Porsha Olayiwola, “I SHIMMER SOMETIMES, TOO”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, poetry by skylightbooks on April 1st, 2020

Porsha Olayiwola is from the future! Black, poet, queer-dyke, hip-hop feminist, womanist: Porsha is a native of Chicago who now resides in Boston. Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the artistic director at MassLEAP, a literary youth organization. Olayiwola is an MFA Candidate at Emerson College and is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston.

Her debut poetry collection soars with the power and presence of live performance. These poems dip their hands deep into the fabric of black womanhood, pulling out all of its threads. This book establishes Porsha O firmly in the lineage of black queer poetics, pulling equally from Audre Lorde and Danez Smith. This is a book of gentle breaking and inventive reconstruction. This is a book of self-care, and community-care--the pursuit of building a world that will keep you alive.

Megan Fernandes, “GOOD BOYS” w/ Catherine Pond & Callie Siskel

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on March 31st, 2020

In an era of rising nationalism and geopolitical instability, Megan Fernandes's Good Boys offers a complex portrait of messy feminist rage, negotiations with race and travel, and existential dread in the Anthropocene. The collection follows a restless, nervy, cosmically abandoned speaker failing at the aspirational markers of adulthood as she flips from city to city, from enchantment to disgust, always reemerging-just barely-on the trains and bridges and barstools of New York City. A child of the Indian ocean diaspora, Fernandes enacts the humor and devastation of what it means to exist as a body of contradictions. Her interpretations are muddied. Her feminism is accusatory, messy. Her homelands are theoretical and rootless. The poet converses with goats and throws a fit at a tarot reading; she loves the intimacy of strangers during turbulent plane rides and has dark fantasies about the "hydrogen fruit" of nuclear fallout. Ultimately, these poems possess an affection for the doomed: false beloveds, the hounded earth, civilizations intent on their own ruin. Fernandes skillfully interrogates where to put our fury and, more importantly, where to direct our mercy.

Fernandes is in conversation with Catherine Pond and Callie Siskel.

April Davila, “142 OSTRICHES” w/ Amy Meyerson

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on March 30th, 2020

Set against the unexpected splendor of an ostrich ranch in the California desert, April Dávila’s beautifully written debut conjures an absorbing and compelling heroine in a story of courage, family and forgiveness.

When Tallulah Jones was thirteen, her grandmother plucked her from the dank Oakland apartment she shared with her unreliable mom and brought her to the family ostrich ranch in the Mojave Desert. After eleven years caring for the curious, graceful birds, Tallulah accepts a job in Montana and prepares to leave home. But when Grandma Helen dies under strange circumstances, Tallulah inherits everything—just days before the birds inexplicably stop laying eggs.  

Guarding the secret of the suddenly barren birds, Tallulah endeavors to force through a sale of the ranch, a task that is complicated by the arrival of her extended family. Their designs on the property, and deeply rooted dysfunction, threaten Tallulah’s ambitions and eventually her life.

With no options left, Tallulah must pull her head out of the sand and face the fifty-year legacy of a family in turmoil: the reality of her grandmother's death, her mother's alcoholism, her uncle's covetous anger, and the 142 Ostriches whose lives are in her hands.

Davila is in conversation with Amy Meyerson, the bestselling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays.

Brandon Taylor, “REAL LIFE” w/ Miles Klee

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

Taking place over the course of a single summer weekend, Real Life chronicles the life of Wallace, a young black graduate student studying biochemistry at a Midwest university. While navigating racial, class, and sexual tensions in his lab—as well as his friend community, with whom he feels both love and alienation—Wallace questions whether he should leave his program. When a tentative friendship transforms into a deeper connection, however, Wallace finds himself confronting the horrific trauma of his past, and wrestling with the challenge of building a new life while carrying such painful wounds. Told in poignant, heart-stopping sentences, the novel vividly immerses the reader into the insular world of graduate school—full of competitive lab sessions, sexually tense dinner parties, and complicated love triangles.

Like André Aciman or Alan Hollinghurst, Brandon Taylor depicts a story of sexual turmoil with beautiful intensity and rawness. Wallace’s story is one that is at times agonizingly intimate, and yet so fully human and resonant. Through absorbing narrative and richly drawn characters, Taylor forces readers to face the legacy of trauma, how it connects and isolates us from one another; to sit with uncomfortable but necessary questions around race, privilege and white fragility; and the differences that radically affect our experience in the world. As the title suggests, Real Life also reexamines the conventional metrics of success in America, asking how one is meant to live in a system designed to suppress. How are we to rescue one another from suffering, to heal from damage, without forsaking our identities? And is it truly possible to live a life that is honest and dignified—that coexists with pain and love, productivity and pleasure, community and self-realization—a life, in other words, that is real?

Taylor is in conversation with Miles Klee, MEL’s resident tank-top dirtbag, shitposter and meme expert.

Katharine Coldiron, “CEREMONIALS” w/ Christopher Higgs

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction by skylightbooks on March 26th, 2020

Ceremonials is a twelve-part lyric novella inspired by Florence + the Machine’s 2011 album of the same name. It’s the story of two girls, Amelia and Corisande, who fall in love at a boarding school. Corisande dies suddenly on the eve of graduation, but Amelia cannot shake her ghost. A narrative about obsession, the Minotaur, and the veil between life and death, Ceremonials is a poem in prose, a keening in words, and a song etched in ink.

Author Katharine Coldiron is in conversation with Christopher Higgs, a published author who teaches narrative theory and technique at California State University Northridge.

Ebony Flowers, “HOT COMB” w/ Taneka Stotts

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Y/A, Young Adult, Comics/Graphic Novels by skylightbooks on March 25th, 2020

Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers is one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of 2019, receiving nominations from the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens and Alex Awards, as well as the NAACP Image Awards. The book offers a poignant glimpse into Black women’s anxieties, support networks, and coming of age stories. Hot Comb is insightful and empathetic about the imperfections of identity, a propitious display of talent from a vital new voice.

Flowers will be joined in conversation by TV and comics writer Taneka Stotts


Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on March 24th, 2020

While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters of Carson McCullers and a woman named Annemarie—letters that are tender, intimate, and unabashed in their feelings. Shapland recognizes herself in the letters’ language—but does not see McCullers as history has portrayed her.

And so, Shapland is compelled to undertake a recovery of the full narrative and language of McCullers’s life: she wades through the therapy transcripts; she stays at McCullers’s childhood home, where she lounges in her bathtub and eats delivery pizza; she relives McCullers’s days at her beloved Yaddo. As Shapland reckons with the expanding and collapsing distance between her and McCullers, she sees how McCullers’s story has become a way to articulate something about herself. The results reveal something entirely new not only about this one remarkable, walleyed life, but about the way we tell queer love stories.

In My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, Jenn Shapland interweaves her own story with Carson McCullers’s to create a vital new portrait of one of America’s most beloved writers, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are.

Shapland is in conversation with Andy Campbell, PhD, an art historian, critic, and curator.

Emily Nemens, “THE CACTUS LEAGUE” w/

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2020

Jason Goodyear is the star outfielder for the Los Angeles Lions, stationed with the rest of his team in the punishingly hot Arizona desert for their annual spring training. Handsome, famous, and talented, Goodyear is nonetheless coming apart at the seams. And the coaches, writers, wives, girlfriends, petty criminals, and diehard fans following his every move are eager to find out why—as they hide secrets of their own.

Humming with the energy of a ballpark before the first pitch, Emily NemensThe Cactus League unravels the tightly connected web of people behind a seemingly linear game. Narrated by a sportscaster, Goodyear’s story is interspersed with tales of Michael Taylor, a batting coach trying to stay relevant; Tamara Rowland, a resourceful spring-training paramour, looking for one last catch; Herb Allison, a legendary sports agent grappling with his decline; and a plethora of other richly drawn characters, all striving to be seen as the season approaches. It’s a journey that, like the Arizona desert, brims with both possibility and destruction.

Anchored by an expert knowledge of baseball’s inner workings, Emily Nemens's The Cactus League is a propulsive and deeply human debut that captures a strange desert world that is both exciting and unforgiving, where the most crucial games are the ones played off the field.

Nemens is in conversation with J. Ryan Stradal the author of the New York Times bestseller, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which won the 2016 American Booksellers Association Indie's Choice Award for Adult Debut Book of the Year, the 2016 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for debut fiction, and the 2016 Southern California Independent Booksellers Association award for 2016's top novel.

Kyle Chayka, “THE LONGING FOR LESS” w/ Geoff Manaugh

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, journalism by skylightbooks on March 20th, 2020

Everywhere we hear the mantra: Less is more. Marie Kondo and other decluttering gurus promise that shedding our stuff will solve our problems, while tech-industry lifehackers preach a ruthless time-management gospel. We commit to cleanse diets and strive for inbox zero. Amid the frantic pace and distraction of everyday life, we covet silence--and airy, Instagrammable spaces in which to enjoy it. All the while, the enduring values of minimalism become harder to discern through its branding as yet another luxury commodity.

After spending years covering these trends for leading publications, cultural critic Kyle Chayka delves beneath the minimalist lifestyle's glossy surface, seeking ways to better claim the time and space we crave, on our own terms. He finds that the origins of our current love affair with austerity go back further than we realize, as his search leads him to the stories of the singular innovators whose creativity laid the foundation for minimalism as we know it today: artists such as Donald Judd and Agnes Martin; composers such as John Cage and Julius Eastman; architects and ascetics; philosophers and poets. As Chayka looks anew at their extraordinary lives and explores the places where they worked, he gleans fresh insights into our longing for less. And finally, tracing the footsteps of two Japanese literary masters, he arrives at an elegant new synthesis of our minimalist desires and our profound emotional needs.

Chayka discusses The Longing for Less w/ Geoff Manaugh,  Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the author of A Burglar’s Guide to the City


Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, biography by skylightbooks on March 19th, 2020

In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, Sands Hall—a young woman from a literary family striving to forge her own way as an artist—finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer. Her time in the Church, the 1980s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. In Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion—what she found intriguing and useful—and how she came to confront its darker sides and escape.

Hall is in conversation with Maggie Rowe, who has performed in and produced the Com­edy Central stage show sitnspin, Los Angeles’s longest running spoken-word show, having taken the reins from creator Jill Soloway in 2002.

SEAWITCHES, VOL. 4 w/ Olivia VanDamme & Margaret Seelie

Seawitches is a bi-annual print publication with the eternal theme of water. Within the water theme we’ve explored menstruation, mental health, white privilege, technology, environmental issues, and more.

Every issue has an Artist In Residence (AIR), including Leah Koransky (1), Caitlin Mattisson (2), and Savannah Rusher (4). Writers include Easkey Britton, Serena Renner, Kehinde Apara, Margaret Seelie, Maureen Murphy, Coco Peezy, and more. Artists include Amelia Coplan, Andrew Kaineder, Bleen Photography, Chris Duncan, Cristine Blanco, Elizabeth Pepin Silva, Rebecca Schillinger, Kaylee Savage-Wright, Kimberly Rose Wendt, Luke Allen, Marley Reynosa, Paige Laverty, Preston Richardson, Sarah Beeby, Susan Mattisson, Yoni Matatyaou, and more.

Whether you love oceans with wild waves, lakes that leave your skin smelling of fresh dirt, pools with sunlight slithering across blue paint, or a good soak in the tub – we think you'll like what you find with Seawitches.


Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Feminism, erotica by skylightbooks on March 17th, 2020

In Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5, award-winning editor Rachel Kramer Bussel takes readers on an outrageous journey into the world of female fantasy and desire. These sexy stories offer up wild, hot, and steamy tales from today’s top authors. You’ll be swept away by the sexiest business deal ever, break the rules in a future world where skin-on-skin contact is forbidden, and discover the art of getting off by phone sex. From threesomes to mermaid sex, fetishes, sex parties, and much more, these authors steam up the pages with tales of trysts, love, and lust where nothing is held back. If you’re looking to escape from the everyday and discover what happens when women are ready to get totally outrageous, this book is for you. With new stories by beloved authors including Joanna Angel, Balli Kaur Jaswal, CD Reiss, Sierra Simone, and Sabrina Sol, along with newcomers to the genre, you’ll savor every sizzling page.

Amina Cain, “INDELICACY” w/ Adam Novy

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

In "a strangely ageless world somewhere between Emily Dickinson and David Lynch" (Blake Butler), a cleaning woman at a museum of art nurtures aspirations to do more than simply dust the paintings around her. She dreams of having the liberty to explore them in writing, and so must find a way to win herself the time and security to use her mind. She escapes her lot by marrying a rich man, but having gained a husband, a house, high society, and a maid, she finds that her new life of privilege is no less constrained. Not only has she taken up different forms of time-consuming labor―social and erotic―but she is now, however passively, forcing other women to clean up after her. Perhaps another and more drastic solution is necessary?

Reminiscent of a lost Victorian classic in miniature, yet taking equal inspiration from such modern authors as Jean Rhys, Octavia Butler, Clarice Lispector, and Jean Genet, Amina Cain's Indelicacy is at once a ghost story without a ghost, a fable without a moral, and a down-to-earth investigation of the barriers faced by women in both life and literature. It is a novel about seeing, class, desire, anxiety, pleasure, friendship, and the battle to find one’s true calling.

Cain is in conversation with Adam Novy, author of The Avian Gospels came out in 2010.

Emma Copley Eisenberg, “THE THIRD RAINBOW GIRL” w/ Steph Cha

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, True Crime, Serial Killers, nonfiction by skylightbooks on March 13th, 2020

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived; they traveled with a third woman however, who lived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the investigation itself caused its own traumas--turning neighbor against neighbor and confirming a fear of the violence outsiders have done to this region for centuries.

Emma Copley Eisenberg spent years living in Pocahontas and re-investigating these brutal acts. Using the past and the present, she shows how this mysterious act of violence has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America--its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.

Eisenberg is in conversation with Steph Cha, the author of Follow Her HomeBeware BewareDead Soon Enough, and Your House Will Pay, out from Ecco in 2019.

Crissy Van Meter, “CREATURES” w/ Edan Lepucki

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

Unique in its structure and written to mimic the tidal charts that Evie studies as well as the natural ebbs and flows of life, Creatures takes readers on a provocative and mesmerizing journey as Evie is forced to reckon with her complicated upbringing in this lush, feral land off the coast of Southern California. On the eve of Evie’s wedding, a dead whale is trapped in the harbor of Winter Island, the groom may be lost at sea, and Evie’s mostly absent mother has shown up out of the blue.  Evie grew up with her well-meaning but negligent father, surviving on the money he made dealing the island’s world-famous strain of marijuana, Winter Wonderland. Although he raised her with a deep respect for the elements, the sea, and the creatures living within it, he also left her to parent herself.

Crissy Van Meter based Creatures on her own coming of age in Newport Beach. “I was asking questions about what it means to grieve, to love, to experience love informed by grief, and to love someone who isn’t always good.” She explains, “I was interested in digging into my own experiences with my father’s drug and alcohol addiction, his failures as a father, and the dichotomy of still loving him so much… And, I was interested in exploring what it means to have a treacherous past with a father like this, and what it means as an adult to decipher what it means to love, what it means to forgive.”

Van Meter is in conversation with Edan Lepucki, bestselling author of the novels California and Woman No. 17.

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