“One day, before he hit me, I made a point of expressing to him just how completely my face was pressed to the wall. ‘You’re going to hit me anyway?’ I asked. ‘What are you doing, sheikh? Why?’ I peeked at him. He grinned. ‘I want to train your soul,’ he said.” A couple years ago, journalist Theo Padnos was kidnapped by the Nusra Front. He was sure he’d eventually be killed. But he lived to tell his story in the NYT Magazine: My Captivity.

+ “So Satan marries a Jewish woman in Iraq. She lays an egg, which hatches and pops out a wild-eyed, bearded madman the proud couple names the ISIS-ling.” The LA Times’ David Zucchino yuks it up with Iraq’s state-run, hit television show, where satirists give new meaning to risky comedy.