Donald Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This week, we’re sharing stories from Rebecca Solnit, Robert F. Worth, Margaret Talbot, Porochista Khakpour, and Frank Bures.

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1. The Loneliness of Donald Trump

Rebecca Solnit | LitHub | May 30, 2017 | 9 minutes (2,497 words)

“But the opposite of people who drag you down isn’t people who build you up and butter you up. It’s equals who are generous but keep you accountable, true mirrors who reflect back who you are and what you are doing.”

2. Aleppo After the Fall

Robert F. Worth | New York Times Magazine | May 24, 2017 | 35 minutes (8,872 words)

Robert F. Worth reports from Aleppo, a city in ruins. Speaking with residents about the current state of existence, Worth also examines the social and political seeds of the Syrian War, now in its sixth year. With Aleppo firmly back into the hands of the Assad regime, Syrians and exiled expats are starting to wonder whether backing Assad is their best chance at ending the war so they can begin to rebuild their lives.

3. The Addicts Next Door

Margaret Talbot | The New Yorker | June 5, 2017 | 46 minutes (11,676 words)

Margaret Talbot reports on the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. There, the overdose rate is the highest in the United States and many are fighting to help loved ones, friends, neighbors, and sometimes complete strangers get healthy.

4. How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay

Porochista Khakpour | Catapult | May 18, 2017 | 15 minutes (3,944 words)

Porochista Khakpour reflects on her desire to write — at first about anything other than Iranian-America. Deeply conflicted about speaking from her perspective as an Iranian-American, she says, “Remind yourself that when the performance is honest two things happen: The essay will feel like it’s killing you and the ending will not be what you thought it might be. Learn to respect more than resent those parallel planes of living and the rendering of living.”

5. The Mackinac Island Stone Skipping Competition

Frank Bures | Minnesota Monthly | May 24, 2017 | 11 minutes (2,759 words)

Ever tried to skip a flat stone across a body of water? Happy with a few skips? Elated at five or more? To be the best stone skipper in the world, you need 89 skips to beat current Guinness World Record holder Kurt “Mountain Man” Steiner (88 skips).