Leah Rachel von Essen

Leah Rachel von Essen is a writer and editor who gets most of her reading done while walking. She works full-time as a magazine assistant editor, while also reviewing for Booklist, writing for Book Riot and other publications, writing her blog, and working on writing and querying her novels. She uses her spare time to watch women's soccer, travel, and sometimes even sleep. Originally from New Jersey, she came to the South Side of Chicago to study magical realism, surrealism, fairy tales, religious studies, and the forms of the novel at the University of Chicago. She, her cat Ms. Nellie Bly, and her two large bookshelves live reading-and-walking distance from Lake Michigan. Leah writes about the books she's reading at While Reading and Walking. Twitter: @reading_while

11 Books on the Bias Against Women in Healthcare and Medicine

These authors cover intersectional issues, present solutions, and share their experiences of sexism in healthcare, research, and the ER in books like Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology by Deirdre Cooper Owens.

6 Books Celebrating Women’s Early Contributions to Fantasy and Sci Fi

If you thought the landscape of classic SFF was exclusively male, peep these science fiction and fantasy stories by women, including Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown.

How the Pandemic Has Changed Our Reading Lives

Real readers weigh in on how the stress and new routines of the pandemic have changed how much we’re reading—and what we’re choosing to read.

9 Gothic Books to Read this Autumn

When you want to get into the spirit of autumn, but aren’t too keen on scary horror novels, check out these excellent gothic books, like Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

How the USPS Chooses Its Literary Stamps

A look at how the USPS selects which stamps to make and how they do it, plus a deep dive into literary stamps through the years.

6 YA Books That I Needed as an Anxious Queer Teen

One reader reflects on the queer YA novels that she wishes she could send back to her young, anxious self, including When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey.

10 Lyrical Memoirs That Will Enchant You

These 10 lyrical memoirs will stay with you long after you finish reading them, like How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones.

28 J.R.R. Tolkien Quotes from his Books, Essays, and Letters

J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most revered fantasy authors, and these are some of the best Tolkien quotes from LOTR, essays, and his other books.

20 Must-Read Books Set in Spain by Spanish Authors

Take a literary trip to España through the pages of these must-read books set in Spain, like The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

On My In-Class Rebellion About Woolf’s ORLANDO

A reader recounts an in-class rebellion to fight for space to discuss queerness in Woolf's ORLANDO, and how that rebellion encouraged her as a reader.

Reading Pathways: Virginia Woolf Books

Here's a small guide to help you ease into this formidable author's fiction, and to show you where to start with Virginia Woolf books.

My Literary Adventure Through Barcelona

Escape with a bit of virtual tourism as one traveler takes you around literary Barcelona, from a Hemingway haunt to bookstores and hideaways.

Back to Borrowing: Regaining a Love for the Library

How one reader who thought she had grown out of borrowing books regained a passion for using the local library.

20 Must-Read Fantasy and Sci-Fi Short Story Collections

Add some of the best fantastic, ambiguous, twisting, mysterious, and world-bending SFF short story collections out there right now to your TBR.

Seeing My Queer, Ill Self in Jenn Shapland’s New Memoir

One Rioter felt deeply seen as Jenn Shapland linked invisibility, queerness, and illness in MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CARSON MCCULLERS.