Archive for February 19th, 2010

February 19th, 2010

About Gwen and Chew & Digest Books

by Gwen

My name is Gwen and I enjoy chewing and digesting books. I also like spitting out what I think about them. Okay, I don’t spit, I just tell you, dear reader, how I feel about them.

The only genre that I won’t read is romance. Don’t ask me to explain why in detail. Let’s just leave it at the genre makes me blush & let it go.

My reviews are also usually cross-posted at, Associated Content, Bookstove, Goodreads, and where ever else they will let me. I also work with the San Francisco Book Review and the Sacramento Book Review.

I must confess, I have another love. Home decorating and crafting makes me almost as giddy as reading, so I have a dual identity. If a book is a home/craft related, you can bet that I will mention it at MurphyGrace Home.

If you are an author or publisher and would like to contact me about a book you can email me at:

In case you are wondering, the name, Chew & Digest is a tribute to Sister Anne. She was a wonderful English teacher that I had many moons ago and she would start each class by telling us to “Chew & Digest the following..”

February 19th, 2010

The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle

by Gwen

The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle

Have you ever started to read a book and realized that it brought you a bit out of your comfort zone and frankly, was a bit over your head? This was one of those for me. I stuck with it though and it provoked many thoughts, feelings, and useful tidbits.

Terry Castle was once described by Susan Sontag as “the most expressive, most enlightening literary critic at large today.” She is the author of seven books of criticism, including The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture (1993) and Boss Ladies, Watch Out! Essays on Women and Sex (2002). Her anthology, The Literature of Lesbianism, won the Lambda Literary Editor’s Choice Award in 2003. She lives in San Francisco and is Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University.

The Professor and Other Writings is a collection of autobiographical essays that while I found often entertaining, came off at times as incredibly pretentious to me. I get that she is a well-known literary critic, but her constantly using French words and her naivety at the times she is writing about, hardly made me want to respect her. Or even like her for that matter.

I mentioned the nuggets of wisdom & entertainment….

“I’ve come to believe more and more about both writing and music making: that in order to succeed at either you have to stop trying to disguise who you are. The veils and pretenses of everyday life won’t work; a certain minimum truth-to-self is required. “ (in the essay, My Heroin Christmas)

Simply said, be who you are or you are going to fail. A lot of us, even in blogland, try to emulate other successful people as opposed to being ourselves. It is tough work and you can’t keep it up.

The essay, Home Alone, was a hilarious introspective on why we are all obsessed with shelter magazines. Castle refers to is as “house porn” and it kind of is.

I wouldn’t recommend The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle unless you are way more cultured and cooler than I am.

The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Harper (January 19, 2010)

ISBN-10: 0061670901

ISBN-13: 978-0061670909

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