Books to Watch | September 24, 2019
September 24, 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:
24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week by Tiffany Shlain, Gallery | Author Tiffany Shlain has extensive experience with screens of all types: her documentaries have graced the big screen of film festivals, her original series for the small screen was Emmy nominated, and she’s the founder of the Webby Awards which recognize the best works on the Internet—accessed on screens both small and large. With all this screen-time, it’s no wonder Shlain finds such magic in putting her tech to rest once a week. She effectively illustrates the feelings of renewal as a result of removing oneself from a life of too many open tabs. Plus, she incorporates scientific studies into her personal experience to ensure you’ll want to start your screen-free day finishing the book! (GMC)
Cannelle et Vanille: Nourishing, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood by Aran Goyoaga, Sasquatch Books | It’s amusing to remember that not too long ago, gluten-free cookbooks were culinary outcasts: flying their freak flags from the ‘special diets’ section, next to the books doctors prescribed post-heart attack along with physical therapy. Thankfully, we are in a new day for celiacs and other gluten-averse folks. Enter Seattle-based food blogger, photographer, and stylist Aran Goyoga, whose latest book is a peek into a day in her just-ambitious-enough kitchen—which just happens to be gluten-free. Filled with gorgeous photos of recipes that combine the bounty of the local Pacific Northwest food system (Slow-Roasted Salmon with Fennel, Citrus, and Harissa), with her upbringing in the Basque region of Spain (Tortilla de Patatas, Quince Paste), Cannelle et Vanille’s main value is surely in the casualness with which she approaches gluten-free pasta, pizza dough, and sourdough starter. Hers is a gluten-free cookbook that feels not sacrificial, but joyous, and—dare we say—normal. (BRM)
Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities by Vaclav Smil, The MIT Press | Vaclav Smil is so erudite that I thought at first his book on growth might be unreadable for a novice like me. I wasn’t exactly sure, for example, where he was going with his explanation of the rate of geotectonic growth in the continental crust, but it turns out he was simply making a point that “there is nothing we can do about its timing, location, and pace, nor can we harness it directly for our benefit and hence it will not get more attention in this book.” Whew. Just two pages later, he tells us that “the volume of the United Kingdom’s wine glasses has doubled since 1970,” which is both fascinating and oddly relevant to a discussion about the kind of growth we can do something about. Smil’s weighty tome turns out to be both entertaining and erudite, exploring the benefits and limits of material growth to reach a fundamental point about the uncertainty of civilization’s survival and the importance of maintaining a habitable biosphere to ensure it. (DJJS)
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger, Random House | Bob Iger begins his new book by telling the story of the opening of Shanghai Disneyland, the company’s largest investment ever and a project he’d been involved with since 1998. “The creation of the park was an education in geopolitics, and a constant balancing act between the possibilities of global expansion and the perils of cultural imperialism.” But the launch of the park coincided with the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and an alligator attack at one of Disney’s resorts that resulted in the death of a child. That he monitored both situations personally, calling the parents of the child and crying himself afterward—all on the morning he was set to cut the ribbon with dignitaries in Shanghai—should give you an idea of what kind of leader he is. The values he brings to the job and lessons he’s learned putting them into practice over his 40-year career make this book from one of the world’s most respected CEOs informative on both a personal and professional level. (DJJS)
Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie, Penguin Books | Kathleen Jamie confronts the habit of distraction in a collection of empirical, self-possessed, and poetic essays that unfold slowly but assuredly. She readjusts your eyes to the convergence of reflections and horizon lines, she takes your hand and you explore Alaskan villages and the harsh arctic terrain, she invites you into an archaeological dig, she invites you into the fading memories of her grandparents. It’s a book that criss-crosses the terrain of the individual and of the natural world. In a handful of the essays she uses second person to remind you that everything she described does exist, no matter how impossibly foreign or otherworldly her experiences may seem. Surfacing is a reminder to be curious in a world that blooms with curiosities.
“I had my traveling adventure, came home, a quarter-century passed. Partners were met and children were born and grew. Friendships were forged and lost. Jobs, projects, homes, bereavements, the stuff of life—if we’re spared. The undammed rush of life.
If we’re spared.” (GMC)
What we're reading away from work:
“This weekend I finished reading Olga Tokarczuk's book Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. She won the Man Booker International Prize in 2018 and was nominated for NBA for her book Flights. This one is not as good as Flights, but it's still pretty great. A serial murder mystery with a kind of a nutty narrator obsessed with astrology and animals.” —Michael Jantz, Project Development Director