Sam Lipsyte reads from his new novel “Hark”

In an America convulsed by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse, and spiritual confusion, many folks are searching for peace, salvation, and—perhaps most immediately—just a little damn focus. Enter Hark Morner, an unwitting guru whose technique of “Mental Archery”—a combination of mindfulness, mythology, fake history, yoga, and, well, archery—is set to captivate the masses and raise him to near-messiah status. It’s a role he never asked for, and one he is woefully underprepared to take on. But his inner-circle of modern pilgrims have other plans, as do some suddenly powerful fringe players, including a renegade Ivy League ethicist, a gentle Swedish kidnapper, a crossbow-hunting veteran of jungle drug wars, a social media tycoon with an empire on the skids, and a mysteriously influential (but undeniably slimy) catfish.

In this social satire of the highest order, Sam Lipsyte, the New York Times bestseller and master of the form, reaches new peaks of daring in a novel that revels in contemporary absurdity and the wild poetry of everyday language while exploring the emotional truths of his characters. Hark is a smart, incisive look at men, women, and children seeking meaning and dignity in a chaotic, ridiculous, and often dangerous world.

Genre: Fiction

CANCELED | Panel Discussion: Not Your Average Thriller: 4 Fresh Angles on Crime Novels

Note: This event has been canceled.

The Last Bookstore is pleased to present 4 thriller/crime writers with their most recent books: Eric Beetner, Sarah Chen and Roger Angle from the LA area, plus NY author Gray Basnight. Join us for a chat about the novel ways they created these page turners, with 4 fresh takes on the genre.
Genre: Mystery | Crime | Horror | Thriller

John Kim discusses and signs “I Used to Be a Miserable F*ck: An Everyman’s Guide to a Meaningful Life”

The Angry Therapist who has helped thousands of men find more happiness in their relationships and more purpose in their lives now shares his insights with everyone in this powerful guide–self-help in a shotglass–covering essential topics, from vulnerability and posturing to workouts and women.

Deep in post-divorce soul searching, John Kim came to an astonishing realization: he was a miserable f*ck who might just be to blame for the problems in his life. Armed with this new insight, he began The Angry Therapist blog–an admission that, while he was a licensed therapist and life coach, he was no better than the people who sought his advice. In his first post, “My Fucking Feelings,” he wrote about the struggles and shortcomings that had led him to this point. As his work caught on, catapulting him into the role of unlikely and unconventional guide for thousands of people all over the world, Kim evolved from behaving like a boy to living like a man–and showed his clients how to do so as well. In I Used to Be a Miserable F*ck, Kim delivers the dos and don’ts for stepping up and into manhood, which he defines by transparency and strength of character, not six-pack abs or a corner office. With his signature no-nonsense approach that will make you laugh and think, Kim takes you on a rugged, rough and tumble road trip of self-exploration and discovery, sharing his wisdom and insights. We are not born men. We are born boys. The transition from misery to meaning is an internal process that requires work: reflection, pain, courage, and sometimes, a rebirth. Kim knows because he’s been there. The truth is, men weren’t meant to just pay bills and die. With this book as your guide, you will love hard, walk tall, and find a life filled with purpose and passion.

Genre: Healing | Self-Help | Motivational

Discussion: “Tough Case” by Judge Ahnn & Judge Wesiberg

In Tough Cases, judges from different kinds of courts in different parts of the country write about the cases that proved most difficult for them to decide. Some of these cases received international attention: the Elián González case in which Judge Jennifer Bailey had to decide whether to return a seven-year-old boy to his father in Cuba after his mother drowned trying to bring the child to the United States, or the Terri Schiavo case in which Judge George Greer had to decide whether to withdraw life support from a woman in a vegetative state over the objections of her parents, or the Scooter Libby case about appropriate consequences for revealing the name of a CIA agent.

Others are less well-known but equally fascinating: a judge on a Native American court trying to balance U.S. law with tribal law, a young Korean American former defense attorney struggling to adapt to her new responsibilities on the other side of the bench, and the difficult decisions faced by a judge tasked with assessing the mental health of a woman accused of killing her own children.

Relatively few judges have publicly shared the thought processes behind their decision making. Tough Cases makes for fascinating reading for everyone from armchair attorneys and fans of Law and Order to those actively involved in the legal profession who want insight into the people judging their work.

Genre: Nonfiction

CANCELED | Discussion and Book Signing: Julian David Stone, “No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer”

Note: This event has been canceled.

The Last Bookstore is pleased to present author and photographer Julian David Stone and his new book, No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer. Julian will discuss all the wild adventures he had back in the 1980s, where as an obsessed youth he began sneaking his photo equipment into concerts, eventually building up an archive of over 10,000 photos. If they were big in the 1980s, chances are Julian shot them, and each of the 250 never-before-seen photos in this stunning oversized coffee table book has a great story behind it.
Genre: Nonfiction

Madhuri Vijay reads from her debut novel “The Far Field”

An elegant, epic debut from a tremendous new talent and Pushcart Prize-winner, Madhuri Vijay The Far Field follows one young woman’s search for a lost figure from her childhood, a journey that carries her from cosmopolitan Bangalore in Southern India to the mountains of Kashmir and to the brink of a devastating political and personal reckoning.

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But as soon as Shalini arrives, she is brought face to face with Kashmir’s dark politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. And when life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence, Shalini finds herself forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

With rare acumen and evocative prose, in THE FAR FIELD Madhuri Vijay masterfully examines Indian politics, class prejudice, and sexuality through the lens of an outsider, offering a profound meditation on grief, guilt, and the limits of compassion.

Genre: Fiction

Thomas Perry discusses and signs “The Burglar”

Elle Stowell is a young woman with an unconventional profession: burglary. But Elle is no petty thief–with just the right combination of smarts, looks, and skills, she can easily stroll through ritzy Bel Air neighborhoods and pick out the perfect home for plucking the most valuable items. This is how Elle has always gotten by–she is good at it, and she thrives on the thrill. But after stumbling upon a grisly triple homicide while stealing from the home of a wealthy art dealer, Elle discovers that she is no longer the only one sneaking around. Somebody is searching for her. As Elle realizes that her knowledge of the high-profile murder has made her a target, she races to solve the case before becoming the next casualty, using her breaking-and-entering skills to uncover the truth about exactly who the victims were and why someone might have wanted them dead. With high-stakes action and shocking revelations, The Burglar will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they barrel towards the heart-racing conclusion.
Genre: Fiction

Gothic Book Club with John Palisano

It’s very gothic to be a semi-forgotten writer, loitering dangerously in the shadows.

In January, we’re reading Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Stories, from Ray Russell, whose “Sardonicus” Stephen King famously called “perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written”. Even without the publishing support he gave Vonnegut, Bradbury, Matheson, and others, his own work places him high in the canon, with its twisted originality and smothering darkness. This Penguin Classic also has the Guillermo Del Toro foreward.

Do not miss this one, or we’ll wall you up in the catacombs beneath the store.

Genre: Mystery | Crime | Horror | Thriller

Audrey Harris and Matthew Gleeson discuss their translation of Amparo Davila’s “The Houseguest”

Like those of Kafka, Poe, Leonora Carrington, or Shirley Jackson, Amparo Dávila’s stories are terrifying, mesmerizing, and expertly crafted—you’ll finish reading each one gasping for air. With acute psychological insight, Dávila follows her characters to the limits of desire, paranoia, insomnia, loneliness, and fear. She is a writer obsessed with obsession who makes nightmares come to life through the everyday: loneliness sinks in easily like a razor-sharp knife, some sort of evil lurks in every shadow, delusion takes the form of strange and very real creatures. After reading The Houseguest—her debut collection in English—you’ll wonder how this secret was kept for so long.
Genre: International and Translation