Archive for nonfiction

Monique Truong, “THE SWEETEST FRUITS” w/ Diep Tran

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on November 7th, 2019

The Sweetest Fruits introduces readers to a trio of tenacious, brave, and inspiring women who have largely been left out of the historical record—until now. In her beautifully crafted and captivating work, Monique Truong retells the remarkable life story of 19th century writer, wanderer, and epicurean Lafcadio Hearn through the eyes of those who cared for him and made his work possible.

Truong is in conversation with Diep Tran, chef and  former owner of Good Girl Dinette in Los Angeles.




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, transgender, 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.




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.




Mike Pearl, “THE DAY IT FINALLY HAPPENS” w/ Brian Merchant

Posted in , skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, technology by skylightbooks on October 28th, 2019

If you live on planet Earth you’re probably scared of the future. How could you not be? Some of the world’s most stable democracies are looking pretty shaky. Technology is invading personal relationships and taking over jobs. Relations among the three superpowers—the US, China, and Russia—are growing more complicated and dangerous. A person watching the news has to wonder: is it safe to go out there or not?

Taking inspiration from his virally popular Vice column “How Scared Should I Be?,” Mike Pearl in The Day It Finally Happens games out many of the “could it really happen?” scenarios we’ve all speculated about, assigning a probability rating, and taking us through how it would unfold. He explores what would likely occur in dozens of possible scenarios—among them the final failure of antibiotics, the loss of the world’s marine life, a complete ban on guns in the US, and even the arrival of aliens—and reports back from the future, providing a clear picture of how the world would look, feel, and even smell in each of these instances.

Pearl is in conversation with Brian Merchant, a journalist, producer, and author, focusing on science & technology.




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.




Leslie Jamison, “MAKE IT SCREAM, MAKE IT BURN” w/ Chris Kraus

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays by skylightbooks on October 24th, 2019

With the virtuosic synthesis of memoir, criticism, and journalism for which she has become known, Leslie Jamison offers us fourteen new essays that are by turns ecstatic, searching, staggering, and wise. In its kaleidoscopic sweep, Make It Scream, Make It Burn creates a profound exploration of the oceanic depths of longing and the reverberations of obsession.

Among Jamison’s subjects are 52 Blue, deemed “the loneliest whale in the world”; the eerie past-life memories of children; the devoted citizens of an online world called Second Life; the haunted landscape of the Sri Lankan Civil War; and an entire museum dedicated to the relics of broken relationships. Jamison follows these examinations to more personal reckonings — with elusive men and ruptured romances, with marriage and maternity — in essays about eloping in Las Vegas, becoming a stepmother, and giving birth.

Jamison is in conversation with Chris Kraus, the author of four novels and three books of art and cultural criticism.




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.




Nefertiti Austin, “MOTHERHOOD SO WHITE”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, fiction, nonfiction by skylightbooks on October 21st, 2019

When Nefertiti Austin, a single African-American woman, decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system, she was unprepared for the fact there is no place for Black women in the “mommy wars.” Austin set off on her path without the ability to seek guidance from others who looked like her or shared her experience. She soon realized that she would not only have to navigate skepticism from
the adoption community, who deal almost exclusively with white women, but surprisingly, from her own family and friends as well.

Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti’s fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African-American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America.




Jennifer Croft, “HOMESICK” w/ Marisa Silver

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on October 1st, 2019

Sisters Amy and Zoe grow up in Oklahoma where they are homeschooled for an unexpected reason: Zoe suffers from debilitating and mysterious seizures, spending her childhood in hospitals as she undergoes surgeries. Meanwhile, Amy flourishes intellectually, showing an innate ability to glean a world beyond the troubles in her home life, exploring that world through languages first. Amy’s first love appears in the form of her Russian tutor Sasha, but when she enters university at the age of 15 her life changes drastically and with tragic results. 

Jennifer Croft complements her stunning prose with beautiful color photography to tell her coming of age story. Homesick is about learning to love language in its many forms, healing through words and the promises and perils of empathy and sisterhood.




Anthony McCann, “SHADOWLANDS” w/ Brian Evenson, “Song for the Unraveling of the World”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction by skylightbooks on September 25th, 2019

In 2016, a group of armed, divinely inspired right-wing protestors led by Ammon Bundy occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the high desert of eastern Oregon. Encamped in the shadowlands of the republic, insisting that the Federal government had no right to own public land, the occupiers were seen by a divided country as either dangerous extremists dressed up as cowboys, or as heroes insisting on restoring the rule of the Constitution. From the Occupation's beginnings, to the trials of the occupiers in federal court in downtown Portland and their tumultuous aftermaths, Shadowlands is the resonant, multifaceted story of one of the most dramatic flashpoints in the year that gave us Donald Trump.

Sharing the expansive stage with the occupiers are a host of others--Native American tribal leaders, public-lands ranchers, militia members, environmentalists, federal defense attorneys, and Black Lives Matter activists--each contending in their different ways with the meaning of the American promise of Liberty. Gathering into its vortex the realities of social media technology, history, religion, race, and the environment--this piercing work by Anthony McCann offers us a combination of beautiful writing and high-stakes analysis of our current cultural and political moment. Shadowlands is a clarifying, exhilarating story of a nation facing an uncertain future and a murky past in a time of great collective reckoning.

McCann is in conversation with Brian Evenson,the author of a dozen books of fiction, most recently the story collection Song for the Unraveling of the World.




Susan Straight, “IN THE COUNTRY OF WOMEN” w/ Patt Morrison

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on August 29th, 2019

In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a self-proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, at driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close-knit Sims family, Straight—and eventually her three daughters—heard for decades the stories of Dwayne’s female ancestors. Some women escaped violence in post-slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled abusive men. Straight’s mother-in-law, Alberta Sims, is the descendant at the heart of this memoir. Susan’s family, too, reflects the hardship and resilience of women pushing onward—from Switzerland, Canada, and the Colorado Rockies to California.

A Pakistani word, biraderi, is one Straight uses to define a complex system of kinship and clan—those who become your family. An entire community helped raise her daughters. Of her three girls, now grown and working in museums and the entertainment industry, Straight writes, “The daughters of our ancestors carry in their blood at least three continents. We are not about borders. We are about love and survival.” In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women.

Straight is in conversation with Patt Morrison, a Los Angeles Times writer and columnist with a share of two Pulitzer Prizes.




Alan Sepinwall, “THE SOPRANOS SESSIONS” w/ Justin Halpern

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, nonfiction, film/tv by skylightbooks on August 28th, 2019

On January 10, 1999, a mobster walked into a psychiatrist’s office and changed TV history. By shattering preconceptions about the kinds of stories the medium should tell, The Sopranos launched our current age of prestige television, paving the way for such giants as Mad Men, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones. As TV critics for Tony Soprano’s hometown paper, New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger, Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz were among the first to write about the series before it became a cultural phenomenon.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show’s debut, Sepinwall and Seitz have reunited to produce The Sopranos Sessions, a collection of recaps, conversations, and critical essays covering every episode. Featuring a series of new long-form interviews with series creator David Chase, as well as selections from the authors’ archival writing on the series, The Sopranos Sessions explores the show’s artistry, themes, and legacy, examining its portrayal of Italian Americans, its graphic depictions of violence, and its deep connections to other cinematic and television classics.

Sepinwall is joined in conversation by Justin Halpern, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Sh*t My Dad Says, inspired by his massively popular Twitter feed.




INTERSECTIONALLIES

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Y/A, Young Adult, Children's Fiction, nonfiction, essays, transgender, LGBTQ by skylightbooks on August 13th, 2019

In poetic stanzas, IntersectionAllies introduces the stories of nine kids from diverse backgrounds. Authors Carolyn Choi, LaToya Council, and Chelsea Johnson use each character’s story to explain how children’s safety concerns are shaped by their intersecting identities, such as class, sexuality, dis/ability, race, religion, and citizenship—what is known in academic and activist circles as “intersectionality."

 

IntersectionAllies features introductions by law professor Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term intersectionality, and Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, author of Intersectionality: An Intellectual History, and artwork by illustrator Ashley Seil Smith. The stories in IntersectionAllies also suggest ways in which friends can support one another, or be an “ally,” despite different positions in life. The authors believe that forward-looking feminism must start with children, and IntersectionAllies shows that children’s literaturecan be the gateway to educating entire households.




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.





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