Photo: Associated Press

This week, we’re sharing stories from Libby Copeland, Patrick Blanchfield, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Cory Taylor, and Tabitha Blankenbiller.

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1. Who Was She? A DNA Test Only Opened New Mysteries

Libby Copeland | Washington Post | July 27, 2017 | 24 minutes (6,000 words)

For most of her life, Alice Collins Plebuch believed she was the daughter of Irish Americans. A DNA test upended everything she thought she knew about her family history.

2. Shot in the Dark

Patrick Blanchfield | Esquire | August 1, 2017 | 23 minutes (5,825 words)

Spending six days in a cave without any light means hallucinations, hypothermia, and the potential for fatal falls. Why would anyone volunteer for one of the most extreme reality shows ever?

3. Losing It in the Anti-Dieting Age

Taffy Brodesser-Akner | New York Times Magazine | August 2, 2017 | 33 minutes (8,352 words)

In recounting the history of America’s obsession with thinness, Taffy Brodesser-Akner explores her own struggles with weight loss and the weight loss industry.

4. Questions for Me About Dying

Cory Taylor | The New Yorker | July 31, 2017 | 14 minutes (3,712 words)

Celebrated Australian novelist Cory Taylor was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. Rejecting the taboos that prevent humans from talking openly about death, she goes on the record with her answers to some of the most typical questions people have asked her about dying.

5. I Choose My Pearls: On Feminism, Disneyland, and Fashion

Tabitha Blankenbiller | The Rumpus | July 20, 2017 | 8 minutes (2,128 words)

“‘We fought for years so you didn’t have to dress like that,’ said the woman next to me waiting to board Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.”