The 2022 Porchlight Business Book Awards Longlist is here! 

New Releases

New Releases | November 22, 2022

November 22, 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:

Comedy Against Work: Utopian Longing in Dystopian Times by Madeline Lane-McKinley, Common Notions (JAG) 

Humor, Groucho Marx asserted, is “reason gone mad.” For Walter Benjamin, laughter was “the most revolutionary emotion.” In a moment when great numbers of people are reevaluating their commitment to the hellscape we call “work,” what does it mean to take comedy seriously—and to turn it against work? 

Both philosophically brilliant and deeply personal, Comedy Against Work demonstrates how laughing about work can puncture the pretensions of tyrannical bosses while uniting us around a commitment to radically new ways of making the world together. At the same time, Lane-McKinley exposes a war at the heart of contemporary comedy between those who see comedy as a weapon for punching down and those whose laughter points to social transformation. From stand-up to sitcoms, podcasts to late night, comedy reveals our longing to subvert power, escape the prison of work, and envision the joys of a liberated world. 

 

The Creative Lives of Animals by Carol Gigliotti, NYU Press (GMC) 

Most of us view animals through a very narrow lens, seeing only bits and pieces of beings that seem mostly peripheral to our lives. However, whether animals are building a shelter, seducing a mate, or inventing a new game, animals’ creative choices affect their social, cultural, and environmental worlds. 

The Creative Lives of Animals offers readers intimate glimpses of creativity in the lives of animals, from elephants to alligators to ants. Drawing on a growing body of scientific research, Carol Gigliotti unpacks examples of creativity demonstrated by animals through the lens of the creative process, an important component of creative behavior, and offers new thinking on animal intelligence, emotion, and self-awareness. With examples of the elaborate dams built by beavers or the lavishly decorated bowers of bowerbirds, Gigliotti provides a new perspective on animals as agents in their own lives, as valuable contributors to their world and ours, and as guides in understanding how creativity may contribute to conserving the natural world. Presenting a powerful argument for the importance of recognizing animals as individuals and as creators of a healthy, biodiverse world, this book offers insights into both the established and emerging questions about the creativity of animals.

 

Great Short Books: A Year of Reading—Briefly by Kenneth C. Davis, Scribner (DJJS) 

Fall back into the joys of literature with an extraordinary book for book lovers: a compulsively readable, deeply engaging list of great short novels. A journey into short fiction designed with our contemporary attention spans in mind, Great Short Books suggests fifty-eight excellent short novels, all easily readable in a week or less—a “baker’s dozen” approach to a fun, fascinating year of reading. 

From hard-boiled fiction to magical realism, the 18th century to the present day, Great Short Books spans genres, cultures, countries, and time to present an enchanting and diverse selection of acclaimed and canonical novels. From works in translation like Yu Miri’s  Tokyo Ueno Station and Marguerite Duras’s The Lover to popular, acclaimed authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Stephen King, this compilation is a celebration of classics from the historic to contemporary—plus a few bestsellers. Each entry includes the novel’s opening lines, a spoiler-free plot summary, a “why you should read it” section, and suggestions for what to read next. 

Just like browsing in your favorite bookstore, this eclectic collection is a fun and practical book for any passionate reader hoping to broaden their collection—or anyone who wants to find an entertaining and effortless reentry into reading. 

 

The Night is Long but Light Comes in the Morning: Meditations for Racial Healing by Catherine Meeks, Morehouse Publishing (EPP)

In her work as Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, Meeks has fought tirelessly to shed light on racism and provide tools and experiences to enable faith communities to work to combat it. In this new book, she shares highlights and insights from her journey and offers a much-needed meditative guide for the weary and frustrated. By looking inward and at each other clearly, she argues, good people of all backgrounds can forge a long term and individual path to making a difference. With personal stories and thoughtful direction, she takes the reader on the trajectory from self-awareness to recognition of the past to a new and individual way forward.

Meditation topics include how to work through fear and rage, how stories can help heal, honoring your ancestors while looking toward the future, what it really means to love one another and the meaning of social justice.

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