Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, “CIRCLE”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Children's Fiction by skylightbooks on March 15th, 2019

This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shape trilogy.




Geoff Dyer, “BROADSWORD CALLING DANNY BOY”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Film, nonfiction, film/tv by skylightbooks on March 14th, 2019

Geoff Dyer has loved Where Eagles Dare since childhood. It is both a thrillingly realized Alpine World War II adventure with tough, compelling acting from its two great stars, Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood, and a flippant travesty, reducing the central disaster in Europe’s modern history to a series of huge explosions and peopled by campy SS officers.

As he did in Zona–which took on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker–in Broadsword Calling Danny BoyDyer gives us a scene-by-scene reaction to and reading of the film. And perhaps as only he can, the author both extols and denigrates–lovingly and entertainingly no matter which way he falls–this acme of the late ’60s action movie.

Dyer is in discussion with Joanathan Lethem, author of eleven novels, including The Fortress of Solitude and Girl in Landscape.

 




Chris Cander, “THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO”

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

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

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

 




Hillary Frank, “WEIRD PARENTING WINS” w/ Jane Marie

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction by skylightbooks on March 12th, 2019

The best parenting advice that Hillary Frank receives doesn’t come from parenting gurus, but from friends and podcast listeners who use their creativity to flee moments of desperation. In Hillary’s book, one mother threatens to sing in public anytime her daughters argue. Another mom allows her daughter to play with tampons to get a few minutes on the toilet alone.

These are just a few of the gems available in Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches, a collection of unusual techniques parents use in stressful situations to calm their children and themselves. These “weird parenting wins” work for parents with children of all ages. From using The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song to lull a colicky infant to convincing her kids that Toys ‘R’ Us is a membership only club, parents in Hillary’s book are as ingenious as they are eccentric. They use their tricks to foster fun, inspire their kids to diversify their appetites, stop sibling rivalry, cultivate independence, develop manners, and open up. Not only does Hillary focus on kids’ needs, she also intersperses anecdotes to help moms and dads keep their cool, find time for intimacy, and enjoy the insane, heartwarming journey.

Frank is in conversation with Jane Marie, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and former producer of This American Life.




UC Irvine MFA Student Reading

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

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




Elizabeth McCracken, “BOWLAWAY” w/ Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, novels by skylightbooks on March 8th, 2019

From the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century—nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her person—Bertha Truitt is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts. She has no past to speak of, or at least none she is willing to reveal, and her mysterious origin scandalizes and intrigues the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her. But Bertha is plucky, tenacious, and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark—with Bertha its most notable resident.

When Bertha dies in a freak accident, her past resurfaces in the form of a heretofore-unheard-of son, who arrives in Salford claiming he is heir apparent to Truitt Alleys. Soon it becomes clear that, even in her death, Bertha’s defining spirit and the implications of her obfuscations live on, infecting and affecting future generations through inheritance battles, murky paternities, and hidden wills.

In a voice laced with insight and her signature sharp humor, Elizabeth McCracken has written an epic family saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America. Bowlaway is both a stunning feat of language and a brilliant unraveling of a family’s myths and secrets, its passions and betrayals, and the ties that bind and the rifts that divide.  

McCracken is joined in conversation by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest.




Marlon James, “BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF”

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

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

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

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




Charlie Jane Anders, “THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, sci-fi by skylightbooks on March 6th, 2019

From Hugo and Nebula-Award winning author of the critically-acclaimed All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders, comes an all-new work of thought-provoking and entertaining speculative fiction set on a distant planet, divided into permanent day and night. The City in the Middle of the Night will satisfy Anders’ many fans as well as expand her audience as she crafts a wondrous new world in a hauntingly strange future. 

January is a dying planet—divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk.

But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.

Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead, after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal. 

But fate has other plans—and Sophie's ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.




Chloe Aridjis, “SEA MONSTERS” w/ Merritt Tierce

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, novels, Mexico by skylightbooks on March 5th, 2019

One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking--recklessness, impulse, independence.

Tomás may also help Luisa fulfill an unusual obsession: she wants to track down a traveling troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs. According to newspaper reports, the dwarfs recently escaped a Soviet circus touring Mexico. The imagined fates of these performers fill Luisa's surreal dreams as she settles in a beach community in Oaxaca. Surrounded by hippies, nudists, beachcombers, and eccentric storytellers, Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will "promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery." It is a quest more easily envisioned than accomplished. As she wanders the shoreline and visits the local bar, Luisa begins to disappear dangerously into the lives of strangers on Zipolite, the "Beach of the Dead."

Meanwhile, her father has set out to find his missing daughter. A mesmeric portrait of transgression and disenchantment unfolds. Chloe Aridjis's Sea Monsters is a brilliantly playful and supple novel about the moments and mysteries that shape us.

Aridjis is joined by Merritt Tierce, author of Love Me Back and writer for Netflix's Orange is the New Black.




Sophia Shalmiyev, “MOTHER WINTER” w/ Sara Benincasa

Posted in , skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction by skylightbooks on March 4th, 2019

From Laurels Award Fellowship recipient Sophia Shalmiyev comes the exquisite Mother Winter, a haunting and deeply personal story of fleeing the Soviet Union, where Shalmiyev was forced to abandon her mother, and her subsequent years of searching for surrogate mothers—whether in books, art, lovers, or other lost souls.

Mother Winter is the story of Sophia’s emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a motherless woman now raising children of her own. Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev grew up in the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad. When her father packed up for a new life in America, he took Sophia with him but left behind her estranged and alcoholic mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.

The book depicts in urgent vignettes Sophia’s subsequent years of travel, searching, and forging meaningful connections. She describes her tumultuous childhood in the USSR; her experiences as a refugee; the life she built for herself in the Pacific Northwest; and her cathartic journey back to Russia as an adult to search for the mother she never knew.

Shalmiyev is in conversation with Sara Benincasa, a stand-up comedian, actress, and the author of Real Artists Have Day Jobs.




Sally Wen Mao, “OCULUS” w/ Muriel Leung

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

Sally Wen Mao’s Oculus explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement, but as a migration through time and a reckoning with technology. The title poem follows a girl in Shanghai who uploaded her suicide onto Instagram. Other poems cross into animated worlds, examine robot culture, and haunt a necropolis for electronic waste. A fascinating sequence speaks in the voice of international icon and first Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong, who travels through the history of cinema with a time machine, even past her death and into the future of film, where she finds she has no progeny. With a speculative imagination and a sharpened wit, Mao powerfully confronts the paradoxes of seeing and being seen, the intimacies made possible and ruined by the screen, and the many roles and representations that women of color are made to endure in order to survive a culture that seeks to consume them.

Mao is in conversation with Muriel Leung, author of Bone Confetti.




Rachelle Cruz, “EXPERIENCING COMICS” w/ Nilah Magruder and Yumi Sakugawa

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Comics/Graphic Novels, nonfiction, journalism, art by skylightbooks on February 28th, 2019

Experiencing Comics: An Introduction to Reading, Discussing, and Creating Comics shows students how to critically examine the craft and storytelling elements found inside a graphic novel or comic and spotlights groundbreaking work by comics creators and scholars from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds.

This accessible, introductory guide to comics discusses how a comic is made and introduces students to the unique form and structure of comics, demonstrating how panels, splash pages, and word balloons are used to tell a story. It encourages students to apply literary theory and social politics to the world of comics to encourage discussions of comics within a larger cultural context. Rachelle Cruz introduces students to significant movements and moments in comics history in the United States. Users are provided with comic-making activities so they can practice the craft and storytelling elements discussed throughout the book. Students will gain first-hand insight from comics professionals and practitioners through interviews with creators, artists, writers, anthology editors, scholars, and comics enthusiasts.

Cruz is in conversation with comic artsits Nilah Magruder and Yumi Sakugawa.




Jacob Kramer & K-Fai Steele, “NOODLEPHANT”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Children's Fiction, fiction, Picture Books by skylightbooks on February 27th, 2019

Famous for her pasta parties, Noodlephant is shocked when the law-loving kangaroos decide noodles are only for them!

Noodlephant won’t let this stand—Noodlephants can’t survive on sticks and branches, after all. Determined to do something to push back against an unjust law, she and her friends invent a machine that transforms pens into penne, pillows into ravioli, and radiators into radiatori. With that, the pasta parties are back! But that very night, the kangaroos come bounding through the door… ready to enforce their unjust laws.

A zany tale full of pasta puns, friendship, and one Phantastic Noodler, Noodlephant, written by Jacob Kramer and illustrated by K-Fai Steele, explores a community’s response to injustice.




Nikki Darling, “FADE INTO YOU”

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

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




Johannes Lichtman, “SUCH GOOD WORK”

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

The year is 2015. Jonas might be an excellent teacher if he weren’t addicted to drugs. Instead, at age twenty-eight, he’s been fired from yet another creative writing position after assigning homework like, visit a stranger’s funeral and write about it. Jonas needs to do something drastic and, as a dual American-Swedish citizen, he knows Sweden is an easy place to be a graduate student—and a difficult place to be a drug addict.

He goes to Malmö, a city trying to cope with the arrival of tens of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees. Driven by an existential need to “do good,” Jonas volunteers with an organization that teaches Swedish to the desperate and idling young refugees. But a friendship with one young refugee, Aziz, will force Jonas to question whether “doing good” can actually help another person.

A resplendent work of autofiction, Johannes Lichtman's Such Good Work uses dark humor and pathos to consider the complexity of being a good person in our modern world, as well as the effects of nationalism and identity politics in a time when conversations around migrant policies are vital and omnipresent.





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