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

An Ode to Stories That Make Us Happy-Cry

Here's a toast to happy tears. To books that make us happy-cry, that give us that sharp relief and quiet catharsis.

The Best Bookish Spring Decor for a Cheerful Space

Get your spring sprung with bookish spring decor including art, pillows, vases, and more great seasonal items.

Forgotten Places: Books About Lost Cities & Lost Civilizations

Charge your wanderlust and dig deep into histories you may know little about with these books about lost cities and civilizations.

20 Must-Read Queer Books in Translation from Around the World

Queer books and books in translation are often difficult to find. To get you started, here are 20 this rioter has read and recommends, including Amatka, written and translated by Karin Tidbeck.

The Ever-Growing Challenges of Getting Books Into Prisons

The pandemic has made an difficult process even harder. As new challenges arise, organizations are fighting for prisoners’ access to books.

9 Books That Were Made to be Reread

If you love rereading books, and are looking for some perfect candidates, check out these complex, twisty books to reread.

Why We’re Okay With Life Being Consistently Weirder Than Fiction

One reader asks why we demand so much of our fiction when our lives themselves so often go beyond the suspension of disbelief.

9 Graphic Memoirs and True Stories by Women

Explore the myriad powerful stories through visual storytelling and these graphic memoirs and true stories by women, including The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui.

8 Intergenerational Family Sagas to Dig into This Winter

These eight brilliant novels of historical fiction featuring intergenerational family sagas tell sweeping and epic tales, including Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina A. Kover.

18 Literacy Charities To Donate To This Year

Donating for the holidays or for the CARES Act tax deduction? These literacy charities are doing great work locally and on larger scales.