What We’re Reading This Week: Paris, London, Berlin

This photo essay on the dilapidated state of Paris’ Gare du Nord is full of gritty tidbits, including the fact that falcons are released twice a month to scare the pigeons out. Looks like its pending $64 million clean-up job can’t come soon enough. —Arabella Bowen, Editor-in-Chief

We're at the height of white truffle season, so I enjoyed Eater's slick video—a primer of sorts—on the pricey fungi. One thing I learned: This year's crop is quite plentiful and therefore (slightly) cheaper than it has been in recent years, so get out there and enjoy it while it lasts! —Michael Alan Connelly, Editor, Fodors.com

Theo Padnos was in a few of my English classes at Middlebury many moons ago; Middlebury is a snowy haven in the Northeast Kingdom where it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to you is a bad day on the ski slopes. Fast forward to 2012:  Theo, a writer fluent in Arabic and living in Damascus, finds himself captured and tortured by al-Nusra Front, a branch of Al-Qaeda operating in Syria, for almost two years. Miraculously released in August 2014, Theo chronicled his captivity in a gripping piece in last week’s New York Times. —Kristan Schiller, Editor, Cities and Cultural Destinations

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I raced through this novel, set in post-World War I London, and was thoroughly taken with its great period detail and suspenseful story. Waters brings the city, the era, and the characters to vivid life. —Katherine Fleming Punia, Director of Publicity

I have been slowly making my way through A Woman in Berlin, not because the writing is difficult (it’s lyrical and perceptive) but because the subject matter is so painful. The anonymous diarist recorded eight weeks in 1945 as the Red Army took over Berlin and perpetrated mass rape on the female population. Published in Germany in 1959, it was reviled as an insult to German women, and the author refused to let it be reprinted until after her death. This 2005 English reissue remains one of the most powerful, and gripping, documents of the Second World War. —Róisín Cameron, Associate Editor, Countryside and Adventure