The 2022 Porchlight Business Book Awards Longlist is here! 

New Releases

New Releases | November 15, 2022

November 15, 2022

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Looking for your next great read? We're here to help! Each week, our marketing team—Dylan Schleicher (DJJS), Gabbi Cisneros (GMC), Emily Porter (EPP), and Jasmine Gonzalez (JAG)—highlights four newly released books we are most excited about. 

Book descriptions are provided by the publisher unless otherwise noted.

This week, our choices are:

The Idea of Prison Abolition by Tommie Shelby, Princeton University Press (JAG) 

Despite its omnipresence and long history, imprisonment is a deeply troubling practice. In the United States and elsewhere, prison conditions are inhumane, prisoners are treated without dignity, and sentences are extremely harsh. Mass incarceration and its devastating impact on black communities have been widely condemned as neoslavery or “the new Jim Crow.” Can the practice of imprisonment be reformed, or does justice require it to be ended altogether? In The Idea of Prison Abolition, Tommie Shelby examines the abolitionist case against prisons and its formidable challenge to would-be prison reformers. 
 
Philosophers have long theorized punishment and its justifications, but they haven’t paid enough attention to incarceration or its related problems in societies structured by racial and economic injustice. Taking up this urgent topic, Shelby argues that prisons, once reformed and under the right circumstances, can be legitimate and effective tools of crime control. Yet he draws on insights from black radicals and leading prison abolitionists, especially Angela Davis, to argue that we should dramatically decrease imprisonment and think beyond bars when responding to the problem of crime. 
 
While a world without prisons might be utopian, The Idea of Prison Abolition makes the case that we can make meaningful progress toward this ideal by abolishing the structural injustices that too often lead to crime and its harmful consequences. 

 

Love in the Big City: A Novel by Sang Young Park, Grove Press (EPP) 

Love in the Big City is the English-language debut of Sang Young Park, one of Korea’s most exciting young writers. A runaway bestseller, the novel hit the top five lists of all the major bookstores, went into twenty-six printings, and was praised for its unique literary voice and perspective. It is now poised to capture a worldwide readership. 

Young is a cynical yet fun-loving Korean student who pinballs from home to class to the beds of recent Tinder matches. He and Jaehee, his female best friend and roommate, frequent nearby bars where they push away their anxieties about their love lives, families, and money with rounds of soju and ice-cold Marlboro Reds that they keep in their freezer. Yet over time, even Jaehee leaves Young to settle down, leaving him alone to care for his ailing mother and to find companionship in his relationships with a series of men, including one whose handsomeness is matched by his coldness, and another who might end up being the great love of his life. 

A brilliantly written novel that takes us into the glittering nighttime of Seoul and the bleary-eyed morning after with both humor and emotion, Love in the Big City is a wry portrait of millennial loneliness as well as the abundant joys of queer life. 

 

Movements & Moments edited by Sonja Eismann, Maya Schöningh, and Ingo Schöningh, Drawn and Quarterly (GMC) 

In 1930s Bolivia, self-described Anarchist Cholas form a libertarian trade union. In the Northern Highlands of Vietnam, the songs of one girl’s youth lead her to a life of activism. In the Philippines, female elders from Kalinga blaze a trail when pushed into impromptu protest. Equally striking accounts from Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, India, Nepal, Peru and Thailand weave a tapestry of trauma and triumph, shedding light on not-too-distant histories otherwise overlooked. 
 
Indigenous Peoples all over the world have always had to stand their ground in the face of colonialism. While the details may differ, what these stories have in common is their commitment to resistance in a world that puts profit before respect, and western notions of progress before their own. Movements and Moments is an introductory glimpse into how Indegenous Peoples tell these stories in their own words. From Southeast Asia to South America, vibrant communities must grapple with colonial realities to assert ownership over their lands and traditions. 
 
This project was undertaken in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Indonesien in Jakarta. These stories were selected from an open call across 42 countries to spotlight feminist movements and advocacies in the Global South. 

 

Still Broke: Walmart's Remarkable Transformation and the Limits of Socially Conscious Capitalism by Rick Wartzman, PublicAffairs (DJJS) 

Fifteen years ago, Walmart was the most controversial company in America. By offering incredibly low prices, it had come to dominate the retail landscape. But with this dominance came a suite of ethical concerns. Walmart was accused of wiping out of mom-and-pop businesses across the country; ruthlessly pressuring suppliers to cut costs, even if it meant closing up U.S. factories and moving production overseas; and, above all, not taking adequate care of its own employees, who were paid so little that many wound up on public assistance. 
 
Today, while Walmart remains America's largest employer, the picture is very different. It has become an environmental leader among businesses, and has taken many other steps to use its immense scale to have a positive social impact. Most notably, its starting wage has risen from $7.25 to $12, and employee benefits have improved. With internal and external threats to its business looming, the company began to change directions in 2005—a transformation that accelerated in 2014, with the arrival of CEO Doug McMillon. By undertaking such large-scale change without a legal mandate to do so, Walmart has joined a number of major corporations that say they are dedicated to practicing a new, socially conscious form of capitalism. 
 
In Still Broke, award-winning author Rick Wartzman goes inside the company's transformation, showing in novelistic detail how the company has gotten to where it is. Yet he also asks a critical question: is it enough? With a still-simmering public debate around the minimum wage and widespread movements by workers demanding better treatment, how far will $12 an hour go in today's economy? Or even $15? Or Walmart’s average wage, which now hovers above $17—but, even so, doesn’t pencil out to so much as $32,000 a year for a fulltime worker? 

In the richest nation on earth, how did the bar get set so low? How did America find itself relying on an army of low-wage workers without ever acknowledging their most basic needs? And if Walmart's brand of change is the best we have, how can we ever expect to build a healthy society? 
 
With unparalleled access to the key executives and change-makers at Walmart, Still Broke does more than document a remarkable business makeover. It interrogates the role of business in American life, and asks what the future of our economy and country can be—and whose job it is to make it.

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