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W. Perry Hall

Member Since 2015

518
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 131 reviews
  • 543 ratings
  • 664 titles in library
  • 85 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
23

  • The Razor's Edge

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (397)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (250)

    The Great War changed everything and the years following it were tumultuous - most of all for those who lived the war first-hand. Maugham himself is a character in this novel of self-discovery and search for meaning, but the protagonist is a character named Larry. Battered physically and spiritually by the war, Larry's physical wounds heal, but his spirit is changed almost beyond recognition.

    Dave says: "This book changed the way I look at life."
    "Self-Sacrifice, the most overwhelming passion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When purchasing this, I considered that I watched the movie with Bill Murray in what I recall as his first real foray into serious acting. I was impacted by that movie, though I have few memories of it. So I decided to purchase both the book and the audiobook.

    In the novel, the narrator tells the story of Larry Darrell, who was severely affected by the death of his friend, another soldier in WWII. He comes to several self-realizations through time and travels over continents and religions. The book has a brief emotional pull from his lost love, his fiancee Isabel, who turns out to be deficient in character, and from his engagement to Sophie, a wayward girl from Chicago who Larry and the group of the characters meet one night at a bar in Paris. She'd lost her husband and her way through various chemicals and bedfellows.

    One thing I will always recall from this novel was the keen observation of man or woman's desire to save someone through sacrifice of self, when referring to the grip of passion over Larry who by becoming engaged to marry Sophie is trying to "save the soul of a wanton woman whom he'd known as an innocent child."

    **
    "... self-sacrifice is a passion so overwhelming that beside it even lust and hunger are trifling. It whirls its victim to destruction in the highest affirmation of his personality. The object doesn't matter; it may be worthwhile or it may be worthless. No wine is so intoxicating, no love so shattering, no vice so compelling. When he sacrifices himself man for a moment is [or believes himself to be] greater than God, for how can God, infinite and omnipotent, sacrifice himself? At best he can only sacrifice his only begotten son."
    **

    If you've known someone who's fallen for someone else to save him or her, it's quite likely you will likely agree with this statement. The person was sucked into a whirlwind leading, more often than not, to tragedy.

    I recommend this book with 4.5 stars, with the proviso that it does get slow in places. I thought the narrator was good, but his narration gets taxing in parts.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Killing Season: Carter Blake, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Mason Cross
    • Narrated By Eric Meyers
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (79)

    When Caleb Wardell, the infamous "Chicago Sniper", escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialized talents whose skills lie in finding those who don't want to be found - a man to whom Wardell is no stranger. Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.

    Kathryn says: "WOW - hope this is a start to a long series"
    "Get Carter! Please"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you think *AWESOME* when you hear the names Brad Thor and Scot Harvath, you should enjoy this book.

    I was so unconcerned about the characters, I finished this book a week ago and only know the protagonist's name because it's on the title to this page. I have no recall of the name of the female. While there was good plotting, there was no spark, no true-to-life people, no dramatic suspense. I no longer trust certain Kirkus' reviews.

    But hey, if you're among the group who's still p'd off about *The Expendables* getting snubbed by the Oscars, this book is all you.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Keepers of the House

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Shirley Ann Grau
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (183)

    Abigail was the last keeper of the house, the last to know the Howland family's secrets. Now, in the name of all her brothers and sisters, she must take her bitter revenge on the small-minded Southern town that shamed them, persecuted them, but could never destroy them.

    Chimigi says: "very enjoyable"
    "1965 Pulitzer Winner- decent, but staled with age"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wanted to read this novel for two reasons: it won the Pulitzer the year of my birth, and it's set in a fictional county in the deep American South during a time of racial hatred and violence. I'm sure THE KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE had quite an impact back then and the nation's posture at the time screamed for the Pulitzer to give an award to Ms. Grau for this book.

    I was rather disappointed nonetheless. The novel is righteous at achieving the revenge which is its ultimate destination. Yet the revenge only occurs in the last 17 minutes, after taking 9 hours to get there; a long, long 9 hours in which I kept reaching for the stop button and had to force myself to continue listening. The characters are rather shallow, and it seems to me that Ms. Grau could have condensed the 9 hours to 4 or 5, by cutting out fluff that did nothing to further the protagonist or her story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno, Scott Brick
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (190)
    Story
    (189)

    From best-selling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana - stories that illuminate the human drama behind the national plague of campus rape.

    Keith says: "Tough info but good read"
    "Important, Enlightening and Disheartening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is as significant and Illuminative as it is disheartening to any father with teen daughters.

    MISSOULA is a thorough, enlightening examination of the paramount, though publicly opaque, problem of rape on college campuses nationwide (mainly by acquaintances) through a narrative look at the specifics (many times graphic) of several uncharged rape cases in Missoula, Montana, caused by the willful disregard of victims and their allegations by local law enforcement and public prosecutors and, at times, through the fault of the University of Montana's administration.

    The name "Kirsten Pabst," the former public prosecutor who made decision after decision not to bring rape charges against a number of male students, after giving these alleged perpetrators every benefit of the doubt and refusing to even interview the victims, should hereafter be accompanied by the hashtag, #boyswillbeboys. - KirstenDunst #boyswillbeboys

    I highly recommend this book, made all the more disheartening by proof that the University of Montana is not an anomaly.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Whisper Hollow

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Chris Cander
    • Narrated By Ann Osmond
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Set in a small coal-mining town, a debut novel full of secrets, love, betrayal, and suspicious accidents, where Catholicism casts a long shadow and two courageous women make choices that will challenge our own moral convictions.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Masterful work. Flannery meets Sons & Lovers"
    "Masterful work. Flannery meets Sons & Lovers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was so moved by this novel. It left me to ponder: How many moral quandaries can a medium-sized novel hold?

    I would have to place Chris Cander alongside Flannery O'Connor. Since Ms. O’Connor, I haven’t yet read another author who has fully captured Evil lurking beneath the Zealot’s cloak in religion as Ms. Cander did in WHISPER HOLLOW. The setting is Whisper Hollow, West Virginia, a coal mining town, from prior to WWI until the late 1960s.

    It is a story exploring the bonds of the different kinds of love, amorous v. familial, true love v. the vows of a marriage arranged young. In the ruins of a coal mine disaster, Chris Cander paints a scene so strong and mired in moral dilemma it suffocates the soul. And cues a later scene that is at once devastating and redeeming. Not just because of the coal mining locale was I reminded of D. H. Lawrence in "Sons and Lovers."

    Myself, I wish the publisher would change the cover which makes the novel appear to be something of a romance or romantic historical fiction. It’s neither.

    "Whisper Hollow" is a masterful literary novel, as good as any I’ve read by modern authors.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Stranger

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1114)
    Performance
    (950)
    Story
    (953)

    The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar or a parking lot or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

    W. Perry Hall says: ""Well, Mr. Secret Revealer!""
    ""Well, Mr. Secret Revealer!""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is it...the last time I fall for a decent review of a book by Harlan Coben, I promise myself.

    I dunno, maybe it's my fault that I cannot overlook dialogue that's apparently important to the story, in which one character cries out to The Stranger, "Well, Mr. SECRET REVEALER!!" It reminded me of comic lines by the buffoonish Ben Stiller character to straight-faced Vince Vaughan, in the film, Dodgeball. Here, I also laughed, so hard i swallowed drink down the windpipe. And choked.... Then gave up on another self-inflicted stomach punch in reading a silly Coben book.

    21 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Rock Springs: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Richard Ford
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    In these 10 exquisite stories, first published by Atlantic Monthly Press in 1987 and now reissued as a Grove Press paperback, Richard Ford mines literary gold from the wind-scrubbed landscape of the American West - and from the guarded hopes and gnawing loneliness of the people who live there: a refugee from justice driving across Wyoming with his daughter and an unhappy girlfriend in a stolen, cranberry-colored Mercedes; a boy watching his family dissolve in a night of tragicomic violence.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Superb, Picturesque Stories in Wyoming & Montana"
    "Superb, Picturesque Stories in Wyoming & Montana"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Rock Springs" reminds me why I love realist short stories of unique people in faraway settings to experience .

    In picturesque prose precisely crafting unique situations, Richard Ford explores turbulence in relationships and the human's restive consciousness, made all the more evident against Ford's halcyon landscapes, from the wide ranges of Wyoming to the highlands of Montana. Each story one of resolution or revelation, eliciting intumescent empathy.

    The best set of short stories I've heard or read in a long time. Maybe ever.

    The narrator did a really good job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Where All Light Tends to Go

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Joy
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (168)

    The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually.

    Marci says: "Perfection"
    "Heck of a story set in stark, cursed world few see"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This especially praiseworthy for a first novel, particularly when I compare to some of the early works of other authors of the Southern lit (noir) ilk, like Daniel Woodrell, whose praise graces the novel's cover. I keep wanting to compare it to a Ron Rash short story (like those in the stellar and sulphurous "Chemistry and Other Stories") expanded and developed further into a rather short novel, which is in no way intended as a criticism.

    Written as a first person narrative of Jacob McNeely, apparently 18, around the time of his former classmates' HS graduation. He dropped out of school to help out in the family business, a West Carolina mountain meth mob of which his daddy, Charlie McNeely, is the don. The book revolves primarily around the relationship between Jacob and daddy, their ties to the community (vel non) and particularly to "bulls" (law enforcement officers). The themes include whether one can escape blood and environment ("blood is thicker than water, and I'm drowning in it"), and the irrefutable difference between what's right and what's wrong and how this distinction sometimes gets muddled by a life full of "broken windows."

    Jacob's love interest Maggie (his old girlfriend he grew up beside) and their possibly rekindled romance are a driving force in the story and she is symbolic of "a way out of here." And yet, I never could relate to it so much because I felt she was not fully developed and thus their relationship not realized in a way that made me feel despair at the threat of losing it. Perhaps that's what Mr. Joy intended. I did get a sense of the emptiness of a life lived with a daddy don and a momma meth head, with a little dark and *addled* spice of Flannery O'Connor thrown in.

    The novel is intriguing and kept me hanging until the end. Mr. Joy employs clear and conversational prose to convey a funereal context. I can't help but believe that if he'd had a little more experience under his belt, he might have more fully explored the story of Jacob + Maggie and have hit a homerun.

    I look forward to reading more from this gifted writer. He can tell a hell of a story, with profundity and clarity, set in a stark and cursed world few see aside from on nightly newscasts.

    The accent seemed too strong at first, but the narrator quickly recovered and did a really good job.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Ryan Holiday
    • Narrated By Ryan Holiday
    Overall
    (970)
    Performance
    (847)
    Story
    (833)

    We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn't be this way. There is a formula for success that's been followed by the icons of history - from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs - a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.

    Jason DeFillippo says: "Great book I wish I had 25 years ago"
    "Highly Practical Advice for Life (No Pie n Sky BS)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This synopsis/collection of philosophy (from the Greeks to the leaders of today) and inspiring personal stories of someone who has persevered on each topic should be required reading before being awarded a college diploma to help the bright-eyed, the bubbly, the go-getters, et al. I am not being coy when I say this. I think someone should help those entering the real world to realize that everything will not go their way, that there will be obstacles on the path that, depending on your perspective, can be turned into the new path toward even greater goals. These coming obstacles of life will surely come his/her way, and some will, at first glance, appear so devastating that it seems to shatter the personal myth most of us hold dearly upon exiting high school or college. You know, the myth about you having big house, a perfect marriage, 2 straight A kids, and a well-planned career you love and that makes you tons of money.

    This is a new perspective coming from many different angles on turning obstacles over and around and about, into positives that may well be a better way than that shattered personal myth. I often go back to this book often and find a treasure I really need and that I'd forgotten from my first reading.

    This is not a feel-good, power of positive thinking, Dr. Phil hogwashing or Eckhart Tolle powder puffery.

    It's real and it's practical.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Phillip Connors
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Now Connors returns with the story of what drove him up to the tower in the first place: the wilderness years he spent reeling in the wake of a family tragedy. This is an unforgettable account of grappling with a shattered sense of purpose, from his family's failing pig farm in Minnesota to a crack-addled Brooklyn neighborhood to the mountains of New Mexico, where he puts the pieces of his life back together.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Search 4 Sense n Bro's Suicide--Moving Memoir"
    "Search 4 Sense n Bro's Suicide--Moving Memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A poignant memoir of author's search for the sense of his brother's suicide. If there's a better description of the grief suffered, of the need to understand, of the empty place in the soul that one tries to, but can never, fill after the loss of a family member to suicide, I'm not sure I want to read it.

    Mr. Connors provides a vivid and moving account of how he could not move past his younger brother's suicide until he had followed all traces of the moments and days leading up to the gunshot wound to the temple, until he spoke to others who had talked to his brother, before he could track down photos and an autopsy report. In short, the author had to satisfy himself that there were some things he would not know, could not know. When he came to grips with this fact and to a peace within, he was finally (but not fully) freed of the constant thoughts, guilt and the feelings of emptiness within himself.

    The things Connors did, the places he worked and the people he met, all on his journey to peace and self-revelation, add up to make this a memoir a rewarding read/listen.

    The narrator did an admirable job.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Simon Armitage
    • Narrated By Bill Wallis
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (96)

    The famous Middle English poem by an anonymous Northern England poet is beautifully translated by fellow poet Simon Armitage in this edition. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" narrates in crystalline verse the strange tale of a green knight who rudely interrupts the Round Table festivities one Yuletide, casting a pall of unease over the company and challenging one of their number to a wager.

    Mary says: "great original, translation, and reader"
    "Old Fable in a Superb, Refreshing New Translation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't fully appreciate this when I read it 25 years ago, at least as I can recall. This new translation is refreshing and easily comprehensible without watering down the tale's mysticism or sacrificing its bite.

    Very good performance by the narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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