Skylight is a great place. I love it here: all my coworkers and all the customers and the neighborhood and the books.
I work mostly in the backroom (in the Arts Annex) but also help out front recommending books. When I'm not here, or reading, I'm probably playing music. Or hanging with smüddles, the cat.
Come check out the store and say hello!
An obsessive (do they come any other way?) Spanish writer traveled to my hometown to document the story of this seminal Latinx punk/proto-grunge band who may or may not have existed. Along the way yours truly, your humble bookseller, and others I know make metafictional cameos as the story turns in on itself. I think Skylight even makes an appearance. What happens to all those great bands who just never made it (especially when they sing in Spanish, come from underrepresented areas like the border, or are BIPOC, or women or LGBTQ individuals) but who laid the groundwork for those who do make it? Well, some are lucky enough to appear in a novel by Benja Villegas.
Visceral, raw, real. Like a bruise, a slab of meat, a hangover. Debuting like a prizefighter and a sage master of the art and science of sentence and storytelling.
It's the end of the 60s. A young misifit artist/musician from Detroit (think Nina Simone/Grace Jones) meets a sensitive working class lad from Birmingham, England (think David Bowie/Elton John). The two of them hit it off, both of them looking for something new and better. They tour America with their band, facing all the racism and bigotry that the country has to offer, but also turning on a searching underground community to the sounds of an afro-punk-folk futurism. One of them may or may not sell out the other, one of them may or may not go on to sell millions of albums, leaving the other one behind. Chronicling it all is the editor of a major music magazine, who happens to be the daughter of the drummer in the early Opal and Nev band. Slowly, the lives of all three main characters and those around the periphery become enmeshed as the enthralling plot unfolds. This books tells the story that never gets told, the unsung injustices that plague this country at every turn, and it's full of surprises as you root for the underdog/s.
I thought this was beautiful—just beautiful and so many things: a crime novel where the evil lurks in everyone’s hearts, not more than just a few steps (sometimes a lot closer) and the right situation away from taking over; a literary high-water mark that leaves you asking, “World, what have you done to us? Capitalism, what have you done?”; a heart-rending character study of at least six or seven main characters; a river of history of Japan in the 20th century that seems to resonate a lot with our contemporary moment in the USA. All that and a lot more. And there are passages in here—cinematic and otherwise—that left me stunned with their clarity and power to stay etched in my mind.
This is what I’ve been mainly reading to help get me through these times. A story of resilience. Partially based on Erdrich’s grandfather’s real-life struggle to fight against a 1950s congressional bill that was aimed at dispossessing certain Native American tribes of their lands and rights (including her own Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians). 464 pages, but it goes easily. But the subject matter isn’t easy: It goes into the legacies of sexual trauma and alcoholism and dispossesion. It's a masterwork, in that it has everything (more than everything) in it: humor, violence, tragedy, low-life, high-life, politics, struggle, family, relationships, ghosts, visions, food, weather, history, characters that you won't forget. It’s gritty. And good. Good-spirited, and good gritty, down to earth and soaring to the height of literary mastery.
This is the book I’ve been reading at night before I go to bed. With my pandemic-limited attention span (not alone recently in having this complaint) it has seemed inadvertently fitting to read about something that can “open” the mind. All in all, a solid and enthralling history of psychedelics in the 20th century, a snapshot of where we are now (complete with author trips), and a hopeful look forward toward the many different frontiers of research.
Takes you right into the author’s life and opens new ways of looking at mental illness. Brilliant, sensitive, erudite, enthralling, and revelatory.
This is a brilliant and dark book of mourning and memory. It took 13 years for Zambreno to sculpt it all together and you can feel it: It’s as sharp as a razor, taking in everyone and everything from wounded outsider artist Henry Darger and widowed and institutionalized Mary Todd Lincoln, to Virginia Woolf, Louise Bourgeois, Roland Barthes and his own Mourning Diary and many others. This is the type of book that has created its own beauty and its own form and leaves you feeling like you’ve come to literature for the first time! Wow…
This book is so good, so surprising and intense.
I was captured by the power and clarity of Alharthi’s book, which won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize and is the first book written in Arabic to win it (and Alharthi is the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English). Don’t miss the opportunity to let this important new book sweep you away!
All twelve characters seem so real to me, and different from each other, how does she do that? And the writing feels like it moves, naturally, from one scene, one drama, one person, to the other, unencumbered, sometimes even in the space of a paragraph, so the whole story gets told. And on top of all this, this is just a really, really...enjoyable book. Check it out!
An amazingly gentle depiction of the life of a young boy in a sleepy coastal town in Japan. Page by lovely page the book sifts through the inchoate and shifting memories of the boy and the brutality he suffered (along with his mother and older brother) when they lived in the city, and it takes in his impressions of the new family—the community—that is forming around him and coming to his aid now that he is separated from them. With the help of a supernatural dolphin, maybe, and maybe these people, he’ll be able to get through and go on. Ono’s voice is so steady, so soft, so attuned, that he brings out barely registrable frequencies and rarely registered voices. A quiet stunner.
An amazing book, one that I loved and can’t get over. A woman on a 90 minute flight from Berlin to Paris obsesses over a maybe failed relationship with a German-American pianist and bathes in shame. In the process we get a book composed in the manner of a Schoenberg 12-tone piece, moments of absurdity, moments of soaring brilliance, and above all a fierce guiding intelligence.
The hybrid pieces—journalistic, essayistic, and autobiographical—in Tumarkin’s Axiomatic feel daring, unsettling, revelatory. Her writing—with intense empathy, disciplined cultural history, and up-to-the-moment analysis—brings us all closer to truth.”
Brrr...it’s getting colder. But the air is full of excitement and the cozy holidays are here. This is the most gorgeous, full of awe and beauty and excitement for the winter time, and warmest, holiday-est bedtime read for the kiddoes. They’ll want to look at the illustrations and hear the fluttering, flurrying poetry of the words over and over again.
This year has been an assault on our lungs—an airborne virus, tear gas in the streets, apocalyptic fires, smoke-filled skies, hot blathered air billowing from the corridors of power—but here is a brief antidote to these noxious times: a novel that breathes and speaks freely, moves and flows freely, is full of beauty and truth and takes its time.
United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo helped usher two brilliant poetry collections into the world this year: this epochal anthology representing the diversity, history, and power of Native poetry and her own book, An American Sunrise. I highly recommend them both.
Treuer’s aim in this book is to show that the story of the native peoples of this continent—despite what many of us are taught to believe—is a story of resilience, “resourcefulness and reinvention,” and survival. It’s a brilliant history, but he also shines a light on recent and current times, on people and tribes who are looking ahead and engaged in the “radical act of living.”
As former Skylighter Karl (shout out!) would say, this book is utterly f**king devastating. And now it’s here in this beautiful (and affordable) hardcover edition to mark the centenary of the author’s birth. Essential for Lispector fans and new readers alike.
Emotional, jagged, poppy, optimistic and ultimately cathartic. A portrait of young queer life in a small place and the truest, most joyous Greenlandic book you might buy this year.
A complicated and provoking book in short, breathless, and graceful pages. Perfect for an excruciating and delirious summer read. Feelings of disorientation abound: people hiding, passing, being mistaken, mistaking themselves. Moments pushed almost to the edge of absurdity and the surreal. No easy answers (that’s maybe what we need now) but nuance, sensitivity, empathy, shame, pride, people behaving badly.
What’s that sweet aroma and mellifluous melody coming from the back kitchen? If you cherish that warm simpatico connection between cooking and music, or if you just want to know the playlists of your favorite chefs and what songs have influenced their signature dishes, this joyous, offbeat cookbook from the makers of the Snacky Tunes podcast could be the perfect pick for you.