Archive for October, 2010

October 30th, 2010

September & October in Review

by Gwen

It was a strange month here at Chew & Digest. My TBR pile has exploded to the point where I am learning to say no to people and I have been working hard at reading some classics that I never quite got around to back in the day. I have to thank the Kindle for all of the free classics.

September I never got around to post this, so excuse me for including it here.

  1. Scoundrels in Law by Cait Murphy 2010 352 pp NF
  2. My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg 2010 448 pp
  3. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins 1860 720 pp
  4. The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell 2010 352 pp
  5. The Book Stops Here by Ian Samson 2008 307 pp
  6. Dogfight, A Love Story by Mike Burgess 2010 304 pp
  7. Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help by Douglass Anthony Cooper 2008 224 pp
  8. The Bad Book Affair by Ian Samson 2010 368 pp
  9. The Monster of Florence by Douglass Preston & Mario Spezi 2008 368 pp NF
  10. Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read by Scott McNulty 2009 272 pp NF
  11. Field Guide to California Agriculture by Paul Starrs 2010 504 pp NF
  12. Create HTML Email that People Want to Read by Matthew Patterson 2010 200 pp NF
  13. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 1890 178 pp
  14. The Gendarme by Mark T. Mustian 2010 304 pp
  15. The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Samson 2006 352 pp
  16. Tom Sawyer and the Undead by Don Borchart 2010 304 pp
  17. Redneck Country, Black Letter Law by John Russell Smith 2010 560 pages
  18. Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner 2010 320 pp


Rustic Onion and Goat Cheese Tart I experimented with this month.


  1. The Moneychangers by Upton Sinclair 1908 206 pp
  2. The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw 2010 368 pp
  3. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair 1906 448 pp
  4. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson 1886 94 pp
  5. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving 1820 28 pp
  6. The Dark End of the Street  by Danielle McGlure 2010 324 pp NF
  7. Julita’s Sands: A Memoir by Emily Placido 2010 648 pp NF
  8. Banned in Boston by Neil Miller 2010 209 pp NF
  9. George Eliot in Love by Brenda Maddox 2010 238 pp NF
  10. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson 2008 336 pp
  11. The Name of the Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch 2007 363 pp
  12. What a Difference a Dog Makes by Dana Jennings 2010 156 pp NF
  13. The Titan by Theodore Dreiser 1914 589 pp

I put the classics in red just to see how many I did. During BBAW, I realized that I had put a halt to reading them and that made me sad. Now what makes me sad is that I have been so busy reading and reviewing for work, that I haven’t been reviewing for here too much.

New Problem. New Solution!

I have an exciting review filled week coming up.



October 28th, 2010

Cross-Bloggination with Danielle from There’s a Book

by Gwen

It’s that time again! Can you believe another month has already come and gone? It’s unbelievable!

Well, thanks to the fabulous Lydia at The Lost Entwife (the brains behind "Cross-Bloggination"), I get to chat a little bit more about a book that moved me beyond almost any other than I’ve read. My choice this month…Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Jumpstart the World is a book all about making changes, and impacting the lives of others for good. A fictional story based in a world of reality, of fear and discrimination that revolves around the life of a young girl with a flighty mother. Elle is suddenly dumped in her own apartment with her "own" things after her mother’s rash decision to follow the desires of her relatively new boyfriend. Problem…Elle is still in high school and not even a legal age to be on her own yet. Instead of seeing this as a problem, her mother looks at this as a grand new adventure and ignores the feelings of her only daughter. Once alone, Elle finds new friends and slowly comes to many of the realizations that so many do after being on your own for the first time, but decides…it’s time to make a change.

This book is by far one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. Not only is the writing impeccable, but the story is absolutely compelling. Elle’s first encounter with anyone besides her mother in her new apartment is a man who lives down the hall, Frank. Frank happens to be transgender, but this is something that Elle doesn’t see until much much later in the book. Outside of Frank the only other person she feels she can trust is a new friend from school, Wilbur. They both help her to see the importance of the relationships we have and the lives of those in the world.

Truly, I could go on and on about this book. Jumpstart the World is about love. It’s about showing others they have value and that no matter what someone may say about them it’s who they are that is important. In a world torn up by so many issues, especially those dealing with the LGBT community and teens this is a book everyone should read. From teens who will find comfort and strength in it’s pages to adults who will be reminded of the importance of the individual, you don’t want to miss this fantastic addition to Catherine Ryan Hyde’s writing.

Thank you so much to the always wonderful Gwen for hosting me today! If any of your readers are interested I have reviewed and am giving away 2 Signed copies of Jumpstart the World on my site and I’d love to have them enter. Thank you again!

October 27th, 2010

The Negative Factors of the Christmas Card

by Gwen

Now is the time of year when I start going nuts over Christmas cards. Only this year, it is a wee bit worse because I am trying to take myself seriously and plan to send out business-y looking  cards to some of my contacts as well.

I have been patiently perusing the selection at of photo cards, calendars, and really cute Christmas gift tags in preparation for ordering. As usual, I have issues.


Here are the things that I have to consider:

1. The Hate factor. Art hates having his picture taken. I think that I have 3 of him that I have taken and there is one of us together on a boat in Chicago which looks like we are so unhappy about our pending trip to the Artic. (we weren’t going to the Artic, just bundled up for a blizzard)

2. The Cringe Factor. Every picture I have ever had taken of myself makes me cringe. There is always a hair out of place, a blemish in full bloom, something that will forever kill that happy feeling that I am trying to give off.  (except for Senior Prom, I rocked that one, but that was 20 years ago)

3. The Vanity Factor. Part of me thinks that it is sort of vain to plaster yourself all over your Christmas cards. I mean, if you have kids, it’s great and fine, but if it is just you and you dog, because your partner doesn’t want the pictures of him being leaked to the world….it makes me look a bit vain.

4. The WHO-DIS Factor. Who am I sending these to and why? Do I choose one card and send them out to everyone? Or do I do a crazy warm wishing family cards to send to the fam and make more subtle Chew & Digest Books cards to my PR connections, employers, authors, and such?

5. The Cutsy, But I Don’t Have Wee Ones Factor. This could easily be solved by renting some rugrats from a neighbor and telling people that they are my kids, but that would be cheating. That and my neighbors grandchildren are Asian. We aren’t and I think that it would be pretty obvious if we use them to look like the are our kids. (on the other hand, it would look like we adopted….we could be Brangelina)

Still, I want to go through all of this to create something unique. With my budget, it is either this tiny splurge or everyone is getting coal and baked goods.





Am thinking about something simple like this for work stuff.















This isn’t our name, but an thinking of snatching these up for gift tags.





On the other hand, I just may buy everyone a calendar that has the same picture of Murphy over and over and over. You know, it would be the gift that keeps on giving. {insert drum role here}

So, what where do you get your Christmas cards? Have you used Shutterfly?



October 24th, 2010

The Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy

by Gwen




When you think of pasta, how many shapes can you name? Maybe a handful? There are over 300 shapes and they all have their uses and back stories. I can barely count that high, but I can eat and am passable at cooking.

Call The Geometry of Pasta a cookbook for the hungry graphic artist in you. There aren’t any pictures of the prepared dishes, just fabulous graphics of each individual type of pasta. Check this one out.


The Geometry of Pasta - AGNOLOTTI

AGNOLOTTI are, in essence, ravioli, but instead of being made from two squares of pasta, they are made from one piece folded in half.

After each description, there are suggested sauces, the history of the shape and dimensions along with a recipe for a sauce or two. (For Agnolotti, Kenedy suggests butter and sage, in broto, stew juice, and tomato sauce.)

I can see what you are thinking, without pictures this sounds boring and unappetizing. Au contraire my hungry friend. The ingredients jump of the page leaving your mouth watering.

The first one I tried was the Walnut Pesto. It was so good that I have made it multiple times and still haven’t managed to be able to take my own picture of it before it is gone.


Stole this shot from Country Living, but it looks just like this

My kitchen is the size of a shoebox. Therefore I am pretty stingy when it comes to giving up space for cookbooks, but this baby has a place of pride right along with Fannie Farmer and The Joy of Cooking. It even inspired me to take up a bit more space and buy a pasta roller thing to make my own.

The Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy


  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Boxtree, Limited (May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752227378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752227375signature_thumb[1]


October 22nd, 2010

A Bit About Me(Me)~ In Which One of the Adjectives Attacks Me

by Gwen


It is time once again, to step out from behind the book and get to know one another better.

We all have a story and a life beyond the book and thanks to Danielle from There’s A Book, we get share. She asks the questions and we get to answer.




This weeks question- What are three adjectives to describe you?

I hemmed and hawed about this one all week. If I say that I am “X” will they think that I am stuck up, crazy, boring? If I say “Y” do they know that I mean it this way and not that way?

That little back and forth went on all week and then it hit me. I was being attacked by possibly the worst adjective that I have on my little plate of a brain-OVER ANALYSING EVERYTHING.



This is me on a daily basis. Should I go to buy Diet Coke now, or should I wait until I know what we are making for dinner. (in case we need something else from the store)

But I need Diet Coke now, I go crazy without Diet Coke. I wonder if Coffee would work?




Coming up with that adjective was so emotionally draining that I had to call in for help on the other 2.

ME: Art, name three adjectives that you would use to describe me. 

Art: Silence.  Pensive        Silence. 

ME: It shouldn’t be that hard for you. If it is negative, I can take it.

Art: Creative? and you just made one of those faces at me, you are also animated.


So there you have it, I over-analyze everything, I am creative and my boyfriend says that I am animated.  I am choosing to define the word animated as lively, outgoing and vigorous as opposed to some sort of cartoon character. I guess you could call me expressive and it would get rid of all of the visions of the Coyote scrapping with the Road Runner in your head.

On the other hand, it is sort of cool being compared to Wile E. Coyote…..Genius