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"The older I get, the more I realize how little I know about American history. I'm particularly ignorant about Reconstruction, the era that followed the Civil War, and the ways in which the emancipation of slaves was followed by the nightmarish terror of Jim Crow. To correct that knowledge gap, I'm slowly (very slowly!) making my way through W. E. B. Du Bois' monumental history of the period, Black Reconstruction in America: 1860-1880. First published in 1935, the book was intended as a corrective to decades of what Du Bois saw as inaccurate and racist portrayals of Reconstruction, and the book burns with the passion of someone determined to correct the record. The book is dense, but rewarding." —Cooper Levey-Baker, senior/food editor

“I just finished reading Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson, which came out about 15 years ago but I had somehow never read. It’s the first in a quartet of novels about two families named Boughton and Ames, living in a small Iowa town in the 1950s, and stretches back to the Civil War. It deals with faith, religion, love, race and more in a very thoughtful and engrossing way. So now I’m delving into the second and third books, Home and Lila, prior to the final book, Jack, coming out later this year.” —Kay Kipling, executive editor

"I’ve been trying my hand at recipes from the Plants Only Kitchen cookbook, by Welsh author and chef Gaz Oakley. This book has been perfect for creating vegan versions of classic recipes, which I’ve shared with some vegetarian friends. So far, the ramen with a vegan egg recipe and Oakley’s pasta dishes have been a hit. His recipes may seem complicated at first glance, but his instructions are easy to follow, so even beginners like myself can make something delicious. I’ve also been watching his YouTube channel, called Avant-Garde Vegan, which has some great recipes, with high production, Food Network-style videos." —Allison Forsyth, editorial intern

"I like to think of myself as someone who likes a good nature adventure. In fact, I find myself longing to do more—hike further, dive in deeper. So the premise of The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah, spoke to me. It's about a family trying to escape their suburban reality and live off grid in Alaska. Leni, a 13-year-old girl, finds herself, along with her parents, in remote Keneq, Alaska. They struggle to build a life for themselves in the harsh and wild landscape. The book spans more than a decade of their lives, and Leni finds love while her parents' relationship violently deteriorates. The brutal environment tests their physical preparedness and mental stamina. In Alaska, with its 18 hours of darkness and eight months of winter, there's a saying: 'You can make one mistake, but the second one will kill you.' Suddenly, I found myself feeling a little less bold, and a lot more grateful for a cozy place to curl up and just read about an Alaskan adventure." —Gigi Ortwein, creative director

"I'm about to start Weather, by Jenny Offill. Offill's Department of Speculation was one of my favorite books in recent memory, so when I heard she was coming out with a new one, I immediately pre-ordered it. This one is about a woman named Lizzie who's trying to grapple with going about her daily life while also dealing with a global crisis. (Sound familiar?) It's also about caregiving, addiction, parenthood and women's roles in all of it. I can't wait to dive in." —Megan McDonald, digital editor

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