New Releases | June 27, 2023
June 27, 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:
Sally’s pick: The Entanglement: How Art and Philosophy Make Us What We Are by Alva Noë, Princeton University Press
In The Entanglement, philosopher Alva Noë explores the inseparability of life, art, and philosophy, arguing that we have greatly underestimated what this entangled reality means for understanding human nature.
Life supplies art with its raw materials, but art, Noë argues, remakes life by giving us resources to live differently. Our lives are permeated with the aesthetic. Indeed, human nature is an aesthetic phenomenon, and art—our most direct and authentic way of engaging the aesthetic—is the truest way of understanding ourselves. All this suggests that human nature is not a natural phenomenon. Neither biology, cognitive science, nor AI can tell a complete story of us, and we can no more pin ourselves down than we can fix or settle on the meaning of an artwork. Even more, art and philosophy are the means to set ourselves free, at least to some degree, from convention, habit, technology, culture, and even biology. In making these provocative claims, Noë explores examples of entanglement—in artworks and seeing, writing and speech, and choreography and dancing—and examines a range of scientific efforts to explain the human.
Challenging the notions that art is a mere cultural curiosity and that philosophy has been outmoded by science, The Entanglement offers a new way of thinking about human nature, the limits of natural science in understanding the human, and the essential role of art and philosophy in trying to know ourselves.
Gabbi’s pick: I Am More Than My Body: The Body Neutral Journey by Bethany C. Meyers, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
A lot of us were raised on toxic diet culture—restrictions, limitations, and deprivation. Then the pendulum swung to the other extreme, with messages that we could love ourselves at any size, any weight, any shape…but sometimes, even that can feel like a lot of pressure. There is a third option: body neutrality. For many of us, a neutral approach to our physical self—based on compassion, acceptance, and respect—can be a revolutionary, rewarding shift in how we move through the world.
I Am More Than My Body will help you strengthen your relationship with yourself and find balance, steering you away from shame without the pressure of having to love your body at all times. It will introduce a framework to help you practice neutral movement, recognize and arm yourself against bias, act with self-compassion, and navigate your feelings on this journey.
A longtime practitioner of the body-neutral approach, Bethany C. Meyers shares their own story together with the experiences and ideas of experts and activists to help us care for our bodies while not having them dictate our worth. Because happiness comes from honest acceptance, something that body neutrality has the power to help you find.
Jasmine’s pick: Obreros Unidos: The Roots and Legacy of the Farmworkers Movement by Jesus Salas, Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Jesus Salas recounts his story as a migrant farm worker and a key leader of the Farmworkers Movement to improve working and living conditions for migrant laborers in Wisconsin.
In an expansive narrative, noted labor leader Jesus Salas shares an insider’s look at the farm workers movement, from its roots in southern political uprisings to its lasting legacy of activism. During his childhood, Salas and his family joined the migrant workers who traveled from their hometown in Texas to work on farms in Wisconsin, Illinois, and other states. In riveting detail, he describes the brutal working conditions and overcrowded labor camps experienced by the Mexican American workers who fueled the Midwest’s agriculture industry.
Taking inspiration from César Chávez, as a young man Salas and others led a historic march from Wautoma to Madison to demand that lawmakers address rampant violations of Wisconsin’s minimum wage laws and housing codes. These young labor leaders founded Obreros Unidos—Workers United—to continue the fight for fairness and respect, as well as to provide much-needed services to migrant families. This memoir of a movement details how their work went beyond the fields to have lasting impacts on representation in community organizations and access to education, empowering later generations to demand better.
Dylan’s pick: To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick--and How We Can Fight Back by Alden Wicker, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Many of us are aware of the ethical minefield that is fast fashion: the dodgy labor practices, the lax environmental standards, and the mountains of waste piling up on the shores of developing countries. But have you stopped to consider the dangerous effects your clothes are having on your own health? Award-winning journalist Alden Wicker breaks open a story hiding in plain sight: the unregulated toxic chemicals that are likely in your wardrobe right now, how they’re harming you, and what you can do about it.
In To Dye For, Wicker reveals how clothing manufacturers have successfully swept consumers’ concerns under the rug for more than 150 years, and why synthetic fashion and dyes made from fossil fuels are so deeply intertwined with the rise of autoimmune disease, infertility, asthma, eczema, and more. In fact, there’s little to no regulation of the clothes and textiles we wear each day—from uniforms to fast fashion, outdoor gear, and even the face masks that have become ubiquitous in recent years. Wicker explains how we got here, what the stakes are, and what all of us can do in the fight for a safe and healthy wardrobe for all.
WHAT WE'VE BEEN READING AT HOME
"Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby ... Essays about a pretty diverse selection of topics. Some good Covid-era content. A great essay about her favorite Dave Matthews songs. Listening to the audio because she narrates it and her delivery elevates the content."
—Michael Jantz, Custom Projects Director