BBAW Winners and More Winners

The winner of The Gendarme by Mark Mustian was Jill of Rhapsody in Books.


The winner of Operation Blue Light by Philip Chabot and Laurie Anne Blanchard during BBAW is Emily of Emrelove.



The winner of Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles during BBAW was Florinda of The 3 Rs Blog.



The winner of Women Know Everything! by Karen Weekes during BBAW was Aths of Reading on a Rainy Day.


The winner of The Snow Whale by John Minichillo during BBAW was Amy of The House of Seven Tails.




The winner of When She Woke by Hillary Jordan during BBAW was Lauren of Shooting Stars Mag.


Congrats to all of you and I hope you enjoy the books.



Reading Changes…

As any reader can tell you, your reading habits will change with your mood or with the place you are in your life.  When you’re younger, you’ll probably read more about relationships and friendships, but as you age, your reading may take you into deeper topics about the environment, humanity, socio-political issues, war, and more.  This may not always be the case for some readers.  But reading also is driven by mood, like when you are in a bad mood and need a book that will pick you up out of the doldrums.  For instance, right now, I’m glad that the books I’m reading next — To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell, One Day by David Nicholls, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Rigaud — are expected to be full of humor, romance, and fun since I’m in a poopy mood.

On a broader scale, has blogging influenced what I read?  Yes, somewhat.  Would I have still read poetry?  YES!  Would I still have read the wide variety of books I do now? YES!  However, would I have read the specific books I have in the last year?  Maybe or maybe not; it would have depended on if I found them in the bookstore through browsing or if they would have been recommended to me by others.  I’ve always been an eclectic reader, but some of the more obscure or specialized books I’ve read, ranging from photography to nonfiction war books, probably would not have made their way into my hands without bloggers.

Found this crazy snow whale photo on the Web and couldn't resist.

In that same way, my giveaway today has to do with recommending what I think is a great book, published by one of the local D.C. area presses, Atticus Books. 

I already read this gently used ARC, and now I want to pass it onto one of you to read and enjoy.  Remember this is a parody and you need not have read Moby Dick to enjoy it because I’ve never finished that “great” Melville work, and I loved The Snow Whale.

You must be a book blogger to enter and leave a link to your blog.  Deadline for this international giveaway is Sept. 16, 2011, at 11:59PM EST

Appreciating Bloggers

Book Blogger Appreciation Week starts Sept. 12 and runs through Sept. 16 with a variety of giveaways and activities for the blogging community.  Each year, I take the opportunity to visit bloggers I don’t really know or have never seen before, and that’s how I find gems, like Unabridged Chick.

In appreciation of my fellow book bloggers, I’m going to offer up some books for giveaway throughout the week, starting tomorrow.  You must be a blogger to enter, which means you must leave me your blog address in the comments to be entered.

So you can plan ahead, these are the books I’ll be offering this week:

1.  Operation Blue Light by Philip Chabot and Laurie Anne Blanchard, which is a memoir and I didn’t feel interested in; I want to pass this along to someone who would enjoy it.  Here are the details from Amazon:

In Operation Blue Light: My Secret Life among Psychic Spies Philip Chabot reveals for the first time the powerful story of his growing psychic ability and the government s growing interest in him. Mr. Chabot details a type of psychic ability he calls spoken telepathy and tells how it came to steal away a summer of his young life. Philip Chabot recorded his memories of the experience three years after the story ended but kept those tapes private until after he retired. After forty years of keeping his and the government s secret he now tells what lead to that hot summer afternoon in Lebanon, Missouri. He reveals how his psychic abilities had grown to such a state that he was actually interrupting intelligence efforts around the world.

2.  Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles, which I recently read and reviewed for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge at War Through the Generations.  Here’s part of the description from Amazon:

For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee. The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women’s prison.

But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.

3.  Women Know Everything! by Karen Weekes, which I received from Quirk Books and want to pass along to someone else to enjoy.

With more than 3,000 quotations on everything from fashion and feminism to men, marriage, friendship, history, technology, sports, and more, this massive compilation proves once and for all that women know everything! Each page offers wisdom, wit, and inspiration from a host of legendary women—from Jane Austen and Colette to Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Toni Morrison, Liz Phair, Ellen DeGeneres, and Naomi Klein.

4.  The Snow Whale by John Minichillo, which I reviewed earlier this year.

When John Jacobs, a mild-mannered suburban office worker, takes a DNA test and discovers that he is part-Inuit, he so embraces his new identity that he declares it his Inupiat tribal right to set forth on a whale hunt.

So begins this postmodern satire, a seriocomic, quirky adventure set in the oldest continuously settled town in North America, in the North Slope of Alaska, on the frozen Chukchi Sea, literally at the top of the world, where the inhabitants and their ancestors have depended on subsistence whaling for thousands of years.

5.  When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, which I received 2 copies of and have an extra copy to pass along to one of you.

Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.

I hope you’ll all be stopping by and entering the giveaways, but most of all checking out new blogs this week and most of all enjoying the community.  Don’t enter here, but on the posts throughout the week.  There are also 2 other giveaways in the sidebar for all readers.

Also, please take a moment today to remember the people who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and who died after helping people out of the rubble and more.

The Snow Whale by John Minichillo

The Snow Whale by John Minichillo, which is published by local Maryland publisher Atticus Books, is a satire of Moby Dick by Herman Melville to a certain extent.  The debut novel centers on the life-changing decision of John Jacobs, a zombified office worker selling desk doodles to corporations via telephone, to find out his ancestry through a cheek-swab DNA test.  The results come back and find him more than one-third Eskimo/Inuit, and its enough for John to quit his job, take a vacation from his marriage, and head to Alaska to claim his birthright and go whale hunting.

“And why couldn’t a mild-mannered desk doodle salesman like Mike be the recipient of the Genghis Khan gene?” (page 9 of ARC)

His wife, Jessica, is equally in a rut, but still enjoys her job as a ballroom dance instructor.  She wishes that her marriage was more passionate and spontaneous, but the spontaneity she gets from John is not exactly what she’s looking for.  However, she agrees that he should go to Alaska given the passionate gleam in his eyes.  While some of the actions John takes are irrational and a bit nutty, readers will enjoy the shear witty prose and dialogue that accompanies the surreal situations presented.

“Q continued to walk with half steps, arms folded.
‘Stop shivering,’ Jacobs said.
‘I’m fucking freezing.’
‘Act Eskimo.’
‘What does that even mean?’
‘This is the thaw.  This should be warm for you.'”  (page 88 of ARC)

John is on a journey to find himself and to shake up the mundane, but in the midst of his journey he comes to realize that his life was already full before he left for Alaska.  Meanwhile, the chief of the Inuit tribe, Akmaaq, is looking for an end to his suffering as the leader being slowly shunned and cast aside following a dreadful whale hunt the year before.  He is like Ahab more than John because he is seeking to meet the white whale — his fate and death.  Although Akmaaq is native, like Queequeg in the original Melville novel, Akmaaq is neither a cannibal nor seeking adventure in the wide world beyond his isolated tribe, but he has established a friendship with John to ensure his safety — at least partially — and is aware that death awaits.  Ishmael is John, here in Minichillo’s novel, because he is seeking adventure and change — he is on the journey.

The Snow Whale by John Minichillo is an excellent debut novel that will likely be on the best of 2011 list.  It incorporates classic literature, though knowledge of Melville’s novel is not necessary to enjoy the wit and captivating story Minichillo creates.  John is a quirky character that readers will sympathize with, and his journey may be a bit surreal, but probably mirrors some of the fantasies readers have had about escaping their boring lives behind a cubicle wall.  Book clubs would find a great deal to discuss from the modernization of tribal people to the misconceptions “white” people have about different cultures and peoples, and themselves.

About the Author:

John Minichillo lives in Nashville with his wife and son.  This is his first novel.  Please do check out the interview with John at Atticus Books.  Here’s a sneak peak of the book.


This is my 39th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.





This is a stop on The Literary Road Trip since this book is published by Maryland house Atticus Books.