Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ARE YOU LISTENING? ASTONISH ME: A REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

WELCOME TO BOOKIN' WITH BINGO'S" 
ARE YOU LISTENING? DAY" 
I AM EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE TODAY'S 
AUDIO BOOK CHOICE.....
*******************************************
GIVEAWAY ENDED
ASTONISH ME
BY MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD
READ BY REBECCA LOWMAN

ABOUT THE AUDIO BOOK:
From the author of the widely acclaimed debut novel Seating Arrangements, winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction: a gorgeously written, fiercely compelling glimpse into the demanding world of professional ballet and its magnetic hold over two generations.

Astonish Me is the irresistible story of Joan, a young American dancer who helps a Soviet ballet star, the great Arslan Rusakov, defect in 1975. A flash of fame and a passionate love affair follow, but Joan knows that, onstage and off, she is destined to remain in the background. She will never possess Arslan, and she will never be a prima ballerina. She will rise no higher than the corps, one dancer among many.

After her relationship with Arslan sours, Joan plots to make a new life for herself. She quits ballet, marries a good man, and settles in California with him and their son, Harry. But as the years pass, Joan comes to understand that ballet isn’t finished with her yet, for there is no mistaking that Harry is a prodigy. Through Harry, Joan is pulled back into a world she thought she’d left behind—back into dangerous secrets, and back, inevitably, to Arslan.

Combining a sweeping, operatic plot with subtly observed characters, Maggie Shipstead gives us a novel of stunning intensity and deft psychological nuance. Gripping, dramatic, and brilliantly conjured, Astonish Me confirms Shipstead’s range and ability and raises provocative questions about the nature of talent, the choices we must make in search of fulfillment, and how we square the yearning for comfort with the demands of art.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maggie Shipstead is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first novel, Seating Arrangements, was a New York Times best seller, a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction.

HAVE YOU READ SEATING ARRANGEMENTS BY MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD?
PRAISE FOR ASTONISH ME:
“Flawless . . . Tightly choreographed . . . Shipstead gains entry into exclusive worlds and trains her opera glasses on private social rituals, as well as behind-the-scenes hanky panky . . . Similar to classic ballet, the power of Astonish Me arises out of the pairing of a melodramatic storyline with scrupulously executed range of movement . . . Shipstead sweeps you into this insider world of sweat, narcissism, and short-lived magic . . . Transcendent.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR

“This is a novel you must read. . . Shipstead still has her flawless sense of timing and a sensitive ear for the muffled flutterings of hope and desire . . . Intensely compelling. . . Shipstead has captured the mercurial flow of artistic genius, the way it sanctifies some lives even as it condemns others, all of them stretching toward that perfect beauty just out of reach.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post 

“Elegant and forceful . . . Vivid and convincing . . . Bold and thrilling . . . As in ballet, some of the drama is slyly withheld offstage, heightening the suspense, so the narrative unfolds in choreographed bursts of precision and exuberance . . . The way the characters come together in new and surprising pairings is one of the book’s many pleasures, and it sets the stage for a cruel, but inevitable heartbreak.”—Boston Globe 

“Deeply engrossing . . . Dazzles with vivid imagery and startling turns of phrase . . . Like the prima ballerina at the heart of the novel itself, Shipstead delivers a glorious story that does exactly what it says it will . . . A deeply thoughtful meditation on the relentless pursuit of perfection and just how far we’re willing to go for love . . . Proves that Shipstead’s star is still on the rise as she pushes herself to exhilarating new heights . . . As nuanced and delightful as any reader could ever hope for a book to be.” —BookPage 

“Dazzling . . . Maggie Shipstead’s thrilling second book, Astonish Me, is an homage to, and exposé of, the exhilarating, punishing world of ballet; it’s also a searing rumination on insecurity, secrecy, and friendship . . . Shipstead nails the details of being perpetually en pointe: the adrenaline rush after a performance, the intimate atmosphere of the dressing room, the nagging feelings of inadequacy, the erotically charged and emotionally cruel competitiveness, and the inability to shake perfectionism long after retirement. Like a brilliant choreographer, she has masterminded a breathtaking work of art.” —O Magazine

“Impressively sure-footed . . . Shipstead’s new novel, Astonish Me, swaps the privileged world of private-school prepsters that populated her best-selling debut, Seating Arrangements, for the equally rarefied realm of professional ballet—brilliantly exposing its dark, slavish underbelly with insight and panache . . . Shipstead’s handling of her characters is supple and satisfying. The triumphs and mistakes they make onstage mirror the movements and missteps they make offstage.”—Elle 

“Dispels any idea that Shipstead is some kind of one-trick preppy . . . Nearly every sentence here lands with a bull’s-eye thwock of emotional truth, and the inner lives of her characters feel as real and immediate as the shifting settings they inhabit . . . Shipstead’s youth may be a talking point, but her talent transcends it. She’s astonishing. Grade: A-.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“Graceful . . . Electrifying . . . Moves nimbly through time and points of view . . . Shipstead depicts the physical sacrifice of dancers without romanticism or pity . . . Highly artful, and insightful too . . . Spins a new fantasy based on an already fantastical realm . . . Astonish Me shines.” 
—San Francisco Chronicle 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW:
When I first heard of author Maggie Shipstead it was because I wanted to read her first book, SEATING ARRANGEMENTS, back in 2012. I enjoyed that book so much that I was eager to read her next book which you see here, ASTONISH ME. Although I have not finished this second book as yet, I am just as enthralled by it as I was her first book. As I said in the review for SEATING ARRANGEMENTS, "I will be anxious to see what the author comes up with next as I felt this was a strong debut for a first novel."  And I have not been disappointed so far. If you'd like to look back on my review as well as Interview with Maggie Shipstead, visit my blog post from then which is HERE. I hope you enjoy it and I hope to have a chance to post a review of this latest book soon. 


GIVEAWAY

 THANKS TO RICHARD AND THE FINE FOLKS AT
RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO, I HAVE ONE COPY
OF THIS FINE AUDIO BOOK TO GIVE
  AWAY TO ONE LUCKY WINNER!
 
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES, PLEASE
--INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS IN COMMENT
--ALL ENTRIES/COMMENTS MUST BE
SEPARATE IN ORDER TO COUNT
AS MORE THAN ONE ENTRY

HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT ASTONISH ME THAT WOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO WIN THIS AUDIO BOOK

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK I CAN FOLLOW IN THE ENTRY

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING ON MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD'S WEBSITE BY GOING HERE

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE OTHER CURRENT GIVEAWAY YOU HAVE ENTERED ON MY BLOG. IF YOU ENTERED MORE THAN ONE, YOU CAN COMMENT ON EACH ON SEPARATELY AND GAIN MORE ENTRIES THAT WAY 

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE WAY YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG. IF YOU FOLLOW MORE THAN ONE WAY, YOU CAN COMMENT SEPARATELY AND EACH WILL COUNT AS AN ENTRY
 
GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
 6 PM, EST, JUNE 10
GOOD LUCK!

73 comments:

Nise' said...

I listened to Seating Arrangement as loved it. Looking forward to this next book.

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I'm a really big ballet fan. This sounds like a story I would love.

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DarcyO said...

The ballet world has always been fascinating to me. I so admire the talent it takes. Astonish Me sounds great!

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Sue Farrell said...

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