New Releases | May 2, 2023
May 02, 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: Bluebird Seasons: Witnessing Climate Change in My Piece of the Wild by Mary Taylor Young, Chicago Review Press
Climate change wasn’t yet on the public radar when Young and her husband bought their piece of the wild in 1995. They built a cabin and set up a trail of bluebird nest boxes, and Mary began a nature journal of her observations, delighting in the ceaseless dramas, joys, and tragedies that are the fabric of life in the wild.
But changes greater than the seasonal cycles of nature became evident over time: increasing drought, trees killed by plagues of beetles, wildfires, catastrophic weather, bears entering hibernation later and thinner, the decline of some familiar birds, and the appearance of new species.
Their journal of sightings over twenty-five bluebird seasons, she realized, was a record of climate change happening, not in an Indonesian rainforest or on an Antarctic ice sheet but in their own natural neighborhood. Using the journal as a chronicle of change, Young tells a story echoed in everyone’s lives and backyards. But it’s not time to despair, she writes. It’s time to act.
Young sees hope in the human ability to overcome great obstacles, in the energy and determination of young people, and in nature’s resilience, which the bluebirds show season after season.
Jasmine’s pick: Deconstructing the Fitness-Industrial Complex: How to Resist, Disrupt, and Reclaim What It Means to Be Fit in American Culture edited by Justice Roe Williams, Roc Rochon, and Lawrence Koval, North Atlantic Books
Fit is subjective. Who our society designates as fit--and who gets to be fit in our society--is predefined by the coaches, gyms, and systems at large that uphold and reproduce the Fitness Industrial Complex for their own structural and material gain.
The Fitness Industrial Complex uplifts some bodies while denigrating others. Bodies that are Black, Brown, queer, trans, poor, fat, and disabled--bodies that don't conform, that resist and disrupt--are excluded from being "fit." Through the stories and experiences of activist trainers, coaches, and bodyworkers of diverse identities and experiences, this anthology interrogates:
- The ideas and beliefs we’ve internalized about health, fitness, and our own and others’ bodies
- How to deconstruct and re-envision fitness as a practice for all bodies
- The fitness industry’s role in upholding and reinforcing oppression
- Exclusivity, unsafety, and harm in mainstream fitness spaces
- How to empower ourselves and our communities to push back against the FIC
Speaking directly to sick, queer, trans, disabled, and BIPOC readers, Deconstructing the Fitness Industrial Complex is part urgent inquiry, part radical deconstruction, and part call to action: to build spaces that welcome and work for all; to reclaim movement as a vital and liberatory practice; and to embody a model of joy and community care outside the mainstream fitness culture.
Gabbi’s pick: For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be by Marcus Collins, PublicAffairs
We all try to influence others in our daily lives. We are all marketers, whether you are a manager motivating your team, an employee making a big presentation, an activist staging a protest, or a teacher trying to encourage your students. In For the Culture, Marcus Collins argues that true cultural engagement is the most powerful vehicle for influencing behavior. To effectively engage with communities we first need to think hard about what we will contribute to those communities.
Collins uses stories from his own life as a top marketer, from spearheading digital strategy for Beyoncé, to working with iTunes and Nike+ on their collaboration, to the successful launch of the Nets NBA team in Brooklyn, to break down the ways in which culture influences behavior. Then, he shows readers how they can do the same. With a deep perspective based on a century’s worth of data, and designed for our hyper-connected, light-speed world, For the Culture will give readers the tools to inspire collective change by encouraging us to always consider not only what culture can do for us, but what we can do for the culture.
Dylan’s pick: The Power of Trees: How Ancient Forests Can Save Us if We Let Them by Peter Wohlleben, Greystone Books
In his beloved book The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben revealed astonishing discoveries about the social networks of trees and how they communicate. Now, in The Power of Trees, he turns to their future, with a searing critique of forestry management, tree planting, and the exploitation of old growth forests.
As human-caused climate change devastates the planet, forests play a critical role in keeping it habitable. While politicians and business leaders would have us believe that cutting down forests can be offset by mass tree planting, Wohlleben offers a warning: many tree planting campaigns lead to ecological disaster. Not only are these trees more susceptible to disease, flooding, fires, and landslides, we need to understand that forests are more than simply a collection of trees. Instead, they are ecosystems that consist of thousands of species, from animals to fungi and bacteria. The way to save trees, and ourselves? Step aside and let forests—which are naturally better equipped to face environmental challenges—heal themselves.
With the warmth and wonder familiar to readers from his previous books, Wohlleben also shares emerging scientific research about how forests shape climates both locally and across continents; that trees adapt to changing environmental conditions through passing knowledge down to their offspring; and how old growth may in fact have the most survival strategies for climate change.
At the heart of The Power of Trees lies Wohlleben's passionate plea: that our survival is dependent on trusting ancient forests, and allowing them to thrive.
WHAT WE'VE BEEN READING AT HOME
"Several People Are Typing—A horror story set in the void of office Slack messages. Paranoia realism, WFH body snatching, inter-office romance, PR schemes gone awry, and what's with all the dogs howling? Delve into the mysterious world that Calvin Kasulke creates in today's new, scary, thrilling and absurd corporate culture."
—Roy Normington, Senior Customer Service Specialist