Blogaversary and Welcome to Armchair BEA

by Gwen


While many are in New York at Book Expo America, some of us are having our own conventions from the comfort of our armchairs. Check out more on Armchair BEA or settle back and let me answer a few questions that the we have been asked so that everyone can get to know each other a wee bit better.

murphy n me2

Howdy my name is Gwen. That’s me, the one above the dog. (The dog’s name is Murphy Grace if you are interested) Four years ago yesterday, I decided that my book reviews were too scattered all over the internet and I really wanted to be able to find them in one place. A bit later I realized that I wasn’t the only book blogger out there and haven’t really looked back since.

Chew & Digest Books was chosen as the name in tribute to my high school English teacher, Sister Anne, who always started the class with, “Chew and digest the following…”

Insert awkward segue to something you might not know about me here Smile

Lately, blogging has sort of taken a back seat to a new craze with gardening. You may have read about it with my review of Mini Farming. The thing that you may not know about me unless you really get to know me….I get a little crazy about animals. Growing up in Southern California, I just didn’t get to be in tune with nature. Once I moved out of the area and got to see so many wonderful creatures with my own eyes…well, I have never gotten over it. I squee with every squirrel, Elk, goat, and woodpecker.

Lately, this fine family has taken up residence in my yard.

3 owls


I have been glued to the bedroom window for over a week now and the excitement hasn’t worn off. The only time I really take a break is when ordering Owl books to try and confirm which kind they actually are. We still don’t know for sure, but if you ever need books on Owls, I am your source.

Let’s see, I am meant to be answering questions, not going on about the owls again. Which I can see out the window as I type this, just saying.

Next question- What literary location would you most like to visit?

That is an easy one. I have always wanted to go to Ireland, never was specific, just Ireland. Earlier this year, I read On an Irish Island by Robert Kanigel and he focused on the cultural and literary history of the Great Blasket, an island off the west coast of Ireland. Ever since I have dreamed of going there. The writers that came out of that tiny island were amazing and the story of the Great Blasket itself is enchanting and sad. (note: I would have loved to post my review here, but since it hasn’t been published in the paper yet, I can’t)

I’ve blabbed on enough, one last question- Where do you see your Blog in five years?

I love reading, so that won’t change. Love talking about books with others, so that won’t change. Hope to get more consistent with reviewing, that would be nice. However, the big change will be location. We are plotting, planning, and attempting to get ducks in a row in order to move to Italy or Spain. I want the Abruzzo region of Italy and he is still open to Spain. I am more vociferous than he is, so let’s just go with Abruzzo.

Neither of us have ever been there and don’t speak Italian. Still it’s like one of those why not sort of things. We do speak Spanish. Well, he is fluent and I can understand it…most of it.

So I predict, that for the Armchair BEA in 2017, I will be reading books that most likely aren’t in Italian in Abruzzo, Italy. Where will you be?


19 Comments to “Blogaversary and Welcome to Armchair BEA”

  1. i have always had a thing for Ireland as well – I think its the accent!
    Have a great Armchair BEA
    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

  2. Nice pick for where you want to be! I’d love to visit any and all of Europe. Interesting story to your  blog’s name as well ;o)

    Mickey @ imabooksharkPS – Come check out my introduction? Thanks!

  3. I am insanely jealous of your owl family.  How cool to have them nearby!  Ireland is on my wish list of places to go, too.  And, Italy.  I’ll bet you’ll learn the language quickly, once you get there.  Immersion is allegedly the best way to learn a language.  

  4. ooh I think moving to Italy or Spain sounds fantastic! I hope you get to do it! Nice meeting you. 🙂 

  5. Happy Blogaversary!!

  6. Hi Gwen, so glad you are doing this too…been a longtime lover of your blog!

  7. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland, too!  Enjoy BEA and thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Martina @ Book Drunkard

  8. Omigosh those OWLS!! Love them. I’m actually scared of birds for the most part, and yet owls fascinate me. I totally get you being obsessed with them, because I would be too.

    Here’s my post.

  9.  So great to see all these 5 year plans. Happy Armchair BEA

  10. How cool to have owls in your backyard!  I do have a woodsy yard, but if there are owls back there, I haven’t seen them.  I do like watching all the songbirds at my feeder as I sit in the kitchen though.

    Italy and Spain–the only two foreign countries I’ve ever been to!  Much as I loved Italy, I might actually choose Spain to live in.  Maybe it’s because my husband is bilingual, or maybe it’s because I’d gotten culture shock out of my system when we went to Italy, but the Spanish just seemed friendlier and their current culture more vibrant.  But either would be fantastic!  I hope you get to one of them!

  11. Murphy Grace — lovely pup. What kind is she? She kind of looks at least part black lab, but then is pretty big so I want to say Dane, but not a Dane’s eyes. 

    Nice to meet you (and Murphy Grace!)

  12. I think that sounds like a fabulous plan for the future. Italian is easier to learn than Spanish, so perhaps you can start learning now.

  13. The owls were really cute and fluffy until I decided to get the binoculars out and see them up close…..yikes, the talons and the beaks on those babies!  I haven’t picked up the binoculars since. 

  14. I agree, the accent is a big factor and their tempo when speaking is just so charming, ’tis. 

  15. Sad that it is the one big thing that stuck with me from Sister Anne’s class 🙂 She would probably bop me if she knew. 

  16. Thank you very much. Shocking really that I have been around this long. Then there are times that it feels like forever. 

  17. I love that you have owls in your yard! I agree, I would be plastered to the window at all times like one of those weird suction-cup Garfields. Good to “meet” you! Thanks for stopping by my Armchair BEA Networking Post!!

  18. What a visual image, both of us glued to the window like those Garfields! Thanks for coming by to say hi. 

  19. Great introduction and I–and my six canine pals–are so very pleased to meet Murphy Grace. I love your story about the owls. Every morning when I let the dogs out I hear a couple of owls but so far I haven’t been able to spy them. I’m sure there’s a family nearby. Every spring when I lived across town I used to be greeted by these gorgeous red-headed woodpecker couple that set up house in the tree by my bay window offering me a glimpse into their very private maternity ward. Love your post.

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