Leah Rachel von Essen

By day, Leah Rachel von Essen is the editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Magazine at the University of Chicago. By night, she reviews genre-bending fiction for Booklist, and writes regularly as a senior contributor at Book Riot. Her blog While Reading and Walking has over 10,000 dedicated followers over several social media outlets, including Instagram. She writes passionately about books in translation, chronic illness and bias in healthcare, queer books, twisty SFF, and magical realism and folklore. She was one of a select few bookstagrammers named to NewCity’s Chicago Lit50 in 2022. She is an avid traveler, a passionate fan of women’s basketball and soccer, and a lifelong learner. Twitter: @reading_while

The Malleus Maleficarum, and What It Meant for Witches

Learn about the 1486 book "Hammer of Witches" and how it changed popular understanding of who witches were—and how they should be punished.

11 Exciting New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Releases Out in April 2023

Check out this list of 11 new SFF releases coming in April 2023, including works by Olivie Blake and Chana Porter.

Mostly Dead, Slightly Alive: Exploring the Princess Bride Cookbook

The Princess Bride official cookbook helped me embrace the wonder of experimenting and just plain having fun in the kitchen.

11 Exciting Italian Books in Translation

Be transported to Italy with these 11 books in translation from Elena Ferrante, Jhumpa Lahiri, Daniele Mencarelli, and more.

The Nobel Prize In Literature Winners You Need to Read

There's a big intimidation factor with Nobel Prize in literature winners. I recommend 9 writers to start with, and which works to dive into.

8 Peruvian Books in Translation

I'm recommending eight Peruvian books in translation, from surrealist short stories to creative memoir to bloody historical fiction.

What Book Should I Read?

Wondering what book should I read? We've got your answers, stocked with new-to-you titles and reads for the new year.

35 of the Best Bookstores in the USA

Find the very best independent, local bookstores across the United States who are doing good, necessary work.

Holiday Gift Guide for Slackers

Hello procrastination nation! Need a gift...pretty fast? We've got you covered! Here are bookish gifts you can order right now.

Introducing the Best SFF of 2022

The best works of science fiction and fantasy in 2022, featuring book eaters and trans archivists, near-future dystopias, and dark worlds, including Babel by R.F. Kuang and The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean.