic increases in climate change, the rise of the One Percent, and a suffocating 24/7 work culture that seems to be keeping an entire population chained to their smart phones, it comes as no surprise that we are now, more than ever, yearning for "the simple life." Organic eating continues to gain popularity and minimalistic Tiny Houses seem to be popping up every direction--but why? And is it actually possible not only to walk away from the modern conveniences on which we've become so paralyzingly dependent but to adopt--even model--a truly sustainable ethical and authentic way of life? 

In The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America, Mark Sundeen follows a diverse group of Americans--urban and rural, female and male, black and white--on their complicated quest for a simpler life in modern times, raising fascinating and subversive questions about the way we live, eat, and work. We asked Sundeen what led him to write The Unsettlers, and he replied, "So many people have anxiety about the state of the world--climate change, extinction, financial inequality--but so few have an idea of what they can actually do to extract themselves for the system, much less change it. This book illuminates those who are trying with all their might." 

There is no better writer to tell this story than Sundeen, whose writings on off-the-grid movements have appeared in the New York Times, Outside Magazine, The Believer, National Geographic Adventure, and McSweeny's. His previous book, The Man who Quit Money, was a sleeper hit, earning rave reviews from readers and critics--the Seattle Times deemed it "captivating," and Outside hailed it as a "critique that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt remorse on the treadmill of getting and spending"--cementing Sundeen's reputation as one of the preeminent translators of alternative communities and movements to the mainstream. 

With the lively writing-style of Barbara Kingslover and on-the-ground savvy of Michael Pollan, Mark Sundeen simultaneously explores and contextualizes the fascinatingly complex history of simple living throughout American history--from the Founding Fathers to the present movement in which, among the other subjects he profiles, Detroit natives Olivia Hubert and Greg Willerer set out to revitalize their city by farming it. 

Praise for The Unsettlers

"Rigorously reported and utterly enthralling. With Candor, wit, and live-voltage curiosity, Sundeen profiles pioneers who have developed better ways to live in our overdeveloped world."--Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

"With his chronicles of modern-day American visionaries and iconoclasts who have opted out of the mainstream culture, I've come to think of Mark Sundeen as our poet laureate of a new era of alternative lifestyles."--Bob Shacochis, author of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

Mark Sundeen is the author of several books, including The Man Who Quit Money and the coauthor of North by Northwestern, which was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He has taught fiction and nonfiction in the MFA creative writing programs at the University of New Mexico and Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife divide their time between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Moab, Utah.

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UC RIVERSIDE MFA STUDENTS AND PROFESSORS READ FROM THEIR WORK

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

Join us as professors and students from UC Riverside’s Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts MFA read from their work. Readers include: Tom Lutz, Charmaine Craig, Katie Ford, Robin Russin, Bernardita Garcia, Ashanti Anderson, Alicia Mosely, Lorelei Baughman, and Emily Margaret Wells.

Tom Lutz is the author, most recently, of And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life of Travel and Drinking Mare's Milk on the Roof of the World: Wandering the Globe from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar. He is the founding editor of Los Angeles Review of Books.

Robin Uriel Russin is a professor of screenwriting and playwriting in the Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside. He has written, produced and directed for film, TV and the theater, including the box office hit On Deadly Ground; America’s Most Wanted; and Vital Signs on ABC, where he was Senior Producer. Robin is co-author of the books Screenplay: Writing the Picture, now in its second edition, and Naked Playwriting. His stories, articles and reviews have been appeared in Script Magazine, Verdad Magazine, Connotation Press, Harvard Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The American Oxonian, Shofar, and elsewhere. A Rhodes Scholar, Robin has degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Rhode Island School of Design, and UCLA. His play, The Face in the Reeds, recently premiered in an extended run at the Ruskin Group Theatre, where he initiated and leads a workshop for emerging and established local playwrights. His original one-hour pilot script about King David, Beloved, was adapted by ABC TV as Of Kings and Prophets. Robin is currently directing the indie feature, When I Sing.

Katie Ford is the author of DepositionColosseum, and Blood Lyrics, which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Rilke Prize. Colosseum was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review and led to a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry MagazineThe Paris ReviewThe American Poetry Review and The Norton Introduction for Literature, and she is currently serving as a judge for the 2016 National Book Awards. Her fourth book is forthcoming from Graywolf Press is 2018. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the MFA Program.

Charmaine Craig is a faculty member in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, and the descendant of significant figures in Burma’s modern history. A former actor in film and television, she studied literature at Harvard University and received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine. Her first novel, The Good Men (Riverhead), was a national bestseller translated into six languages.

Bernardita García is a twenty-nine year-old Chilean journalist who is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at UC Riverside. For the last two years, she has worked as a ghostwriter. In 2016, her children’s book “La Ballena Jorobada” (The Humpback Whale) was given an award by the Municipality of Santiago, Chile. She's a paws-and-tails lover and was the coordinator of Chile’s largest animal rights campaign: #NoSonMuebles. Her writing is influenced by Latin American social changes, women’s struggle and her generation’s quest for its own identity.  

Lorelei Baughman has spent her life in California, with interludes in France and the San Juan Islands. She’s been in sales, driven a taxi, and owns a business. Now that she’s writing, she looks back most fondly on driving the taxi. She writes short stories, and graduated from UC Riverside in 2015 with a BA in Creative Writing. She loves teaching almost as much as she loves writing, and has conducted a Creative Writing class at the Chino Women’s Correctional Facility. She has been published in Bravura and Mosaic. Her stories are about ordinary people in Las Vegas and Nebraska, but she secretly wants to write about angels and genii wielding scimitars up in the ozone, inflicting their whims on the grocery clerks and civil engineers below.  She lives in Temecula, California with her husband and dogs.

Ashanti Anderson earned her B.S. in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana. Before officially deciding to pursue her goals as a writer, she was a research assistant in a lab that studied the effects of music on the cognition of individuals with dementia. She has published poetry, creative non-fiction, essays, and research articles through various print and electronic publications. Her interests include psychology, theology, cooking, and nature, and she usually (sometimes unintentionally) incorporates at least two of those into every piece that she writes.

Alicia Mosley was born in Santa Cruz, California and spent most of her life with one foot in Northern California and the other in Southern. In her writing, she is interested in exploring the ways people straddle the intersections of place, culture, and time. Alicia currently lives in Riverside with her four children and is working on her first novel.

Emily Margaret Wells writes true stories (journalism) and obliquely true stories (fiction). She is working on a novel about art, family and religion, which she plans to complete during the MFA at UC Riverside. Formerly a newspaper reporter, fashion model and ballet dancer, she lives and works with a nameless cat.

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VIET THANH NGUYEN READS FROM HIS NEW COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES THE REFUGEES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on April 9th, 2017

The Refugees (Grove Press)

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction but also the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen’s next fiction book, The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. 

With the coruscating gaze of The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. 

The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.

Praise for The Refugees

“Precise without being clinical, archly humorous without being condescending, and full of understanding; many of the stories might have been written by a modern Flaubert, if that master had spent time in San Jose or Ho Chi Minh City . . . [Nguyen’s] stories, excellent from start to finish, transcend ethnic boundaries to speak to human universals.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Each searing tale in Nguyen’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-winning The Sympathizer is a pressure cooker of unease, simmering with unresolved issues of memory and identity for the Vietnamese whose lives were disrupted by the “American War.” …Nguyen is not here to sympathize…but to challenge the experience of white America as the invisible norm. .” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Nguyen…presents a collection of fluidly modulated yet bracing stories about Vietnamese refugees in the U.S., powerful tales of rupture and loss that detonate successive shock waves. . . . Each intimate, supple, and heartrending story is unique in its particulars even as all are works of piercing clarity, poignant emotional nuance, and searing insights into the trauma of war and the long chill of exile, the assault on identity and the resilience of the self, and the fragility and preciousness of memories.”–Booklist (starred review)

“For Nguyen groupies desperate for future titles (including a Sympathizer sequel), [The] Refugees is a highly gratifying interlude. For short fiction fans of other extraordinary, between-culture collections such as Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, Nguyen won’t disappoint.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“A delight . . . The short story is a beautiful affirmation of the supreme importance of art in our daily lives. And Viet Thanh Nguyen drives that point home brilliantly.”—Mekong Review

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. His novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as five other awards. He is also the author of the nonfiction books Nothing Ever Dies and Race and Resistance. The Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, he lives in Los Angeles.

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HENRIETTA ROSE-INNES LAUNCHES HER NEW NOVEL NINEVEH AND JULIE SHIGEKUNI LAUNCHES HER NOVEL IN PLAIN VIEW

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on April 2nd, 2017

Nineveh (Unnamed Press)                     In Plain View (Unnamed Press)

Join Skylight Books and Unnamed Press for a celebration of another year of fantastic independent literature and new novels by Henrietta Rose-Innes and Julie Shigekuni

Known throughout the world as one of the new voices of South African writing, Henrietta Rose-Innes is presenting her US debut, Nineveh, alongside Julie Shigekuni, whose brand new novel In Plain View takes readers from Los Feliz to Japan.

In Nineveh, Katya Grubbs, proprietor of Painless Pest Relocations, expertly wrangles every manner of wild critter, creature or beast with the help of her unwitting nephew, Toby. When she is hired to remove the exotic beetles that have overrun Nineveh, a new luxury housing development on the coast, Katya finds that bugs aren’t the only unwelcome creatures hiding in the new, and supposedly vacant, apartments. As she investigates further, it becomes clear that Nineveh is fast becoming an environmental, not to mention architectural, blunder. 

With marshlands encroaching on its borders, and the nearby seaside more menace than attraction, Katya becomes immersed in the world of Nineveh’s few residents—the mysterious caretakers and scavenger crews that survive in its shadow. It is only when her estranged father—a professional exterminator fallen on hard times—reappears in her life, that Nineveh’s deeper secrets are exposed.

Henrietta Rose-Innes is a South African writer based in Cape Town and currently based in Norwich, UK. Nineveh was shortlisted for the M-Net Literary Award and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and in 2015 (in French translation, Ninive) it won the François Sommer Literary Prize. She's previously published a collection of short stories, Homing, and the novels Green Lion, Shark's Egg and The Rock Alphabet. She was the winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2008. In 2012 her story “Sanctuary” came second in the BBC International Short Story Prize.
 

In In Plain view, Daidai befriends Satsuki, one of her husband Hiroshi’s graduate students who has recently arrived from Japan.  New to Los Angeles, Satsuki clings to her Japanese heritage and introduces Daidai, who is half-Japanese and raised in America, to many traditions. But soon, Satsuki is appearing at their home uninvited, and when news that Satsuki’s estranged mother has been found dead at a nearby monastery emerges, Daidai is suspicious of her new friend’s intentions.

Daidai begins to investigate the death of Satsuki’s mother—an apparent suicide, but Hiroshi is appalled, and Satsuki feels betrayed. To smoothe things over, Daidai accompanies Satsuki to Mito, Japan to visit her wealthy father. Daidai struggles to better comprehend Satsuki’s troubled past and dysfunctional family, and the trip proves increasingly disastrous. Rattled by the events, Satsuki moves in to Daidai and Hiroshi’s apartment and her dangerous and erratic behavior forces Daidai to uncover the secrets of Satsuki’s past. When Hiroshi is suddenly very seriously ill, Daidai finds herself in a fight to save not just her marriage but her husband’s life.

Julie Shigekuni is the author of four novels: A Bridge Between Us, Invisible Gardens, Unending Nora, and most recently In Plain View. Shigekuni was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award and the recipient of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature. She has received a Henfield Award and an American Japanese Literary Award for her writing. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of New Mexico. 

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MEREDITH ALLING READS FROM HER DEBUT COLLECTION OF STORIES SING THE SONG WITH SIEL JU

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on April 2nd, 2017

Sing the Song (Future Tense Books)

After steadily garnering attention and gaining fans with her appearances in various magazines and websites, Meredith Alling comes out with her debut collection of stories, Sing the Song. For fans of writers like Diane Williams, Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, Ben Marcus, and Amelia Gray, Alling’s debut will signal the arrival of a new unique voice in fiction. Featuring 27 stories in 100 pages, Alling’s collection is propulsive, dangerous, often funny, and powered by a language that wrestles with anxiety and the unexpected surrealism of modern life. With an ancient ham crawling out from a sewer to tell fortunes, a lone blonde at a party for redheads, and a mother outsmarting a masked criminal,Sing the Song bleeds and breathes with dreamlike surprise.

Meredith Alling lives and works in Los Angeles. Her short fiction has appeared in Tin House, No Tokens, The Fanzine, Spork, The Guardian, and elsewhere. 

Siel Ju's novel-in-stories, Cake Time, is the winner of the 2015 Red Hen Press Fiction Manuscript Award and will be published in April 2017. Siel is also the author of two poetry chapbooks. Her stories and poems appear in ZYZZYVA, The Missouri Review (Poem of the Week), The Los Angeles Review, Denver Quarterly, and other places.

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UC RIVERSIDE MFA STUDENTS READ FROM THEIR WORK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on April 2nd, 2017

Please join us this afternoon as students in the University of California, Riverside Master of Fine Arts writing program will read from their work. Readers include Samantha Reid Avina, Kate Burns, Chloe Cole, Joshua Rigsby, Jason Schachat and Miranda Tsang

Samantha Reid Aviña is pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at UCR. Her writing is influenced by life, love, family, food, and secrets.

Kate Burns is a 2nd-year MFA candidate in fiction at UC Riverside.  She lives in Los Angeles. 
 
Chloe Cole has lived for many years on both coasts, and she prefers one over the other. She has written about fandom, feminism and flatulence for Dorkly, The Mary Sue, CollegeHumor and Reductress. She enjoys consuming true-crime media and buying the same striped shirt over and over again.
 
Joshua Rigsby grew up in the famous little town of Roswell, New Mexico. He enjoys writing about the history of tea (among other things). He does not believe in weather balloons.
 
Jason Schachat is a 2nd-year MFA candidate in the UCR Creative Writing program with a focus on fiction. He has worked as a journalist, editor, tutor, screenwriter, director, video game writer, and finder of stray shopping carts.
 
Miranda Tsang grew up in San Francisco. She teaches writing as a Gluck Fellow while in the MFA program at UC Riverside. Tsang has received support from Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Bread Loaf Writers'
Conference, and Kearny Street Workshop. Her writing is published or forthcoming in The Offing, Lumen, and the HYSTERIA anthology. She is the Poetry Editor at SARR.
 

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DAVID FRANCIS DISCUSSES HIS NEW NOVEL WEDDING BUSH ROAD, WITH DAN SMETANKA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 26th, 2017

Wedding Bush Road (Counterpoint) 

When he learns of his mother’s ailing health, Daniel Rawson must leave Los Angeles and travel half a world away to the family’s horse farm on Wedding Bush Road, one hundred miles outside of Melbourne. Estranged from his parents, Daniel is hesitant to revisit their history: long divorced, his mother still maintains the farm having put out her cheating, rakish husband, and even in these later years her anger burns brightly.

Daniel arrives at the farm in the heat of his parents’ conflict with Sharen, an alluring tenant and ex-lover of his father now perched on family land. Sharen and her unstable son Reggie complicate an already difficult family dynamic while Daniel has to tend to his mother’s condition, his father’s contentious behavior, and the swell of memory that strikes whenever he visits the farm. As Daniel is increasingly drawn to Sharen, the various tensions across the farm will spark events that cannot help but change them all.

With a keen eye for the rugged and beautiful Australian landscape, infused with aboriginal history, and set against the workings of a rural horse farm, Wedding Bush Road is a stunning novel about the choices we make, the regrets that linger, and the unquestionable, inevitable pull of home.

"David Francis is a human rights lawyer in Los Angeles, and he somehow finds time to write terrific books every few years." – KPCC’s “Take Two”

“Francis proves that this reckless landscape also has a darkly seductive pull . . . Domestic drama with an offbeat, rural flavor.” —Kirkus

“Compelling and honest, Wedding Bush Road is a masterful feat.” —Mary Rakow, author of This Is Why I Came

“David Francis writes with precision and sensitivity about that most complicated of subjects: Home. Amid unforgettable landscapes and characters that are both beautiful and violent, Wedding Bush Road grapples with discontent and restlessness. Francis turns a sharp but generous eye on those who won't leave and those who can't stay, reminding us that family can be the most dangerous place of all.” —Mark Sarvas, author of Harry, Revised

“Here’s an Australia so tactile that the page itself begins to feel textured. Francis ably tells a story of a man’s internal struggle as expressed through conflicts as rooted and primal as the soil. A dynamic and inviting read.” —Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master

“I have known David Francis and his work for a long time, and I think Wedding Bush Road is his best book yet!” —Jane Smiley

“With an eye for the transcendent detail, and a pitch perfect ear, David Francis gorgeously summons a farm in rural Australia. The wonderfully complex relationships among its inhabitants reflect nothing less than the tensions wrought by the country’s fractious history of colonialism. Who belongs to the land and to whom does the land belong? These are the uneasy questions raised by this searching, lovely novel.” —Marisa Silver, author of Mary Coin

“A psychologically acute tale of the decline of a patrician Australian family and the forces arrayed against them. Class, sex and land knit together in this compellingly modern take on a timeless struggle. Gorgeous, dangerous and utterly captivating.”—Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black

“Who hasn't packed a bag and headed home? Wedding Bush Road is a beautiful, intelligent book about love, loss, and the unforgettable landscapes that made us who we are.” —David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife

David Francis, based in Los Angeles where he works for the Norton Rose Fulbright law firm, spends part of each year back on his family’s farm in Australia. He is the author of The Great Inland Sea, published to acclaim in seven countries, and Stray Dog Winter, Book of the Year in The Advocate, winner of the American Library Association Barbara Gittings Prize for Literature, and a LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist. He has taught creative writing at UCLA, Occidental College, and in the Masters of Professional Writing program at USC. His short fiction and articles have appeared in publications including Harvard ReviewThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe AgeSouthern California ReviewBest Australian StoriesAustralian Love Stories, and The Rattling Wall. He is Vice President of PEN Center USA.

 Dan Smetanka is a Vice President and Executive Editor at Counterpoint Press.

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SARAH PAPPALARDO AND BETH NEWELL DISCUSS THEIR BOOK HOW TO WIN AT FEMINISM

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 26th, 2017

How to Win At Feminism: The Definitive Guide to Having It All—And Then Some! (HarperOne)

Feminism is all about demanding equality and learning to love yourself. But not too much – men hate that! From the writers of Reductress, the subversive, satirical women’s magazine read by over 2.5 million visitors a month, comes How to Win At Feminism: The Definitive Guide to Having It All—And Then Some!

This ultimate guide to winning feminism—filled with four-color illustrations, bold graphics, and hilarious photos—teaches readers how to battle the patriarchy better than everybody else. From the herstory of feminism to how to apologize for having it all, readers will learn how to be a feminist at work and at home with tips that include:

  • How to Do More with 33 Cents Less
  • How to Be Sex-Positive Even When You’re Bloated
  • How to Love Your Body Even Though Hers Is Better
  • The 9 Circles of Hell for Women Who Don’t Help Other Women
  • Designer Handbags to Hold All Your Feminism
  • How to Get Catcalled For Your Personality

How to Win At Feminism is a fresh take on women's rights through the lens of the funniest women in comedy today. With this book as your wo-manual, you’ll shatter that glass ceiling once and for all (but you’ll still need to clean up the mess).

Reductress is a fast-growing satirical website that delivers mischievously hilarious, on-point criticism wrapped in hilarious headlines and feature articles. Referred to as the “feminist Onion,” it pokes fun at the messages fed to women from an early age and throughout adulthood. Since its creation in 2013, it has exploded in popularity, with over 2.5 million monthly visitors. Reductress was founded by Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalardo, the authors of this book.

Sarah Pappalardo is the co-founder and managing editor of Reductress, and a writer, performer and playwright who has written and performed at The Second City and The Upright Citizens Brigade. 

Beth Newell is the creator, co-founder, and editor of Reductress, and an improvisational stand-up comedian who has performed at The Upright Citizen’s Brigade and contributed to McSweeney’s and The Onion News Network.

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LEO BRAUDY DISCUSSES HIS BOOK HAUNTED

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 26th, 2017

Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds (Yale University Press)

Leo Braudy, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has won accolades for revealing the complex and constantly shifting history behind seemingly unchanging ideas of fame, war, and masculinity.

Continuing his interest in the history of emotion, in Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds, he explores how fear has been shaped into images of monsters and monstrosity.

From the Protestant Reformation to contemporary horror films and fiction, he explores four major types: the monster from nature (King Kong), the created monster Frankenstein), the monster from within (Mr. Hyde), and the monster from the past (Dracula). Drawing upon deep historical and literary research, Braudy discusses the lasting presence of fearful imaginings in an age of scientific progress, viewing the detective genre as a rational riposte to the irrational world of the monstrous.

Haunted is a compelling, incisive work by an awardwinning scholar and author that charts four hundred years of monsters and how they reflect the culture that created them.

Leo Braudy is University Professor and Leo S. Bing Chair in English and American Literature at the University of Southern California. He is the author of numerous books, including Jean Renoir: The World of His Films (Doubleday, 1972), a finalist for the National Book Award; The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History (Oxford University Press, 1986), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; From Chivalry to Terrorism (Knopf, 2003), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon (Yale, 2011). He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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ILLEANA DOUGLAS READS FROM HER MEMOIR I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER, WITH SPECIAL GUESTS JENNIFER TILLY, MATT OSWALT, ANNETTE O’TOOLE, BEN MANKIEWICZ, STEVEN WEBER, AND KATE MICUCCI

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 26th, 2017

I Blame Dennis Hopper: And Other Stories From A Life Lived In and Out of the Movies (Flatiron Books)

From award-winning actress Illeana Douglas comes a memoir about learning to survive in Hollywood while staying true to her quirky vision of the world.

In 1969 Illeana Douglas' parents saw the film Easy Rider and were transformed. Taking Dennis Hopper's words, "That's what it's all about man" to heart, they abandoned their comfortable upper middle class life and gave Illeana a childhood filled with hippies, goats, free spirits, and free love. Illeana writes, "Since it was all out of my control, I began to think of my life as a movie, with a Dennis Hopper-like father at the center of it."

I Blame Dennis Hopper is a testament to the power of art and the tenacity of passion. It is a rollicking, funny, at times tender exploration of the way movies can change our lives. With crackling humor and a full heart, Douglas describes how a good Liza Minnelli impression helped her land her first gig and how Rudy Valley taught her the meaning of being a show biz trouper. From her first experience being on set with her grandfather and mentor-two-time Academy Award-winning actor Melvyn Douglas-to the moment she was discovered by Martin Scorsese for her blood-curdling scream and cast in her first film, to starring in movies alongside Robert DeNiro, Nicole Kidman, and Ethan Hawke, to becoming an award winning writer, director and producer in her own right, I Blame Dennis Hopper is an irresistible love letter to movies and filmmaking. Writing from the perspective of the ultimate show business fan, Douglas packs each page with hilarious anecdotes, bizarre coincidences, and fateful meetings that seem, well, right out of a plot of a movie.

I Blame Dennis Hopper is the story of one woman's experience in show business, but it is also a genuine reminder of why we all love the movies: for the glitz, the glamor, the sweat, passion, humor, and escape they offer us all.

Praise for I Blame Dennis Hopper

"In this sublime series of essays, Douglas revels in her dual roles as both participant and observer, never losing her awe of the actors and directors she has met along the way. Funny, candid, juicy, gossipy, Douglas insider look at the film industry charms with its pinch me, I m dreaming sweetness while imparting hard-won and valuable lessons about following one s true calling." -Booklist, Starred Review

"In other words, she's got seriously good stories to tell in these chatty, heartfelt essays" - Kim Hubbard, "People" Magazine

"It's Douglas head-over-heels madness for the movies that illuminates the text like a projector bulb through a filmstrip, from her parents decision to run a hippie commune after being bewitched by Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, to Douglas own obsession with actors like Lee Marvin and Richard Dreyfuss, to her sometimes delusional confidence that she was born to be a star. Douglas recounts her life and work with a perfect mix of self-deprecation and glowing pride. Reading it feels like listening to the magnetic storyteller herself and it s enough to make you fall in love too. A " - Entertainment Weekly

"Humorous, delightful, and wholly entertaining. Douglas delves into all the wonderfully serendipitous tales that got her to the place she as a child always wanted to be, all while charming the hell out of us."- Elle Magazine

Illeana Douglas takes you through her years in Hollywood and beyond the same way she experienced them - by happy, hilarious accident. The revelations fly off the pages of this book are cringe-inducing, gut-busting and terrifying, usually all at once."--Patton Oswalt, New York Times bestselling author of ZOMBIE, SPACESHIP, WASTELAND

"I've talked to Illeana Douglas about her life. Her family roots are crazy, groovy, harsh and a bit glamorous. I'm thrilled she's wrangled that into prose form. She's quirky, hilarious and deep. I love her. I've always loved her. Haven't we all?"--Marc Maron, Comedian and bestselling author of Attempting Normal

"Illeana Douglas is an incredibly talented, smart and funny storyteller. This book is compelling to read from start to finish. She either knows or has worked with so many significant names in film, that in researching, she broke my IMDB."--Bob Saget, actor and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Dirty Daddy

"Illeana has done what no other movie memoir has ever achieved; she takes us on a journey through the personal, the chaotic, the droll, the ecstatic, the hilarious, the surreal and moving life in moving pictures, hers, and ours. As beautiful as it is exhilarating, I Blame Dennis Hopper not only gives us a rich texture of the life of an American girl coming of age in a wild time, but the most perfect look I've ever read of life on the set through a filmmakers eye. Gorgeous."-- Allison Anders, Award-winning director of Grace of My Heart and Gas Food Lodging

"I Blame Dennis Hopper is genius. I couldn't put it down. It was like having a great companion. Illeana completely captures the enchantment of film in a charming and hilarious way. More than that, it reminded me of my own passion for movies and of acting. Very, very inspirational." --Jeff Goldblum

"I devoured this book as if it were a giant box of popcorn! It isn't easy to put your thoughts, hopes, dreams, and disappointments into words, but Illeana Douglas has done it with equal parts candor and humor. Best of all, she details the special relationship she had with her grandfather, the great Melvyn Douglas-including the time she got to visit him on the set of Being There. I thoroughly enjoyed this disarming memoir."--Leonard Maltin, film critic and bestselling author

Illeana Douglas is an actress, writer, director and host of Trailblazing Women on Turner Classic Movies. She’s appeared in classic films like Cape Fear, Grace of My Heart, and Ghost World, and is often described as “quirky” which is odd because the look she is going for is “skanky."

Jennifer Tilly was in many films including Bound, Bullets over Broadway, and the extremely dramatic Bella Mafia, that she starred in with Illeana Douglas. These days she plays poker and continues to churn out Chucky movies.

Matt Oswalt is a writer and director, he created the hit web series Puddin' starring Eddie Pepitone.  He does punch-up on lots of movies and award shows you've probably seen and is currently writing on Mystery Science Theater 3000. 

Annette O’Toole is an actress who has been around forever. She also sings, knits, and sometimes plays the mandolin. Her favorite actor is Michael McKean. That’s pretty much all you need to know. 

Ben Mankiewicz is a host of Turner Classic Movies. He moved to LA 75 years after his grandfather Herman Mankiewicz arrived. He cohosts the online film review show What The Flick.

Steven Weber is known for playing comedy and drama, he's a national treasure and a good man.

Kate Micucci is one half of the comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates. Lately you may have seen her in Mike Birbilgia's movie Don't Think Twice, or Joe Swanberg's Netflix series Easy.

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