New Releases | May 30, 2023
May 30, 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: Allergic: Our Irritated Bodies in a Changing World by Theresa MacPhail, Random House
Hay fever. Peanut allergies. Eczema. Either you have an allergy, or you know someone who does. Billions of people worldwide—an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the global population—have some form of allergy; millions have one severe enough to actively endanger their health. Even more concerningly, over the last decade, the number of people diagnosed with allergy has been steadily increasing, an ever-growing medical burden on individuals, families, communities, and health care systems.
Medical anthropologist Theresa MacPhail, herself an allergy sufferer whose father died of a bee sting, set out to understand why. This book is a holistic examination of the phenomenon of allergies, from their first medical description in 1819 to the mind-bending recent development of biologics and immunotherapies that are giving the most severely impacted patients hope. In pursuit of this story, Theresa spent time with hundreds of experts, patients and activists: She scaled a roof with an air quality controller who diligently counts pollen by hand for hours every day; met a mother who struggled to use WIC benefits for her daughter with severe food allergies; spoke with doctors at some of the finest allergy clinics in the world; and discussed the intersecting problems of climate change, pollution, and pollen with biologists who study seasonal respiratory allergies, highlighting how porous and interconnected our bodies are to our changing environments—for example, diesel truck emissions can help deliver pollen deep into the lungs, which may partially explain why people who live next to major roadways are far more likely to develop asthma.
This is the story of allergies: what they are, why we have them, and what that might mean about the fate of humanity in a rapidly changing world. Because understanding what is irritating us and why will help us to craft better environments in the future—so we can all breathe easier.
Jasmine’s pick: How to Stay Productive When the World Is Ending: Productivity, Burnout, and Why Everyone Needs to Relax More Except You by Reductress, Andrews McMeel Publishing
Juggling careers, maintaining relationships, managing side gigs, and sustaining an engaging social media presence is hard––and we're expected to do it all while battling the ever-present feeling of existential dread against the backdrop of climate catastrophe, an ongoing pandemic, and social isolation.
From the editors and most popular writers of Reductress, the only satirical women’s magazine in publication, How to Stay Productive When the World is Ending is a collection of essays, how-tos, and “inspirational” graphics to help you laugh when staying both sane and productive in a commodified world feels impossible. From “’Doing What You Love’ and Why That’s Bad,” to "Why I'm Prioritizing My Career Over Finding a Better Career," this collection perfectly skewers the indignities, big and small, of living through late-stage capitalism.
Gabbi’s pick: The Search: Finding Meaningful Work in a Post-Career World by Bruce Feiler, Penguin Press
When Bruce Feiler completed his last book, which introduced readers to the idea of the nonlinear life, he realized that the greatest frontier of change in the world is work. Unprecedented numbers of Americans are quitting their jobs, rethinking their routines, breaking away from stifling expectations. We're still living through the Great Resignation and quiet quitting.
The most suffocating iron cage of all is the premise that each of us must have a career. We must follow a linear path of success, locking into a dream early, always climbing higher, never stopping until we reach the top. Few ideas have created more misery, squandered more human potential, or ruined more relationships. Feiler resolved to help us all imagine better.
From thousands of hours of interviews with an extraordinarily diverse group of Americans, Feiler has distilled a powerful new vision for how to think about work. He shows that our lives are upended by a stream of workquakes on average every two and a half years. Sure, some people set a goal and stick with it, but far more of us revise our passions, change our directions, and rethink our priorities. The Search empowers each of us to stop chasing someone else’s dream and start chasing our own.
After dismantling the three lies about work, Feiler lays out the one truth: that each of us must write our own story. Showing that the people who are happiest at work don’t climb, but dig, Feiler introduces the six questions to ask in a workquake that allow us to perform a meaning audit, tapping into our truest selves and our deepest hopes to create the meaning we crave and the success we deserve.
Both timely and timeless, this book arrives as the world reimagines our basic assumptions about work—and shows that the answers involve not following the outdated scripts of others, but giving yourself to yourself, learning to dial into your own inner voice and turn the volume all the way up.
Dylan’s pick: The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams by Seth Godin, Portfolio
What if we could create the best job someone ever had? What if we had that job?
The workplace has undergone a massive shift. Remote work and economic instability have depressed innovation and left us disconnected and disengaged. Paychecks no longer buy loyalty, happiness, and effort. Alarmed managers are responding with harsh top-down edicts, layoffs, surveillance and mandatory meetings. Workers are responding by quiet quitting and working their wage.
There is a better answer, a human answer, and it is within everyone’s reach.
In The Song of Significance, legendary author and business thinker Seth Godin brings us a powerful vision of how we can change the course. The choice is simple: either we keep treating people as disposable, and join in the AI-fueled race to the bottom—or we come together to build a significant organization that enrolls, empowers, and trusts everyone to deliver their best work, no matter where they are.
In Godin's signature style, the book outlines a series of practical yet game-changing commitments we must make, and a list of organizational milestones on the way to significance.
This is a book to share with bosses and co-workers, to discuss and put to action. We have a choice to make about how we spend our days, and it’s within our power to make things better – for everyone. Because as Godin writes, “Humans aren’t a resource. They are the point.”
WHAT WE'VE BEEN READING AT HOME
"Men I Trust by Tommi Parrish. It is a 'graphic novel' technically, though Parrish's work kinda evades categorization and for some reason that phrase doesn't seem to be right for this book. But it's a great story and the drawings/paintings are unlike anything else."
—Michael Jantz, Custom Projects Director