paper trail

Conor Dougherty on books about the housing crisis; Julia Phillips on the legacy of violence

Julia Phillips. Photo: Nina Subin

Golden Gates author Conor Dougherty lists the books that helped him write his study of the Bay Area’s housing crisis. “Anytime you read a book, even a bad one, you see someone do something you hadn’t thought of before, and it informs how you approach your next piece,” he writes. Selections include Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, Nikole Hannah-Jones’s Living Apart, and Walter Mosley’s White Butterfly.

Pittsburgh’s African American Cultural Center is creating a permanent exhibit about playwright August Wilson. Opening later this year, August Wilson: A Writer’s Landscape will be arranged in three parts based on acts of a play.

“My intention at the start was to write a work that explored the range of violence in women’s lives,” Disappearing Earth author Julia Phillips tells the First Draft podcast. “When it happens with the sort of perfect victims as they’re presented in the story, the media, police, authorities, politicians, neighbors, and everybody gets sort of fixated on this experience that’s a very, very rare, shocking, and horrifying experience, but a rare incident like that, an act of violence like that, is propped up and made possible by many small harms and pains and cruelties that are perpetuated in our daily lives.”

Literary Hub has translated and published writer Deng Anqing’s diaries of quarantine in a town outside Wuhan, China. “They show how the locals coped with the mundane reality of life under quarantine and how it made them more honest about all that’s invisible: the virus, fear, death, and love,” translator Na Zhong notes.

At Vanity Fair, Tom Kludt examines how the tension between MSNBC and Bernie Sanders’s campaign is causing the network to lose its influence over the Democratic Party and is “symptomatic of generational and ideological rifts within the party.”