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Books to Watch | November 5, 2019

November 05, 2019

Each and every week, our marketing team—Marketing Director Blyth Meier (BRM), Digital Marketing Specialist Gabbi Cisneros (GMC), and Editorial Director Dylan Schleicher (DJJS)—highlights the five books being released that we are most excited about.

This week, our choices are:

November 5 New Releases

Cosy: The British Art of Comfort by Laura Weir, HarperOne | We in Wisconsin received our first dose of snow a few days ago, so this book is a necessary addition to the stacks that might make winter a little more bearable. No fireplace necessary! When bad weather requires me to stay inside, I often feel trapped and claustrophobic, but this small book's calming and insightful notes and illustrations encourage me to think differently about my housebound experiences. "As the world outside our window becomes more unpredictable, the notion of hunkering down in a sanctuary that we can control amidst the chaos has a covetous appeal." With chapters devoted to various elements of cosiness (tea, clothing, crafting, self-care, etc.) and how to achieve them, reading this is like a leisurely walk in which you breathe more slowly and think more clearly and see more fully that life is alright and that not accomplishing something is an accomplishment. (GMC)

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles—and All of Us by Rana Foroohar, Currency | Our personal data is the oil of the information age, and its extraction has fueled the rise of the new, Big Tech elite. As Rana Foroohar began digging into the financial data in her role as the global business columnist for the Financial Times, she “discovered something rather shocking—that 80 percent of the global wealth was now being held by just about 10 percent of the companies.” The now dominant entities in that upper echelon include the five “FAANG” companies—Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google—whose market capitalization, Foroohar notes, now exceeds the world’s seventh largest economy, France. She documents the economic, political, and cognitive effects of their ascendence, and suggests remedies for reigning in some of Big Tech’s now unrivaled power and influence over our public and private life, including regulation on the order of the Interstate Commerce Commission that checked the power of the railroad barons in our nation’s previous Gilded Age, and a Digital New Deal to ensure employment and create a new public infrastructure for the information age. (DJJS)

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking: A Cookbook by Toni Tipton-Martin, Clarkson Potter | Toni Tipton-Martin is on a mission to expand our vision of African American cooking, and I am so grateful for her work. After collecting a staggering 400 cookbooks spanning nearly two centuries of black cooking, she wrote her first book, the James Beard-Award Winning The Jemima Code. Her newest book further mines her collection to reveal the glorious breadth of the cuisine, through verbatim historical recipes, amalgamations of multiple versions, and new recipes inspired by her research, all of which stretch popular notions of the cuisine. “In Jubilee, I have tried to honor the kind of joyous cooking that would have turned yesterday’s enslaved and free cooks into today’s celebrity chefs with glittering reputations grounded in restaurant fare and cookbook publishing.” Featuring standards like Rice and Peas with Coconut and seven kinds of cornbread (I am in heaven!), the book shines most brightly when revealing new additions to the canon such as Beets Étouffée or Roast Turkey with Chile-Pecan Sauce, both of which are sure to make your Thanksgiving one to brag about for the ages. No American cookbook shelf is complete without a copy of Jubilee, and no review of the book would be complete without praise for the gorgeous photography by Jerrelle Guy (author of Black Girl Baking). Her sensitive work brings this instant American classic to life and is a reminder that representation matters always, even in cookbook hand modeling. (BRM)

The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti: IBM, the CIA, and the Cold War Conspiracy to Shut Down Production of the World's First Desktop Computer by Meryle Secrest, Knopf | Meryle Secrest is a master biographer of a dazzlingly diverse array of subjects. Her new subject came to her out of a personal encounter with Roberto Olivetti—heir to Italy’s Olivetti company—whom a good friend had fallen in love with while living in Italy after World War II, and whom Secrest met during his brief weekend visit to Washington in 1964. Returning to a short story she wrote about that weekend led her to track down what became of Roberto. An inquiry that began out of “idle curiosity” leads her to a Cold War mystery replete with industrial history and espionage, international intrigue, early death, and the creation of the world’s first desktop computer. And, though it may all seem rather esoteric at first, the story is surprisingly relevant to the conversation we are having today about the nature of electronic machines and industrial development, art, and design, about technology and its role in our society and daily lives. What Secrest utlimately does on her investigative journey is uncover a vital piece of almost lost industrial and engineering history that helped land a man on the moon and played an unsung (until now) role in mid-century business and geopolitics. (DJJS)

That's Mental: Painfully Funny Things That Drive Me Crazy About Being Mentally Ill by Amanda Rosenberg, Turner | Mental illness is one of those topics that many people avoid like the plague. In fact, we may find it easier to talk about plagues than to talk about mental illness. Amanda Rosenberg engages in a lively, self-aware, and darkly humorous conversation with the reader about her experience with bipolar II and "a few other mental disorders, but I'll leave you to find them in the book; it'll be like a fun Easter egg hunt, only the eggs are rotten and it's not fun at all!" Her mental illnesses had been overlooked for years by everyone including herself, and she shares her journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance from a place where she is still wrestling with various mental disorders and their side effects. "You don't need to feel good in the grey; you just need to tolerate it." For as frustrating as it can be having to figure out your own brain, Rosenberg's writing is friendly and heartening enough to read in as little as one or two sittings. Her openness encourages empathy and understanding that I hope you can apply to others in the world who are different from you in any way, mentally or otherwise. (GMC)

 

What we're reading away from work:


Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith “I finished Patti Smith's new book, Year of the Monkey, definitely a book on grief and grappling with time, loss, very lovely as her writing always is. I'm also reading tons of yoga, philosophy and history books as I go through my yoga training." —Emily Porter, Customer Service Specialist

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