Great books tell stories. Here’s our pick of vivid and insightful new releases for better understanding America, world events, history, science, and theology
A Connecticut middle-school moment:
On a reporting trip in Connecticut last week for a forthcoming story, I spent a morning in a seventh-grade classroom. The students were diligently finishing up a worksheet on a book they were reading together. Once they turned in their sheets, the teacher set aside time for them to read the local newspaper—the print edition! The teacher has them regularly write reports on newspaper articles.
One of the boys had the job of recycling the old papers and going out to the hallway to pick up copies of the day’s new paper. He also cleared out the superfluous pages of coupons folded up inside. The class was quietly working while this unofficial newsie went about his task. Shuffling the coupons into the recycling bin, he saved one sheet of Burger King coupons. As he handed out copies of the day’s newspaper to the other kids in the class, he set the Burger King coupons on one boy’s desk. The boy gratefully folded up the coupons and placed them in his backpack. Seventh-grade newspaper delivery boys know what their customers are looking for.
Worth your time:
During the royal wedding, a man with a posh British accent pretended to be a British expert on the royal family on TV networks—including the BBC. Turns out he is an Italian-American from upstate New York.
This week I learned:
MoviePass, the subscription service for nearly unlimited movie tickets that is disrupting the theater industry, lost $107 million in the first three months of the year.
A court case you might not know about:
This week we got a ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, but a similar conflict between gay rights and religious freedom is brewing in lower courts. My colleague Jamie Dean covers some of these legal and state legislative fights over religious adoption groups and gay advocates in our latest issue.
Culture I am consuming:
Like Dreamers, a 2013 book by Yossi Klein Halevi that follows a group of paratroopers through the Six-Day War in Israel and the aftermath. Halevi, an Israeli journalist, is a great storyteller and the book gives a snapshot, via the paratroopers, of the different factions within modern Israel.
Halevi has a new book out, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, that I want to read. He did a sharp interview with Atlantic Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg about it. Wrestling through the Israeli-Palestinian divide, he noted two commanding Biblical voices in Jewish discourse.
The first: “‘Remember you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’” he said, quoting Scripture. “The lesson there is don’t be brutal. ... The second voice is: ‘Remember … when you were attacked without provocation [upon leaving Egypt].’ The lesson there is don’t be naïve. You live in a world where genocide is possible.”
Email me with tips, story ideas, and feedback at email@example.com