September 5, 2023
September 05, 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:
Gabbi’s pick: Creep: Accusations and Confessions by Myriam Gurba, Avid Reader Press
A creep can be a singular figure, a villain who makes things go bump in the night. Yet creep is also what the fog does—it lurks into place to do its dirty work, muffling screams, obscuring the truth, and providing cover for those prowling within it.
Creep is Myriam Gurba’s informal sociology of creeps, a deep dive into the dark recesses of the toxic traditions that plague the United States and create the abusers who haunt our books, schools, and homes. Through cultural criticism disguised as personal essay, Gurba studies the ways in which oppression is collectively enacted, sustaining ecosystems that unfairly distribute suffering and premature death to our most vulnerable. Yet identifying individual creeps, creepy social groups, and creepy cultures is only half of this book’s project—the other half is examining how we as individuals, communities, and institutions can challenge creeps and rid ourselves of the fog that seeks to blind us.
With her ruthless mind, wry humor, and adventurous style, Gurba implicates everyone from Joan Didion to her former abuser, everything from Mexican stereotypes to the carceral state. Braiding her own history and identity throughout, she argues for a new way of conceptualizing oppression, and she does it with her signature blend of bravado and humility.
Dylan’s pick: The End of Reality: How Four Billionaires are Selling a Fantasy Future of the Metaverse, Mars, and Crypto by Jonathan Taplin, PublicAffairs
At a time when the crises of income inequality, climate, and democracy are compounding to create epic wealth disparity and the prospect of a second American civil war, four billionaires are hyping schemes that are designed to divert our attention away from issues that really matter. Each scheme—the metaverse, cryptocurrency, space travel, and transhumanism—is an existential threat in moral, political, and economic terms.
In The End of Reality¸ Jonathan Taplin provides perceptive insight into the personal backgrounds and cultural power of these billionaires—Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marc Andreesen (“The Four”) —and shows how their tech monopolies have brought middle-class wage stagnation, the hollowing out of many American towns, a radical increase in income inequality, and unbounded public acrimony. Meanwhile, the enormous amount of taxpayer money to be funneled into the dystopian ventures of "The Four," the benefits of which will accrue to billionaires, exacerbate these disturbing trends.
The End of Reality is both scathing critique and reform agenda that replaces the warped worldview of "The Four" with a vision of regenerative economics that seeks to build a sustainable society with healthy growth and full employment.
Sally’s pick: Flip Thinking: The Life-Changing Art of Turning Problems into Opportunities by Berthold Gunster, Ballantine Books
Imagine this: You've got a great idea, and all you hear are the yes-buts.
"Yes, but that's been tried before, and it didn't work."
"Yes, but shouldn't we just let it sit for a while?"
"Yes, but what if it doesn't work..."
Now in English for the first time, this international bestseller introduces the power of flip thinking to transform stuck-in-the-mud, pessimistic thinking into an inventive, curious mindset, so you can top saying "yes, but..." to life, and start saying "yes, and..."
In Flip Thinking, Berthold Gunster, the founder of the Dutch omdenken--or flip thinking--philosophy, presents fifteen strategies to transform your thinking away from limitations and negativities and towards possibilities and opportunities. From disrupting (turn all the rules upside down) to flaunting (play up what you want to hide) and from importing (get the enemy on board) to amplifying (do more of what works), Gunster's strategies and stories will have you approaching even the most challenging problems--from an annoying neighbor to an angry colleague to an unhappy partner--in a whole new way.
Jasmine’s pick: Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments by Joe Posnanski, Dutton
THE BASEBALL 100 was about the top 100 baseball players. Joe Posnanski’s next book is about the top 50 moments.
Willie Mays’s catch. Babe Ruth’s called shot. Kirk Gibson’s limping home run.
BUT—each moment will be told from a unique perspective. That of a real fan who witnessed it, or the pitcher who gave up the home run. The umpire, the coach, the opposing player, the teammate. Fresh takes on legendary moments so powerful they almost feel like myth.
WHAT WE'VE BEEN READING AT HOME
"I recently enjoyed Fulgentius by Cesar Aira. The titular general is on a years-long campaign and in each city his army stages a production of Fulgentius' lone dramatic work, which he wrote when he was a teenager. Aira almost only mentions the army's conquests as asides to the main concerns of the book, which are primarily happening inside Fulgentius' mind. Terrific book!"
—Michael Jantz, Logistics Director