Archive for skylight books

DANIELLE DAVIS READS FROM HER BOOK ZINNIA AND THE BEES

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Children's Fiction, Bees by skylightbooks on April 18th, 2018

A colony of honeybees mistakes seventh-grader Zinnia’s hair for a hive — and that’s the least of her problems. While Zinnia's classmates are celebrating the last day of seventh grade, she's in the vice principal's office, serving detention. Her offense? Harmlessly yarn-bombing a statue of the school mascot. When Zinnia rushes home to commiserate with her older brother and best friend, Adam, she's devastated to discover that he's gone — with no explanation. Zinnia’s day surely can't get any worse . . . until a colony of honeybees inhabits her hive-like hair! Infused with magical realism, Danielle Davis delivers a quirky, heartfelt debut, exploring both the complex life of a young loner and a comical hive of honeybees. Together, these alternating and unexpected perspectives will touch anyone who has ever felt alone, betrayed, or misunderstood.

Danielle Davis grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong and now lives in Los Angeles where she reads, writes, and roller skates. She’s earned an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing and her short stories have been published in literary magazines. She’s had the privilege of teaching English to middle school and community college students and currently volunteers with literary organizations in L.A. Zinnia and the Bees is her first novel.

Event date: 
Saturday, August 5, 2017 - 5:00pm
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CHRISTINE PELISEK DISCUSSES HER BOOK THE GRIM SLEEPER WITH DEBORAH VANKIN

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, True Crime, Serial Killers by skylightbooks on April 9th, 2018

In 2006, Christine Pelisek broke the case of a terrifying serial killer who went unchecked in Los Angeles for decades. Two years later, in her cover article for L.A. Weekly, Christine dubbed him "The Grim Sleeper" for his long break between murders. The killer preyed on a community devastated by crime and drugs and left behind a trail of bodies--all women of color, all murdered in a similar fashion, and all discarded in the alleys of South Central.

The case of the Grim Sleeper is unforgettably singular. But it also tells a wider story: about homicide investigations and police-community relations in areas beset by poverty and gang violence; about how a serial killer could roam free for two decades in part due to society’s lack of concern for his chosen victims; and about the persistence of those women's families and the detectives who refused to let the case go cold.
No one knows this story better than Pelisek, the reporter who followed it for more than ten years. Based on extensive interviews, reportage, and information never released to the public, The Grim Sleeper captures the long, bumpy road to justice in one of the most startling true crime stories of our generation.

Christine Pelisek is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been covering crime for almost fifteen years. She is currently the crime reporter for People Magazine, and previously worked at LA Weekly; she has also covered national stories for The Daily Beast and 20/20. She’s been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, andOttawa Sun, and has been interviewed as a crime expert by CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Headline News. She lives in Los Angeles. 

 Photo by Amanda Pelisek

Deborah Vankin is an arts and culture writer for the Los Angeles Times. Her award-winning interviews and profiles unearth the trends, issues and personalities in L.A.’s explosive arts scene. She has live-blogged her journey across Los Angeles with the L.A. County Museum of Art’s “big rock,” scaled downtown mural scaffolding with street artist Shepard Fairey, navigated the 101 freeway tracking the 1984 Olympic mural restorations and ridden Doug Aitken’s art train through the Barstow desert. Most recently, she spent a day roller-coastering at Universal Studios with Chinese piano virtuoso Yuja Wang for a profile. Her work as a writer and editor has also appeared in the New York Times, LA Weekly and Variety, among other places. Originally from Philadelphia, she’s the author of the graphic novel “Poseurs.” Her career began, more than a decade ago at the LA Weekly, where she was situated at a desk next to another young, budding reporter, Christine Pelisek...

Event date: 
Saturday, July 29, 2017 - 5:00pm
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TAMARA SHOPSIN DISCUSSES HER GRAPHIC MEMOIR ARBITRARY STUPID GOAL

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, Greenwich Village, New York Memoir, Memoir by skylightbooks on April 7th, 2018

In Arbitrary Stupid Goal, Tamara Shopsin takes the reader on a pointillist time-travel trip to the Greenwich Village of her bohemian 1970s childhood, a funky, tight-knit small town in the big city, long before Sex and the City tours and luxury condos. The center of Tamara’s universe is Shopsin’s, her family’s legendary greasy spoon, aka “The Store,” run by her inimitable dad, Kenny—a loquacious, contrary, huge-hearted man who, aside from dishing up New York’s best egg salad on rye, is Village sheriff, philosopher, and fixer all at once. All comers find a place at Shopsin’s table and feast on Kenny’s tall tales and trenchant advice along with the incomparable chili con carne.

Filled with clever illustrations and witty, nostalgic photographs and graphics, and told in a sly, elliptical narrative that is both hilarious and endearing, Arbitrary Stupid Goal is an offbeat memory-book mosaic about the secrets of living an unconventional life, which is becoming a forgotten art.

Praise for Arbitrary Stupid Goal

Arbitrary Stupid Goal is a completely riveting world—when I looked up from its pages regular life seemed boring and safe and modern like one big iPhone. This book captures not just a lost New York but a whole lost way of life.” —Miranda July

“Tamara Shopsin's illustrations are instantly recognizable: economical, seemingly simple and straightforward, but always working on a few different levels. Tamara the person is similar: quiet but charming and warm and tough and determined. Now it turns out her prose is the same way: funny and playful but revealing, and making us see the world we thought we knew with fresh eyes.” —Christoph Niemann, author of I Lego N.Y.

“Tamara Shopsin’s new memoir is hilarious. Just in like the West Village itself, you zigzag along on a fun adventure, never knowing who you are going to meet. What a fun read!” —Amy Sedaris

“Tamara Shopsin’s memoir is a funny and absorbing portrait of the city in a grubbier, less corporate incarnation. If you believe, as she does—and I do—that New York is, ‘matter-of-fact, the best place on earth,’ then read this book. And if you don’t believe that, after you read this book, you will.” —Roz Chast

"[Shopsin] weaves a marvelous patchwork quilt of stories about a Manhattan that doesn’t exist anymore . . [Arbitrary Stupid Goal is] an artistic ode to a way of life that people now living in New York City might never experience." —Publishers Weekly (Pick of the Week, Starred Review)

"A warm evocation of a quirky life and exuberant times." —Kirkus

"Deeply nostalgic but not at all mawkish, Shopsin’s supremely charming and affecting memoir of growing up in a pre-gentrified Greenwich Village will enchant fans of restaurant lore and postwar New York historyalike. In short, impressionistic chapters illustrated with photos, ephemera, and Shopsin’s own adorably insouciant line drawings, the book conjures a vanished bohemia without any hint of the irritating pedantry that dogs so many of its kind. Shopsin’s parents—familiar to fans of the writer Calvin Trillin and those who’ve seen the documentary I Like Killing Flies—opened Shopsin’s General Store in 1973 and turned it into a restaurant shortly thereafter, one beloved by local weirdos, celebrities, models, artists, and everyone in between. Shopsin, who still works there sometimes, recalls her unconventional childhood and those who shaped it with considerable warmth; she pays special attention to her dad’s late friend, Willy, an outsize personality whom Shopsin cares for in his dotage. Gumball machines, meat slicers, Nazi bunkers, and pancake methodologies all make cameo appearances, much to the reader’s delight.— Eugenia Williamson, Booklist

Tamara Shopsin is a well-known cook at the distinctly New York City eatery Shopsin's, a New York Times and New Yorkerillustrator, and the author of 5 Year Diary and What Is This?, as well as the coauthor of This Equals That and Mumbai New York Scranton. She lives in New York City with her husband.

Event date: 
Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 7:30pm
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EUGENE LIM READS FROM HIS NEW NOVEL DEAR CYBORGS, WITH JANICE LEE, HAROLD ABRAMOWITZ AND KAREN AN-HWEI LEE

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on April 5th, 2018

The novel begins with the friendship between two young, Asian American boys in a small, Midwestern town who bond over their outcast status and shared love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternate or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes debates the efficacy of protest and swaps stories of artistic ennui on their lunch breaks. Recalling the work of Tom McCarthy and Valeria Luiselli, Eugene Lim gleefully toys with narrative conventions—blending Hollywood chase scenes with sharp cultural critiques, hard-boiled detective pulps with subversive philosophy. Unfolding like the revelations of a dream, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendship’s dissolution with provocative and lively meditations on creativity and political dissent.

Praise for Dear Cyborgs 

“Eugene Lim’s Dear Cyborgs is a mad badass fan letter to comicdom and a chastening reminder of how America’s greatest fantasy doesn’t involve superheroes with superpowers but the prospect of a fair and honest political life. Go read it in the streets.” —Joshua Cohen, author of Book of Numbers

“Eugene Lim tells his sly superhero tales in a kind of hard-boiled deadpan—a voice at once incongruously comic and playfully soulful. Beneath the dry wit there’s an ache of loneliness, an echo of every comic-book reader’s yearning for the camaraderie of the super team, the intimate enmity of the nemesis.” —Peter Ho Davies, author of The Fortunes

“Eugene Lim’s Dear Cyborgs is a secret tunnel fresh with cool, strange storms. What is it to be super? What is it to be beyond? Dear Cyborgs is ripe with mysteries, heroes, even heartache.” —Samantha Hunt, author of Mr. Splitfoot

“[An] entertaining reflection on art, resistance, heroes, and villains . . . [Dear Cyborgs] is eerily reflective of our fractured times, darting from subject to subject with the speed of a mouse click. A colorful meditation on friendship and creation nested within a fictional universe.” —Kirkus Reviews

Eugene Lim is the author of two novels, Fog & Car and The Strangers. His writing has appeared in Fence, the Denver QuarterlyLittle StarDazedThe Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. He is the founder and managing editor of Ellipsis Press and works as a librarian in a high school. He lives in Queens, New York.

Harold Abramowitz is from Los Angeles.  His books include Blind Spot, Not Blessed, Dear Dearly DepartedMan’s Wars And Wickedness: A Book of Proposed Remedies & Extreme Formulations for Curing Hostility, Rivalry, & Ill-Will (with Amanda Ackerman), and UNFO Burns A Million Dollars. Harold co-edits the short-form literary press eohippus labs, and writes and edits as part of the collaborative projects, SAM OR SAMANTHA YAMS and UNFO.

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 most recently the essay collection The Sky Isn’t Blue (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). She currently lives in Los Angeles and is Editor of the imprint #RECURRENT for Civil Coping Mechanisms, Founder & Executive Editor of Entropy, Assistant Editor at Fanzine, and Co-Editor (w/ Maggie Nelson) of SUBLEVEL, the new online literary magazine based in the CalArts MFA Writing Program. She can be found online at janicel.com.

Karen An-hwei Lee is author of the poetry collections Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008), In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), and a novel, Sonata in K (Ellipsis 2017). Currently, Lee lives in San Diego, where she serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Event date: 
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 7:30pm
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CINDY RINNE READS FROM LISTEN TO THE CODEX, WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, poetry, native authors, native plants by skylightbooks on April 4th, 2018

The Native Blossoms Chapbook Series embraces poetry of place, exploring connections to the natural landscape, the untamed, the indigenous. Each chapbook, while utilizing themes and concepts that comprise the contemporary American lyric, features at least one poem that takes the botanical name of a wildflower or other flora native to the poet's locale as its title. As Joy Harjo encourages, "See those sensitive hills? They need to be talked to, sung to. . . ."

 Listen to the Codex (Yak Press)

The twenty-eight poems in this collection stitch a tale that interlaces ancient mythology with science fiction. The story we embark upon in these pages is one that is particularly feminine. Skillfully woven together, we encounter figures both mystical and ordinary, ranging from Native tribes and Zen practices to a futuristic self-healing robot. These poems bring together several disparate narrative threads and from them, reconcile an intricate whole. This is Cindy's second chapbook, and fourth poetry collection.

Praise for Listen to the Codex:

“Calling upon the energy of origins, Cindy Rinne’s sensuous Listen to the Codex parallels a woman’s journey with the cycles of the earth. These imaginative poems of opening, embodiment, and surprise bring the sacred to the everyday: lighting candles and sage, invoking meditation, chanting, dirt rituals, and the guidance of a self-healing robot. A book of flight and remembrance, Rinne shows how the act of losing and finding calls us to listen, root ourselves in the natural world, and ‘breathe a circular breath.’"~ Jennifer K. Sweeney author of Little Spells and How to Live on Bread and Music

“Cindy Rinne’s poems are ‘arms of flight,’ ceremonial offerings that create a reality both ancient and modern. In these pages, you’ll meet a feathered unicorn and a self-healing robot, visit planets and stars, and taste a seed that holds ‘the soul of burning earth.’"~ Cynthia Anderson, author of Waking Life

“Cindy Rinne’s chapbook, Listen to the Codex, presents an alternate universe side by side with the one we know. The world of the “codex” is peopled with deer goddesses, Maya gods, sacred spirit snakes, and my favorite, a ‘self-healing robot.’ Alongside, we find the California Interstates 10 and 15 intersecting freeway overpass and the city of Long Beach. Inventive, baroque with imagery, and yet spare, these poems are a striking sampling of Rinne’s gift for capturing mystical moments in ordinary time and space. We are in the mystical past, the real past, the present, and the mystical present all at once. The pristine structure of the collection contrasts with the surrealistic, sci-fi, preternatural content in the poems. Rinne’s talent cannot go unobserved as one journeys through these poems, finding that the Red Madonna meets the self-healing robot. Who knows where it goes from there?”~ Carla McGill, Ph.D., author of Writing Customs blog

Cindy Rinne creates art and writes in San Bernardino, CA. She brings myth to life in a contemporary context. Cindy is the author of Breathe in Daisy, Breathe Out Stones (FutureCycle Press), Quiet Lantern (Turning Point Press), spider with wings (Jamii Publishing), and co-author of Speaking Through Sediment  with Michael Cooper (ELJ Publications). Cindy is a Finalist for the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Prize, and a founding member of PoetrIE, an Inland Empire-based literary community. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Sea Foam MagazineBlue Heron ReviewGulf Stream Literary MagazineDriftwood PressThe Honest Ulsterman (Northern Ireland), The Whirlwind ReviewBirds Piled LooselyCircleShow and others.

Hover the Bones (Yak Press)

This debut collection digs through the garden of the familiar “ties that bind” — family relationships — to unearth profound connections and upsetting loss. The nineteen poems included in this volume honor the memory of those lost with surprising honesty and emotional clarity. Presented in precise, yet musical language, these poems negotiate a complex landscape with contemplative grace. 

Praise for Hover the Bones:

“In Hover the Bones, burying a miscarried child looks like planting a seed in a garden, and trimming vines feels like taking the place of a dead mother. The book’s epigraph from Audre Lorde reminds us that “we were never meant to survive,” and the final poem leaves us with a peaceful benediction: ‘May we be well. / May we be happy. / May we be free from suffering.’ Melisa Malvin-Middleton has created beauty out of darkness.”     ~ Katie Manning, Founding Editor-in-Chief of Whale Road Review, and author of Tasty Other and The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman

Melisa Malvin-Middleton is a Los Angeles poet, playwright, and musician who teaches writing at California State University, Northridge and College of the Canyons. Her poetry has appeared in Silver Birch PressThe Ofi PressQuail Bell MagazineRogue AgentAngel City Review, and Clear Poetry, while her plays have been performed by Fresh Produce’d and Savage Players.

Night Walks (Yak Press)

This collection of twenty-eight poems travels through backyards, art, myth and focuses on small, familiar moments of light and loss. Carroll’s feminine voice delivers place—carefully framed and exposed—and invites us to grab our maps and join the journey.

Praise for Night Walks:

"Nancy Carroll’s Night Walks is a beautifully crafted collection of tableax that take us on a sensational journey through time and diverse archetypes. From ‘midnight swims around islands and lakes’ to ‘night wanders,’ we visit different eras inhabited by a ‘vagabond moon’ under the poet’s ‘hidden hypnosis.’ Like a skillful architect, she uses ‘stone, geometry, splinters’ to ‘construct new language like whisper, brush, tiptoe.’ Gratefully we delight in her song, where ‘she hangs like rain, strung between two ventricles, two lyres’ and ‘maps every faint implausible dream.’ " ~  Hélène Cardona, poet, translator, actor, and author of Dreaming My Animal Selves

Nancy Carroll received her Master of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at CSUN. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches composition at LA Valley College. Her poems have appeared in national journals such as BorderlandsREDzineCalifornia Quarterly, and Redheaded Stepchild

Event date: 
Sunday, July 23, 2017 - 5:00pm
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PAUL MADONNA DISCUSSES HIS BOOK ON TO THE NEXT DREAM

Paul Madonna's popular comic, "All Over Coffee" had been running for twelve years in the San Francisco Chronicle when he was evicted from his longtime home and studio in the Mission District, ground-zero in the "tech wars" transforming the city. Suddenly finding himself yet another victim of San Francisco's overheated boomtown housing market, with its soaring prices and rampant evictions, Madonna decided to use his comic as a cathartic public platform to explore the experience, and to capture the complex, highly charged atmosphere of a city—and a life—being forced through a painful transition.

In a series of drawings and stories, Madonna evokes the sense of vertigo induced by being forced from his home, and the roil of emotions that ensue as he enters into the city's brutal competition for a place to live. The line between reality and surreality begins to blur almost immediately, in real life and in his comic. Absurd, maddening, and all-too-poignant, these drawings and stories capture the spirit of not just San Francisco, but a cultural epidemic that has now spread to cities around the world.

Praise for On to the Next Dream:

"For years I've been intrigued and charmed by Paul Madonna's careful and thoughtful drawings of overlooked nooks and by-ways of San Francisco. In his new book he now combines them with manic, delirious, and increasingly paranoid writings as he struggles with the all-consuming City dilemma of gentrification; of who came first, who gets to stay, which wave of usurpers is more 'real' and deserving than the next, and finally, what happens when someone decides it's your turn to go. Beautiful and engaging."—Sandow Birk, visual artist

"Madonna has created a kind of San Francisco Realism, details so absurd, cruel, and beautiful that they can only come from our infuriating home. If Charlie Kaufman squatted in an illegal sublet in Armistead Maupin's mind, this would be the lovely tenant."—Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life

"Paul Madonna's On to the Next Dream is bleak, terrifying, hilarious and lovely."—MariNaomi, author and illustrator of Turning Japanese

"Simply delightful. I really don't like much out there, I really don't, but On to the Next Dream I couldn't put down. It was sharp, clever, honest, and maybe the funniest book on eviction ever written."—New Yorker cartoonist and New York Times bestselling author, Bob Eckstein, Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores

Paul Madonna is a San Francisco-based artist and writer. He is the creator of the comic series "All Over Coffee" and the author of two books, All Over Coffee and Everything is its own reward. His drawings and stories have appeared in numerous books and journals as well as galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.

Event date: 
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 7:30pm
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JENNIFER BRODY DISCUSSES HER NEW YOUNG ADULT NOVEL THE UNITED CONTINUUMS, WITH ELIZABETH BRIGGS AND XACH FROMSON

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Y/A, Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy by skylightbooks on March 27th, 2018

In the epic conclusion to the award-winning Continuum Trilogy, Aero leads a group insurgents from the Second Continuum to overthrow his rival Supreme General Vinick and unite his space colony’s military forces, while Seeker takes on a secret mission back to her home colony to reinforce Earth's defenses and protect the First Continuum against an even greater threat. Meanwhile, Myra’s nightmares have become a reality as the Dark Thing hurtles toward Earth with designs on eradicating the planet’s fledgling populace. The only thing standing in the way are the three Carriers and those who would join them to fight against a second coming of the Doom.

Praise for The United Continuums

"Dystopian done right! Jennifer Brody takes readers on an incredible journey filled with new worlds, life altering decisions, and the human spirit's need to persevere. Fast paced and brilliantly written! Five stars!"—Kelly Anne Blount, USA Today bestselling author

"Wow. Jennifer Brody has done it again, creating another spectacular read that had me on the edge of my seat—I simply couldn't turn the pages fast enough! The United Continuums is a breath-taking and satisfying conclusion to The Continuum Trilogy, packed to the brim with characters of great emotional depth, stunning world-building, and beautiful writing. A must-read for science fiction fans. Brody is now one of my auto-buy authors."—Madeline Dyer, author of the Untamed series

"Jennifer Brody just keeps getting better and better! Packed with non-stop action and a sweeping, intricate world, The United Continuums delivers a satisfying conclusion to a sci-fi adventure that you don't want to miss."—Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of Forget Tomorrow

Jennifer Brody’s award-winning novel The 13th Continuum sold in a 3-book deal and is being packaged into a feature film. The book is a Gold Medal Winner (Young Adult – Sci-Fi/Fantasy) from the Independent Publisher‘s Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Return of the Continuums and The United Continuums complete this epic trilogy. She is a graduate of Harvard University, a creative writing instructor at the Writing Pad, and a volunteer mentor for the Young Storytellers Foundation. After studying film at Harvard University, she began her career in Hollywood. Highlights include working on The Lord of the Rings films and The Golden Compass. Find her online at http://www.jenniferbrody.com/.

Elizabeth Briggs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Future Shock trilogy and the Chasing The Dream series. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology and has worked for an international law firm, mentored teens in writing, and volunteered with dog rescue groups. Now she's a full-time geek who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of fluffy dogs. Find her online at www.elizabethbriggs.net.

Xach Fromson is a Los Angeles native who has been obsessed with horror and dark fiction from a very young age. After a brief and ill-advised attempt at being a theater major, he received his BA in Creative Writing from California State University Northridge in 2009. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California Riverside’s Palm Desert program. He appeared on stage at Dirty Laundry Lit in February, 2013, and has a short story in the anthology Halloween Tales, out in 2014. He is currently in various stages of working on a ton of projects. Asking him his favorite book will earn you as blank a stare as asking him his favorite wine or whiskey. And once, he slew a dragon. Find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @_mythogenesis_.

Event date: 
Sunday, July 16, 2017 - 5:00pm
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ZINZI CLEMMONS READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL WHAT WE LOSE

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2018

From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age--a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country. 

Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother's childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor--someone, or something, to love. In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi's life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman's understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.

Praise for What We Lose

"Penetratingly good and written in vivid still life, What We Lose reads like a guided tour through a melancholic Van Gogh exhibit--wonderfully chromatic, transfixing and bursting with emotion. Zinzi Clemmons's debut novel signals the emergence of a voice that refuses to be ignored." --Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout 

"An intimate narrative that often makes another life as believable as your own." --John Edgar Wideman, author of Writing to Save a Life 

"The narrator of What We Lose navigates the many registers of grief, love and injustice, moving between the death of her mother and the birth of her son, as well as an America of blacks and whites and a South Africa of Coloreds. What an intricate mapping of inner and outer geographies! Clemmons's prose is rhythmically exact and acutely moving. No experience is left unexamined or unimagined." --Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland 

"Zinzi Clemmons' first book heralds the work of a new writer with a true and lasting voice--one that is just right for our complicated millennium. Bright and filled with shadows, humor, and trenchant insights into what it means to have a heart divided by different cultures, What We Lose is a win, just right for the ages." --Hilton Als, author of White Girls 

"I love how Zinzi Clemmons complicates identity in What We Lose. Her main character is both South African and American, privileged and outsider, driven by desire and gutted by grief. This is a piercingly beautiful first novel." --Danzy Senna, author of New People 

"It takes a rare, gifted writer to make her readers look at day-to-day aspects of the world around them anew. Zinzi Clemmons is one such writer.What We Lose immerses us in a world of complex ideas and issues with ease. Clemmons imbues each aspect of this novel with clear, nuanced thinking and emotional heft. Part meditation on loss, part examination of identity as it relates to ethnicity, nationality, gender and class, and part intimate look at one woman's coming of age, What We Lose announces a talented new voice in fiction." --Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House 

"Wise and tender and possessed of a fiercely insightful intimacy, What We Lose is a lyrical ode to the complexities of race, love, illness, parenthood, and the hairline fractures they leave behind. Zinzi Clemmons has gifted the reader a rare and thoughtful emotional topography, a map to the mirror regions of their own heart." --Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine 

Zinzi Clemmons was raised in Philadelphia by a South African mother and an American father. She is a cofounder and former publisher of Apogee Journal, a contributing editor to Literary Hub, and deputy editor for Phoneme Media. Her writing has appeared in Zoetrope, The Paris Review Daily, Transition, and the Common. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction. Clemmons lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Event date: 
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 7:30pm
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VICTORIA REDEL DISCUSSES HER NOVEL BEFORE EVERYTHING, WITH SETH GREENLAND

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 21st, 2018

Before Everything is a celebration of friendship and love between a group of women who have known each another since they were girls. They’ve faced everything together, from youthful sprees and scrapes to mid-life turning points. Now, as Anna, the group’s trailblazer and brightest spark, enters hospice, they gather to do what they’ve always done—talk and laugh and help each other make choices and plans, this time in Anna’s rural Massachusetts home. Helen, Anna’s best friend and a celebrated painter, is about to remarry. The others face their own challenges—Caroline with her sister’s mental health crisis; Molly with a teenage daughter’s rebellion; Ming with her law practice—dilemmas with kids and work and love. Before Everything is as funny as it is bittersweet, as the friends revel in the hilarious mistakes they’ve seen each another through, the secrets kept, and adventures shared. But now all sense of time has shifted, and the pattern of their lives together takes on new meaning. The novel offers a brilliant, emotionally charged portrait, deftly conveying the sweep of time over everyday lives, and showing how even in difficult endings, gifts can unfold. Above all it is an ode to friendship, and to how one person shapes the journeys of those around her.

Praise for Before Everything 

“Gorgeous, a heartbreaker, a non-stop dazzler, a major achievement. Thank you, Victoria Redel.”—Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hours

“Before Everything is a riveting, timely story that explores  the unsettlingly beautiful and emotionally-charged landscape that is revealed  when old friends embrace what they have never before admitted: the limits of mortality and the boundlessness of friendship.”—Ruth Ozeki, bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being 
 
“Victoria Redel bears witness to a remarkable group of women, effortlessly weaving back and forth through time, each thread revealing the cracks and secrets of their complex lives, while also drawing them closer. . . . Redel proves that female friendship is the quiet, steady engine that truly runs the world.”—Hannah Tinti, bestselling author of The Good Thief

Before Everything is, well, everything you want a novel about life, death, and friendship to be—smart, moving, sweeping, poetic, stinging, just beautiful. I loved these women (and their men) and this elegy to their long-reaching bonds.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Slow MotionDevotion: A Memoir, and Still Writing

Victoria Redel is the critically acclaimed author of four previous works of fiction and three collections of poetry. Her debut novel, Loverboy, was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times and won the Sister Mariella Gable Prize from Graywolf Press and the Forward Silver Literary Fiction Prize. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and has contributed to The New York Times, theLos Angeles TimesElleO, the Oprah MagazineGrantaOne Story, and the Harvard Review. She received her MFA in poetry from Columbia University and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Seth Greenland is a novelist, an award-winning playwright, and a screenwriter. He is the author of the novels I Regret Everything, The Angry Buddhist, The Bones, and Shining City, which was named a Best Book by the Washington Post. He was a writer-producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO seriesBig Love and executive produced the film, No Pay, Nudity. Until recently he was the co-host of the LARB Radio Hour on KPFK. Born in New York City, Greenland currently lives with his wife in Los Angeles. www.SethGreenland.com

Event date: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 7:30pm

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JANELLE BROWN READS FROM HER NEW NOVEL WATCH ME DISAPPEAR

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 17th, 2018

How well can you ever really know another person—even the woman that you sleep beside, night after night?

It's been a year since Billie Flanagan--a Berkeley mom with an enviable life--went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found; just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie's death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends. But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive's emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie's past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan? 

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth--about Billie, but also about themselves, learning in the process about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown's insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page. 

Praise for Watch Me Disappear

"Clever and compelling, this ricocheting tale reveals that even in the closest families, how little we know of the ones we love, and how our own secrets are often the hardest to bear, can cost us dearly in the end." --Lisa Gardner, author of Right Behind You 

"Tantalizing and twisty, Watch Me Disappear is both a spider's web of a thriller and a moving exploration of the deeper mysteries of marriage and family. You won't be able to put it down, but you won't forget it either." --Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me 

"A riveting, seductive read about the secret, protected places within even the most intimate relationships . . . Janelle Brown has written a novel that provokes thought as her story twists and turns. I loved it." --Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants 

"Watch Me Disappear is at once a riveting page-turner and a thoughtful meditation on what it means to know other people--and ourselves." --Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of Woman No. 17 and California 

"I devoured Watch Me Disappear in one sitting. In this poignant and captivating story of a missing woman and the family she left behind, Brown deftly peels away the layers of a loving marriage to reveal a haunting mystery and a devastating truth: that no matter how much you love someone, you can never truly know them." --Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood and Arrowood

"The real magic of Watch Me Disappear is Brown's gift for evoking familial love in all its mad permutations--and the more intensely for the high stakes of what has been taken, and what is yet to be found. This is a story you simply don't want to end--but then, lord, what an ending!" --Tim Johnston, author of Descent

Janelle Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and This Is Where We Live. An essayist and a journalist, she has written for Vogue, The New York Times, Elle, Wired, Self, the Los Angeles Times, Salon, and numerous other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children.

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LITERARY PACHANGA PRESENTS JESUS TREVINO, ALICIA GASPAR DE ALBA AND CHRISTINE GRANADOS

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on March 15th, 2018

Literary Pachanga showcases three Chicano authors. Skylight Books will host a trio of authors to celebrate Southern California’s ties to the Ellis Island of the West – El Paso, Texas.

Chicano writers Jesús Treviño, Alicia Gaspar de Alba and Christine Granados will read from their collective works.

All artists were born or raised in El Paso, Texas and two (Treviño and de Alba) make their home in Southern California.

Jesús Salvador Treviño is writer/director whose television directing credits include Criminal Minds, Law & Order Criminal Intent and many others. He has written, directed and produced several PBS documentaries about Latinos. Trevino’s latest effort is a video website showcasing Latino history, art, music, theater, literature, cinema and food. He will read from his most recent collection of short stories Return to Arroyo Grande which was published in 2015 and won the 2016 American Book Award.

Alicia Gaspar de Alba, a native of the El Paso/Juárez border has published 11 books, among them award-winning novels and collections of poetry and short fiction. Since 1994, she has been a professor of Chicana/o Studies, English, and Gender Studies at UCLA, and is currently Chair of the LGBTQ Studies program. She will read from Calligraphy of the Witch published by St. Martin’s Press in 2007, released in paperback by Arte Público Press in 2012.

Christine Granados has been a Spur Award finalist and received Sandra Cisneros’ literary prize the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award in 2006 for her first book of fiction Brides and Sinners in El Chuco, published by the University of Arizona Press and her stories have been in many anthologies. She will read from and discuss her second book, a novella and short stories about strong Mexican American women who live along the border, titled Fight Like a Man and Other Stories We Tell Our Children.

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CHELSEA MARTIN DISCUSSES CACA DOLCE WITH MIRA GONZALEZ

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 6th, 2017

Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life (Soft Skull Press)

From a cult favorite and indie-press bestseller who has been called “the preeminent chronicler of Internet-age malaise” (Lena Dunham) and “an exquisite original” (Chloe Caldwell), a candid, tender, and very funny book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family.

In a fresh, subversive voice that charts her trajectory from a dead-end California town to a burgeoning career as an author and illustrator, cult favorite Chelsea Martin returns with her debut essay collection, Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow LIfe. Blending the poignant wit of David Sedaris in his bestseller Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim with the feminist candor of Melissa Broder’s So Sad Today and Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out of It, CACA DOLCE is a book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family—and about growing up weird, and poor, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Chelsea examines her varied experiences: as an eleven-year- old atheist, trying to will an alien visitation to her neighborhood; fighting with her stepfather and grappling with a Tourette’s diagnosis as she becomes a teenager; falling under the sway of frenemies and crushes in high school; going into debt to afford what might be a meaningless education at an expensive art college; navigating the messy process of falling in love with a close friend; and struggling for independence from her emotionally manipulative father and her hometown family and friends.

Praise for Caca Dolce:

“Martin’s honest writing exists above the confines of fear and social norms. She is a breath of pure oxygen in a literary environment that often shies away from female grit. . . her writing is sweaty, uncomfortable, and enchanting. She taps into the consciousness of her past selves with precision and care, respecting the integrity and desires of those younger women. A sure hit for fans of Sara Benincasa’s Agorafabulous! and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A wild ride of a memoir, and a true glimpse into the mind of an artist as she’s figuring out what life is all about.” —Nylon

“Martin, a writer who’s earned a cult following with her books Mickey and Even Though I Don’t Miss You, turns to nonfiction in her debut essay collection, bringing her irreverent voice to tales of childhood, crushes, art school and the California town she grew up in where people just can’t seem to leave.” —Huffington Post

“The arc of growing self-awareness lends the story both gravity and an odd appeal.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply human—it’s a lonely book that made me feel less alone.” —Melissa Broder, author of So Sad Today

“I highly enjoyed Caca Dolce—a weird, funny, moving, complex memoir that’s excitingly like if Diane Williams edited a 500-page novel down to 200 pages.” —Tao Lin, author of Taipei

“Chelsea Martin is one of the best American writers alive. Savage and sharp, tender and hilarious, Martin’s Caca Dolce is a book like she’s never written before. You’ll only think one thing after reading it. Chelsea Martin can do anything.” —Scott McClanahan, author of The Sarah Book

“Chelsea Martin delivers neon electric jolts of reality in deadpan perfection. Refreshing, hilarious, self-deprecating, as far from pretentious as you can get.” —Molly Brodak, author of Bandit

“I’m probably not Chelsea Martin’s biggest fan because I’m sure she has legitimate stalkers, but I’m way up there. Gold, gold I tell ya.” —Mary Miller, author of The Last Days of California

“If David Sedaris were younger, hipper, and had once subscribed to Cat Fancy, he might write like this.”—Elizabeth Ellen, author of Person/a

Chelsea Martin is the author of Everything Was Fine Until Whatever;The Really Funny Thing About ApathyEven Though I Don’t Miss You, which was named one of the Best Indie Books of 2013 by Dazed magazine; and Mickey. Her work has appeared in publications including Buzzfeed, Hobart, Lenny Letter, Vice, and Catapult, and chosen as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016. She is a comic artist and illustrator and the creative director of Universal Error and currently lives in Washington State.

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FRAN KRAUSE DISCUSSES HIS NEW COMIC THE CREEPS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 6th, 2017

The Creeps (Ten Speed Press)

A follow-up to the New York Times best-selling Deep Dark Fears: a second volume of comics based on people’s quirky, spooky, hilarious, and terrifying fears. 

Illustrator, animator, teacher, and comic artist Fran Krause has touched a collective nerve with his wildly popular web comic series–and subsequent New York Times best-selling book–Deep Dark Fears. Here he brings readers more of the creepy, funny, and idiosyncratic fears they love illustrated in comic form–such as the fear that your pets will tell other animals all your embarrassing secrets, or that someone uses your house while you’re not home–as well as two longer comic short-stories about ghosts.

Fran Krause is an animator and cartoonist. He is currently a teacher in the character animation program at CalArts, creator of several cartoons, and the creator of the Deep Dark Fears webcomic series and book.

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DAVID ROCKLIN READS FROM HIS NEW NOVEL THE NIGHT LANGUAGE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 6th, 2017

The Night Language (Rare Bird Books)

The Night Language tells the story of a young man, Prince Alamayou of Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia), who is taken from his home and the Abyssinian war to the court of Queen Victoria—a world he knows nothing about.

With him is Philip Layard, a young apprentice to one of the doctors on the battlefield in Abyssinia, who becomes Alamayou's guardian, only friend, and eventually, the love of his life. When Parliament accuses Alamayou of murder, the young prince is sentenced to return to Abyssinia, where he will be executed.

His only hope comes from the very thing that cannot be uttered: the unexpected and forbidden love between Alamayou and Philip.

Inspired by true events, The Night Language is a unique novel of love, loss, and the consequences of repressive societies.

Praise for The Night Language

"The Night Language is a rare achievement: lush language and classic storytelling with a contemporary feel that renders its history palpable. It is also a love letter to the artist, the outcast, the othered. Keep it by your bedside, read it in the early hours—it will not fail to inspire you."
Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

"Not since Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient have I read a novel in which a character—the story and skinsong of Alamayou—has haunted language, history, and heart so intensely. David Rocklin's novel The Night Language is a book of longing. Longing for history to unravel and retell itself around those whose buried voices and bodies truly mattered, longing for time to reverse and make decolonization possible, power giving way to intimacy, longing for art to bring a body back home, longing for language to unmoor itself and bring us back to life. If you read one novel this year, let it be The Night Language. It is still possible for a reader’s heart to be broken back open." 
Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of JoanThe Small Backs of Children, and The Chronology of Water

"The Night Language is a postcard sent from a lost time and place but postmarked today. As he surveys the crisscross borders of gender and race in a troubled past, David Rocklin draws a line around the heart of our troubled present: the price of war, the privilege of wealth, the poison of xenophobia. Also: the wordless power of love. The shadows of two black men, an African prince and a British apprentice, dance together out of a forgotten history right into the here and now."
Martin Pousson, author of Black Sheep Boy

David Rocklin is the author of The Luminist and the founder/curator of Roar Shack, a monthly reading series in Los Angeles. He was born and raised in Chicago and now lives in LA with his wife, daughters, and a 150 lb Great Dane who seriously needs to stay on his own bed. He’s currently at work on his next novel, The Electric Love Song of Fleischl Berger.

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LISKA JACOBS READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL CATALINA WITH DAVID ULIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on December 5th, 2017

Catalina (Farrar/MCD)

A magnetic, provocative debut novel chronicling a young woman’s downward spiral following the end of an affair

Elsa Fisher is headed for rock bottom. At least, that’s her plan. She has just been fired from MoMA on the heels of an affair with her married boss, and she retreats to Los Angeles to blow her severance package on whatever it takes to numb the pain. Her abandoned crew of college friends (childhood friend Charlotte and her wayward husband, Jared; and Elsa’s ex-husband, Robby) receive her with open arms, and, thinking she’s on vacation, a plan to celebrate their reunion on a booze-soaked sailing trip to Catalina Island.

But Elsa doesn’t want to celebrate. She is lost, lonely, and full of rage, and only wants to sink as low as the drugs and alcohol will take her. On Catalina, her determined unraveling and recklessness expose painful memories and dark desires, putting everyone in the group at risk.

With the creeping menace of Patricia Highsmith and the bender-chic of Bret Easton Ellis, Liska Jacobs brings you inside the mind of an angry, reckless young woman hell-bent on destruction—every page taut with the knowledge that Elsa’s path does not lead to a happy place. Catalina is a compulsive, deliciously dark exploration of beauty, love, and friendship, and the sometimes toxic desires that drive us.

Praise for Catalina

Catalina is an extraordinarily engaging study in the tension of opposing forces: youth and world-weariness, beauty and unreliability, good intentions and roads to hell. The backbone of the novel is its relentless unwillingness to apologize for its main character—not for her faults, not for her complexities. Hot damn and about time. Liska Jacobs writes with teeth; this book’s got bite.”—Jill Alexander Essbaum, New York Times-bestselling author of Hausfrau

Catalina’s feminist fatale narrator, Elsa, has both the heartbroken cynicism of Daisy Buchanan and the inscrutable seductiveness of Carmen in The Big Sleep. Liska Jacobs writes crystal-clear, hypnotically sensual prose, and Catalina is California noir at its darkest and sharpest.”—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and In the Drink

“In her propulsive debut, Liska Jacobs tells the story of a beautiful young woman’s dissolute downward spiral with precision and insight. Catalina deftly explores the desperate social frontiers where the morals of the privileged class dissolve. You won’t be able to look away.”—J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times-bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest?

Catalina is true California, down to the bones and skin, a novel about the places Liska Jacobs knows in her soul. Beauty and the body as currency and betrayal, seekers of love and comfort—her characters blow all that up, and just when you think you know what will happen, Catalina swerves and you are along for the ride.”—Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon

“Sophisticated and surprising, Catalina brings an excitingly modern vibe to the time-honored story of a young woman coming undone in California. Like a love child of Joan Didion and Kate Braverman, Liska Jacobs is a master of menacing cool and the seductive havoc wreaked by self-destruction.”—Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men and Every Kind of Wanting

Liska Jacobs holds an MFA from the University of California, Riverside. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of BooksLiterary HubThe Millions, and The Hairpin, among other publications. Catalina is her first novel.

Photo by Jordan Bryant

David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Ear to the Ground.A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, his other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the Library of America's Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award.

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