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

12 Books in Translation From Central Africa

I put together a list of 12 superb books in translation from Central Africa, including works by authors Agualusa, Ofono, and more, including Co-Wives, Co-Widows by Adrienne Yabouza, translated from French by Rachael McGill

How Becoming a Pen Pal Supports Incarcerated Populations

Letter-writing supports incarcerated populations and can help with literacy, interpersonal relationships, and more.

The Best Books to Give as Gifts in 2021

It’s hard to get your bookish friends something they haven’t already read—until now! Here are the best books to give as gifts this year, including Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki.

The Best LGBTQ Books That Aren’t YA

There are plenty of amazing LGBTQ books that aren’t YA! Here are just some of the best adult LGBTQ books out there to get you started, including Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis and American Hippo by Sarah Gailey.

14 Works of Mexican Literature Available in English Translation

From gothic gay vampire stories like The Route of Ice and Salt by José Luis Zárate, translated by David Bowles to dark contemporary novels like Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman, here are some of the best Mexican works in translation.

The Best Ways to Read a Hard Book

What's the best way to read a hard book? Some tips, tricks, and encouragement for tackling those intimidating reads.

Plan a Fall Day and We’ll Give You a Book to Preorder

Come plan your perfect full day! I'll tell you exactly which fall release to preorder, though you may want to order them all!

16 French Books Available in English Translation

Check out these must-read French books in translation, including prize-winning books by Négar Djavadi, David Diop, and Virginie Despentes.

How to Start Reading Fiction (When You Only Read Nonfiction)

Are you a nonfiction fan that's having trouble figuring out how to start reading fiction? These tips and books recommendations can help!

15 Argentinian Books Available in English Translation

Check out these must-reads from Argentinian authors, including Mariana Enríquez, Samanta Schweblin, and César Aira.