Love and Death by Suandini Banerjee

My reading choices are rather eclectic and all over the place. I enjoy reading a wide range of books including literature in translation, classics, poetry, history and travel writing. I especially like to support small presses. If you wish to contact me please send an email to magistrabeck@outlook.com

My father was a book binder for 44 years, so yes, I actually am the “Book Binder’s Daughter.” Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope that you find a good book and I look forward to your comments.


Links to some of my essays and criticism in other magazines:

Originally Published in The Quarterly Conversation:

My Interview with Anne Carson

A Review of the Bakkhai by Eurpidies and translated by Anne Carson

Music & Literature:

A Review of The Fox and Dr. Shimamura by Christine Wunnicke translated by Philip Boehm

3:A.M. Magazine:
In umbra voluptatis lusi: A Review of A Terrace in Rome by Pascal Quignard

Open Letters Monthly:
Once Upon a Time in Kerala: A Review of Chemmeen by T.S. Pillai

Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man by U.R. Ananthamurthy

Numero Cinq:
Do we give a fuck about fucking anymore?—A Review of Coming by Jean Luc Nancy

Hell and Back: A Review of American Philosophy A Love Story by John Kaag

An Incomplete Life: A Review of Ernesto by Umberto Saba

World Literature Today:
Frontier by Can Xue

The Heart of the Leopard Children by Wilfried N’Sondé

Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi

A Greater Music by Bae Suah

Charges by Elfriede Jelinek

The Scofield:

You Can’t Go Home Again: A Review of Map Drawn by a Spy by Guillermo Infante Cabrera.

53 responses to “About

  1. I’m told I literally let out a gasp when I saw you were a Rush fan. ;o)

    Liked by 4 people

    • I am always so glad to meet a fellow Rush fan! Did you see their Clockwork Angels Tour? I got an ARC of Neil Peart’s new book Far and Near to review which I am very excited about.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I was priced out of the Clockwork Angels show, but I watch the DVD a LOT! ;o)

        Ordinarily I would love to read a new Neil Peart book, but since that’s his blog posts in book form, I’ve already read them. I am looking forward to the Clockwork Angels sequel, though. Have you heard about that?

        You know what would be fun? Translating fave lyrics into Latin! ;o)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea there is a Clockwork Angels sequel. How exciting!!! Yes, Latin Rush lyrics would definitely combine two of my favorite things 🙂


  3. It’s called Clockwork Lives. Not really a sequel; it’ll be shorts of minor characters. Hope they do Francesca.

    There’s also gonna be a collection of short stories, including a novella by Anderson called 2113.

    BTW, if you do the Latin, may I suggest you start with Bravado? ;o)


  4. I love short stories, that sounds so interesting. Thanks for mentioning it! And yes, Bravado would be a good one to translate 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. littlebookdragonfly

    Hi, I really liked your blog and nominated it for the VBA https://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/about/ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been enjoying your reviews and wanted to take this chance to thank you for last month’s informative presentation at ARIA. Although my plots have been described as interesting, my characters,well-developed, my prose, mellifluous, I am a writer of children’s stories and therefore will never be the subject of a Book Binder’s Daughter class review! Perhaps I’ll change genre? Let me see that list………


  7. Just came upon your blog through a goodreads review. Love what you’ve done & would like to add your blog to my blogroll. Nice job!


  8. You flatter me. I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well met, Melissa! I look forward to browsing your reviews — always looking for new books, though my to-read pile is currently taller than my bedside lamp!


  10. Hi Melissa, just came across your blog when browsing rvs of The 6.41 to Paris which I’ve just read and am thinking of reviewing. Can’t resist contacting you now I know you’re a Latin/Greek woman- I’ve been a member of a Latin reading group for several years and have been learning Ancient Greek for 2 years – just love it although it’s bloody hard! Have you mastered your Greek verbs yet? My teacher doubts that anyone can ever say that.


    • Thanks so much for your nice comment! The Greek verb is very tough indeed! I don’t think anyone truly memorizes all 6 principal parts of each verb! I look forward to reading your review of The 6:41 to Paris!


  11. Book binding–how interesting, and I love the word. Books bind and heal.


  12. bookloverbabbles

    Hello there! My name is Aya, and I am a fellow book lover/blogger. I was wondering if you’d be interested in participating in a small project that I am doing. I wanted to ask a bunch of bloggers (49, to be exact :p), to give me one of their favorite book quotes. I’m going to compile them all in one post and then post it on my blog on the 22nd of this month. It’d be fantastic if you would be a part of this. Just let me know by this Sunday, please, so that I have plenty of time to compile and/or ask someone else. Thank you!
    P.S. You are the 6th one to be asked!


  13. authorvention

    glad to have found your blog


  14. Thanks for visiting my blog and deciding to follow – I hope it’s worth it. I shall return the favour, for two reasons: one: not enough about the classics anywhere and two: I learned the rudiments of bookbinding from my father!


  15. I smiled at your reference to Chinese back tea – exactly how I love to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Deepika Ramesh

    Hi! I am so glad to have discovered your blog. I look forward to interacting with you and reading your thoughts. 🙂


  17. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/15/better-late-never-rome-revokes-exile-poet-ovid-2000-years-death/

    I offer you this story which I’ve just come across, with Christmas greetings (also adding that I’m not a regular reader of the Daily Telegraph, should you be worried).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Fantastic site, i bet you’d tear my poetry apart lol.


  19. jamescraigvickers

    Hi Melissa,
    I started following your blog about 2 months ago and I am enjoying it immensely. You are a sensitive and thoughtful reader and I look forward to every new post. I live in Toronto, Canada, the birthplace of both Anne Carson and Rush! And not to brag, I have occasionally spotted Geddy Lee in his seats behind Homeplate at Toronto Blue Jays games. I too am very interested in literature in translation and supporting small presses. I have particularly liked your post about Vergil’s Aeneid and the fate of Dido. I read many of classics in translation many years ago in University. Then about 10 years ago I picked the Fagles translation of The Iliad and was blown away. Down the road, I may perhaps ask you questions about preferred translations of the classics. Thanks again for your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Craig! Fagles is my favorite translation of the Iliad and I’d be more than happy to suggest translations of other authors. Geddy Lee is my favorite member of Rush. How cool to have seen him in person. I’m so heartbroken that they’ve retired from making music.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Bernard Jones

    I wonder if you would be interested in a new book to be published soon, called ‘The Discovery of Troy and its Lost History’? It is the result of 30 years research and will remove the ‘Story of Troy’ from the realm of myth and place it firmly into the historical arena. It may be the greatest story ever told but the truth has never been established – until now! I would be pleased to forward all relevant information about the book and the author. Please contact me at the address provided as space here is prohibitive. Best Regards.


  21. Hello! I have just written my first book and would love to submit it to you for review. Are you accepting material at this time?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sean Hovater

    Hi Melissa. I enjoy your articles immensely. I used to study Greek, but didn’t get far, mostly Koine Greek of the New Testament is what I learned.
    Anyway, I am by no means a scholar but love how words of different languages have such deep meaning, sometimes several meanings, of one English word. I also love poetry and I enjoyed the article you wrote on Latin poetry, I don’t recall the name, but very interesting.
    I wanted to ask you if you could recommend a book either poetry or story that you think was a good translation of Latin or whatever language. I have order two books you reviewed already I was just wondering if you have a favorite or favorites.

    I would love to talk with you and pick your brain. If you are up for conversation, email, let me know. I would really enjoy it.

    My name is Sean. I do look forward to your articles and know you inform and entertain a lot of us.

    Thank you for reading my comment.


    Liked by 1 person

  23. Cheryl Wilder

    Hi Melissa,

    I found your site looking for poetry reviewers on Book Sirens. Your writing is so much fun to read and I’ve learned a lot already! I started with your pieces on Numero Cinq since I got to know Doug Glover in graduate school. You’re a perfect fit for his aesthetic. I didn’t see another way to contact you to ask if you are still reviewing poetry books. My debut collection comes out in March and I think it might interest you. There’s a common theme of how trauma reverberates through one’s life, but the difference is that the speaker is the one responsible.

    I hope you are well. Thank you for considering.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi, Melissa,

    I need to add some things to last message. (This isn’t meant to be posted on your site.) Are you by any chance related to Ervin Beck?? If so, I’d love to be in touch with you! (My college English professor was Ervin Beck, whom I think had a daughter named Melissa. Also, I remember writing a feature article on him once about his work with old books.) Also, my third collection of poetry is forthcoming with Caitlin Press and perhaps I could have them send you an ARC for possible review? Also, my husband is a huge Rush fan and I saw the Clockwork Angels tour in Vancouver! I also once gave him a signed copy of one of Neil Peart’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! Beck was my married name, my late husband’s family, so no relation there.

      I saw the Clockwork Angels tour as well. What a show they put on! I’m envious your husband has a signed book!

      Feel free to email me at magistrabeck at Outlook dot com for details about sending your poetry collection. Thanks so much!


  25. Hello,

    I was looking for your email on the about page but can’t seem to find it. Would you be interested in reviewing my poetry collection? I see that you are a Rush fan. I am one as well, along with bands like Dream Theater. Much of my poetry focuses on rock legends like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Guns ‘n’ Roses, and modern metal bands. My book is called Euphoric Wonderland. I left the link down below. Let me know if there is a way to reach out to you in hopes of a review. Thanks so much.


    Liked by 1 person

  26. Jay Sizemore

    I would love to get a copy of my new poetry collection Canon Fodder in your hands, and have you give it an honest review. 

    This collection is a ambitious volume of poems that respond to readings of classic novels, and works that are considered modern masterpieces. I wrote poems after reading novels that usually appear on top 100 all-time lists.

    Please let me know if you’d be interested in reviewing this book, and where I can send it if so. 

    My many thanks! 

    Jay Sizemore 


  27. Hello to the Daughter of the Bookbinder,
    I’m reaching out as a lover of poetry and reviews for book: Beautifully Broken by Laura Fitzgerald

    I can send further information of book with direct email attachments if needed.

    CEO and Founder- Hybrid Sequence Media

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Natalia

    Hi there, I am looking for a reviewer for my new poetry book. Is this a possibility? Waiting to hear back.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Good afternoon! My name is O’Cyrus. I’m an author and poet. I recently published a poetry book titled “Sacred” on Amazon. The page count is 134. It’s been hard to get my book reviewed. If at all possible, would you be interested in helping? I can review your material as well. Thank you so much for your time =) Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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