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W Perry Hall

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Member Since 2012

78
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 63 reviews
  • 218 ratings
  • 387 titles in library
  • 100 purchased in 2014
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  • Collected Stories of William Faulkner

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer, Susan Denaker, Scott Brick, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (48)

    This magisterial collection of short works by Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner reminds listeners of his ability to compress his epic vision into narratives as hard and wounding as bullets. Among the 42 selections in this audiobook are such classics as "A Bear Hunt", "A Rose for Emily", "Two Soldiers", and "The Brooch".

    I. Aleksandrov says: "A nice way to get the feeling of Faulkner"
    "Faulkner stories great (narration awful in parts)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love reading William Faulkner, though at times his work is difficult to follow on audio and it, of course, can be spoiled by a bad narrator, just like any other book narrated by Scott Brick.

    If one listens to an audiobook in which the narration is heartfelt and the narrator can actually act in narrating, it's such a wonderful experience. A recent example for me is "Last Days of California" by Mary Miller (like Faulkner, a Mississippian), narrated by Andi Arndt. Ms. Arndt apparently put in a tremendous effort, to sound Southern, young and to act as in teen angst and in constant banter between 2 teen sisters. She made the whole thing so real that I got lost in it like a good movie.

    Scott Brick's narration gives a soap feel and at times slides into adult-film grade acting. He overdramatizes a word in each sentence (usually the last one) and at times emphasizes every 2d or 3d syllable in every other or 2d or 3d sentence in a paragraph (with no real pattern, perhaps on an ad hoc, random basis). And, you can't help but notice his adulation with his voice; this effect on the (this) listener absolutely ruins the audiobook. I have wondered more than once if he has his latest narration piped into speakers throughout his house and poolside.

    I have had to return books I purchased because his smarmy narration was worse to me than listening to 3 kids scraping rulers repeatedly over a chalkboard.

    I had already rated this audiobook long ago, but just decided to add the review because I have recently come across books I would have loved but dropped like any other Brick. From reviews I've read, I'm not alone in my chagrin. I'm hoping enough noise will make a difference in audio-casting for prime books.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Enchanted: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Rene Denfeld
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs with the devastating violence of prison life.

    Melinda says: "Ink Blot Test"
    "A Siren Song for Death Row Sickos"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ms. Denfeld has a unique talent for pretty prose anywhere, but here it's in prison and specifically on death row. I was skeptical when recommended this book but I quickly got past this with such gorgeous writing and imaginative storytelling from inside the mental thought processes of the irreparably damaged soul who is often back in childhood before he was brutally robbed of innocence, dignity and any chance at normalcy. This is terrific fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (260)
    Performance
    (238)
    Story
    (243)

    Michael Lewis returns to the financial world to give listeners a ringside seat as the biggest news story in years prepares to hit Wall Street....

    Darwin8u says: "Making the system deliver on its promise."
    "Highly Enjoyable and Informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I see a lot positive has already been said. Shortly after this book was published and I'd read it, and when the reviews were less than 50, I responded to the review of an Amazon reader who goes by the name of Mercenary Trader. After first professing the impartiality of his review despite his vocation, Mr. Mercenary bashed the book with 1 star supported by what I thought were weak and wordy arguments. Instead of trying to add to all the positive feedback, I simply re-post my response, which is fairly self-contained and still posted as a comment to his review and to which "Mercenary" did NOT reply.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    "Why would we think a TRADER would be biased against this book? That you are not an HFT TRADER renders you unbiased about a book that attacks the status quo in stock TRADING and a practice from which, if you so chose, you could profit?

    Even vultures serve a purpose in our ecosystem...; if you will, please honor us with your loquacity (in layman's terms), by explaining the VALUE added to the U.S. economy by scum-skimming HFT TRADERS and the HFTrading practices outlined in this book, but this time do so in relation to the costs to INVESTORS in the stock market both from higher prices paid or lower prices received and from the lack of disclosure in a secondary market built on disclosure and regulation since the Securities Exchange Act of 1934?

    Your drop-in-the-bucket argument appears disingenuous or it trivializes an apple (HFT "tax") in relation to a bucket of oranges (total trading volume). Under your logic, the financial world is devoid of any ethical lapse, moral or criminal wrong, or infliction of harm to society or the economy worth reporting or that should even be considered Wrong (morally or legally) so long as the acts in question affect less than 1/10th of 1% of otherwise, similar moral and legal conduct. So, according to this mercenary logic, an HFT "tax" of $160 million a day is a pittance because it's on $225 Billion in Trade VOLUME a day. In other words, "Joe Plummer, the trader in Vegas claims that a $58,400,000,000/year (that's 58.4 BILLION) tax on investors is really nothing. Dude, you have to look at how much was traded in the year." [This is not to mention that you don't even consider that the $58.4 BILLION is a real effect on investors (assuming the correctness of the study) while all that astronomical trade VOLUME you cite could hypothetically net to a near-zero effect to investors as a whole]. Why attempt to downplay $58.4 BILLION? Particularly, why do so by using a false denominator???

    Other questions:

    Certainly a new exchange cannot be built upon a molehill or lay among polished turds (your terms). So, is IEX destined for failure? Why has it had moderate success despite the criticism from traders like yourself? And, what's up with the recent announcements (formal and informal) of changes in trading practices by Wall Street investment banks?

    I will admit that I did not read your entire post. I'd just as well read the book again. But, if you respond, I will read it.

    Why am I commenting on your post? Because I get fired up by severely negative critiques, such as yours, that begin with a profession of impartiality. Perhaps you feel it necessary to offer this because your profile prominently features your website address which offers us some clues about your occupation and zeal. Also I discount opinions which minimize the effects of a practice that anyone using their common sense can see is the trader's equivalent of ambulance-chasing. A couple of things I've learned in 20 years practicing law: 1) don't defend bad lawyers and bad lawyer practices in the court of public opinion, else people will assume you too have fleas; and, 2) where there's smoke, there's almost always a fire.

    I see you're a highly-esteemed poster. I thought you could use a challenge.

    Peace and Love, Peace and Love"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Letters to a Young Poet

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 52 mins)
    • By Rainer Maria Rilke, Charlie Louth (translator), Lewis Hyde (introduction)
    • Narrated By Dan Stevens, Max Deacon
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    At the start of the 20th century, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, advising him on writing, love, sex, suffering, and the nature of advice itself. These profound and lyrical letters have since become hugely influential for generations of writers and artists of all kinds, including Lady Gaga and Patti Smith. With honesty, elegance, and a deep understanding of the loneliness that often comes with being an artist, Rilke's letters are an endless source of inspiration and comfort.

    W Perry Hall says: "A Chest of Treasures for any Artist"
    "A Chest of Treasures for any Artist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I purchased this, I only knew I love the poetry of Rilke and that I had read many positive reviews of this compilation of his letters to a young poet.

    I had no idea that this is a true chest of treasures. I purchased the Kindle version to go along with listening to this audiobook (the narration of which is outstanding). I kept placing bookmarks on the audible version and then highlighted the text in Kindle. This is quite a futile endeavor because, as I found, well over half deserves special emphasis.

    I will share only my favorite quote, after saying that this book of letters, and particularly this translation into English, is worth a credit in my opinion for its encouragement of creativity and a love of life and for the testimonials from the great artists over the past decades who have been deeply and positively affected by these letters.

    "... try, like the first human being, to say what you see and experience and love and lose. Don't write love poems; avoid at first those forms which are too familiar and habitual: they are the hardest, for you need great maturity and strength to produce something of your own in a domain where good and sometimes brilliant examples have been handed down to us in abundance. For this reason, flee general subjects and take refuge in those offered by your own day-to-day life; depict your sadnesses and desires, passing thoughts and faith in some kind of beauty--depict all this with intense, quiet, humble sincerity and make use of whatever you find about you to express yourself, the images from your dreams and the things in your memory. If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches, for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Married a Communist

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By Ron Silver
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Don't toss out the cake and candles just yet. Philip Roth, who, among other notable achievements, changed the way Americans laugh about masturbation, celebrates his birthday on March 19th. Check out: I Married a Communist and Operation Shylock.

    Allan says: "POOR"
    "Cannot understand half the narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The audio version of this one is awful, no matter how I tried to listen. The late, wonderful actor Ron Silver sounds as if he's standing in a large empty aquarium and I'm on the other side of the glass.

    I truly wanted to enjoy this audiobook. I've listened to another audiobook narrated by Ron Silver and loved it. "I Married a Communist" is, of course, the middle leg of the great American trilogy written by Philip Roth, with "American Pastoral" and "The Human Stain," both of which I read, listened to and loved.

    I'm hopeful someone can remaster this recording or re-record it with another esteemed actor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 48 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Herman Melville’s tale of corporate discontent, Bartleby, the Scrivener, tells the story of a quiet, hardworking legal copyist who works in an office in the Wall Street area of New York City. The business where he works handles the official financial paperwork of wealthy men. One day, Bartleby’s employer requests he proofread one of the documents he has copied. Bartleby declines the assignment with the inscrutable “I would prefer not,” the first of what will become many refusals.

    Michael says: "Tragic, Funny, and Thought Provoking"
    "My Review"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is... On second thought, I would prefer not to say.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By John Feinstein
    • Narrated By John Feinstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (16)

    John Feinstein is one of the most influential sportswriters of the last three decades. In his masterful new audiobook, Where Nobody Knows Your Name, Feinstein delivers a fascinating account of the mysterious proving ground of America’s national pastime, pulling back the veil on the minor leagues of baseball.

    W Perry Hall says: "Living on the Cusp of a Dream"
    "Living on the Cusp of a Dream"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No one is better at providing an inside look at a sport than John Feinstein. He does an excellent job at narrating his book, with a fire and enthusiasm you would not find with most of the whitebread narrators on audible who would ruin this audiobook.

    He provides just the right mix of background, anecdotes and quotes. You can feel the pressure on these guys to perform, to make it to the BIGS, to THE SHOW. A lot a minor leaguers drop out relatively soon after starting; once it becomes apparent they will never make it, they decide it's time to stop playing a game and move on with their lives. This book is primarily about Triple A (AAA) minor league players and teams.

    These are the guys who have been in THE SHOW and are back, or guys who have played for years and years on the cusp of a dream on the verge of either giving up because of age or injuries and moving on or playing one last year to get a shot at a slot on the expanded September MLB rosters.

    I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves baseball (on whatever level it's played).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ben Fountain
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (238)
    Story
    (238)

    A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal" - three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew - has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys....

    Melinda says: "Oh-ooo Say, Can We See?"
    "Fortunate Son"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nearly 12 wonderful hours of audio about a day at a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game which allows the author Ben Fountain to masterfully provide us with a sometime-satirical panoramic view from the seat of Billy Lynn, a U.S. soldier who is flying back to Iraq the following day. He and the fellow members of the heroic Bravo Squad are being recognized as halftime.

    We get a cinematic look at

    a pro football game;

    the war in Iraq and its impact on these young men's lives;

    how heroes may be treated after all the hubbub or exploited;

    and

    our culture generally, and specifically, in movies and the entertainment (movies and music) industry, big time sports, billionaires blow-hards, the overwhelming emphasis on sex in advertising and television and how our society has reached the point that our press covers no-talent trog-GLAM-mites like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton while ignoring legit stories.

    There's a bonus: a near-fantasy sequence when Billy meets a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

    Maybe you hadn't heard of Ben Fountain before this brilliant book was published. Pay attention. I'm not capable of quickly using the vocabulary needed to heap worthy praise upon Ben Fountain and "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk."

    So I'll say:

    DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1979)
    Performance
    (1800)
    Story
    (1806)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Bonny says: "Will & Louisa - each has what the other one needs"
    "Blushing Here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot recall why I purchased this audiobook last summer. I was going through a particularly difficult time and thought I needed something of a literary/love story to pep me up.

    I won't say how it ends, but will say that it wasn't exactly Danny Zucco and Sandy riding off into the sky in a convertible; though I believe from the description given on amazon and audible you can tell this one jerks a few tears.

    I really liked this book. Especially as an audio. The voice for the female protagonist, Lou, made her so loveable and identifiable (certainly to some of the women in my life), for a character the author had already developed quite well.

    It's been over 9 months since I listened to this, but I recall that it made me more grateful for what I have and who I love and who loves me. It serves as a great reminder for how precious are our life and health.

    I'll lastly say that it was particularly tough for a guy (at least for me) to listen to the parts where a male's natural urge for contact floated in only to realize how it would be if you couldn't have that human touch (as a quadriplegic). I guess that part may have been difficult for ladies as well.

    I give this book as heart*y recommendation, even to guys, since it's a really good story and it's likely you could use some training on sensitivity to the emotions and feelings of the better sex.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magus

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By John Fowles
    • Narrated By Nicholas Boulton
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (80)

    John Fowles’s The Magus was a literary landmark of the 1960s. Nicholas Urfe goes to a Greek island to teach at a private school and becomes enmeshed in curious happenings at the home of a mysterious Greek recluse, Maurice Conchis. Are these events, involving attractive young English sisters, just psychological games, or an elaborate joke, or more? Reality shifts as the story unfolds. The Magus reflected the issues of the 1960s perfectly, and it continues to create tension and concern today.

    Darwin8u says: "One of the best novels that I really think I hate."
    "Mystical Morality Tale of Love, Reality, Fidelity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John Fowles’ now underappreciated novel is a mystical morality play on love, truth, maturity, reality and sexual and emotional betrayal. "The Magus" is set on a Greek island lush in the legends of Apollo, Artemis, Orpheus and Eurydice, and involves our protagonist, Nicholas Urfe, a mysterious island local and pretty young English ladies. While the year of the story is 1953 in the aftermath of WWII, in many ways it seems as timely as today.

    If you read reviews, you won’t get much more of a description, other than below a Spoiler Alert heading. To explain it more would require pages and would, in many ways, be like explaining the recent novel “Gone Girl” or the movie “The Sixth Sense”: it would ruin the whole experience for you.

    Like Gone Girl, I could NOT put it down. Truly in its own league, particularly considering it was published nearly 50 years ago.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret History

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By Donna Tartt
    Overall
    (580)
    Performance
    (338)
    Story
    (333)

    The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.

    John says: "Not everyone's glass of Scotch Neat"
    "love, lust, murder, concealment, betrayal-INTENSE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A story in the form of a Greek tragedy involving sheltered, secretive snots at a New England college studying the Classics and, for a night, worshiping at the alter of Dionysus to attain the ecstacy of the immortals. Love, lust, beauty, murder, concealment, betrayal, conceit, sex, suspense, as told from the view of a middle-class outsider from California. A couple of quotes as a sampler:

    ***
    “It's a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it."

    ***
    “One likes to think there's something in it, that old platitude amor vincit omnia. But if I've learned one thing in my short sad life, it is that that particular platitude is a lie. Love doesn't conquer everything. And whoever thinks it does is a fool.”
    ***

    Pretty darn good (outstanding) first novel for a lassie from the town of Grenada in Mississippi, the poorest state per capita in the Union but the richest per capita in producing literary stars.

    And, while I can see the point of you who do not like Ms. Tartt's southern accent since this is set in New England, though I personally love it. Moreover, I defer to the author's discretion on this point because I am not sure anyone would have done Bunny the way she envisioned him when she wrote the novel.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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