A Bibliophile’s Guide to the Book Business

December 15, 2017

South Side Architectural boat tour

Photo courtesy of Enobong Essien. 

Enobong Essien always knew that she wanted to share her love of stories with others. Growing up, she surrounded herself with books and eagerly read whatever she could get her hands on. Her passion for reading led her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, writing in her spare time for her blog, Coconut Confessions.

For the past three months, Enobong has been interning with Booklist, the American Library Association’s review journal for public and school librarians. Booklist reviews over 8000 books each year to help librarians select books, develop their collections, and advise readers. As an intern, Enobong has received a crash course in magazine publishing and an overview of the American publishing world. She’s also had the opportunity to review books for the Booklist blog.

We caught up with Enobong to hear more about her internship experience and her must-dos in Chicago!

What impact has your J-1 experience had on your life and your career?

My J-1 experience has taught me a lot about adapting to a new workplace and making new relationships. Career-wise, I know now that I definitely want to enter into publishing, and I feel like I have a better idea about how to enter into the industry. It has opened my eyes to see that there are people as passionate about books and publishing as I am.


Photo courtesy of Enobong Essien. 

What was your favorite memory from your J-1 program?

My favourite memory is actually doing the mail with the other intern here. I had no idea just how many books are published every day and the range in qualities. I do wonder how there is a market for some of the books we open in the mail. My other favourite thing has been writing reviews. I love to read anyway, but it’s nice to add another purpose to reading for leisure.

What was your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

My favourite cultural activity was going to the downtown lighting ceremony and parade. The parade was unlike anything we have in England. I’ve also enjoyed attending live sports games, I’ve seen a football and a hockey game. But I love how metropolitan Chicago is and how vast the music scene and varied the arts and museum scene is. I spent a lot of my free time attending live music events and exploring art galleries and museums. Chicago also has some spectacular architecture, and in October, they had an open house, opening up otherwise private buildings to the public. I was allowed into City Hall and saw the inside of some amazing buildings. Plus, I got to see Hamilton, which was outstanding!


Photo courtesy of Enobong Essien. 

What advice can you offer to future exchange visitors coming to the United States? 

The advice I would give is to dive fully into all opportunities available to you. Americans are very friendly people, and it’s easy to make friends, which I would highly encourage.

What does cultural exchange mean to you?

Cultural exchange means stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing fully the new culture that you are a part of. It means taking risks and trying new things.

To read more from Enobong, check out her blog, connect with her on Twitter, or follow her on Instagram!


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