A semi-finalist for the J.N. 36 under 36, Elizabeth Parker has also had an impact on the local community, including Jewish individuals.
SSince childhood, Elizabeth Parker has always had a passion for writing. “Growing up, I was interested in writing fiction,” says the Clawson-based journalist and blogger.
Parker, 35, who works as an editor at Troy-based BNP Media and runs two blogs, Books I Think You Should Read and Yes/No Detroit, specializing in creative writing at the University of Michigan. “I originally wanted to get into creative writing because I wanted to be an author,” she says, “but I also like working on magazines.”
Throughout her studies at the University of Michigan, Parker continued to write, winning a Hopwood Prize – a major scholarship program – from the school in 2009 for her work.
Sharing books with the world
Around the same time, in August 2009, Parker came up with the idea for his first blog, Books I Think You Should Read. “I had just graduated from UM and hadn’t found a job yet, so I wanted something to keep me busy,” she recalls. “I post books that I think others would enjoy or be interested in.”
Books I think you should read include book reviews, author interviews, giveaways, and more. Since 2009, Parker has blogged continuously — at least once a week — with the help of guest writer Becki Smith Bayley.
Parker says she owes Bayley credit for keeping the blog alive throughout the pandemic, which didn’t give Parker the usual time to post reviews and interviews on her own. Their teamwork helps give Parker’s book-loving audiences new content to read on a regular basis.
An avid reader herself, Parker currently reads To improve by Blake Crouch, which publishes in July. She also enjoys reading the work of local writers. “I generally like local Michigan writers,” she explains. “Kristina Riggle and Camille Pagán are terrific.”
Covering the Detroit lifestyle and beyond
Yes/No Detroit, on the other hand, is a more recent project born in January 2010. The blog was originally called Yes/No Films, a platform where Parker would give films a review of “yes”, “no ” or maybe”. rather than a star-based review. In 2017, she renamed the blog to Yes/No Detroit, covering everything from travel to food to, of course, movies.
It’s “definitely a lot of local readers,” Parker says of the blog’s readership. Yet, when she hosts movie giveaways, she receives many entries from out-of-state readers and fans.
“Lifestyle interests me because it encompasses just about everything,” she explains. “I still like to write about entertainment. Even though I renamed my blog, I still write movie reviews.
Fortunately, Parker’s work offers flexible hours, allowing employees to set their own work hours. Thanks to this opportunity, Parker devotes every morning to working on his blog before starting his day job.
Make waves in the community
A semi-finalist for the J.N. 36 under 36, Parker has also had an impact on the local community, including Jewish individuals.
In early 2021, after reading a local news article about a “Detroit Vaccine Hunters” group, she messaged one of the founders on Facebook to see if she could help.
The mission: to make COVID-19 vaccination appointments for people in need.
“At the time, appointments could only be made for people aged 65 and over, and many of them couldn’t or didn’t know how to use the internet,” says Parker. “I helped book vaccine appointments for them.”
Helping Metro Detroit residents get these crucial vaccines has helped a greater effort to protect the community from the virus. “It was rewarding to be able to reserve them for people,” Parker says, “especially at a time when everyone was stressed about COVID and getting the vaccine.”
Parker also recently took a Birthright trip to Israel. “It was amazing to see Israel,” she recalls. “I had wanted to follow Birthright through college, but never could, so I was very glad they widened the age range.”
Now Parker continues to work on her two blogs and grow their audience. “I would like to develop my social network a little more,” she says. “I recently reached 4,000 Instagram followers, and I have about 4,350 on Facebook and 7,900 on Twitter.”
She hopes that as the pandemic subsides, she will also have more time to contribute book reviews to Books I Think You Should Read, her original passion project.
“I would really like to start reviewing my book blog a bit more,” Parker says.