Archive for history

SKYLIT: Richard Thompson Ford, “DRESS CODES” w/ Lance Morgan

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, fashion, history, skylit by skylightbooks on February 22nd, 2021
Note: Due to a technical difficulty, this episode was recorded in two different sessions. The listener will note a change in audio quality partway through this episode. 
 
In Dress Codes, law professor and cultural critic Richard Thompson Ford presents an insightful and entertaining history of the laws of fashion from the middle ages to the present day, a walk down history’s red carpet to uncover and examine the canons, mores, and customs of clothing—rules that we often take for granted. After reading Dress Codes, you’ll never think of fashion as superficial again—and getting dressed will never be the same.
 
Ford is in conversation with Skylight's own Lance Morgan.
 
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Amy Shira Teitel, “FIGHTING FOR SPACE”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, history, biography, science, skylit by skylightbooks on February 13th, 2021
When the space age dawned in the late 1950s, Jackie Cochran held more propeller and jet flying records than any pilot of the twentieth century—man or woman. She had led the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots during the Second World War, was the first woman to break the sound barrier, ran her own luxury cosmetics company, and counted multiple presidents among her personal friends. She was more qualified than any woman in the world to make the leap from atmosphere to orbit. Yet it was Jerrie Cobb, twenty-five years Jackie's junior and a record-holding pilot in her own right, who finagled her way into taking the same medical tests as the Mercury astronauts. The prospect of flying in space quickly became her obsession.

While the American and international media spun the shocking story of a "woman astronaut" program, Jackie and Jerrie struggled to gain control of the narrative, each hoping to turn the rumored program into their own ideal reality—an issue that ultimately went all the way to Congress.

Fighting for Space, a dual biography of audacious trailblazers Jackie Cochran and Jerrie Cobb presents these fascinating and fearless women in all their glory and grit, using their stories as guides through the shifting social, political, and technical landscape of the time.

 
Author Amy Shira Teitel is in conversation with Skylight's own Lance Morgan.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Megan Rosenbloom, “DARK ARCHIVES” w/ Caitlin Doughty

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, history, skylit by skylightbooks on February 5th, 2021
On bookshelves around the world, surrounded by ordinary books bound in paper and leather, rest other volumes of a distinctly strange and grisly sort: those bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand?

In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy—the practice of binding books in this most intimate covering. Dozens of such books live on in the world’s most famous libraries and museums. Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, innocents, and indigents whose lives are sewn together in this disquieting collection. Along the way, Rosenbloom tells the story of how her team of scientists, curators, and librarians test rumored anthropodermic books, untangling the myths around their creation and reckoning with the ethics of their custodianship.

A librarian and journalist, Rosenbloom is a member of The Order of the Good Death and a cofounder of their Death Salon, a community that encourages conversations, scholarship, and art about mortality and mourning. In Dark Archives—captivating and macabre in all the right ways—she has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity: a book as rare and thrilling as its subject.

Rosenbloom is joined by mortician and activist Caitlin Doughty.
 
This episode was recorded on October 29 during a live Crowdcast event hosted by Skylight Books. Visit us at www.crowdcast.io/skylightbooks to RSVP for future events.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Rebecca Simon, “WHY WE LOVE PIRATES”

Posted in los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, history by skylightbooks on December 14th, 2020

During his life and even after his death, Captain William Kidd's name was known around England and the American colonies. He was infamous for the very crime for which he was hanged, piracy. Why We Love Pirates, by Rebecca Simon, dives into the details of the two-year manhunt for Captain Kidd and the events that ensued afterward. Captain Kidd was hanged in 1701, and from that sprung a massive hunt for all pirates led by the British during a period known as the Golden Age of Piracy. Ironically, public executions only led to pirates' growth in popularity and interest. In addition, because the American colonies relied on pirates for smuggled goods such as spices, wines, and silks, they sought to protect pirates from being captured.

The more pirates were hunted and executed, the more people became supportive of them. They felt for the "Robin Hoods of the Sea"--both because they saw the British's treatment of them as an injustice and because they treasured the goods that pirates brought to them. These historical events were pivotal in creating the portrayal of pirates as we know them today. They grew into romantic antiheroes--which ultimately led to characters like the mischievous but lovable Captain Jack Sparrow. Simon has presented her research on the history of pirates around the world and now she's bringing the spectacular story of Captain Kidd to her readers.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Daniel Brook, “THE ACCIDENT OF COLOR” w/ Erin Aubry Kaplan & Guenveur Smith

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, history, BIPOC, skylit by skylightbooks on November 30th, 2020

In The Accident of Color, Daniel Brook journeys to nineteenth-century New Orleans and Charleston and introduces us to cosmopolitan residents who elude the racial categories the rest of America takes for granted. Before the Civil War, these free, openly mixed-race urbanites enjoyed some rights of citizenship and the privileges of wealth and social status. But after Emancipation, as former slaves move to assert their rights, the black-white binary that rules the rest of the nation begins to intrude. During Reconstruction, a movement arises as mixed-race elites make common cause with the formerly enslaved and allies at the fringes of whiteness in a bid to achieve political and social equality for all.

In some areas, this coalition proved remarkably successful. Activists peacefully integrated the streetcars of Charleston and New Orleans for decades and, for a time, even the New Orleans public schools and the University of South Carolina were educating students of all backgrounds side by side. Tragically, the achievements of this movement were ultimately swept away by a violent political backlash and expunged from the history books, culminating in the Jim Crow laws that would legalize segregation for a half century and usher in the binary racial regime that rules us to this day.

Brook is in conversation with journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan and actor/director/writer Roger Guenveur Smith.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.

 




SKYLIT: Unni Turrettini, “BETRAYING THE NOBEL” w/ Brian Keating

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, history, politics, science, skylit by skylightbooks on November 18th, 2020

The Nobel Prize, regardless of category, has always been surrounded by politics, intrigue, even scandal. But those pale in comparison to the Peace Prize.

In Betraying the Nobel, Norwegian writer Unni Turrettini completely upends what we thought we knew about the Peace Prize—both its history and how it is awarded.

As 1984’s winner, Desmond Tutu, put it, “No sooner had I got the Nobel Peace Prize than I became an instant oracle.” However, the Peace Prize as we know it is corrupt at its core.

In the years surrounding World War I and II, the Nobel Peace Prize became a beacon of hope, and, through its peace champions, became a reference and an inspiration around the world. But along the way, something went wrong. Alfred Nobel made the mistake of leaving it to the Norwegian Parliament to elect the members of the Peace Prize committee, which has filled the committee with politicians more loyal to their political party’s agenda than to Nobel’s prize's prerogative. As a result, winners are often a result of political expediency.

Betraying the Nobel will delve into the surprising, and often corrupt, history of the prize, and examine what the committee hoped to obtain by its choices, including the now-infamously awarded Cordell Hull, as well as Henry Kissinger, Al Gore, and Barack Obama.  Turrettini shows the effects of increased media attention, which have turned the Nobel into a popularity prize, and a controversial and provocative commendation.

Turrettini is in conversation with Brian Keating, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences at UC San Diego, and author of the book Losing the Nobel Prize.

Video chat between Turrettini and Keating: https://youtu.be/3CPfcHoZe7U?sub_confirmation=1

Free meditation download here: https://UnniTurrettini.simplero.com/page/183887-link-to-optin-page-for-free-meditation-download

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Kevin Mattson, “WE’RE NOT HERE TO ENTERTAIN” w/ Mike Foley

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Hardcore/Punk, Punk Music, music, history, skylit by skylightbooks on November 4th, 2020

Many remember the 1980s as the era of Ronald Reagan, a conservative decade populated by preppies and yuppies dancing to a soundtrack of electronic synth pop music. In some ways, it was the "MTV generation." However, the decade also produced some of the most creative works of punk culture, from the music of bands like the Minutemen and the Dead Kennedys to avant-garde visual arts, literature, poetry, and film. In We're Not Here to Entertain, Kevin Mattson documents what Kurt Cobain once called a "punk rock world" --the all-encompassing hardcore-indie culture that incubated his own talent. Mattson shows just how widespread the movement became--ranging across the nation, from D.C. through Ohio and Minnesota to LA--and how democratic it was due to its commitment to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tactics.

Mattson is in conversation with fellow punk rock historian Mike Foley.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Carol Hay, “THINK LIKE A FEMINIST” w/ Samia Hesni

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, history, skylit by skylightbooks on November 2nd, 2020

Think Like a Feminist is an irreverent yet rigorous primer that unpacks over two hundred years of feminist thought. In a time when the word feminism triggers all sorts of responses, many of them conflicting and misinformed, Professor Carol Hay provides this balanced, clarifying, and inspiring examination of what it truly means to be a feminist today. She takes the reader from conceptual questions of sex, gender, intersectionality, and oppression to the practicalities of talking to children, navigating consent, and fighting for adequate space on public transit, without deviating from her clear, accessible, conversational tone. Think Like a Feminist is equally a feminist starter kit and an advanced refresher course, connecting longstanding controversies to today’s headlines.

Hay is in conversation with Boston University professor Samia Hesni.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Sumbul Ali-Karamali, “DEMYSTIFYING SHARIAH”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, religion, history, skylit by skylightbooks on September 18th, 2020

Through scare tactics and deliberate misinformation campaigns, anti-Muslim propagandists insist wrongly that shariah is a draconian and oppressive Islamic law that all Muslims must abide by. They circulate horror stories, encouraging Americans to fear the “takeover of shariah” law in America and even mounting “anti-shariah protests” . . . . with zero evidence that shariah has taken over any part of our country. (That’s because it hasn’t.) It would be almost funny if it weren’t so terrifyingly wrong—as puzzling as if Americans suddenly began protesting the Martian occupation of Earth.

Demystifying Shariah explains that shariah is not one set of punitive rules or even law the way we think of law—rigid and enforceable—but religious rules and recommendations that provide Muslims with guidance in various aspects of life. Sumbul Ali-Karamali draws on scholarship and her degree in Islamic law to explain shariah in an accessible, engaging narrative style—its various meanings, how it developed, and how the shariah-based legal system operated for over a thousand years. She explains what shariah means not only in the abstract but in the daily lives of Muslims. She discusses modern calls for shariah, what they mean, and whether shariah is the law of the land anywhere in the world. She also describes the key lies and misunderstandings about shariah circulating in our public discourse, and why so many of them are nonsensical.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Daniel Mendelsohn, “THREE RINGS”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, history, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on September 14th, 2020

In this genre-defying book, best-selling memoirist and critic Daniel Mendelsohn explores the mysterious links between the randomness of the lives we lead and the artfulness of the stories we tell.

Combining memoir, biography, history, and literary criticism, Three Rings weaves together the stories of three exiled writers who turned to the classics of the past to create masterpieces of their own--works that pondered the nature of narrative itself. Erich Auerbach, the Jewish philologist who fled Hitler's Germany and wrote his classic study of Western literature, Mimesis, in Istanbul... Fran ois F nelon, the seventeenth-century French archbishop whose ingenious sequel to the Odyssey, The Adventures of Telemachus--a veiled critique of the Sun King and the best-selling book in Europe for one hundred years--resulted in his banishment... and the German novelist W. G. Sebald, self-exiled to England, whose distinctively meandering narratives explore Odyssean themes of displacement, nostalgia, and separation from home.

Intertwined with these tales of exile and artistic crisis is an account of Mendelsohn's struggles to write two of his own books--a family saga of the Holocaust and a memoir about reading the Odyssey with his elderly father--that are haunted by tales of oppression and wandering. As Three Rings moves to its startling conclusion, a climactic revelation about the way in which the lives of its three heroes were linked across borders, languages, and centuries forces the reader to reconsider the relationship between narrative and history, art and life.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




Chavisa Woods, “100 TIMES” w/ Michelle Tea

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, Feminism, adult, health, history, biography by skylightbooks on August 30th, 2019

Lambda-nominated and Shirley Jackson Award-winning author Chavisa Woods presents one hundred personal stories of sexism, harassment, discrimination, and assault. Recounting her experiences with gender-based discrimination, unsolicited groping, and sexual violence--beginning in childhood, through the present--Woods lays out clear and unflinching vignettes that build in intensity as the number of times grows. Individually, and especially taken as a whole, these stories amount to powerful proof that sexual violence and discrimination are never just one-time occurrences, but part of a constant battle women and non-binary people face every day.

In these extraordinary pages, sexual violence and gendered-discrimination happen to people regardless of their age, in all parts of society, in rural and urban areas alike, in the US and abroad, from the time they are very young and through adulthood. Demonstrating how often people are conditioned to endure sexism and harassment, and how thoroughly men feel entitled to women’s spaces and bodies, 100 Times challenges the common, damaging belief that sexism and misogyny are no longer problems within our society.

Woods is in conversation with michelle tea, the author of the young adult novels Mermaid in Chelsea Creek and Girl at the Bottom of the Sea, as well as numerous books for grown-ups.




Dina Gilio-Whitaker, “AS LONG AS THE GRASS GROWS”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, native authors, nonfiction, activism, history, sociology by skylightbooks on July 4th, 2019

In As Long As Grass Grows, author and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker argues that colonization was not just an invasion of and domination over Indigenous populations by European settlers, but that a central harm of colonization was the environmental injustices it imposed. Gilio-Whitaker traces this systemic dispossession of sacred land from Indigenous peoples from early colonization through today, arguing that it represents the greatest form of environmental injustice for Indigenous populations in the United States. 

Gilio-Whitaker traces how the new Red Power movement of the '70s and '80s, and other women-led movements for Indigenous environmental justice spurred cooperation between environmentalists, tribes, and the government. In 1991, the People of Color Environmental Justice Theory Leadership Summit produced the Principles of Environmental Justice with seventeen points that represented a greater level of inclusion for Indigenous concerns than the preceding studies had, framing environmental justice in terms of colonial histories and oppressive political domination.




Alex Espinoza, “CRUISING” w/ David Francis

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, history, LGBTQ by skylightbooks on June 26th, 2019

Combining historical research and oral history with his own personal experience, Alex Espinoza examines the political and cultural forces behind this radical pastime. From Greek antiquity to the notorious Molly houses of 18th century England, the raucous 1970s to the algorithms of Grindr, Oscar Wilde to George Michael, Cruising remains at once a reclamation of public space and the creation of its own unique locale—one in which men of all races and classes interact, even in the shadow of repressive governments. In Uganda and Russia, we meet activists for whom cruising can be a matter of life and death; while in the West he shows how cruising circumvents the inequalities and abuses of power that plague heterosexual encounters. Ultimately, Espinoza illustrates how cruising functions as a powerful rebuke to patriarchy and capitalism—unless you are cruising the department store restroom, of course.

Espinoza is in conversation with David Francis, author of The Great Inland Sea.




Nathaniel Rich, “LOSING EARTH” w/ Jane Smiley

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, history, nature, climate change, science by skylightbooks on May 13th, 2019

By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change--including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours.

Nathaniel Rich reveals, in previously unreported detail, the birth of climate denialism and the genesis of the fossil fuel industry's coordinated effort to thwart climate policy through misinformation propaganda and political influence. The book carries the story into the present day, wrestling with the long shadow of our past failures and asking crucial questions about how we make sense of our past, our future, and ourselves. Like John Hersey's Hiroshima and Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the EarthLosing Earth is the rarest of achievements: a riveting work of dramatic history that articulates a moral framework for understanding how we got here, and how we must go forward.

Rich is in conversation with Jane Smiley, author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, Golden Age, the concluding volume of The Last Hundred Years trilogy.




Jackie MacMullan and Rafe Bartholomew, “BASKETBALL: A LOVE STORY” w/ Bill Plaschke

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, sports, history by skylightbooks on November 29th, 2018

In an effort to tell the comprehensive story of basketball in all its fascinating dimensions, two of the most well-respected basketball journalists working today, Jackie MacMullan and Rafe Bartholomew, collaborated with award-winning director, Dan Klores, to produce a groundbreaking book based on interviews with more than 170 of the sport’s all-time greats. The interviews, conducted by Klores and his team of producers for a multi-part ESPN Films series to be released in fall 2018, include legendary players, such as Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson; renowned coaches like Phil Jackson and Coach K; and numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists.

Combing through nearly a thousand hours of conversations, MacMullan and Bartholomew compiled the candid stories and shaped them into what may become one of the most important basketball books ever written, Basketball: A Love Story. The book, which shares its title with the forthcoming ESPN Films series, surpasses other compilations in sheer volume and depth.

With a narrative that is raw and intimate and digging deep into the vast web of basketball mystique, this engrossing portrait weaves together diverse tales of the sport’s remarkable rise from humble roots and sheds light on its unparalleled growth, transforming our understanding of the game.

MacMullan and Bartholomew are in conversation with Bill Plaschke, sports columnist for The Los Angeles Times.





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