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1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania staffer cooks up popular online fusion of book reviews, food

Chase reading under a tree

Having read 137 books last year, Chase Waskey is known to members of the campus community as the person to come to if they’re looking for, say, a good novel to enjoy over spring break.

What they might not know is that Waskey, a health educator at Transylvania University, is a popular online book reviewer. In fact, this past weekend her Instagram account The Bookend Diner surpassed 11,000 followers.

The diner part of the name comes from her love of cooking, which often finds its way into her reviews — whether she’s discussing a cookbook or posting a photo of a character’s favorite pie.

She started The Bookend Diner last spring on social media and a blog site as a way to combine two of her passions into a creative outlet — now she can talk about books all the time without having her friends wish she’d stop talking about books all the time.

“I never thought it was going to take off as much as it did,” she said.

In just this past year she’s developed a lot of partnerships with publishers, who send her free, not-yet-released books to review. “My reading list is about a mile long, and I keep track of everything in an Excel sheet,” Waskey said.

Two to three times a week she posts reviews of books from a variety of genres, from historical fiction to thrillers to sci-fi.

She especially likes books set in the past. “I can learn about history and travel the world without having to leave my seat,” she said. “A lot of times if I’m reading about a place in a book, I’ll look it up so I can see what it looks like, and I will feel that I am really there. I love being transported into the books and the story line.”

Now she can take her experiences to a new level by sharing them with thousands of other readers.

“I definitely found out I enjoy life a lot right now because I can access this creative side of my brain,” Waskey said. “It’s been fun.”

Next up, she’s thinking about starting a Transylvania book club, which may meet over lunch, of course.