Book Review & Giveaway: Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer by Brian Sweany

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Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer

Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer by Brian Sweany

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Michelle M.!

If you grew up in the ’80s, if you were in college in the early ’90s, or even if you’re somewhere north of 17 and south of 50, I’d say I have a book that you just might like. Bonus points if you grew up around Indy.

Author Brian Sweany spent his younger years on the south side of Indianapolis (as did I – making this book have lots of “I know that place!!” moments), before moving to Columbus, IN. His friends in both areas developed many of the “characters” (spot on) that would go on to be included his first book, Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer.

The book is a coming-of-age of a teenage kid Hank “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick, who lived most of his years partying with friends, having an off-and-on relationship with his high school sweetheart, and trying to impress his parents, well at least one of them. I’m sure if you think about it, we all knew a Hank in high school, didn’t we?

Brian Sweany 300x188There is love, sex, drugs, alcohol, comedy and tragedy all wrapped up in Belly Dancer, and while the first line may be a turn-off for some, it makes it a page-turner for others. While this isn’t technically an autobiography, much of the stories and characters are true to Brian’s life both past and present. Amazingly enough, through all the partying and death-defying situations Hank and his best friend encounter, I’m pleased to say they are both safe and sound. In fact, I had the privilege of meeting Brian when he was live in the flesh at a book club I attend regularly.  He even read an excerpt from his book, and may I say it’s much more titillating hearing it direct from the author.

Some may find the style of the book somewhat raw and sophomoric – but considering it’s written from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy through his early ’20s, I’ll give that a break. There were a couple of much-too-detailed sections (mostly Notre Dame-related) that personally I could have done with less of, but the story picked up and carried me through to the end, and overall it was engaging.

Here’s an excerpt of one of the more ‘real’ moments of the book:

I stumble down the upstairs hallway. How long has it been? A half hour? An hour, maybe? I feel like I’m rolling along the side of a wall. Did I chase that last swallow of cough syrup with vermouth? My mouth has a dry sweetness to it. Yep, vermouth. definitely vermouth. I’m in Dad’s closet now. I know where he keeps his gun.

The gun isn’t loaded. It’s never loaded. I’ve pulled the gun out and looked at myself in the mirror holding the gun a hundred times. I’m not angry. Just sad.

Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories gave a rave review of the book, saying, “In the vein of David Sedaris or Chuck Palahniuk, Brian Sweany has written a tight satirical story that has you bent over with laughter one moment then wiping away the tears the next minute.”

And Brian himself said the book ended up being his therapy. It’s real, and there will be more! Look for Hank’s character to mature and develop in his next book due out Spring 2014.

Buy It

Grab your copy of Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer now on Amazon (paperback, Kindle and audio versions), at Barnes & Noble (paperback, Nook and audio versions), Books a Million, iTunes or direct from the publisher. If you’re around the Indianapolis area, you can also find copies at Indy Reads Books on Mass Ave.

Win It

Brian has provided me with a signed copy of Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer to give away to one lucky Chaos Is Bliss reader! The contest starts now, and ends at 11:59pm Wednesday August 21, 2012. The winner will be randomly drawn, notified by email and will have 24 hours to confirm before another name is drawn.

In the widget below, enter your name and email address then click “Begin”. Good luck!


 Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer

This giveaway is not associated with nor sponsored by Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. The contest is open to adults ages 18 and older. For each task you complete and comment on, you will gain one entry. Winners will be verified of completing the tasks listed prior to the winners being announced. One (1) winner will be selected at random. Duplicate entries and falsifying entries will be disqualified. The winner will be notified and given 24 hours to confirm. After this time if a winner is not confirmed, a new winner will be


  1. says

    Oy, I really have to share this?! 🙂

    Probably just the numerous times I stayed the night at a friend’s house because she didn’t have a curfew and her mom didn’t care what we did. I won’t go into detail about what we did. 🙂

  2. says

    Yeah I, too, was pretty boring. Skipping class is the worst thing I ever did. And when I skipped it was usually to go hang out at the library and read books! LOL

  3. Hillary Houston says

    My friends and I used to drive around and when we’d pull up to a stop light, we’d roll the window down and ask the person next to us “Hey dude, do you know where the garage sale is?” in our goofiest voice. 😛 Easily amused….

  4. says

    My Senior year (Columbus North HS *grin*) a friend and I accidentally kidnapped a guy. It was an honest mistake…our “captive” was speaking to my friend so I assumed they knew each other. I was hungry, so I decided we’d all go grab a bite INSISTING with much man-handling that the “captive” go with us. It wasn’t until half-way through the meal that we figured out neither of us knew his guy and we’d forced him o dinner.
    Fortunately, no charges were filed.

  5. says

    Oh my….. in my town, there were a lot of “oriental health spas”/massage parlors. We used to run in and ask for directions/to use the bathroom/etc to see what we could see. It was a small town. Bizarre past time, I know.


  1. […] And a reminder if you didn’t catch my post earlier this week … A local author named Brian Sweany who grew up on the south side and later in Columbus IN, released his first book earlier this year called Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer (and it has nothing to do with belly dancing) – I’m giving away a signed copy of his book, and you can enter to win right here. […]

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