Archive for Memoir

LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Tom Rastrelli, “CONFESSIONS OF A GAY PRIEST” w/ Janet Finch

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, religion, LGBTQ, biography, queer by skylightbooks on July 3rd, 2020

Tom Rastrelli is a survivor of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse who then became a priest in the early days of the Catholic Church’s ongoing scandals. Confessions of a Gay Priest divulges the clandes­tine inner workings of the seminary, providing an intimate and unapologetic look into the psychosexual and spiritual dynamics of celibacy and lays bare the “formation” system that perpetuates the cycle of abuse and cover-up that continues today. 

Under the guidance of a charismatic college campus minister, Rastrelli sought to reconcile his homosexuality and childhood sexual abuse. When he felt called to the priesthood, Rastrelli be­gan the process of “priestly discernment.” Priests welcomed him into a confusing clerical culture where public displays of piety, celibacy, and homophobia masked a closeted underworld in which elder priests preyed upon young recruits. 

Rastrelli is in conversation with Janet Finch, author of White Oleander and teacher of fiction writing.

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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.




LIVE ON ZOOM: Meredith Talusan, “FAIREST” w/ Amber Tamblyn

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, transgender, LGBTQ, biography, trans by skylightbooks on June 22nd, 2020

Fairest is a memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a “sun child” from a rural Philippine village, who would grow up to become a woman in America. Coping with the strain of parental neglect and the elusive promise of U.S. citizenship, Meredith Talusan found childhood comfort from her devoted grandmother, a grounding force as she was treated by others with special preference or public curiosity. As an immigrant to the United States, Talusan came to be perceived as white. An academic scholarship to Harvard provided access to elite circles of privilege but required Talusan to navigate through the complex spheres of race, class, sexuality, and her place within the gay community.

She emerged as an artist and an activist questioning the boundaries of gender. Talusan realized she did not want to be confined to a prescribed role as a man, and transitioned to become a woman, despite the risk of losing a man she deeply loved. Throughout her journey, Talusan shares poignant and powerful episodes of desirability and love that will remind readers of works such as Call Me By Your Name and Giovanni’s Room. Her evocative reflections will shift our own perceptions of love, identity, gender, and the fairness of life.

Talusan is joined in conversation by Amber Tamblyn, an Emmy and Golden globe nominated actress, writer, director, and the author of six books.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




Harry Dodge, “MY METEORITE”

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, art, biography by skylightbooks on June 12th, 2020

Is love a force akin to gravity? A kind of invisible fabric which enables communications through space and time? Artist Harry Dodge finds himself contemplating such questions as his father declines from dementia and he rekindles a bewildering but powerful relationship with his birth mother. A meteorite Dodge orders on eBay becomes a mysterious catalyst for a reckoning with the vital forces of matter, the nature of consciousness, and the bafflements of belonging.

Structured around a series of formative, formidable coincidences in Dodge’s life, My Meteorite journeys with stylistic bravura from Barthes to Blade Runner, from punk to Pale Fire. It is a wild, incandescent book that creates a literary universe of its own. Blending the personal and the philosophical, the raw and the surreal, the transgressive and the heartbreaking, Harry Dodge revitalizes our world, illuminating the magic just under the surface of daily life.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




LIVE ON ZOOM: Porochista Khakpour, “BROWN ALBUM” w/ Myriam Gurba

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on May 25th, 2020

Novelist Porochista Khakpour's family moved to Los Angeles after fleeing the Iranian Revolution, giving up their successes only to be greeted by an alienating culture. Growing up as an immigrant in America means that one has to make one's way through a confusing tangle of conflicting cultures and expectations. And Porochista is pulled between the glitzy culture of Tehrangeles, an enclave of wealthy Iranians and Persians in LA, her own family's modest life and culture, and becoming an assimilated American. Porochista rebels--she bleaches her hair and flees to the East Coast, where she finds her community: other people writing and thinking at the fringes. But, 9/11 happens and with horror, Porochista watches from her apartment window as the towers fall. Extremism and fear of the Middle East rises in the aftermath and then again with the election of Donald Trump. Porochista is forced to finally grapple with what it means to be Middle-Eastern and Iranian, an immigrant, and a refugee in our country today.

Brown Album is a stirring collection of essays, at times humorous and at times profound, drawn from more than a decade of Porochista's work and with new material included. Altogether, it reveals the tolls that immigrant life in this country can take on a person and the joys that life can give.

Khakpour is in conversation with Myriam Gurba, a writer, spoken-word artist, and visual artist.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




Handsell, Ep. 5, “Skylight Update, Ingrid, and Liz”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, biography, Handsell by skylightbooks on May 16th, 2020

What a week! With social distancing measures beginning to relax a touch, Mick and Maddie talk about what it's going to be like for the Skylighters as they prep the store for curbside pickup. Mary comes on for an official Skylight Update and briefs us on a couple different ways we can support the store. Ingrid recommends a book, and Maddie comes back for a great conversation with Liz from Oakland's East Bay Booksellers. 

Staff Pick:

Ingrid - Tiger, Tiger by Margaux Fragoso

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




Lane Moore, “HOW TO BE ALONE”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on May 11th, 2020

Lane Moore is a rare performer who is as impressive onstage—whether hosting her iconic show Tinder Live or being the enigmatic front woman of It Was Romance—as she is on the page, as both a former writer for The Onion and an award-winning sex and relationships editor for Cosmopolitan. But her story has had its obstacles, including being her own parent, living in her car as a teenager, and moving to New York City to pursue her dreams. Through it all, she looked to movies, TV, and music as the family and support systems she never had.

From spending the holidays alone to having better “stranger luck” than with those closest to her to feeling like the last hopeless romantic on earth, Lane reveals her powerful and entertaining journey in all its candor, anxiety, and ultimate acceptance—with humor always her bolstering force and greatest gift.

How to Be Alone is a must-read for anyone whose childhood still feels unresolved, who spends more time pretending to have friends online than feeling close to anyone in real life, who tries to have genuine, deep conversations in a roomful of people who would rather you not. Above all, it’s a book for anyone who desperately wants to feel less alone and a little more connected through reading her words.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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




MariNaomi, “DISTANT STARS” w/ Myriam Gurba

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Comics/Graphic Novels, Memoir, LGBTQ, art, biography by skylightbooks on April 9th, 2020

In the final volume of the Life on Earth trilogy, celebrated cartoonist MariNaomi concludes her tale of growing up, falling in and out of love, and possible alien interventions. Shy, self-deprecating Paula Navarro is coming into her own—and it's making her new girlfriend, Johanna, a little nervous. Paula's former friend Emily Baker is learning to look inward. Brett Hathaway, Emily and Paula's mutual ex-hook-up, is torn about reconnecting with his estranged dad. And Nigel Jones is smitten with his tutor, Claudia—whose disappearance and reappearance remains a mystery to everyone around her. As Claudia and her guardians put the final plan in motion, they'll reveal the truth that links everyone's fate.

MariNaomi is in conversation with Myriam Gurba, a writer, a spoken-word artist, and a visual artist.




Erin Khar, “STRUNG OUT” w/ Jen Pastiloff

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on April 2nd, 2020

Growing up in Los Angeles as the only child of divorced parents, Erin Khar, often consumed with loneliness, looked for an escape from the pervasive belief that she wasn't enough—not enough to keep her parents together or her mother from depression—and yet, she never shared with anyone this private sadness. Instead, she hid behind the façade of a perfect childhood filled with good grades, a popular group of friends, and horseback riding. By the time she was thirteen, the act becoming too difficult to keep up, and she started experimenting with her grandmother's expired valium, quickly followed by heroin. The drug allowed her to feel the calm she was missing from her life and suppress all the heavy feelings she couldn't understand. Heroin, while keeping her from other forms of self-harm, became the addiction that destroyed her.

Khar is in conversation with Jen Pastiloff, who travels the world with her unique workshop On Being Human, a hybrid of yoga-related movement, writing, sharing aloud, letting the snot fly, and the occasional dance party.




Jenn Shapland, “MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CARSON MCCULLERS” w/

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on March 24th, 2020

While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters of Carson McCullers and a woman named Annemarie—letters that are tender, intimate, and unabashed in their feelings. Shapland recognizes herself in the letters’ language—but does not see McCullers as history has portrayed her.

And so, Shapland is compelled to undertake a recovery of the full narrative and language of McCullers’s life: she wades through the therapy transcripts; she stays at McCullers’s childhood home, where she lounges in her bathtub and eats delivery pizza; she relives McCullers’s days at her beloved Yaddo. As Shapland reckons with the expanding and collapsing distance between her and McCullers, she sees how McCullers’s story has become a way to articulate something about herself. The results reveal something entirely new not only about this one remarkable, walleyed life, but about the way we tell queer love stories.

In My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, Jenn Shapland interweaves her own story with Carson McCullers’s to create a vital new portrait of one of America’s most beloved writers, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are.

Shapland is in conversation with Andy Campbell, PhD, an art historian, critic, and curator.




Sands Hall, “RELCAIMING MY DECADE LOST IN SCIENTOLOGY” w/ Maggie Rowe

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, biography by skylightbooks on March 19th, 2020

In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, Sands Hall—a young woman from a literary family striving to forge her own way as an artist—finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer. Her time in the Church, the 1980s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. In Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion—what she found intriguing and useful—and how she came to confront its darker sides and escape.

Hall is in conversation with Maggie Rowe, who has performed in and produced the Com­edy Central stage show sitnspin, Los Angeles’s longest running spoken-word show, having taken the reins from creator Jill Soloway in 2002.




Melissa Matthewson, “TRACING THE DESIRE LINE” w/ Mathieu Cailler

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction by skylightbooks on January 29th, 2020

Tracing the Desire Line follows a writer's journey of opening her marriage with her husband. The story—told through short memoirs, essays, lists, letters, and hybrid prose poems—is an intimate inquiry into one woman’s search for autonomy with detours into meditations on music, motherhood, religion, love, and wildness.

Matthewson is in conversation with Mathieu Cailler, an award-winning author, whose poetry and prose have been widely featured in numerous national and international publications, including the Los Angeles Times and The Saturday Evening Post.




Alvin Orloff, “DISASTERAMA!” w/ Trebor Healy

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, fiction, biography by skylightbooks on November 28th, 2019

In Disasterama!, Alvin Orloff recalls the delirious adventures of his youth—from San Francisco to Los Angeles to New York—where insane nights, deep friendships with the creatives of the underground, and thrilling bi-coastal living led to a free-spirited life of art, manic performance, high camp antics, and exotic sexual encounters. Orloff looks past the politics of AIDS to the people on the ground, friends of his who did not survive AIDS’ wrath—the boys in black leather jackets and cackling queens in tacky frocks—remembering them not as victims, but as people who loved life, loved fun, and who were a part of the insane jigsaw of his community. Includes more than 60 rare photos of the underground counterculture, club flyers, drag queens, and queer icons of era.

Orloff is in conversation with Trebor Healey, author of three novels, A Horse Named SorrowFaun and Through It Came Bright Colors




Amanda Yates Garcia, “INITIATED” w/ Pam Grossman

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, Witches, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on November 6th, 2019

An initiation signals a beginning: a door opens and you step through. Traditional Wiccan initiates are usually brought into the craft through a ceremony with a High Priestess. But even though Amanda Yates Garcia's mother, a practicing witch herself, initiated her into the earth-centered practice of witchcraft when she was 13 years old, Amanda's real life as a witch only began when she underwent a series of spontaneous initiations of her own.

Descending into the underworlds of poverty, sex work, and misogyny, Initiated describes Amanda's journey to return to her body, harness her power, and create the magical world she longed for through witchcraft. Hailed by crows, seduced by magicians, and haunted by ancestors broken beneath the wheels of patriarchy, Amanda's quest for self-discovery and empowerment is a deep exploration of a modern witch's trials - healing ancient wounds, chafing against cultural expectations, creating intimacy - all while on a mission to re-enchant the world. Peppered with mythology, tales of the goddesses and magical women throughout history, Initiated stands squarely at the intersection of witchcraft and feminism. With generosity and heart, this book speaks to the question: is it possible to live a life of beauty and integrity in a world that feels like it's dying?

Garcia is in conversation with Pam Grossman, creator and host of The Witch Wave podcast and the author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power.




Cyrus Grace Dunham, “A YEAR WITHOUT A NAME”

Posted in , skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, LGBTQ, biography, queer by skylightbooks on November 4th, 2019

For as long as they can remember, Cyrus Grace Dunham felt like a visitor in their own body. Their life was a series of imitations--lovable little girl, daughter, sister, young gay woman--until their profound sense of alienation became intolerable. Beginning as Grace and ending as Cyrus, Dunham brings us inside the chrysalis of gender transition, asking us to bear witness to an uncertain and exhilarating process that troubles our most basic assumptions about who we are and how we are constituted. Written with disarming emotional intensity in a voice uniquely theirs, A Year Without a Name is a potent, thrillingly unresolved meditation on queerness, family, and desire.




AJ Dungo, “IN WAVES” w/ Jamie Brisick

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Comics/Graphic Novels, Memoir, nonfiction, graphic novels by skylightbooks on October 25th, 2019

In this visually arresting graphic novel, surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner, her battle with cancer, and their shared love of surfing that brought them strength throughout their time together. With his passion for surfing uniting many narratives, he intertwines his own story with those of some of the great heroes of surf in a rare work of nonfiction that is as moving as it is fascinating.

Dungo is in conversation with Jamie Brisick, author of Becoming Westerly.





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