New Releases | February 28, 2023
February 28, 2023
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:
All the Knowledge in the World: The Extraordinary History of the Encyclopedia by Simon Garfield, WilliamMorrow (DJJS)
The encyclopedia once shaped our understanding of the world. Created by thousands of scholars and the most obsessive of editors, a good set conveyed a sense of absolute wisdom on its reader. Contributions from Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Orville Wright, Alfred Hitchcock, Marie Curie, and Indira Gandhi helped millions of children with their homework. Adults cleared their shelves in the belief that everything that was explainable was now effortlessly accessible in their living rooms.
But now these huge books gather dust, and sell for almost nothing on eBay, and we derive our information from our phones and computers, apparently for free. What have we lost in this transition? And how did we tell the progress of our lives in the past?
All the Knowledge in the World is a history and celebration of those who created the most groundbreaking and remarkable publishing phenomenon of any age. Simon Garfield, who “has a genius for being sparked to life by esoteric enthusiasm and charming readers with his delight” (The Times), guides us on an utterly delightful journey, from Ancient Greece to Wikipedia, from modest single-volumes to the 11,000-volume Chinese manuscript that was too big to print. He looks at how Encyclopedia Britannica came to dominate the industry, how it spawned hundreds of competitors, and how an army of ingenious door-to-door salesmen sold their wares to guilt-ridden parents. He explains how encyclopedias have reflected our changing attitudes towards sexuality, race, and technology, and exposes how these ultimate bastions of trust were often riddled with errors and prejudice.
With his characteristic ability to tackle the broadest of subjects in an illuminating and highly entertaining way, Simon Garfield uncovers a fascinating and important part of our shared past, and wonders whether the promise of complete knowledge—that most human of ambitions—will forever be beyond our grasp.
Anaximander: And the Birth of Science by Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead Books (EPP)
Over two millennia ago, the prescient insights of Anaximander paved the way for cosmology, physics, geography, meteorology, and biology, setting in motion a new way of seeing the world. His legacy includes the revolutionary ideas that the earth floats in a void, that animals evolved, that the world can be understood in natural rather than supernatural terms, and that universal laws govern all phenomena. He introduced a new mode of rational thinking with an openness to uncertainty and the progress of knowledge.
In this elegant work, the renowned theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli brings to light the importance of Anaximander’s overlooked influence on modern science. He examines Anaximander not from the point of view of a historian or as an expert in Greek philosophy, but as a scientist interested in the deep nature of scientific thinking, which Rovelli locates in the critical and rebellious ability to reimagine the world again and again. Anaximander celebrates the radical lack of certainty that defines the scientific quest for knowledge.
The Revolution Will Be Hilarious: Comedy for Social Change and Civic Power by Caty Borum, NYU Press (JAG)
From Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show and Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act, to Issa Rae’s Insecure and Corey Ryan Forrester’s Twitter feed, today’s multi-platform comedy refuses to shy away from the social issues that define our time. As more comedians lean into social justice activism, they help reshape the entertainment industry and offer creative, dynamic avenues for social change.
The Revolution Will Be Hilarious offers a compelling insider’s look at how comedy and social justice activists are working together in a revolutionary media moment. Caty Borum invites readers into an expanding, enterprising arena of participatory culture and politics through in-depth interviews with comedians, social justice leaders, and Hollywood players. Their insights shed light on questions such as: What role does comedy play in helping communities engage the public with challenging social issues? How do social justice organizations and comedians co-create entertaining comedy designed to build the civic power of marginalized groups? And how are entertainment industry leaders working with social justice organizations to launch new comedy as both entertainment and inspiration for social change?
Through this exploration, Borum argues that building creative power is crucial for marginalized groups to build civic power. The Revolution Will Be Hilarious positions the rise of social justice comedy as creative, disruptive storytelling that hilariously invites us to agitate the status quo and re-imagine social realities to come closer to the promise of equity and justice in America.
The School of Life: On Mental Illness: What can calm, reassure and console by The School of Life (GMC)
This is a guide to coping with a wide variety of mental unwellness, from the very mild to the severe. It explains how and why we become mentally ill, how we can explain our experiences to friends and family, and how we can reframe our view of ourselves and our future in order to thrive.
With a humane, encouraging tone, the book teaches us to dismantle stigmas around mental health, arguing that no one should suffer alone. By normalizing mental illness and seeking out shared experiences and supportive friendships, we feel less alone on our journeys.
Written with kindness, knowledge and sympathy, and drawing upon the experience of The School of Life therapists, this book is an essential tool to help us on the way to our recovery.