New Releases | April 4, 2023
April 04, 2023
Excellent new books are brought into the world every single week. Here at Porchlight, we track them all and elevate four new releases we are excited about as they hit bookstore shelves on Tuesday morning.
The books are chosen by Porchlight's Managing Director, Sally Haldorson, and the marketing team: Dylan Schleicher, Gabbi Cisneros, and Jasmine Gonzalez. (Book descriptions are provided by the publisher unless otherwise noted.) This week, our choices are:
Dylan's pick: Crack-Up Capitalism: Market Radicals and the Dream of a World Without Democracy by Quinn Slobodian, Metropolitan Books
Look at a map of the world and you’ll see a colorful checkerboard of nation-states. But this is not where power actually resides. Over the last decade, globalization has shattered the map into different legal spaces: free ports, tax havens, special economic zones. With the new spaces, ultracapitalists have started to believe that it is possible to escape the bonds of democratic government and oversight altogether.
Crack-Up Capitalism follows the most notorious radical libertarians—from Milton Friedman to Peter Thiel—around the globe as they search for the perfect space for capitalism. Historian Quinn Slobodian leads us from Hong Kong in the 1970s to South Africa in the late days of apartheid, from the neo-Confederate South to the former frontier of the American West, from the medieval City of London to the gold vaults of right-wing billionaires, and finally into the world’s oceans and war zones, charting the relentless quest for a blank slate where market competition is unfettered by democracy.
A masterful work of economic and intellectual history, Crack-Up Capitalism offers both a new way of looking at the world and a new vision of coming threats. Full of rich details and provocative analysis, Crack-Up Capitalism offers an alarming view of a possible future.
Gabbi's pick: The Half-White Album by Cynthia J. Sylvester, University of New Mexico Press
This powerful debut collection explores lives lived between worlds. Sylvester masterfully weaves together fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to give readers a poignant though fractured view of her characters' lives, their loves, and their struggles. Told from the perspective of an urban Native, the work details a journey led by the nomadic band, the Covers. It is an experience meant to heal generational trauma and bring back into the light people who may otherwise be forgotten. At its heart, The Half-White Album is a healing ceremony of the author's own creation, a process grounded in music that celebrates what it is to be human and imperfect and to love imperfectly.
Sally's pick: A Living Remedy: A Memoir by Nicole Chung, Ecco
In this country, unless you attain extraordinary wealth, you will likely be unable to help your loved ones in all the ways you’d once hoped. You will learn to live with the specific, hollow guilt of those who leave hardship behind, yet are unable to bring anyone else with them.
When Nicole Chung graduated from high school, she couldn’t hightail it out of her overwhelmingly white Oregon hometown fast enough. As a scholarship student at a private university on the East Coast and no longer the only Korean she knew, she found a sense of community she had always craved as an Asian American adoptee—and a path to the life she’d long wanted.
But the middle-class world she begins to raise a family in—where there are big homes and college funds—looks very different from the middle-class world she thought she grew up in, where paychecks have to stretch to the end of the week and there are no safety nets. When her father dies at only sixty-seven, killed by the kidney disease that took the life of his mother before him, Nicole feels deep grief as well as rage, knowing that years of financial instability and lack of access to health care contributed to his premature death. And then the unthinkable happens—less than a year later, her beloved mother is diagnosed with cancer, and the physical distance between them becomes insurmountable as COVID descends upon the world.
Exploring the enduring strength of family bonds in the face of hardship and tragedy, A Living Remedy examines what it takes to reconcile the distance between one life, one home, and another—and sheds needed light on some of the most persistent and tragic inequalities in American society.
Jasmine's pick: Por Siempre by José Olivarez and Antonio Salazar, Haymarket Books
Guns, tattoos, pit bulls, and cars appear alongside a tender aubade, a couple holding hands, a baby bathing in a kitchen sink; landscapes and skylines in Phoenix and Los Angeles show palm trees and messy garages; long white socks and acrylic nails of younger generations meet the smiles and traditions of elders. In a society that would rather disappear or ignore its own grittier dimensions, Salazar’s work is both a refusal to be silenced and a love letter to the communities that sing, dance, live, and love, in their own beautiful and dangerous ways.
Alongside Salazar’s powerful visual narrative, a series of poetry by José Olivarez appears throughout the book. Each poem “speaks” in its own way—to, of, with, and beyond the subjects of Salazar’s photos—with humor, honesty, and compassion. These artists together in Por Siempre are a force: expanding and lifting each other’s best parts, as those in sincere and caring communities often do.