New Releases

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024


Discovering your next great read just got easier with our weekly selection of four new releases.

Finding the right book at the right time can transform your life or your organization. We help you discover your next great read by showcasing four recently released titles each week.

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:

Dylan’s pick: And Then? And Then? What Else? By Daniel Handler, Liveright 

Part memoir, part inspiration for aspiring writers, And Then? And Then? What Else? traces Daniel Handler’s sometimes challenging and often amusing path toward one of the most spectacularly successful writing careers of the twenty-first century.

Declaring his love of strange literature, Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil in particular, Handler reflects on the life experiences—some of them deeply personal and revealed for the first time—and the cultural influences that shaped his writing, both under his own name and as Lemony Snicket, the lonely, beleaguered, somehow both cynical and romantic narrator of the beloved thirteen-volume saga of three unlucky orphans that became one of the best-selling series of all time.

Inspiring, revelatory, and entertaining, And Then? And Then? What Else? is destined to become a classic of its genre, every bit as influential as Eudora Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings or Stephen King’s On Writing have been on previous generations.


Jasmine’s pick: The Conscious Style Guide: A Flexible Approach to Language That Includes, Respects, and Empowers by Karen Yin, Little, Brown Spark

Most of us want to choose inclusive, respectful, and empowering language. But language—and how we use it—continually evolves, along with cultural norms. When contradictory opinions muddle our purpose, how do we align our word choices with our beliefs? Who has the final say when people disagree? And why is it so hard to let go of certain words? Afraid of getting something wrong or offending, we too often treat words as dos or don’ts, regardless of context and nuance.

Thankfully, in The Conscious Style Guide, award-winning editor Karen Yin provides a road map for writing and speaking with equity in mind—no matter how the world around us changes. Readers will learn: 

  • How to identify biased language 
  • How to use inclusive language to bring attention to specific groups of people 
  • How to adopt conscious language as a tool for self-awareness and critical thinking 
  • How to make digital materials more accessible, from event flyers to websites 
  • How to alleviate the stress of experiencing exclusionary language 
  • How to collaborate with others and work across differences 
  • How to create a style sheet to help support your practice 
  • And much more

With practical advice and hundreds of relatable examples, The Conscious Style Guide invites us to challenge binary thinking, embrace flexibility and creativity, and explore truly effective communication—in all aspects of our lives.


Gabbi’s pick: How to Become Famous: Lost Einsteins, Forgotten Superstars, and How the Beatles Came to Be by Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard Business Review Press

Consider the most famous music group in history. What would the world be like if the Beatles never existed? This was the question posed by the playful, thought-provoking, 2019 film Yesterday, in which a young, completely unknown singer starts performing Beatles hits to a world that has never heard them. Would the Fab Four's songs be as phenomenally popular as they are in our own Beatle-infused world? The movie asserts that they would, but is that true? Was the success of the Beatles inevitable due to their amazing, matchless talent?

Maybe. It's hard to imagine our world without its stars, icons, and celebrities. They are part of our culture and history, seeming permanent and preordained. But as Harvard law professor (and passionate Beatles fan) Cass Sunstein shows in this startling book, that is far from the case. Focusing on both famous and forgotten (or simply overlooked) artists and luminaries in music, literature, business, science, politics, and other fields, he explores why some individuals become famous and others don't and offers a new understanding of the roles played by greatness, luck, and contingency in the achievement of fame.

Sunstein examines recent research on informational cascades, network effects, and group polarization to probe the question of how people become famous. He explores what ends up in the history books and in the literary canon and how that changes radically over time. He delves into the rich and entertaining stories of a diverse cast of famous characters, from John Keats, William Blake, and Jane Austen to Bob Dylan, Ayn Rand, and Stan Lee—as well as John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

How to Become Famous takes you on a fun, captivating, and at times profound journey that will forever change your perspective on the latest celebrity's "fifteen minutes of fame" and on what vaults some to the top—and leaves others in the dust.


Sally’s pick: The Resilience Myth: New Thinking on Grit, Strength, and Growth After Trauma by Soraya Chemaly, Atria/One Signal Publishers

We are often urged to rely only on ourselves for strength, mental fortitude, and positivity. But with her distinctive “skill, wit, and sharp insight” (Laura Bates, author of Girl Up), Soraya Chemaly challenges us to adapt our thinking about how we survive in a world of sustained, overlapping crises.

It is interdependence and nurturing relationships that truly sustain us, she argues. Based on comprehensive research and eye-opening examples from real-life, The Resilience Myth offers alternative visions of relational hardiness by emphasizing care for others and our environments above all.


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