I grew up in Maryland, USA and have a degree in English and Religion from Hood College.
I first came to England in 2003 as a study abroad student at the University of Reading and returned in 2005 to get an MA in Victorian Literature from the University of Leeds. Meeting my future husband in 2003 gave me a reason to keep coming back, and I’ve now lived in England continuously for nearly 13 years.
Jobs and circumstances have kept us circling around the southeast, but we’re currently based in Newbury, Berkshire.
We maintain connections with nearby Reading, a name that always pleases me as a book-lover even though, of course, it’s actually pronounced ‘Redding’.
For six years I was a college library assistant in the States and then in London. Since July 2013 I’ve been a full-time freelance proofreader and writer, focusing on book reviews.
Editing science journal articles for academic English is my bread and butter.
I regularly review books for Kirkus (for no byline), as well as for the following outlets: BookBrowse, Bookmarks magazine (where I am an associate editor), Foreword Reviews, Nudge, Shiny New Books, the Times Literary Supplement and Wasafiri literary magazine.
My writing has previously appeared in BlueInk Review, The Bookbag, BookTrib, Fig Tree Books, For Books’ Sake, Glamour UK, Hakai web magazine, The Island Review, Literary Hub, the Los Angeles Review of Books, [PANK], the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Publishers Weekly, Quadrapheme, Stylist and Third Way magazine.
Blog History and Strategy
Bookish Beck started in March 2015. Since I review so many books for my work, it is intended as a fun space where I mostly talk about my leisure reading and the books I recommend.
I post frequently, with straightforward reviews or roundups of mini-reviews appearing on the blog up to eight times a month. You’ll notice that I alternate between British and American spellings and slang.
I also tend to feature books from my own shelves and from my library borrowing (feel free to join in the “Library Checkout” meme, which runs on the last Monday of every month); explore thematic connections; report on my literary travels, bookshops I’ve visited or events I’ve attended; and think more broadly and philosophically about my life – career, hobbies, and where it’s all going.
In 2017 and 2019 I ran “Doorstopper of the Month” and “Classic of the Month” features to encourage me to read some of the very long books that I own and get through more classics. I’m posting these occasionally in 2020.
I love following literary prizes such as the Booker and the Women’s Prize. In 2017 I also created an ongoing, unofficial Wellcome Book Prize shadow panel, and participated in the official Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shadow panel.
*CURRENT BIG PROJECT* As the Wellcome Book Prize (for health-themed books) is on hiatus in 2020, I am organizing a #NotTheWellcomePrize blog tour to run for the last two weeks of April, to celebrate the best medical releases of 2019.