Margalit Fox remembers the incredible literary and cultural legacy of Toni Morrison: “After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Howard with a major in English and a minor in classics in 1953, she earned a master’s in English from Cornell in 1955. She taught English for two years at Texas Southern University, a historically black institution in Houston, before returning to Howard as a faculty member. There, she joined a fiction workshop and began writing in earnest. Required to bring a sample to a workshop meeting, she began work on a story about a black girl who craves blue eyes — the kernel of her first novel.”

Tara Isabella Burton takes a fascinating gander at brutal atavism: “The Garda shore is marked by the legacy of these two men—and of their fascination with primordial masculine power, and with the erotic nature of what we might call brutal atavism: a philosophy (it might more accurately be termed an aesthetic) both of regression and of acceleration. It never manages to internally reconcile its futurism and its nostalgia — as an aesthetic, it never has to.”

Tim Challies lists ways pastors can encourage their congregations to actually read the Bible:
“I suspect nearly 100 percent of the people who took part in the study and who attend my church believe they are supposed to be reading the Bible through the week and that they feel some guilt that they are not doing so. Also, nearly 100 percent have the level of literacy and the access to resources that would make it possible. The issue is not ignorance, personal expectation, or raw ability, but commitment. People simply do not do what they believe they ought to do and, on one level, actually want to do.”

Sara Wallace finds God’s mercy in the early days of parenting: “In my own sleepless nights and the torturous days that followed, I saw God’s mercy. There were many days when I couldn’t see anything but God’s mercy. I saw his mercy in friends and family who provided food when I could barely remember where the fridge was. I saw his mercy in naps I was able to take at completely unplanned times. I saw his mercy in coffee. I saw his mercy in verses that had been hidden in my heart for years that suddenly came alive to hold me tight when I felt like I was falling through thin air.”

Emily Ludolph tells the remarkable story of Ed Dwight: “Two grand stories that America tells itself about the 1960s are the civil rights movement and the space race. They are mostly rendered as separate narratives, happening at the same time but on different courses. In the 5-foot-4 figure of Ed Dwight, they came together for a transitory moment.”

Cal Newport dares to utter the truth about email (it’s not that great): “According to oral histories maintained by the C.I.A., employees were saddened when, in the late nineteen-eighties, during an expansion of the headquarters, this steampunk mail system was shut down. Some of them reminisced about the comforting thunk, thunk of the capsules arriving at a station; others worried that internal office communication would become unacceptably slow, or that runners would wear themselves out delivering messages on foot. The agency’s archives contain a photograph of a pin that reads ‘Save the Tubes.’”

In an essay in pictures, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell remind us that “reading for pleasure ... is an important thing to do—and that libraries create literate citizens.”

Joshua Hammer documents the perilous rescue by Abdel Kader Haidara of Timbuktu’s library: “Over the course of eight months, the operation came to involve hundreds of packers, drivers and couriers. They smuggled the manuscripts out of Timbuktu by road and by river, past jihadist checkpoints and, in government territory, suspicious Malian troops. By the time French troops invaded the north in January 2013, the radicals had managed to destroy only 4,000 of Timbuktu’s nearly 400,000 ancient manuscripts. ‘If we hadn’t acted,; Mr. Haidara told me later, ‘I’m almost 100% certain that many, many others would have been burned.’”

Esau Mccaulley admonishes preachers to preach on the issues of the day: "In other words, it is not enough for a pastor to preach doctrines without applying those doctrines to the issues of the day. In Pennington’s time, the question was slavery. It was a widespread evil written into law that informed public practice from one end of this country to the other. Eventually, every pastor had to make his feeling on the subject known. Being silent was an implicit vote for the status quo."

Tom Winter, Jonathan Dienst and Phil McCausland report on the death of Jeffrey Epstein: "Epstein, who was being held on federal sex trafficking charges, was transported Saturday morning from the jail to a hospital in lower Manhattan. Upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter said."

Podcast of the Week: Beth Bruno and Sheila Wise Rowe have an honest conversation about racial trauma in America, how individuals find healing, and how it impacts every one uniquely.