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June 28, 2019

Welcome to the team!


We’ve got some new faces around the office so of course we had to bug them about their favorite books. Read below to hear more from Sadie Teper (Associate Designer), Ben Krapohl (Assistant Project Editor), and Kara Rota (Senior Editor) about their publishing journeys and working at Chicago Review Press. And be sure to check out our newly updated staff page on the website!

            Sadie Teper

           Ben Krapohl

              Kara Rota


What are your three favorite reads?

SADIE: Well, it’s pretty hard to pick three all-time favorite reads, so I’ll just give you a few books I’ve read in the last year or so that I really like! Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi—I love historical fiction and it’s beautifully written. Becoming by Michelle Obama, because Michelle is my idol and the coolest and is such an amazing woman independent of her somewhat famous husband. (Ha.) Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah is up there too. I have a celebrity crush on Trev so it was fun learning more about his life, especially in a comedic way. He gives a lot of insight into the history of South Africa during apartheid as well. OK, sorry, one more—see I can never pick only three. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, because, well, just read it!

BEN: Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis, to disturb, realign, and fill the heart. The Animal Family, by Randall Jarrell, because it’s the happiest book I’ve ever read. Redwall, by Brian Jacques, because this book about talking mice with swords basically raised me.


Wise Child by Monica Furlong is a book I discovered when I was probably around nine or ten and have reread countless times since. It’s the story of a little girl who doesn’t belong and is taken in by Juniper, a woman who lives alone in a big house on a hill and grows plants and heals people and is kind to animals, which of course more or less makes her a witch. This book is full of valuable, real-world information, like the importance of what happens to your brain when you’re concentrating on a mundane task like sweeping, or the sort of people who are likely to want to harm you, and why. It created a world for me and told me a lot about the kind of life I wanted to build for myself. By the way, Juniper is the prequel in the series, but you should read Wise Child first.

Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown is a more recent nonfiction title that shifted my perception of what a nonfiction book can and should be. Reading this book felt like a fog was lifting. Intertwining strands of radical self-help, science/[fiction], activism, community organizing, relationship theory, and social change, this was one of the most hopeful reads of my past year.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman has stayed with me since I was a dorky kid starting a “Walt Whitman Club” in my treehouse. Its themes and language still feel so urgent and raw, even though it was written over 150 years ago! I love how much Walt struggled with it over decades, publishing different editions at vastly different scales. It reminds me of an idea I think I probably got from Maggie Nelson, that so many of us need to keep telling and retelling the same story for our whole lives, circling back and revisiting the same questions that have plagued us always. Speaking of—

Bluets by Maggie Nelson. If you know, you know.

How did you get into a career in publishing?

SADIE: I’ve always loved to read, so it makes sense I wound up in the book world. Also I have always just loved print design. One of my first design jobs was at a newspaper, so although it’s not quite the same, a lot of newspaper layout design translates to books pretty well!

BEN: Having just stumbled out of college in January, I’m still asking myself the same question! But that shock and awe boils down to gratitude: I’ve wanted to work with books just about my entire life, and now—thanks to the professional writing department at Taylor University, my sainted mother’s constant exhortations, and some beautiful stroke of luck—I’m here.

KARA: My first memory of editing a book is when I was around four years old and in love with this picture book called Danny and the Dinosaur, a classic originally published in 1958. I think the copy I had might have even been my mom’s or my uncle’s from when they were very small. It’s a fantastic, delightful book about a little boy who befriends a dinosaur and they share a magical day together filled with adventures. The only problem was this book’s dialogue, which relied heavily on the verb “said,” with barely any variation, if any. My mom and I went through the book with sticker labels and a marker, practicing vocabulary: when we were done, Danny exclaimed! He exhorted! He pronounced! My mom taught me that language was for enjoying, for playing with. I brought that lesson with me through school, through my first editorial job at a magazine in Manhattan, through managing a tech start-up that interfaced with both software developers and the publishing industry, whose languages can tend to be quite different. When the start-up was acquired by Macmillan in 2014 and I began working with authors, editing manuscripts, and advocating for books to make them the best possible versions of themselves, I knew I’d found the job I’d sort of been doing my whole life.

What are you most excited to work on at Chicago Review Press?

SADIE: I am super excited to work on book covers eventually! Also I like working on all of the promotional giveaway marketing materials. I was a super cool kid and collected bookmarks in my youth, so maybe someday one I design here will wind up in some other child’s proud bookmark stash.

BEN: I’m thrilled to be able to work hands-on with in-process manuscripts—to see a text evolving until it’s an actual book you can hold in your actual hands. How cool is that??

KARA: It’s incredibly meaningful for me to have the opportunity to learn from a mission-driven independent publisher that’s thinking about the future of publishing in innovative ways. Also, I’m thrilled to be picking up the music category and diving into projects about some of my favorite artists!


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