Armchair BEA – Day 1: Introductions

Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA is for those people who cannot visit Book Expo America but still want to join in the fun. This week, May 28th to June 2nd, there are celebrations for those who stay at home rather than make it to New York. Look out for a new post every day from me!

Today, Tuesday, is about getting to know each other. Armchair BEA has made some interview questions that I’ll answer below.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

Although I call myself Leeswammes, I’m not Lee, as some people think: I’m JudithLeeswammes is a word I made up from two Dutch words and means something like “lazy person reading”.

Yes, I’m Dutch, from the Netherlands. I read books both in English and Dutch and I also have a Dutch book blog, De Boekblogger (“The Book Blogger”).

I have been blogging for three years. I was already reviewing books on Shelfari (it’s a reading community like Goodreads) but I wanted a place of my own to keep track of the books I read and share with others.

What are you currently reading?

At this moment, I’m reading The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs which is a nice, light read. Just as I like it in a busy few weeks. I read about 3-4 books per week normally, but it’s slow at the moment. 🙂

After that, I’m planning to read A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I’ve read two other books by her and I’m really looking forward to this new book.

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

Although I live in the Netherlands, I spent 15 years in England after my university degree. My kids are bilingual and my husband refuses to speak Dutch even after 6 years in the country (although I bet in an emergency, he’d be close to fluent).

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

I would love to visit Alaska, the setting of several books that I’ve loved: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, Caribou Island by David Vann, Away by Amy Bloom, Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson, Into the Wild by John Krakauer, Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein.

I like the idea of a beautiful, rugged place, with unspoiled nature, sparsely populated, and quite different from what I’m used to.

Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

Since I started blogging, I’ve become much more aware of the variety of books that is around. How? Because I visit other people’s blogs and discover all kinds of books that  might not have heard about otherwise. Because of that, I sometimes get books from the library that are not in my standard genres, or I win them in giveaways.

My reading tastes have not exactly changed, but are extended to books that I would not have read before I started blogging.

What about you?

Let me know your answer to one of these questions! 

I’m curious! 🙂


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

54 Responses to Armchair BEA – Day 1: Introductions

  1. Briana says:

    Alaska sounds so beautiful, but I dislike being cold! I suppose it’s not the first on my list of places to visit, but I do think it’s still a great choice. 😉

    It’s so cool you have two book blogs! Do you do completely different posts on each, or sometimes write about the same book on each?

    • Leeswammes says:

      I don’t like cold, either, Brianna, but I do like the scenery, I think.

      Yes, I post different things on both blogs. I think there are maybe 2 or 3 books that I reviewed on both blogs for some reason (over 3 years) but so, normally I don’t.

      Enjoy Armchair BEA!

      • Briana says:

        I’ve spent the past four years of my life living somewhere cold, so I’m not sure if that means I’m resigned to freezing now, or if I want to take off and live in the tropics somewhere and never be cold again. 😉

        It’s so impressive you can keep two blogs up! I was trying at one point (with a co-blogger!) and it wasn’t working very well.

      • Leeswammes says:

        Brianne, I guess blogging is one of the things I like so much that I keep it up whatever!

  2. Kathryn says:

    I enjoyed The Apple Orchard, my favourite read so far this year.
    I can identify with your thoughts about how visiting other people’s blogs does extend our reading diet. I too try books others talk about that I may never otherwise try.
    Hope you enjoy Armchair BEA

  3. *waves*

    I so agree with you on the variety of books I get introduced too now though it did cause more difficulty with picking up next reads.

  4. Nice summary of YOU. THANKS.

    I want to read THE APPLE ORCHARD. Glad to hear it is good.

    Have a fun Armchair BEA.

    Silver’s Reviews

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  6. Isi says:

    Alaska!! I would go with you! I also love places full of nature, and cold (I hate the heat of the summer here).
    And I agree that now I know much more books, since blogging makes you read other blogs and take a look at what others are reading 😀
    I won’t say anything about the 3-4 books per week 😛

  7. Jennifer says:

    I always wondered where your blog name came from!! Very cool 🙂

    I hope you enjoy the new Ozeki. I recently read it and thought it was wonderful.

    Happy BEA Judith!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jennifer, I know, lots of people really enjoyed the Ozeki book so I’m very keen to read it – I’ll probably finish my current book today, so I can start it tomorrow!

  8. Care says:

    I’ve been to Alaska and it’s on my list to visit again. My hub has never been there. I went to a wedding in Anchorage in May – the weather was lovely. Those books reminded me of Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden but it was set in Canada…

    • Leeswammes says:

      Care, you do get to places… Alaska, Netherlands… Very nice. I’m sure the weather in Alaska isn’t always freezing cold. I don’t know Joseph Boyden, must check him out.

  9. Kelly says:

    Thanks for helping me get to know you better, Judith! That is funny about your husband refusing to speak Dutch. I have several relatives in the Netherlands, and I have always been impressed at how well I am able to get by without a lick of knowledge of their language. 🙂
    Alaska is a great choice for a literary destination…I would love to go there! It seems so pristine and peaceful.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Kelly, yes, that’s the problem, everyone speaks English here so even when you DO want to learn to speak Dutch, you don’t really get the chance.

      I think we have a few people that would like to go to Alaska. We’ll have to book a private tour: Alaska for Bookish People.

  10. Hello there, fellow European! I believe we may be in the minority?? I’m in France but from Wales originally. Your hubby made me think of my dad, funnily enough. He’s an Englishman who’s been in Wales for well over 50 years now, but still refuses to admit he understands the language. Although he’s never had any trouble picking up on our comments about him! Enjoy BEA :0)

    • Leeswammes says:

      Hi Barmy bookworm, I think it’s Englishmen rather than men in general – no interest in speaking a different language.

      I do think we’re a minority but we’ll have our slice of BEA fun too!

  11. Great intro, Judith! I enjoyed learning more about you and your blog! 😀

  12. I’d love to visit Nantucket. Elin Hildebrand often includes that place in her books, as the setting, and it just seems so magical 😀 I’d also love to visit anywhere Jane Austen stepped! I just adore that writer!!!

  13. Stormy says:

    I’ve met a lot of bloggers from the Netherlands today! I think blogging has changed the way I read in a similar way, especially since now I KNOW when books are new releases. Before I just grabbed whatever looked good off the shelf, but now I have a general idea of what’s recently been released and what to look for.

  14. So cool that you’re Dutch! My mother-in-law grew up in The Netherlands, so my hubby has lots of Dutch recipes that are his favorites, and he can understand a bit of Dutch, though I understand absolutely none. But I do love me some chicken croquette 😉

    • Leeswammes says:

      Fictionconniotion, how nice that you have a Dutch connection! Yes, croquettes are a great invention! Does your husband make stampot (hutspot)? We eat it quite often – not very sophisticated but good old Dutch food. 🙂

  15. Ariel Wilson says:

    I love the meaning behind your blog name! That is something I would never have thought of, using a different language. I’m enjoying finding all theses bloggers overseas wanting to join in this week! Thanks for stopping by my blog, have a great week!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Ariel, it’s only because I’m Dutch that I used a different language for my blog. At first I wasn’t sure whether to have a Dutch or English blog – now I have both. 🙂

  16. I like the name you created and what it means! I love meeting people from other countries. I went to Amsterdam once, It was a nice city, I liked the pottery and the canals. I know what you mean, contemporary is still my favorite genre of books, but now i have branched out to read some dystopian because of my blogging friends suggestions.

    NIce to meet you!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Nice to meet you too, Rachel! I love dystopian too. I hadn’t even heard of the word before I started blogging but I’m a fan now. Tomorrow I’ll do a post on my favorite dystopians.

  17. Charlie says:

    You know, I hate the cold, but after The Snow Child, I kind of want to visit Alaska, too. And i’s awesome how blogging expands your reading horizons (Alaska included).

    • Leeswammes says:

      True, Charlie. I actually did a literary tour through the USA last summer. I made it to 47 states if I remember well. It’s really good fun, something like that.

  18. 3-4 books per week! I miss those days!

  19. Welcome to Armchair BEA! I love your comment about your husband refusing to speak Dutch! That’s hilarious! I’m with you discovering how many different types of books there are out there. Blogging has definitely spread my reading around to different genres. Though I was always did read a little bit of everything. Hope you enjoy the rest of your Armchair BEA experience.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Sandy. Yes, it’s amazing how many books I find out about and then want to read. There are just not enough hours in the day!

  20. Mystica says:

    My reading tastes have changed and broadened considerably since I started blogging. I now like time travel, a bit of dystopia. For me thats a big change. (for the better)

    • Leeswammes says:

      Mystica, through blogging I have learned that dystopia is a genre(ish). Beforehand, I would read a dystopian book and not think anything of it, now I search them out. I also love time travel.

  21. Shan says:

    After 40 years in Canada my grandfather refused to speak English at home, so our family conversations were always half in English and half in Dutch.

  22. I hope you get to visit Alaska. We lived there when I was a kid, moved to Michigan (where I still live) My mom and brother moved back to Ketchikan, Alaska in 07. It is so beautiful. My in-laws are dutch so I know a few words, many of them “naughty”.

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  24. Laurie c says:

    I thought I already knew you and your blog pretty well, but I learned a lot from your introductory post even so! I’ve never been drawn to Alaska or to wilderness settings, particularly. I actually was very briefly in Amsterdam during a week’s unexpected layover on a student exchange trip in high school on my way to India long ago, and still have my souvenir Heineken beer mug from the tour! I would love to go back sometime. My mom went more recently, so we have Holland tulips growing in our yard every spring now.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Laurie, we here don’t like the idea of Holland being marketed as a tulips and windmills country, but when you think of it, tulips as souvenirs is actually quite nice because it is a lasting present that will return in your garden every year. Wonderful!

  25. mpartyka says:

    This is why I don’t participate in anything 🙂 HA!… I have had your intro page open on my laptop since Tuesday. I have become a terrible blogger/social media updater.

    Lovely post. I will be back over the weekend to catch up – I’m hosting a book signing tonight (by hosting I mean I organized it, so no pressure for me today).

    I hope you are having a wonderful week Judith!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Mari, no worries, I’m honored that you chose my post to comment on!. Best of luck with your book signing tonight – well done for organizing it!

      • mpartyka says:

        I survived the week! I don’t know if people knew just how sick I was from the Africa prep (I wonder if my immune system isn’t 100% quite yet, from the Lymes virus). Mostly I’m super healthy but we are supposed to volunteer for Yellow fever, and now Typhoid!

        My husband is home for the day (he’s golfing), dinner tonight, he leaves again tomorrow but within the states this week so an easy trip.

        Have a lovely day!

      • Leeswammes says:

        That’s awful, Mari! Getting sick so you don’t get sick on holiday. I hope that’s the last of it and you can healthily prepare for your trip.

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