The State Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

This week, we’re sharing stories from Brent Cunningham, CJ Hauser, Carla Bruce-Eddings, Caroline Rothstein, and Lisa Grossman.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * *

1. Losing the News

Brent Cunningham | Pacific Standard | July 23, 2019 | 25 minutes (6,333 words)

The Charleston Gazette-Mail was known as the newspaper that used “sustained outrage” to hold the powerful accountable in West Virginia, a state with a legacy of corruption. Last year, the paper filed for bankruptcy and changed owners; its future as a watchdog remains unclear.

2. The Crane Wife

CJ Hauser | The Paris Review | July 16, 2019 | 14 minutes (3,586 words)

Days after calling off her wedding, a writer travels to Texas to study the endangered whooping crane, and learns about the nature of need.

3. Blood Oranges

Carla Bruce-Eddings | Guernica Magazine | July 24, 2019 | 12 minutes (3,218 words)

“The pain was incandescent: a sticky, piercing heat that felt a knife’s edge from ecstasy; it sent spasm after spasm through my limbs as I clung to the hospital sheets, straining toward the ceiling, yearning for the sky beyond it. I was half-gone, floating up to the cosmos, desperate for the frigid vastness of space, for my body to shatter into pieces and just float undisturbed, finally, finally. Back on earth, I was tethered, spread, split decisively open. My daughter slid from me, indignant, slick and firm as a plum, and stopped wailing as soon as they nestled her on my chest.”

4. The Man With the Golden Airline Ticket

Caroline Rothstein | Narratively | July 22, 2019 | 36 minutes (9,129 words)

“That’s what Dad’s AAirpass and ultra-elite flying status yielded for him: lifelong bonds.”

5. How NASA has kept Apollo moon rocks safe for 50 years

Lisa Grossman | Science News | July 15, 2019 | 14 minutes (3,500 words)

“I’m not allowed to touch the moon rocks.

“In the room where NASA stores the samples that Apollo astronauts brought to Earth decades ago, I peer at rocks and trays of dirt through glass. But my tour guides are firm: Nobody touches the moon rocks.”