Weekend Edition: The week's best reads
"I was looking at one of the family portraits from 1830 of Eleanora, my grandmother's great-great-grandmother," says Peruvian artist and photographer Christian Fuchs. "I began to think, 'Considering we share the same genes, could I actually look like her?'" Christian is obsessed with his illustrious ancestors and spends months painstakingly recreating portraits of his forebears, and posing for them himself.
"When I woke up I could still hear the sounds in the operating room," says Canadian Donna Penner. "They were moving around and doing their things and then all of a sudden I heard him say, 'Scalpel please.' I just froze. I thought, 'What did I just hear?'" Donna was undergoing abdominal surgery when she woke up just before the surgeon made his first incision. She describes how she survived the excruciating pain of being operated on while awake.
When you're heartbroken, everything reminds you of the person who's no longer there. So do you burn your love letters? Throw away your wedding dress after a divorce? Send back that single mismatched sock? At the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood, everyday stuff is exhibited as art along with each object's story of betrayal or loss. The result is an intriguing collection of heartbreak.
"Mustering all my courage, I challenged my views on arranged marriage and agreed to marry you. This man I hardly knew. It wasn't love at first sight, but your kind eyes and that smile really drew me in," writes Hina in a love letter to her husband Kam. To mark Valentine's Day, read four love letters, each telling a unique story - tales of heartbreak, elation, rejection and redemption.
"I didn't want it to be a big thing. I just wanted people to know I was there and to accept it as normal. Just having one teacher as a visible gay person in their lives could make a huge difference," says secondary school teacher Daniel Gray. He has always kept his sexuality to himself at work. But to mark LGBT History Month, the 32-year-old from Brighton made the nerve-wracking decision to come out to more than 1,000 students.
"We were taught that we were celestial children, having been born from the prophet Ervil LeBaron. And we believed it. Even though we were treated so poorly we still believed we were celestial children." Anna LeBaron's father, Ervil, was the leader of a polygamous cult responsible for more than 20 murders. The killings continued even after his death thanks to a hit list he had left behind. Anna speaks for the first time about how she escaped from the cult - and her hope to "redeem" the LeBaron name.