Book Anticipation: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Astonish Me Cover Art

There are three things I do an awful lot of: 1)read 2)clean up after my kiddos 3)dance.

My actual “day job” is with a local ballet company, South Georgia Ballet, and their feeder school, South Georgia Ballet Conservatory. I’ve been with the company for 16 years in some capacity or the other. Regardless, I spend more time in the studio than I do my own home.

Naturally, I’m drawn to dance books, especially books about ballet. Being so engulfed in YA lit for the past year, I wasn’t even privy to this new novel from Maggie Shipstead until I heard about it from NPR’s Maureen Corrigan. You can read or listen to her review here. The book comes out this month on the 8th. I’m really looking forward to it! In the meantime, I’d love to share some of my favorite and hopeful ballet reads.
First: The hopefuls
Painted Girls Cover Art Bunheads Cover ArtA Company of Swans Cover ArtThe Melting Season Cover Art

These all look really good and really different. There are so many levels and facets to the world of ballet, not to mention the span of time it crosses. Not only do I adore the covers, but the reviews are pretty intriguing. Have you read any? Which are your favorites?


Last: The favorites

Now, let me remind you: I have read A LOT of ballet books. These are just my favorites

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The first three of these four titles are written by former dancers. They. Are. Great. And honest. And true to the art and world of dance. They really explore the nitty gritty of professional ballet and I LOVE it.

The last, Granny Dan, is a book that I read eons ago on a summer vacation to my aunt’s house when there was nothing for a 12-year old to do. She bought this at the grocery store check out because it had a ballerina on the cover, so she thought I’d like it. Trust me when I say that my daughter won’t be reading this when she’s twelve. Maybe fifteen. Maybe. Besides a few very romantic scenes (craftily written by Steel so that my 12-yr old self could only guess as to what actually went on), this book is the epitome of loveliness. It is set in the world of the Romanov’s, complete with the stories of Alexi, Rasputin, and a very attentive doctor to the boy. Danina, the ballerina in this story, is a favorite performer of the Tsar and Tsarina. After falling ill, she is invited to live in a little cottage on the palace grounds to recover at the care of Alexi’s doctor. Romance ensues, and of course, chaos, as the Romanov dynasty falls apart. This was the first book that made me cry. I so vividly remember wanting to reach through and give the elderly grandmother, affectionately known as Granny Dan in her later years, a hug of condolence for the life she left behind. If you love ballet or the Romanov’s, you should certainly pick this title up!

Are you looking forward to reading Astonish Me? What are your favorite dance books and/or genres? There are so many out there! Let me know and keep reading up with the Joneses!


2 thoughts on “Book Anticipation: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

  1. Heƴ there! I’m at work surfing around our blog from my new ipҺone 4!
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  2. Pingback: Fangirling over the Wilis or Why I Need to go to Seattle | Reading Up with the Joneses

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