Each week, we’ll share what Moment editors are reading and watching, from news to novels. First up is Moment staffer Sala Levin, who wrote about the origins of the word “haredi” in the last issue and runs the magazine’s annual fiction contest.
So, Sala, what’s on your bookshelf/desktop?
All Our Names: This recent novel by Ethiopian-American writer Dinaw Mengestu traces the journey of a young man called Isaac–first in Uganda, where he falls in a platonic sort of love with another Isaac, who stokes his interest in revolutionary politics, and then in the American Midwest, where he falls in a decidedly non-platonic sort of love with Helen, the social worker who’s been assigned to help him adjust to American life.
The Winter of Weird Al, by Steven Hyden on Grantland: The premise of this article may have been proven wrong, considering the splash Weird Al Yankovic made last week with the release of his (now chart-topping) new album, Mandatory Fun, but it’s still worth a read for its consideration of the degree to which the Internet has altered the music industry’s landscape. (Also, because no Weird Al think-piece should ever go unread.)
Stone Soup, by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker: I’m a skeptic on most trendy diets, so I always love a chance to be proven right. Elizabeth Kolbert examines the difficulties of keeping a paleo diet and why so many people are persisting nonetheless, as well as the both positive and negative repercussions of the agricultural revolution.
When Freedom Summer Came to Town, by Marc Fisher in Moment: Fifty years after Freedom Summer, it’s hard for those of us who came of age in the late 20th century to fully understand the tensions that pervaded the country during the struggle for African-American civil rights. Marc Fisher visits Hattiesburg, Mississippi to report on how southern Jews responded to the civil rights movement and the sometimes uncomfortable situation in which it put them.