paper trail

Wayne Koestenbaum book event tonight; Duke University Press workers form a union

Wayne Koestenbaum. Photo: Ebru Yildiz.

The workers at Duke University Press are forming a union. In a series of tweets, the DUP Workers Union outlined some of the reasons why they’re organizing: “We all want to see DUP continue to be successful. . . . However, working conditions have been a problem for years now. We've seen constant turnover, extended vacancies, disruptive reorganizations, patterns of discrimination, inconsistent enforcement of policies, & low compensation.” The union has released their mission statement here.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has posted its 2021 Literature Award winners.

News Corp and HarperCollins have acquired Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s trade publishing division in a deal worth $349 million.

In the New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum and John Koblin look at the ways in which coverage of mass shootings has changed since 1999, the year of the Columbine school massacre. Dave Cullen, author of Columbine, told the Times that reporting on the shooter’s motives was often credulous: “In 1999, everything we heard, we took as gospel; conjecture turned to fact very quickly,” but now, “We take things with a grain of salt. There was no salt in 1999.” Still, not all changes have been for the better: With the regularity of public shootings in American life, the news tends to move on more quickly, as the Times points out by paraphrasing Denver reporter Chris Vanderveen, who has covered multiple mass shootings in his career: “After Columbine, national reporters stayed in the area for months. After Aurora, they stayed for a few weeks, he said. He suspects it will only be a matter of days before national news outlets leave Boulder.”

The Open Book program, a partnership between The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is funding a new venture by the MIT Press to publish thirty-four important urban studies and architecture books as open-access ebooks, complete with illustrations. The classic titles—including The Staircase, Designing Paris, The Politics of Park Design, and Le Corbusier, the Noble Savage—are available on the MIT Press Open Architecture and Urban Studies page.

Tonight at 6:30 PM PST, Skylight Books hosts writer and performer Wayne Koestenbaum and artist Shahryar Nashat for a discussion of Koestenbaum’s book of fables, The Cheerful Scapegoat. In the spring issue of Bookforum, Negar Azimi compares the sense one gets reading these stories to “a painting in progress that you might feel ambivalent about; you can always rub it out with a turpentine-soaked rag.”