Archive for journalism

Lulu Miller, “WHY FISH DON’T EXIST”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on April 29th, 2020

David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. But the more of the hidden blueprint of life he uncovered, the harder the universe seemed to try to thwart him. His specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake--which sent more than a thousand of his discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, plummeting to the floor. In an instant, his life's work was shattered.

Many might have given up, given in to despair. But Jordan? He surveyed the wreckage at his feet, found the first fish he recognized, and confidently began to rebuild his collection. And this time, he introduced one clever innovation that he believed would at last protect his work against the chaos of the world.

When NPR reporter Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool --a cautionary tale in hubris, or denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder about him. Perhaps instead he was a model for how to go on when all seemed lost. What she would unearth about his life would transform her understanding of history, morality, and the world beneath her feet.

Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don't Exist reads like a fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




Felicia Angeja Viator, “TO LIVE AND DEFY IN LA”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, music, journalism, hip-hop/rap by skylightbooks on April 20th, 2020

We all take for granted how synonymous hip-hop music, which dominates the music charts around the world, is with American culture today. This is a product of Los Angeles rap in the 1980s, argues Felicia Angeja Viator in her compelling new history TO LIVE AND DEFY IN LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America (Harvard University Press). Her book tells a unique story about black LA to explain how and why the region's rap artists, labels, and audiences forever transformed American popular culture.

Viator, who worked for years as a DJ, tells the history of a sub-genre of hip-hop considered so dystopian that it initially struck aspiring Brooklyn rapper and future superstar Jay-Z as "over the top." In the Reagan era, hip-hop was understood to be the music of the inner city and, with rare exception, of New York. Rap was considered the poetry of the street, and it was thought to breed in close quarters, the product of dilapidated tenements, drug-infested housing projects, and graffiti-covered subway cars. To many in the industry, LA simply wasn't hard enough to generate "authentic" hip-hop. The assumption was that defiant black youth music couldn't come from La-La Land. Yet, by the end of the '80s, these self-styled “ghetto reporters” from Compton, South Central, Inglewood, Crenshaw, and Long Beach had fought their way onto the nation’s radio and TV stations, and thus into America’s consciousness. In doing so, they exposed the nation to police brutality, mocked law-and-order crusaders, outraged moral guardians, minted rebel anthems, and demanded that America confront its flaws.

Viator created a Spotify playlist with songs featured in her book. To listen, click herehttps://open.spotify.com/playlist/5SYpeARYAjpIYcKaFww4qP?si=kHi53tSyQmuwWjs4ZCJqtw

Part of Skylight Books' "SKYLIT" series.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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

 




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




Molly Lambert, Geoff Dyer and Tosh Berman discuss “I USED TO BE CHARMING: THE REST OF EVE BABITZ”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism, biography by skylightbooks on November 1st, 2019

Eve Babitz knew everyone, tried everything (at least once), and was never shy about sharing her thoughts on any subject, be it sex, weight loss, drug use, or her ambivalence toward New York City. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Babitz wrote on a wild variety of topics for some of the biggest publications around, from Esquire to Vogue to The New York Times Book ReviewI Used to Be Charming brings together this nonfiction work. All previously uncollected, these pieces range from sharp personal essays on body image and the male gaze to playful meditations on everything from ballroom dancing to kissing to perfume. There are breathtaking celebrity profiles, too. In one, Nicolas Cage takes her for a ride in his '67 Stingray and in another she dishes about dragging Jim Morrison to bed before the Doors had even settled on a band name ("Jim was embarrassing because he wasn't cool, but I still loved him," she writes). In another essay, the author ponders her earliest days in the spotlight, posing nude with Marcel Duchamp, and in another, the never-before-published title essay, she writes about the tragic accident that compelled her to leave that spotlight behind forever.




Shea Serrano w/ Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Film, nonfiction, film/tv, journalism by skylightbooks on October 23rd, 2019

Movies (And Other Things) is a book about, quite frankly, movies (and other things).

One of the chapters, for example, answers which race Kevin Costner was able to white savior the best, because did you know that he white saviors Mexicans in McFarland, USA, and white saviors Native Americans in Dances with Wolves, and white saviors Black people in Black or White, and white saviors the Cleveland Browns in Draft Day?

Another of the chapters, for a second example, answers what other high school movie characters would be in Regina George's circle of friends if we opened up the Mean Girls universe to include other movies (Johnny Lawrence is temporarily in, Claire from The Breakfast Club is in, Ferris Bueller is out, Isis from Bring It On is out...). Another of the chapters, for a third example, creates a special version of the Academy Awards specifically for rom-coms, the most underrated movie genre of all. And another of the chapters, for a final example, is actually a triple chapter that serves as an NBA-style draft of the very best and most memorable moments in gangster movies.

Many, many things happen in Movies (And Other Things), some of which funny, others of which are sad, a few of which are insightful, and all of which are handled with the type of care and dedication to the smallest details and pockets of pop culture that only a book by Shea Serrano can provide.

Serrano is joined in conversation by his Ringer colleagues Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion.




Max Felker-Kantor, “POLICING LOS ANGELES” w/ David Stein

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on August 8th, 2019

In Policing Los Angeles, Max Felker-Kantor narrates the dynamic history of policing, anti-police abuse movements, race, and politics in Los Angeles from the 1965 Watts uprising to the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion. Using the explosions of two large-scale uprisings in Los Angeles as bookends, Felker-Kantor highlights the racism at the heart of the city's expansive police power through a range of previously unused and rare archival sources. His book is a gripping and timely account of the transformation in police power, the convergence of interests in support of law and order policies, and African American and Mexican American resistance to police violence after the Watts uprising.

Felker-Kantor is in conversation with David Stein, a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at University of California, Los Angeles.




Lisa Taddeo, “THREE WOMEN” w/ Clarissa Cruz

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, biography by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2019

Lina, a homemaker in suburban Indiana, is a decade into a passionless marriage when she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming and transforms her life. Sloane, a glamorous entrepreneur in the northeast, is married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. Maggie, a high school student in North Dakota, begins a relationship with her English teacher that will have extraordinary consequences for them both—as well as the community in which they live.

For nearly a decade, Lisa Taddeo, an award-winning journalist and longtime contributor to New York magazine and Esquire, embedded herself with Three Women to write this deeply immersive account of their erotic lives and longings. The result—shocking, powerful, and timely—reads like George Packer’s The Unwinding, but for the state of female desire. Three Women is a major work from an exhilarating new voice.

Taddeo is in conversation with Clarissa Cruz, Features Editor at Entertainment Weekly.




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.




Randy Shaw, “GENERATION PRICED OUT”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, business, sociology by skylightbooks on December 4th, 2018

Generation Priced Out calls for action on one of the most talked-about issues of our time: how skyrocketing rents and home values are pricing the working and middle classes out of urban America. Telling the stories of tenants, developers, politicians, homeowner groups, and housing activists from over a dozen cities impacted by the national housing crisis, Generation Priced Out criticizes cities for advancing policies that increase economic and racial inequality. Shaw also exposes how boomer homeowners restrict millennials’ access to housing in big cities, a generational divide that increasingly dominates city politics. Defying conventional wisdom, Randy Shaw demonstrates that neighborhood gentrification is not inevitable and presents proven measures for cities to preserve and expand their working- and middle-class populations and achieve more equitable and inclusive outcomes. Generation Priced Out is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of urban America.




Éric Vuillard, “THE ORDER OF THE DAY” w/ Tom Lutz & Laurie Winer

Posted in skylight books, nonfiction, journalism, history by skylightbooks on November 19th, 2018

At a time marked by an ever-widening inequality gap, promulgating the interests of a few at the expense of many, and a rising wave of nationalism, spurred on by assaults to democratic freedoms and propaganda bubbles intended to distort truth, Éric Vuillard’s 2017 Prix Goncourt Winner, The Order of the Day offers a distilled and imaginative retelling of a similarly pivotal moment in history. What emerges is a timely warning about the fragility of the present moment. The annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany has long been seen as one of history’s most foreboding moments. Now, through a host of letters, historical documents, and photographs, Vuillard masterfully reconstructs and looks anew at the extraordinary sequence of events that opened a gateway to one of the greatest humanitarian horrors in our history. The Order of the Day exhumes a well-known history with fresh eyes, warning of the timeless threat to freedom exacted by self-interest, willful ignorance and the consolidation of power in the hands of the few.




WNBA/LA: National Reading Group Month

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, Film, film/tv, journalism by skylightbooks on October 18th, 2018

WNBA/LA celebrates National Reading Group Month with a special Women in Media panel, featuring Gretchen Bonaduce (Surviving Agent Orange), Laura Dave (Hello Sunshin), and Robinne Lee (The Idea of You), with moderator Ezina Le Blanc.




Heather Havrilesky, “WHAT IF THIS WERE ENOUGH?” w/ Ann Friedman

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism by skylightbooks on October 17th, 2018

Why do our modern lives feel more difficult despite the world’s promises of limitless opportunity? When things go wrong, why do we always blame ourselves? We live in a time of extreme delusion, disorientation, and dishonestly — yet despite our uncertainties, anxieties, and resentments, we’re nevertheless instructed to sweep all hesitations or doubts under the rug and continue to fearlessly conquer the future.

How did we get here? And more importantly — can we imagine a different way of living?

In What if this Were Enough?Heather Havrilesky examines just how we’ve landed in this bewildering spot in our collective history — how traditions of forced cheer and optimism, along with our fixation on success and constant improvement have been ingested and metabolized to become a warped filter through which we see ourselves and others.

Havrilesky is in conversation with journalist and cultural critic Ann Friedman.




LAMBDA Litfest: “Trumpocalypse”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Washington DC, nonfiction, journalism, activism, politics by skylightbooks on October 14th, 2018

Four writers and a renowned book editor discuss the role of books and those who write them in such desperate times as these. Is it worth writing books? If so, what kinds of books? If not, what shall we writers do with ourselves for the duration?

Panelists include: Melissa Chadburn, Dan Smentanka, Cindy Chupack, Natashia Deon, moderated by Meredith Maran.




Yumi Sakugawa, “FASHION FORECAST”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, fashion by skylightbooks on October 7th, 2018

Yumi Sakugawa explores the possibilities of a not-so-distant future where fashion can be intergenerational, Asian American, divine feminine, environmentally conscious, community building, ancestor worshipping, and possibly bring you closer to enlightenment. Originally printed as a limited edition zine for an art installation of the same name at CrossLines, a culture lab curated by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific Center in the historical Smithsonian Arts & Industries building in 2016, Fashion Forecasts also includes photographs from the exhibition, new fashion forecast drawings, fashion advice, and a comic essay on the cosmic meaning of fashion in the cycle of birth and death. 




Clementine Ford, “FIGHT LIKE A GIRL” w/ Alexandra Tweten

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on September 17th, 2018

Through a mixture of memoir, opinion and investigative journalism, Clementine Ford exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. An incendiary debut taking the world by storm, Fight Like a Girl will make you laugh, cry and scream — but above all it will open your eyes to a way forward, a brighter future, and a society where both men and women can flourish equally– something worth fighting for.





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