paper trail

Duke University Press launches its “Singles” series; Solange’s new community library

Joshua Clover

Duke University Press has started its new “Singles” series, in which authors devote an entire book to a single song. Duke UP elaborates: “Not just a lone track on an album, but a single: a song distributed to and heard by millions that creates a shared moment it is bound to outlive, revealing social fault lines in the process.” The first book in the series, by poet and critic Joshua Clover, is devoted to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ 1972 song “Roadrunner.” The book not only offers a deeply felt homage to the song but also delivers an “account of something like history from 1972 to around 2008, from the local to the global, the circulation of songs and sounds, the circulation of humans, that is planetary migration, the circulation of imperialism and struggles against it, the circulation of finance, and eventually a financial crisis.”

Solange’s Saint Heron studio and platform has launched an online library of books by Black writers and artists. Starting today, you can borrow one of these titles for forty-five days, free of charge. This list of books is growing. Currently, authors include: Adrian Piper, Lucille Clifton, Ntozake Shange, Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, Rosa Bogar, Houston Baker, and June Jordan.

Axel Springer, the media giant that “aims to become the leading digital publisher in the democratic world,” has drawn criticism after promoting an editor at German tabloid Bild after the editor was accused of sexual harassment. The company is currently looking to gain a foothold in DC: it purchased Politico this summer for $1 billion, and also secretly tried to purchase Politico competitor Axios, hoping to combine the two media outlets. The Axios chief executive declined the offer, calling it “sneaky.”

William Morrow has purchased Rebecca F. Kuang’s Yellowface for a reported six figures. The novel, which grapples with “questions of diversity and racism in publishing and the erasure of Asian American voices and history,” is about “a white author who steals an unpublished manuscript, written by a more successful Asian American novelist who died in a freak accident, and publishes it as her own.”

Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 27) at 7:30 pm Eastern time, Mark McGurl will discuss his new book, Everything and Less, which explores “what has happened to fiction in the age of platform capitalism,” with Mark Greif.