Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Freebie: Devotion by Dani Shapiro

Congratulations to Thomas Baughman, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Big Machine by Victor LaValle.

This week's book giveaway is a new paperback copy of Dani Shapiro's memoir Devotion. Shapiro is also the author of Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Life Rescued by Tragedy and the novels Family History, Black & White, Picturing the Wreck, Fugitive Blue and Playing with Fire.  For the last Friday Freebie of 2011, I could think of no more fitting book to offer blog readers than Devotion.  For many of us, this holiday season is a time of reflection and resolution--if nothing else, we resolve to be less harried and more contemplative.  Shapiro will help us get there through the quiet music of language.  Here's the publisher's description of the book:
In her mid-forties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was—a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean? Having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging headlong into what Carl Jung termed "the afternoon of life," she wrestled with self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the night. Set adrift by loss—her father's early death; the life-threatening illness of her infant son; her troubled relationship with her mother—she had become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion: a literary excavation to the core of a life. In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the varieties of experience she has pursued—from the rituals of her black hat Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga shalas and meditation retreats. A reckoning of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal—and completely universal.
Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) had this to say about the memoir: "I was on the verge of tears more than once in the course of Dani Shapiro's impeccably structured spiritual odyssey.  But Devotion's biggest triumph is its voice: funny and unpretentious, concrete and earthy-appealing to skeptics and believers alike.  This is a gripping, beautiful story."

If you'd like a chance at winning a SIGNED copy of Devotion, all you have to do is answer this question:

What is the name of Shapiro's blog?  (You can find the answer by visiting her website)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Dec. 29--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Dec. 30.

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by "following" this blog through Google Connect (to find the "Join" button on the right side of this page, scroll partway down to the section labeled "Followers").  Once you've followed (or if you're already a follower of the blog), send me an e-mail saying "I'm following you" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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