Archive for los angeles

SELFISH LAUNCHES ISSUE FIVE: VOID OF COURSE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 3rd, 2017

Selfish Issue Five: Void of Course

True to its name, “void of course” leaves the familiar for the uncertain, the inconclusive, the esoteric. featuring the work of twenty three contributors, our fifth issue explores the shadow realm, the twelfth house, and the rays of light in between. 

Join us for a panel discussing the importance of feminist art, followed by a good ol’ fashioned party celebrating two years of life and the magazine’s newest issue: Void of Course.

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ALESHEA HARRIS AND ALEXANDER BORINSKY READ FROM AND DISCUSS THEIR NEW PLAYS IS GOD IS AND BRIEF CHRONICLE: BOOKS 6-8

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 3rd, 2017

Is God IsBrief Chronicle (Books 6-8) (3 Hole Press)

3 Hole Press is a small press bringing new audiences to new plays in printed formats. To celebrate the publications of its two newest books, 3 Hole Press presents short readings from each play, followed by a conversation with the authors.

Winner of the 2016 Relentless Award from the American Playwriting Foundation, Aleshea Harris’ Is God Is is a classic revenge tale about two sisters that blends tragedy, typography, the Spaghetti Western, hip-hop and Afropunk. In this necessary new work, emotions are laid bare through gaps in language and characters are a window into the canon as well as our own broken times. 

In Brief Chronicle (Books 6–8), Alexander Borinsky delivers a quietly heartbreaking new play that grounds epic themes—unabated longing, violence and imperialism, and the bond between mother and son—in the small ways we hurt and love one another and decide where to go on vacation.

Praise for IS GOD IS

A rigorous new work that unearths our deepest fears about humanity and who we think we are in relation to ourselves and the divine.—Dawn Lundy Martin

Family, as the old tragedians knew, is our first country. Therefore, it’s the earth from which we forge our first weapons, the fields of our first wars, the very turf over which we fight. With Is God Is, Aleshea Harris audaciously scours tragedy down with the rough edge of a rock. To read this merciless play is to get blood in your eye — and in Harris’ sure grip, you’ll recall that blood washes and stains, can run hot or cold, means both violence and family. —Douglas Kearney

Praise for BRIEF CHRONICLE, BOOKS 6-8

Brief Chronicle, Books 6-8 is a remarkable creature of our shattered and shuttered time. Borinsky’s theater examines everything that it encounters—including the various artifices of theater itself, i.e. character, costumes, boxes, supposed emotions (real or imagined), action as it would have its way, place/s, and all the supposed ends and means of the theater making apparatus—with a scrupulous but loving attentiveness. There is no one quite like him writing and making theater today.—Mac Wellman

In this big, small play, people learn who they are as they say things, punctuation makes gaps where lonely spirits and dances live, and stuff gets sticky between tender, selfish hearts. This is a battle cry for doing the daily work of becoming better in America.—Jennie Liu

If the world feels a little unknowable after reading this play, if you feel unknowable to yourself, how do you talk about that, how do you narrate what it was like? Still, I will tell you what I thought about when I finished Alexander Borinsky’s Brief Chronicle, Books 6-8, though it changed when I read it again, and it may be different for you too. Intimacy. The many ways (sometimes strange or uncomfortable) in which it’s possible to know another person. What it means to appear. What it means to live.—Amina Cain

Alexander Borinsky is a playwright, born in Baltimore in 1986.

Aleshea Harris is a playwright, poet and educator who received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been presented at the Costume Shop at American Conservatory Theater, Playfest at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, freeFall Theatre Company, VOXfest at Dartmouth, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, La Comédie de Saint-Étienne- National Drama Center in France, the Skirball Center, The Theatre @ Boston Court, REDCAT and in the 2015 anthology, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Harris is a MacDowell Fellow and winner of the 2016 Relentless Award from the American Playwriting Foundation for Is God Is.

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CALARTS MFA STUDENTS READ FROM THEIR WORK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 3rd, 2017

Join us for NEXTWORDS, the annual reading series organized, curated by and featuring graduating MFA students of CalArts' Creative Writing Program.

Erik Alessandro Mondrian is a writer, artist, and scholar who makes work about place, belonging, love, longing, and madness. He holds an MA in Mass Communication & Media Studies from San Diego State University, focusing on virtual worlds as new media, and will be graduating this year from CalArts with an Interschool MFA in VoiceArts & Creative Writing and supplemental concentration in Integrated Media. He lives wherever the dreams take him.

Leann Lo Young Adult/ New Adult Fiction Writer. From Fresno, CA. Raised by her mom and grandma. B.A. in English, Communication, and Classics from Fresno Pacific University. #Ravenclaw

Jesse Garrett VanDenKooy is a composer, graphic designer, computer technician and author of Fae: The Book of Faolan, The World is Among Us, The Midnight Orchestra, Fae: The Book of Keane, and Trout are Selfish: Short Fictions and Transitions

Chelsea Dright is a writer, aesthetician, and tricoteuse hailing from Los Angeles. She writes fiction. Her hobbies include resurrecting long-dead literary genres, watching HBO, and discussing the consequences of fictional political systems. She's watched The Empire Strikes Back 847 times and has 16 opinions on it, so don't try her. Her favorite Disney movie is Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

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ANNABELLE GURWITCH LAUNCHES HER NEW COLLECTION OF ESSAYS WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE THEY ARE, WITH JONATHAN GOLD

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 3rd, 2017

Wherever You Go, There They Are (Blue Rider Press)

There’s an old adage: You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. But is that true in the world we live in now? New York Times bestselling author Annabelle Gurwitch, asks this question in her latest collection of essays, Wherever You Go, There They Are, where she writes about her own family of bootleggers, gamblers, and philanderers, as well as the sisterhoods, temporary tribes, communities, and cults who have become surrogates along the way.

“When I stepped into the role of care giving for my aging parents, it was the last thing I ever expected,” explains Gurwitch. “These stories are about the family I tried to run away from and the ones I’ve joined accidentally and on purpose. Writing about family gave me a chance to look at: Who is our tribe? Is it our blood relations? Our friends? Our pets? The people we work with or pray with? What I’ve learned is that no matter how hard you try to get away from your crazy family, you end up in another family just as crazy as the one you tried to leave.”

Gurwitch explores family mythology, her immigrant southern Jewish clan and an inheritance on an ill-fated sliver of sand disappearing due to climate change known as Massacre Island; theater folk, secular humanists, Furries, a UFO cult, how corporations use sisterhood as a recruiting tool, the ladies who brunch at Tel Aviv Gardens Retirement Home in Miami, Florida, and finds common ground with her Syrian Uber driver’s kin.

A timely paean to tribes over tribalism, Wherever You Go, There They Are is inspired by historian Yuval Harari’s Sapiens, Sebastian Junger’s Tribe, Star Trek and her secret desire to be the long lost daughter of Joni Mitchell.

Annabelle Gurwitch delivers a provocative treatise on the importance and insanity of family. This is a must-read for anyone who's ever been even occasionally frustrated by the people they share carbohydrate-laden meals with every year.

Praise for Wherever You Go, There They Are 

Annabelle Gurwitch claims to be related to her nutty family, but I suspect she’s really the secret love child of Nora Ephron and Groucho Marx. She’s an old-fashioned wit for the post-modern age, a curmudgeon with a deep well of empathy and a genuinely good soul. I’m so glad she’s back with another book."— Meghan Daum, New York Times Bestselling author of The Unspeakable

“Annabelle Gurwitch tackles every life passage, with a courageous wit that makes even the darkest moments more bearable. Wherever You Go, There They Are hilariously explores the frustrations, catastrophes, and unforgettable thrills of navigating life with that gaggle of lunatics known as family.”— Heather Havrilesky, Ask Polly advice columnist and author of How to Be a Person in the World

Annabelle Gurwitch is an actress and author of The New York Times bestseller and Thurber Prize finalist I See You Made an Effort. Gurwitch gained a loyal following during her years co-hosting Dinner & a Movie on TBS. Her essays and satire have appeared in The New YorkerThe New York TimesHarpers Bazaar, and The Los Angeles Times as well as numerous years as a commentator on NPR. Gurwitch hosted programs on HBO, and The Planet Green Network, acting credits include Seinfeld, Boston Legal, Dexter, Daddy Day Care and Melvin Goes to Dinner. She is a prominent figure in the atheist and Jewish communities. Gurwitch’s live appearances include The New York Comedy Festival, The Moth, 92nd St Y and arts centers around the country.

Jonathan Gold is a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic who currently writes for the Los Angeles Times and has previously written for LA Weekly and Gourmet. He is also a regular on KCRW's Good Food radio program.

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SCOT SOTHERN READS FROM HIS NOVEL BIGCITY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 3rd, 2017

BigCity (Stalking Horse Press)

Scot Sothern’s profane western satire, BigCity, is a novel with an unforgettable cast, including the wild and lethal Bitch Bantam, pulp writer Slab Pettibone, and his sidekick FuzzyWuzzy the bear, in a tale as moving as it is scandalous. In postbellum America, BigCity nutures the birth of feminism, robber barons, media stardom, and motion pictures. Tall-Tale characters are realized with humor and pathos, sex and violence and nail-biting action. Teeming masses have come this dark megalopolis for a new life and a throw of the dice.

Bitch Bantam is a giant of a woman and a living legend. As a tot, she was pitted in back-alley gaming joints, against fighting rats, curs, cocks and hogs. She was victorious in bloody battle yet illiterate and chained to servitude by white slavers. Now, freed of the bonds of slavery, she harbors a quixotic obsession of becoming a refined, civilized, woman like those she sees twirling parasols through the glittering boulevards of BigCity. When Bitch falls in love with the famous hammer-of- justice wielding feminist, Helen Beck, she fears her violent primal instincts will drive her love away.

Pulp writer, performer, and rootin-tootin cowboy, Slab Pettibone, has no legs. He travels about, hither and yon, saddled to the back-side of his trusty, four-hundred seventy-six-pound, pet bear FuzzyWuzzy. When great love and loss come together Slab is forced to accept his legendary status as all too human. He strives to be the action-packed hero he created on the written page, while FuzzyWuzzy just wants to eat and shit in the woods.

Dooley Paradise, a well-meaning lad with a political bent, orchestrates the daily existence of a self-sufficient orphanage, TumbleHouse. The tatterdemalion tikes are tutored in reading, writing, thievery and solicitation. When TumbleHouse is besieged by a gaggle of crusading dowagers led by famous feminist, Helen Beck, young Dooley becomes a pawn in a no-win scheme of city-wide corruption.

Daddy Smithy is a showbiz whiz. He has put together a vaudeville extravaganza with Slab Pettibone, FuzzyWuzzy, and Bitch Bantam topping the bill. Now Daddy needs financing to tackle the new medium of moving-pictures. When he barters his six-year- old daughter to twisted tobacco tycoon Warner Quackenbush, he sets in motion a chain of violence and revenge.

BigCity is a fantastical adventure and love story examining the dynamics of change and the politics of natural selection.

Praise for Scot Sothern:

“Deliciously strange and compelling, delightfully lurid and fun, Scot Sothern’s debut novel reads like a feral mashup of Cormac McCarthy and William Gibson amped on cornjuice and spiderbite.” – Mark Haskell Smith

“Sothern is not a mere voyeur, he wades deeply into zones most never will and renders his subjects with dignity and compassion. Lowlife is a moving and compelling piece of work.”--Henry Rollins

“This is raw life without filter, unsentimental, unsparing, brutally beautiful.” - Tara Ison, author of BALL

Writer/photographer Scot Sothern, best known for his up-close stories and photographs of street prostitutes in Los Angeles, spent forty years making photographs and drifting from job to job. His first exhibit,Lowlife, opened at the notorious Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles in 2010 and his first book, Lowlife, was published in the U.K. by Stanley Barker in 2011. Scot’s work has since appeared in numerous online and glossy magazines along with gallery shows in LA, NYC, Miami, and London.  The British Journal of Photography called Lowlife, “The year’s most controversial photobook.”  In 2013 Scot took a two-year gig writing a biweekly column, Nocturnal Submissions, at VICE Magazine. In 2013, Curb Service: A Memoir, was published by Soft Skull Press. In 2016, Streetwalkers, stories and photographs, was published by powerHouse Books. BigCity is his first novel.

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CATRIONA WARD DISCUSSES HER NOVEL THE GIRL FROM RAWBLOOD WITH MIKE MIGNOLA AND DEVIN GRIFFITHS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 3rd, 2017

The Girl from Rawblood (Sourcebooks Landmark)

For generations the Villarcas have died mysteriously, and young. Now Iris and her father will finally understand why...

At the turn of England's century, as the wind whistles in the lonely halls of Rawblood, young Iris Villarca is the last of her family's line. They are haunted, through the generations, by "her," a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak, and death.

Iris forsakes her promise to her father, to remain alone, safe from the world. She dares to fall in love, and the consequences of her choice are immediate and terrifying. As the world falls apart around her, she must take a final journey back to Rawblood where it all began and where it must all end...

From the sun dappled hills of Italy to the biting chill of Victorian dissection halls, The Girl from Rawblood is a lyrical and haunting historical novel of darkness, love, and the ghosts of the past.

Praise for The Girl From Rawblood

“Wade perfectly balances sensory richness with the chills of the uncanny.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“[an] atmospheric debut.”  — Booklist 

“Brilliant – The Girl From Rawblood is the old-school gothic novel I have been waiting for. While it delivers everything I want from a ‘haunted house/family curse’ story, it is still stunningly original. I have never read anything like it and that’s saying something.” — Mike Mignola, creator of the Hellboy comic book series

“Ward’s layered and skillfully crafted novel weaves elements of classic gothic and horror into a remarkable story populated by unforgettable characters, palpable atmosphere, and rich lyricism. Imagine the darkest and goriest undertones of Edgar Allan Poe, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, and Shirley ­Jackson, and you’ll have an idea of what Ward offers here.”  — Library Journal, Starred Review  

“Elegiac in its prose and haunting in its imagery, The Girl from Rawblood is a precisely and beautifully woven tapestry through which threads of darkness wind their inevitable way. Ward has crafted a sweeping saga of madness in all its forms that will chill you to the bones and draw you into its murky depths.” — Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale and First Impressions   

“A story to satisfy the most gothic of hearts. I was hooked on the very first page and The Girl from Rawblood never let me go. Sentence by sentence, Catriona Ward made herself one of my very favorite writers.” — Kelly Link, 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Get in Trouble

Catriona Ward was born in Washington DC and grew up in the US, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen and Morocco. She studied English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford followed by the UEA Masters in Creative Writing. After living in New York for 4 years where she trained as an actor, she now works for a human rights foundation and lives in London.

Mike Mignola is best known as the multiple award-winning creator, writer, and artist of B.P.R.D. and Hellboy, but has fostered several other projects like The Amazing Screw-On Head and Baltimore with Christopher Golden. Although he began working as a professional cartoonist in the early 1980s, drawing 'a little bit of everything for just about everybody' - including characters like Batman and Wolverine - he was also a production designer on the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Mignola also acted as a visual consultant to Guillermo del Toro on Blade 2 and the film versions of Hellboy, which were broadly adapted by del Toro from the original comic series. Mike Mignola currently lives in southern California with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Devin Griffiths, a former biologist who studied artificial evolution, is an assistant professor of English at the University of Southern California. His work has been featured in ELH, Studies in English Literature, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Literature Compass, and Book History. He is the author of The Age of Analogy: Science and Literature Between the Darwin’s and The Radical Catalogue. 

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JONATHAN LETHEM DISCUSSES HIS BOOK MORE ALIVE AND LESS LONELY, WITH JARETT KOBEK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on August 3rd, 2017

More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers (Melville House Publishing)

A collection of bestselling, NBCC prize-winning author Jonathan Lethem’s finest writing on the subject of writers and writing.

A readerly wake-up call from one of America’s finest and most acclaimed working writers. Picking up where his NBCC Award finalist collection The Ecstasy of Influence left off, More Alive and Less Lonely collects more than a decade of Lethem’s finest writing on writing, with new and previously unpublished material, including: impassioned appeals for forgotten writers and overlooked books, razor-sharp essays, and personal accounts of his most extraordinary literary encounters and discoveries.

Only Lethem, with his love of cult favorites and the canon alike, can write with equal insight about the stories of modern masters like Lorrie Moore and Salman Rushdie, graphic novelist Chester Brown, science fiction outlier Philip K. Dick, and classic icons like Moby-Dick.

Edited by novelist Christopher Boucher (Golden Delicious), More Alive and Less Lonely deserves a place on every serious reader’s bookshelf. Lethem’s joyful approach to literature will inspire you to dive back into your favorite books and then point you towards what to read next.

Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Dissident GardensThe Fortress of Solitude, and Motherless Brooklyn; three short story collections; and two essay collections, including The Ecstasy of Influence, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Lethem’s work has appeared in The New YorkerHarper’s MagazineRolling StoneEsquire, and the New York Times, among other publications.

Editor Christopher Boucher is a professor of English at Boston College, editor of Post Road magazine, and author of the novels How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive and Golden Delicious, both from Melville House.

Jarett Kobek is a Turkish-American writer living in California. His novella ATTA was called “highly interesting,” by the Times Literary Supplement, has appeared in Spanish translation, been the subject of much academic writing, and was a recent and unexplained bestseller in parts of Canada. Presently, he's working on a book about the Ol' Dirty Bastard's first album for Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series. He is the author of the novel I Hate the Internet.

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SIEL JU READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL CAKE TIME WITH GUESTS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 31st, 2017

Cake Time (Red Hen Press)

Daring yet aimless, smart but slightly strange, Cake Time’s young female protagonist keeps making slippery choices, sliding into the dangerous space where curiosity melds with fear and desires turn into dirty messes. In “How Not to Have an Abortion,” the teenaged narrator looks for a ride from the clinic between her AP exams. In “Easy Target,” the now-college-grad agrees to go to a swingers party with a handsome stranger. A decade later, in “Glow,” she is suddenly confronted by the disturbing and thrilling fact of her lover’s secret daughter. Ultimately, this unflinching novel-in-stories grapples with urgent, timeless questions: why intelligent girls make terrible choices, where to negotiate a private self in an increasingly public world, and how to love madly without losing a sense of self.

Joining us will be Jim Ruland, Victoria Patterson, and Janice Lee.

Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel The Little Brother, which Vanity Fair called “a brutal, deeply empathetic, and emotionally wrenching examination of American male privilege and rape culture.” She is also the author of the novels The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the Story Prize and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in South Pasadena, California with her family and teaches at Antioch University. 

Jim Ruland is the co-author of My Damage with Keith Morris, founding member of Black Flag, Circle Jerks and OFF! (Da Capo 2016) and Giving the Fingerwith Scott Campbell Jr. of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch (Lyons Press 2014). He is also the author of the award-winning novel Forest of Fortune(Tyrus Books 2014) and the short story collection Big Lonesome (Gorsky Press 2005). Jim’s work has appeared in many publications, including The BelieverEsquireGrantaHobartMcSweeney’sMississippi Review, and Oxford American, and has received awards from Reader’s Digest and the National Endowment for the Arts. He runs the Southern California-based reading series Vermin on the Mount, now in its thirteenth year.

Janice Lee is the author of KEROTAKIS (Dog Horn Press, 2010), Daughter (Jaded Ibis, 2011), Damnation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013), Reconsolidation(Penny-Ante Editions, 2015), and The Sky Isn’t Blue (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). She is Editor of the #RECURRENT Series for Civil Coping Mechanisms, Founder and Executive Editor of Entropy, Assistant Editor at Fanzine, Contributor at HTMLGIANT, Co-Editor (w/ Maggie Nelson) of SUBLEVEL, the new online literary magazine based in the CalArts MFA Writing Program and CEO/Founder of POTG Design. She can be found online at http://janicel.com.

Praise for Cake Time 

Cake Time is a delicious indulgence. Treat yourself to its dark, seductive intimacies and savor the gritty sugar of its unsentimental humor.”—Jillian Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, and Everything You Ever Wanted

“Siel Ju writes with refreshing candor about sexual appetite and the treacherous difficulty of finding love. There is cruelty in the search and tenderness and a lot of honest fumbling around. Cake Time is our time—a provocative debut.”—Noy Holland, author of BIRD

“Siel Ju’s Cake Time is sharply observed and wonderfully contemporary: these complex, flawed, and real characters live in our current world, with all its confusions and opportunity to connect—or disconnect. It’s about the perils and pleasures of intimacy, and its heroine feels as alive as you and I. A compelling and unflinching debut.”—Edan Lepucki, author of California

“Siel Ju’s Cake Time is an astonishing debut. Ju’s novel-in-stories is unsettling and fierce and full of loneliness, sadness, and humor. Her voice is so alive, and her candor—particularly about men and sex—is keenly astute, intimate, and startling. The prose is precise and poetic, and Los Angeles vibrates on the page. Wry and heartfelt and uniquely defiant, Cake Time is like a hard slap I didn’t expect or see coming.”—Victoria Patterson, author of The Little Brother and Drift

“Siel Ju’s stories are not boring because they are about not-boring things, like swingers’ parties and organic fashion company beauty pageants and high school sex and breakups and hook ups. Lots and lots of breakups and hook ups. I worried for Siel Ju reading about all these breakups and hook ups. Then I reminded myself these are fictions Siel Ju is telling us, and Siel Ju is fine. We are all fine, even after all these breakups and hook ups.”—Elizabeth Ellen, author of Fast Machine and Bridget Fonda

Siel Ju's novel-in-stories, Cake Time, is the winner of the 2015 Red Hen Press Fiction Manuscript Award and will be published in April 2017. Siel is also the author of two poetry chapbooks. Her stories and poems appear in ZYZZYVA, The Missouri Review (Poem of the Week), The Los Angeles ReviewDenver Quarterly, and other places. She gives away a book a month at sielju.com.

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JENNY NORDBAK DISCUSSES HER BOOK THE SCARLETT LETTERS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 31st, 2017

The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon (St. Martins Press)

Jenny Nordbak takes us to a place that few have seen, but millions have fantasized about, revealing how she transformed herself from a USC grad lacking in confidence into an elite professional dominatrix who finds her own voice, power and compassion for others.

On an unorthodox quest to understand her hidden fantasies, Jenny led a double life for two years. By day she was a construction manager, but at night she became Mistress Scarlett. Working at LA s longest-running dungeon, she catered to the secret fetishes of clients ranging from accountants to movie stars. She simultaneously developed a career in the complex and male-dominated world of healthcare construction, while spending her nights as a sex worker, dominating men. Far from the standard-issue powerful men who pay to be helpless, Mistress Scarlett s clientele included men whose fantasies revealed more complex needs, from Tickle Ed to Doggie Dan, from the Treasure Trolls to Ta-Da Ted. The Scarlett Letters explores the spectacularly diverse array of human sexuality and the fascinating cast of characters that the author encountered along the way.

While The Scarlett Letters is a window into this largely unknown world, it also showcases Jenny’s unorthodox quest to better understand herself. Transforming into Mistress Scarlett started with the goal of better understanding her own hidden fantasies, and while achieving that goal it also lead to transformations she hadn’t expected. Mistress Scarlett helped empower Jenny and instill confidence in herself outside the dungeon.

The Scarlett Letters shows us how to find your voice as a woman today, and sheds light on the emotional and physical relationships between men and women.

Jenny Nordbak earned a B.A in Interdisciplinary Archaeology from the University of Southern California. After graduating, she worked in healthcare construction. Jenny's alter ego, Scarlett, is a dominatrix. Jenny spent two years leading a double life, secretly working as a professional dominant at a dungeon in Los Angeles. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.

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RON REGE JR AND MAJA D’AOUST DISCUSS CARTOON UTOPIA AND WHAT PARSIFAL SAW

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 31st, 2017

Cartoon Utopia and What Parsifal Saw (Fantagraphics Books)

Join surreal cartoonist Ron Rege Jr. (The Cartoon Utopia) and author Maja D'Aoust (The Secret Source) as they discuss alchemy, spirituality, and the blending of magic and science for modern audiences. They will read from The Cartoon Utopia as well as his new graphic novel, What Parsifal Saw, both of which include texts written by D'Aoust and illustrated by Rege. Bring a little magic into your life with this book release event.

Ron Regé, Jr began self publishing & distributing his own comics in Cambridge, MA during the early 1990’s. His first Graphic Novel Skibber Bee~Bye was published by Highwater Books in 2000. Since then he has published books with Drawn & Quarterly, McSweeney’s, Buenaventura Press, and Fantagraphics Books. The Cartoon Utopia, originally released in 2012 is out now in paperback along with his newest collection What Parsifal Saw. He lives in Los Angeles.

Maja D'Aoust is a practicing Witch who performs public rituals and gives educational lectures. Maja's interest in Alchemy, magic and the esoteric sciences spans her entire lifetime.  After completing her Bachelors degree in Biochemistry, Maja studied oriental medicine, martial arts and acupuncture, later earning her Masters degree in Transformational Psychology. Maja worked for 11 years as the librarian of Manly P. Hall's Philosophical Research Society. Author of several books, journal articles and blog content Maja writes and is a visual artist. Currently Maja is starting a public educational non-profit 501 c-3 called The Well Wishers which focuses on teaching wellness and esoteric sciences to the community.

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ELIZA WHEELER READS FROM HER BOOK JOHN RONALD’S DRAGONS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 30th, 2017

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R. R. Tolkien (MacMillan Children's Publishing Group)

A captivating picture book biography of a boy who imagined a world full of dragons and grew up to be beloved author J. R. R. Tolkien.

John Ronald loved dragons. He liked to imagine dragons when he was alone, and with his friends, and especially when life got hard or sad. After his mother died and he had to live with a cold-hearted aunt, he looked for dragons. He searched for them at his boarding school. And when he fought in a Great War, he felt as if terrible, destructive dragons were everywhere. But he never actually found one, until one day, when he was a grown man but still very much a boy at heart, when he decided to create one of his own. John Ronald's Dragons introduces the beloved creator of Middle Earth and author of The Hobbit to a new generation of children who see magic in the world around them.

Praise for John Ronald's Dragons

“[B]eautifully illustrated introduction to Tolkien’s life for younger readers.” —School Library Journal

“The dragons of imagination are always there, but sometimes it takes time for them to breathe fire—that’s what McAlister suggests in this thoughtful look at the creative development of John Ronald, aka J.R.R. Tolkien...It’s an ideal lead-in to family readings of The Hobbit.” - Publishers Weekly

Caroline McAlister teaches English at Guildford College and every year takes students to Oxford, England, to study fantasy in the setting where Tolkien lived and wrote. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Eliza Wheeler wrote and illustrated New York Times bestseller Miss Maple's Seeds and enjoys eating Hobbit food and reading Tolkien aloud with her friends. She divides her time between the coast of California and the riverbanks of Wisconsin.

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BETH PRATT-BERGSTROM DISCUSSES HER BOOK WHEN MOUNTAIN LIONS ARE NEIGHBORS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 30th, 2017

When Mountain Lions are Neighbors: People and Wildlife Working It Out In California (Heydey Books)

Did you know that a mountain lion, known as P-22, lives in the middle of Los Angeles, that on the Facebook campus in Silicon Valley, Mark Zuckerberg and his staff have provided a home for an endearing family of wild gray foxes, or that wolves have returned to California after a ninety-year absence, led by the remarkable journey of the wolf OR-7?

A movement of diverse individuals and communities is taking action to recast wildlife as an integral part of our everyday lives.

When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors explores this evolving dynamic between humans and animals, including remarkable stories like rice farmers sharing their fields with Sandhill Cranes, how California's endangered desert tortoises are getting some much needed protection from a formidable ally: the United States Marines Corps, and how park staff and millions of visitors rallied to keep Yosemite’s famed bears wild, and many more tales from across the state that celebrate a new paradigm for wildlife conservation: coexistence.

Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, wildlife advocate, author and California Director for the National Wildlife Federation, will share tales of wild wonder from her new book, accompanied by LA’s celebrity mountain lion, P-22 (his likeness).

Praise for When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors 

“A contemporary and exciting look at wildlife that we all can celebrate.”--Ed Begley Jr.

“This delightful book details our ever-evolving relationship with Earth’s wildest creatures, promising that peaceful coexistence is possible.” Jennifer Holland, author of the best-selling Unlikely Friendships series

"It’s one thing to say we should figure out how to live with other critters and another thing to do it. Beth Pratt-Bergstrom’s new book, When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors, provides a pretty happy litany of species we do still have around, and positive stories about how folks are getting along with them."--Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Science, in the Huffington Post

"One comes away from the book with a feeling of domesticity, mostly content that California seems to be one big happy multispecies family, but with underlying concerns, of course, as in any modern family."--Jon Christensen, LA Observed

“At a time when books about conservation often and understandably focus on challenges and failures, Beth Pratt-Bergstrom’s When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors, co-published by Heyday and National Wildlife Federation, beautifully captures a series of successes, all in California. By focusing on individual case studies, and often individual animals, the book turns these examples into effective narrative stories.” Jeff Fleischer, Foreword Reviews

A lifelong advocate for wildlife, Beth Pratt-Bergstrom has worked in in two of the country’s largest national parks: Yosemite and Yellowstone. As the California Director for the National Wildlife Federation, she says, “I have the best job in the world—advocating for the state’s remarkable wildlife.”

She leads the #SaveLACougars campaign to build the largest wildlife crossing in North America—and potentially the world—to help save a population of mountain lions from extinction, and her conservation work has been featured by The New YorkerThe Wall Street JournalWashington PostBBC World ServiceCBS This Morning, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR. Her new book, When Mountain Lions are Neighbors: People and Wildlife Working It Out In California, was published by Heyday Books in 2016. Beth spends much of her time in LA, but makes her home outside of Yosemite, “my north star,” with her husband, five dogs, two cats, and the mountain lions, bears, foxes, and other wildlife that frequent her backyard.

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PEN CENTER USA PRESENTS THE 2018 EMERGING VOICES MEET AND GREET

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 30th, 2017

Join Emerging Voices Fellows, Alumni, and Mentors in Conversation for the 2018 Application Cycle at Skylight Books. PEN Center USA presents summer cocktails, short readings, a fellowship overview and audience Q&A. 

Featuring: Patrick O’Neil, Jian Huang, Mike Padilla, Peter H.Z. Hsu, Kirin Khan and Soleil David

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JEFF SOLOMON DISCUSSES HIS BOOK SO FAMOUS AND SO GAY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on July 30th, 2017

So Famous and So Gay: The Fabulous Potency of Truman Capote and Gertrude Stein (University of Minnesota Press)

How and why, in a time of homophobia and closeted sexuality, did two openly gay writers become mass-market celebrities?

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) and Truman Capote (1924–1984) should not have been famous. They made their names between the Oscar Wilde trial and Stonewall, when homosexuality meant criminality and perversion. And yet both Stein and Capote, openly and exclusively gay, built their outsize reputations on works that directly featured homosexuality and a queer aesthetic. How did these writers become mass-market celebrities while other gay public figures were closeted or censored? And what did their fame mean for queer writers and readers, and for the culture in general? Jeff Solomon explores these questions in So Famous and So Gay.

Celebrating lesbian partnership, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was published in 1933 and rocketed Stein, the Jewish lesbian intellectual avant-garde American expatriate, to international stardom and a mass-market readership. Fifteen years later, when Capote published Other Voices, Other Rooms, a novel of explicit homosexual sex and love, his fame itself became famous. Through original archival research, Solomon traces the construction and impact of the writers’ public personae from a gay-affirmative perspective. He historically situates author photos, celebrity gossip, and other ephemera to explain how Stein and Capote expressed homosexuality and negotiated homophobia through the fleeting depiction of what could not be directly written—maneuvers that other gay writers such as Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and James Baldwin could not manage at the time. Finally So Famous and So Gay reveals what Capote’s and Stein’s debuts, Other Voices, Other Rooms and Three Lives, held for queer readers in terms of gay identity and psychology—and for gay authors who wrote in their wake.

Praise for So Famous and So Gay

"In So Famous and So Gay, Jeff Solomon amasses a treasure trove archive—literature, reviews, biographies, photographs, interviews—from which he examines the gayness, strangeness, and celebrity that combusted to create the queer precocity of Truman Capote and Gertrude Stein. At once critically expansive and insightful, this book is also a good story. Like Stein and Capote, Solomon is an engaging stylist in his own right. Read to learn, read to enjoy (imagine that!)." —Ken Corbett, author of A Murder Over a Girl

"Every bit as ‘fabulous’ as the subtitle promises, So Famous and So Gay focuses on two writers—Truman Capote and Gertrude Stein—whose strategies for politicizing questions of sexual identity included the manufacture of public personae as queerly flamboyant ‘geniuses’ and the exploitation of their author photos. Brilliantly exposing of the commodification of authorial identity, Solomon also offers a welcome corrective to strands of queer theory that neglect the specificities of same-sex desire."—Joseph Allen Boone, University of Southern California

"Jeff Solomon’s So Famous and So Gay effectively reinvigorates the single author genre by stretching its scope and preconceived boundaries. Solomon’s magisterial command of twentieth century American literary culture and his provocative use of author photos make this particular two-author study an engaging work of scholarship." —James Penner, author of Pinks, Pansies, and Punks: The Rhetoric of Masculinity in American Literary Culture

Jeff Solomon is assistant professor of English and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Wake Forest University.

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RACHEL NAGELBERG READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL THE FIFTH WALL WITH STEPHEN BEACHY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 24th, 2017

The Fifth Wall (Black Sparrow Books)

In this debut novel by Rachel Nagelberg, conceptual artist Sheila B. Ackerman heeds a mysterious urge to return to her estranged family home and arrives at the exact moment of her mother’s suicide. In an attempt to cope with and understand her own self destructive tendencies, Sheila plants a camera on the lawn outside the house to film 24/7 while workers deconstruct the physical object that encases so many of her memories. Meanwhile, as she begins to experience frequent blackouts, she finds herself hunting a robot drone through the San Francisco MOMA with a baseball bat, part of a provocative, technological show, The Last Art, and resuming a violent affair with her college professor. With a backdrop of post-9/11 San Francisco, Sheila navigates the social-media- obsessed, draught-ridden landscape of her life, exploring the frail line between the human impulse to control everything that takes place around us and the futility of excessive effort to do so. The Fifth Wall allows readers to explore from a safe distance the recesses of their own minds, leaving the haunting feeling of depths that yet remain unknown.

Praise for The Fifth Wall

Set into motion by an inexplicable, traumatic and violent real-life event, Rachel Nagelberg’s brilliant first novel begins at the limits of contemporary art, as it attempts to reflect the ungraspable present. Born in 1984 into a familiarly frayed American family, her protagonist Sheila B. Ackerman, a former art student, is neither especially likable or unlikeable: that is, she’s incredibly real.  A close artistic cousin to Joni Murphy’s Double Teenage and Natasha Stagg’s Surveys, The Fifth Wall is a new kind of novel. Female and philosophical, emotion flows through the book across a dense and familiarly incomprehensible web of information, from satellite selfies to awkward sex to internet beheadings and shamanic tourism in the third world. Nagelberg's engrossing narration is littered with stunning perception: We look into the distance to be able to see what’s right in front of us.  She writes without affect, and with unselfconscious acuity.That is, she writes really well.  – Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick

"Nagelberg has a true gift, able to write gorgeously on the line level with unctuous images. And simultaneously, there's a readable page-turner here. Most of us are lucky to do one of those, which is a testament to the singular talent.  This book cascades beauty and meaning and truth.– Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life and Termite Parade, a New York Times Editor’s Choice pick

"The Fifth Wall crackles with braininess and sex. It's hallucinatory and interactive and funny and sad and it has something incandescent to show you." – Stephen Beachy, author of The Whistling Song and Distortion, and professor at the University of San Francisco 

Rachel Nagelberg is an American novelist, poet, and conceptual artist living in Los Angeles. The Fifth Wall is her debut novel.

Stephen Beachy is the author of the novels boneyard, Distortion, and The Whistling Song, and the twin novellas Some Phantom/No Time Flat. He has also written and is continuing to write the “Amish Terror” sci-fi series that begins with Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity, and his newest novel Glory Hole will be published by FC2 fall of 2017. He is Prose Editor of the journal Your Impossible Voice, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of San Francisco, and lives in San Diego.

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