Archive for essays

David Ulin, “THE LOST ART OF READING”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on September 10th, 2018

The new introduction and afterword bring fresh relevance to this insightful rumination on the act of reading--as a path to critical thinking, individual and political identity, civic engagement, and resistance.

Former LA Times book critic David Ulin expands his short book The Lost Art of Reading, rich in ideas, on the consequence of reading to include the considerations of fake news, siloed information, and the connections between critical thinking as the key component of engaged citizenship and resistance. Here is the case for reading as a political act in both public and private gestures, and for the ways it enlarges the world and our frames of reference, all the while keeping us engaged.




Virgie Tovar, “YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN FAT” w/ Sarai Walker

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays by skylightbooks on September 3rd, 2018

A manifesto for the fat revolution: You Have the Right to Remain Fat.

Growing up as a fat girl, Virgie Tovar believed that her body was something to be fixed. But after two decades of dieting and constant guilt, she was over it—and gave herself the freedom to trust her own body again. Ever since, she’s been helping others to do the same.

Tovar is hungry for a world where bodies are valued equally, food is free from moral judgment, and you can jiggle through life with respect. In concise and candid language, she delves into unlearning fatphobia, dismantling sexist notions of fashion, and rejecting diet culture’s greatest lie: that fat people need to wait before beginning their best lives.

Tovar is joined in conversation by Sarai Walker, author of the novel Dietland.




Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl, “RAD GIRLS CAN”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, essays by skylightbooks on August 31st, 2018

In Rad Girls Can, you'll learn about a diverse group of young women who are living rad lives, whether excelling in male-dominated sports like boxing, rock climbing, or skateboarding; speaking out against injustice and discrimination; expressing themselves through dance, writing, and music; or advocating for girls around the world. Each profile is paired with the dynamic paper-cut art that made the authors' first two books New York Times best sellers. Featuring both contemporary and historical figures, Rad Girls Can offers hope, inspiration, and motivation to readers of all ages and genders.

This episode features a conversation between authors Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl.




Marina Shifrin, “30 BEFORE 30″

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, essays by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2018

Something was nagging Marina Shifrin. As a freshly minted adult with student loan payments, a barely hospitable New York apartment, a “real” job she hated that paid her enough to get by if she also worked two other jobs, something needed to change. Over a few bottles of Two Buck Chuck, Marina and her friend each made lists of thirty things they’d do before the age of thirty. The first thing on Marina’s list was, “Quit My Shitty Job.” So she did, and just like that the List powered her through her twenties.

In 30 Before 30, Marina takes readers through her list and shares personal stories about achieving those goals. Ranging in scope from the simple (Ride A Bike Over the Brooklyn Bridge, Donate Hair) to the life-changing (Move to A Different Country, Become internet Famous), each story shows readers that we don’t all have it figured out, and that’s okay. But for Marina, she did become internet famous (a viral video of her quitting her job after moving to Asia has nearly 19 million views on You Tube) and now writes for Comedy Central’s hit show @Midnight, is also an in-demand stand up, and had a very popular Modern Love column published in the New York Times. None of that would have happened if she didn’t start her list that night. Thank you, Two Buck Chuck.




Chelsea Hodson, “TONIGHT I’M SOMEONE ELSE”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on August 29th, 2018

From graffiti gangs and Grand Theft Auto to sugar daddies, Schopenhauer, and a deadly game of Russian roulette, Chelsea Hodson probes her own desires to examine where the physical and the proprietary collide. In Tonight I'm Someone Else, she asks what our privacy, our intimacy, and our own bodies are worth in the increasingly digital world of liking, linking, and sharing.

Starting with Hodson’s own work experience, which ranges from the mundane to the bizarre—including modeling and working on a NASA Mars mission— Hodson expands outward, looking at the ways in which the human will submits, whether in the marketplace or in a relationship. Both tender and jarring, this collection is relevant to anyone who’s ever searched for what the self is worth.

Hodson is joined by Wendy C. Ortiz, author of Excavation: A MemoirHollywood Notebook, and the dreamoir Bruja.




Zoé Samudzi, “BLACK AS RESISTANCE”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism by skylightbooks on August 23rd, 2018

Over the course of United States history, resistance against oppression and the gains made from various struggles for everyone's equality have often been Black led. However, liberal politics and the lack of strong leftist political power are two problems impeding the continued progress of Black America. Expanding on their original essay "The Anarchism Of Blackness," Zoé Samudzi and William C. Anderson make the case for a new program of transformative politics for Black Americans, one rooted in an anarchistic framework likened to the Black experience itself. This is not a compromising book that negotiates with intolerance. As Black as Resistance is a declaration for everyone who is ready to continue progressing towards liberation for all people.




Joshua Wheeler, “ACID WEST”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism by skylightbooks on August 2nd, 2018

Acid West is a rollicking trip through the muck of American myths that have settled in our country’s underbelly. Following the footsteps of John Jeremiah Sullivan and Eula Biss, yet displaying an antic energy and freewheeling imagination entirely his own, Joshua Wheeler is a nonfiction virtuoso with a preternatural talent for dissecting the uncanniness of our cultural moment. The first collection of his sui generis essays, Acid West, is an outstanding debut that’s sure to become a cult classic.

Wheeler is in conversation with Brian Phillips, former staff writer for Grantland and a former senior writer for MTV News.




Michelle Tea, “AGAINST MEMOIR”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism by skylightbooks on August 1st, 2018

The razor-sharp but damaged Valerie Solanas, a doomed lesbian gang, recovering alcoholics, and teenagers barely surviving at an ice creamery: these are some of the larger-than-life, yet all-too-human, figures populating America’s fringes. Rife with never-ending fights and failures, theirs are the stories we often try to forget. In the process of excavating and documenting these lives, Michelle Tea also reveals herself in unexpected and heartbreaking ways.

Delivered with her signature honesty and dark humor, Tea blurs the line between telling other people’s stories and her own in Against Memoir. She turns an investigative eye to the genre that’s nurtured her entire career—memoir—and considers the extent to which art preys on life.

Tea is in conversation with Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts.




Melissa Broder, “THE PISCES”

Posted in skylight books, fiction, essays by skylightbooks on July 25th, 2018

The Pisces is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have. With The Pisces, Melissa Broder combines hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, emotional complexity, and stark vulnerability. Underneath her addictively wry and unpretentious voice hums the unexpected truth of womanhood, bodies, trauma, and heartbreak in a debut that swells with grace, levity, and humanity.

Broder is in conversation with Mish Barber-Way, a writer and musician based in Los Angeles, CA.




Viet Thanh Nguyen and Meron Hadero, “THE DISPLACED”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on July 20th, 2018

In January 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping entry to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries and dramatically cutting the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States each year. The American people spoke up, with protests, marches, donations, and lawsuits that quickly overturned the order. But the refugee caps remained. 

The Displaced features essays from seventeen prominent refugee writers from around the world to explore and illuminate their experiences. A timely and poignant collection, the book is also an indictment of the international community closing its doors to refugees and a powerful look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of asylum. 

Abrams will donate 10 percent of the cover price of
 this book, a minimum of $25,000, to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a not-for- profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid, relief, and resettlement to refugees and other victims of oppression or violent conflict. For more information on the IRC, visit  http://www.rescue.org/.

In January 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping entry to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries and dramatically cutting the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States each year. The American people spoke up, with protests, marches, donations, and lawsuits that quickly overturned the order. But the refugee caps remained. 

The Displaced features essays from seventeen prominent refugee writers from around the world to explore and illuminate their experiences. A timely and poignant collection, the book is also an indictment of the international community closing its doors to refugees and a powerful look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of asylum. 

Abrams will donate 10 percent of the cover price of
 this book, a minimum of $25,000, to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a not-for- profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid, relief, and resettlement to refugees and other victims of oppression or violent conflict. For more information on the IRC, visit  http://www.rescue.org/.

Viet Thanh Nguyen (The SympathizerThe Refugees) is in conversation with fellow contributor Meron Hadero (published in Best American Short Stories, Selected Shorts) and editor Jamison Stoltz.




Sloane Crosley, “LOOK ALIVE OUT THERE”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on July 18th, 2018

Exactly ten years after her debut essay collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, introduced a strikingly original, genre-resuscitating voice to the world, the bestselling author Sloane Crosley returns to the personal essay right when we need her most. Look Alive Out There is a collection of sixteen new essays, each one brimming with Crosley’s trademark wit and observation. 




Leslie Jamison, “THE RECOVERING”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, essays, journalism, criticism by skylightbooks on July 18th, 2018

With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction--both her own and others'--and examines what we want these stories to do, and what happens when they fail us. 
All the while, she offers a fascinating look at the larger history of the recovery movement, and at the literary and artistic geniuses whose lives and works were shaped by alcoholism and substance dependence, including John Berryman, Jean Rhys, Raymond Carver, Billie Holiday, David Foster Wallace, and Denis Johnson, as well as brilliant figures lost to obscurity but newly illuminated here.

For the power of her striking language and the sharpness of her piercing observations, Leslie Jamison has been compared to such iconic writers as Joan Didion and Susan Sontag. Yet her utterly singular voice also offers something new. With enormous empathy and wisdom, Jamison has given us nothing less than the story of addiction and recovery in America writ large, a definitive and revelatory account that will resonate for years to come.




Cheston Knapp, “UP UP, DOWN DOWN”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays by skylightbooks on July 12th, 2018

The subjects Cheston Knapp, the managing editor of Tin House and an exceptional new voice in the literary community, examines in Up Up, Down Down are wildly different and equally engaging: From skateboarding camp to local professional wrestling to UFO enthusiasts, beer pong in fraternity basements, a neighbor’s murder, fathers, community and nostalgia. Taken together, these sharp, observant essays chronicle Knapp’s coming of age and tackle the Big Questions of life. Knapp deftly explores the hazards of becoming who you are.

Knapp’s remarkable essays will simultaneously make you cry from laughter and from an earth-shattering realization about what it means to be human. His sentences can soar into lyricism and descend into the most commonplace absurdities in the same breath. Much like David Foster Wallace’s collection Consider the Lobster, these essays are for the everyday reader and for the literati alike.




Wallace Shawn, “NIGHT THOUGHTS”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays by skylightbooks on July 9th, 2018

Writer and actor Wallace Shawn's probing, honest, and self-critical take on civilization and its discontents.

Although he is guided and inspired by the people he respects, and despite the insufficiency of his knowledge and experience—an insufficiency shared by most (or all) other humans, Wallace Shawn can’t see any real alternative to trying to figure out his own answers to the most essential questions about the world he lives in.

Having recently passed the age of seventy, before which he found it difficult to piece together more than a few fragments of understanding, Shawn would like to pass on anything he's learned before death or dementia close down the brief window available to him, but he may not be ready yet.





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