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W. Perry Hall

S. Quire

Member Since 2012

ratings
376
REVIEWS
95
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
8
HELPFUL VOTES
193

  • The Razor's Edge

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (330)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (193)

    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.

    Verl says: "Best of the Best"
    "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 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Megan McArdle
    • Narrated By Mia Barron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    Most new products fail. So do most small businesses. And most of us, if we are honest, have experienced a major setback in our personal or professional lives. So what determines who will bounce back and follow up with a home run? If you want to succeed in business and in life, Megan McArdle argues in this hugely thought-provoking book, you have to learn how to harness the power of failure. McArdle has been one of our most popular business bloggers for more than a decade, covering the rise and fall of some the world' s top companies and challenging us to think differently about how we live, learn, and work.

    Ray says: "Good Book"
    "Book's potential drowned in lake of Narcissus"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book started out wonderfully. If the author had stuck to her plan stated in the first several pages of the book, it could well have been helpful and inspiring. And yet, her smugness and self-aggrandizing babel get the better of her and ruin this book, which becomes all about Ms. McArdle and her personal and political views, rather than a book that gives advice or even anecdotes about those who have succeeded after failure, how they did it or how and *why failing well is the key to success*.

    I didn't get to the last 3 chapters. I had suffered far too long, deciding instead to cut my costs and fail well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
    • Narrated By Timothy Miller, Claire Hamilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (128)

    This is an audiobook for busy people. If you want less on your plate and more for your life and career, tune in to the #1 Wall Street Journal best seller, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. The ONE Thing will bring your life and your work into focus. Authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan teach you the tricks to cut through the clutter, achieve better results in less time, dial down stress, and master what matters to you.

    Michael Williams says: "Do this and you have the answer."
    "Should be called "FOR A FIRM GRASP OF THE OBVIOUS""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The secret: concentrate on ONE thing at a time.

    How does it take 5 1/2 hours to get to ONE Firm Grasp?

    Add ONE happy song, ONE ton of guitar filler and (my ONE compliment to the authors is their skill to) say ONE thing ONE Hundred different ways.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (606)
    Performance
    (552)
    Story
    (558)

    Jon Ronson is fascinated by madness, extraordinary behaviour and the human mind. He has spent his life investigating crazy events, following fascinating people and unearthing unusual stories. Collected here from various sources (including the Guardian and GQ America) are the best of his adventures.

    glamazon says: "Like a Collection of TAL Episodes"
    "great writer, awful narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wish someone would answer the question arising every time I hear the author destroying all his/her excellent written work by narrating it: Is the author a narcissist or that strained financially to do something so self-destructive? Ronson, so talented as a writer, is terrible as a narrator with that SUPERSOFT sleep-inducing voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl in 6E

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By A.R. Torre
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (200)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (182)

    I haven't touched another person in three years.That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it's not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet. My anonymous clients spend thousands of dollars to watch me take my clothes off for the camera. What they want, I give. Their secrets, I keep. Everything I tell them is a lie. Open the door to this year's most shocking thriller.

    Stacy says: "knife? check! gun? check"
    "Suspense novel that packs the heat and hotness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first time...

    To compliment the narrator first. She made the Girl protagonist, Jess/Deanna, come to life, leap out of the speakers live before my internal dilated pupils, dry mouth and accelerating heartbeat.

    While certain aspects of this book appear to border on fantasy, and I would have liked to explore further the Girl's character, this book was fun, a frisky tryst from some of the heavier lit on the market, as suspenseful as today's typical fare in the genre and certainly MUCH more arousing.

    Ms. Torre changed the derivation of her name to A.R. from Alessandra for this book, ostensibly so it would not be viewed as purely in the erotica genre (like her last several novels). This is not erotica, though I am guessing it has a number of the same elements. A.R. Torre has a bright future if she can continue the hard task of blending erotica into suspense. She undeniably has the special combination of writing talent, creativity and pure heat to deliver a blockbuster as good as or maybe better than Gillian Flynn's. She's well on her way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Case Histories: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Susan Jameson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (492)
    Performance
    (315)
    Story
    (320)

    Case One: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case Two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack. Case Three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

    Carrie says: "Deftly written, completely original mystery"
    "chunked, smothered, diced, peppered and just bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is all over the place and the characters boring, thus I couldn't care less about the answer to the mysteries (case histories), now nearly 2/3 of the way through the book.

    Like Waffle House hashbrowns, an appropriate way to describe this book is:
    CHUNKED, DICED, SMOTHERED, PEPPERED, COVERED

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (615)
    Performance
    (571)
    Story
    (573)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Share Faerber says: "Read This Book!"
    "Felt like a Short Story stretched into a Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was okay, but it felt to me very much like a short story stretched into a novel. It just didn't work for me. That doesn't mean it won't work for you.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Terry Hayes
    • Narrated By Christopher Ragland
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (211)

    An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan. A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Smartest Novel I've Heard or Read in Long time"
    "Smartest Novel I've Heard or Read in Long time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You have to hang with this for about 9 hours before things start rushing at a rapid pace. During the first 9, I almost gave up numerous times because it seems so scattered and disconnected with no plot. But, you should trust the author. It is all related and set-up for the show: the race to try to prevent a realistic terrorist threat to spread vaccine-busting small pox in the USA.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • A Cool Breeze on the Underground

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Don Winslow
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (76)

    Neal Carey is not your usual private eye. A graduate student at Columbia University, he grew up on the streets of New York, usually on the wrong side of the law. Then he met a P.I. who introduced him to the Bank, an exclusive institution with a sideline in keeping its wealthy clients happy and out of trouble. They pay Neal's college tuition, and Neal gets an education that can't be found in any textbook, from learning how to trail a suspect to mastering the proper way to search a room. Now it's payback time.

    mindusq says: "Joe Barrett reading Don Winslow = joy squared"
    "Clever PIcaresque novel, harkening back to Dickens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an excellent starter novel, a creative PI/picaresque story; cool, clever and sexy. I'm pleased to have happened upon this series. I have already bought the 2d, THE TRAIL TO BUDDHA'S MIRROR; and am hopeful it doesn't lose the rhythm like some other series I've dropped after reading the second.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Death in the Family

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By James Agee
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Decades after its original publication, James Agee’s last novel seems, more than ever, an American classic. For in his lyrical, sorrowful account of a man’s death and its impact on his family, Agee painstakingly created a small world of domestic happiness and then showed how quickly and casually it could be destroyed.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Is it really worth the costs of reading/listening?"
    "Is it really worth the costs of reading/listening?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the 2d half of my 40s, I've been on a kick to read as many prized literary novels as I can. I've been particularly interested in reading such novels set in the South. This novel, set in Tennessee, won the 1958 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. It has caused me to question whether I should do a cost-benefit analysis before reading certain prized novels.

    In my literary endeavor, many times I've enjoyed what I've read and some novels have required hard work and a second reading to appreciate (e.g., The Sound and the Fury). And, then there have been a couple like A DEATH IN THE FAMILY, that made me wonder why I should force myself to experience a story of an event and aftermath so painful to endure in reality, a story that nearly all of us suffer through at least a few times in our life if we are lucky enough to make it to middle age. This novel, as you can tell from the title, is a story of a rural family dealing with the death of the father and husband and brother and son to the respective surviving family members.

    I have had a hard enough time surviving the painful ordeal of the death of an immediate family member. While I can appreciate the literary quality of this novel, I've come to the conclusion that life is just too short and my reading time too limited to spend hours and hours of my time vicariously living through such intimate agony and sadness at and as the story's very center.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Mercedes: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3678)
    Performance
    (3453)
    Story
    (3458)

    In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

    Marci says: "King and Patton create a winning combo"
    "Hey now, all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like the Ice Cream Man (stop me when I'm passing by), all Stephen King's suspense novels are guaranteed to satisfy. I was given an advance copy of this Saturday and finished it Monday.

    King stirs up a super-odd trio:
    a mentally disabled, milquetoast mid-40s lady who still lives with her moma;
    a rather boring, recently-retired, suicidal and alcoholic police detective in his mid-60s who failed to solve that last big case; and,
    a 6'5" squeaky-clean, high school African-American kid.

    As the story develops, they come together to rush against time to try saving the lives of 4,000 screaming teeny-boppers at a "Round Here" [see, One Direction] concert from the psychotic bomb plot of an Oedipal Ice Cream Man. The kid's mom and sister are in the crowd, adding to the tension.

    Undeniably, King is still on his game, even without the supernatural to aid his story. The twists in the plot keep coming to build toward a concerto crescendo. This isn't a "character-driven" plodder that'll be taught in lit classes 100 years from now. With the King, the story rules and the characters are given enough that you care what happens.

    King is and has been the master of creating the verisimilitude of evil in many forms in the genres of suspense, thriller and horror novels. This fits the first, but this is quite the mastery King has achieved in thriller and horror novels. While the antagonist here is quite creepy, King has painted much darker villains. This psycho isn't evil incarnate; his evil has a cause (probably not THE only cause) and, without revealing too much, it has something to do with an Oedipal aspect to the story, of which the details are so revolting that the reader-results should range from "rendered nauseous" to "released vomitus."

    This is more of a modern-day suspense novel, which are churned out these days like rows of wind turbines, by much lesser talents and by some who have mastered the modern-day suspense more than has Stephen King. It's not Mr. King's strongest suit. While the bomb plot at a teeny-bopper concert hits REALLY close to home and the internet and car break-in aspects of the story were interesting, I had a difficult time suspending disbelief over the combination of the protagonist detective and his peculiar sidekicks.

    This is a perfect beach read though: a rapid-paced suspenseful story that will keep you hooked until the end.

    Actor Will Patton has become the go-to guy for blockbusters because of his super acting talent in the *performance of narration.* He is clear, crisp, low-key until the story calls for him to turn it up; he never overdoes a character and, with him, after a while of listening you just get lost in the story and forget about the narrator. To me, that is the ultimate ability for an audible narrator; isn't that why so many of us love Tom Hanks? You forget it's Tom Hanks after watching for a while and get lost in the movie. Same thing here.

    In the genre, I give Mr. Mercedes 4 stars. It does not stand out as a 5 when compared to some of the supremely talented novelists who have mastered the art of suspense in a modern-day, non-supernatural setting. 5 stars for Will Patton.

    19 of 26 people found this review helpful

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