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W Perry Hall

S. Quire

Member Since 2014

351
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 111 reviews
  • 518 ratings
  • 594 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
13

  • A Death in the Family

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By James Agee
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    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.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil You Know: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Elisabeth de Mariaffi
    • Narrated By Andi Arndt
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    The year is 1993. Rookie crime-beat reporter Evie Jones is haunted by the unsolved murder of her best friend Lianne Gagnon, who was killed in 1982, back when both girls were eleven. The suspected killer, a repeat offender named Robert Cameron, was never arrested, leaving Lianne's case cold. Now 21 and living alone for the first time, Evie is obsessively drawn to finding out what really happened to Lianne.

    W Perry Hall says: "Worthy Psychological Suspense Novel"
    "Worthy Psychological Suspense Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In her debut psychological thriller revolving around Evie, a young newspaper reporter, set in Toronto from 1982 to 1993, Elisabeth de Mariaffi deftly plies her wares at suspense with the uncertainty of childhood memories, lingering nightmares and possible paranoia from a 12-year-old friend's abduction and murder, cults in the Branch Davidians in Waco and the Charles Manson murders, stalkers, paranoia, dental records, a *basement* and a *cabin in the woods*.

    I expect Ms. de Mariaffi to excel in this genre with such a good start and look forward to her next book.

    As always, Andi Arndt magnificently plays the role of the young, equivocal female protagonist. For my money, Ms. Arndt is the *bomb* among her female counterparts.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Overcoming Life's Disappointments

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Harold S. Kushner
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Harold S. Kushner turns to the experience of Moses to find the requisite lessons of strength and faith. Moses towers over all others in the Old Testament; he is the man on the mountaintop to whom God speaks with unparalleled intimacy, and he leads his people out of bondage. But he is also deeply human, someone whose soaring triumphs are offset by frustration and longing; his people ignore his teachings, he is denied entrance to the Promised Land, his family suffers. But he overcomes.

    W Perry Hall says: "Stardust for the Saturnine"
    "Stardust for the Saturnine"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book provides momentary stardust to the guy who feels like he's failed, his hopes dashed; the lady who thinks her life is a disappointment in an empty nest or that she didn't live up to her potential in her career; or anyone else who believes her or his road to money and glory has been forever blocked or even decimated.

    This book was published in 2006, written by Rabbi Harold Kushner, also the author of the bestseller "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." Whereas the latter was so helpful to those who, like Rabbi Kushner, lost a loved one, this book is manna, like grains of gratitude for seeing and grasping all that it good within your life, even when it seems that all has gone so wrong. "Overcoming" is the book that others have since tried to write, like "The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success."

    This is not an overly religious book or a book only for Jews because it's written by a Rabbi. This is a spiritual book, a positive book, that invokes the life and failures of Moses for its lessons.

    If you know someone who has suffered a major life setback, lost a job, a house, a marriage, I cannot recommend to you highly enough that you give this book as a gift.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3749)
    Performance
    (3347)
    Story
    (3354)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Sandra says: "Be prepared to love the characters."
    "Love, Self-Sacrifice Conquer Evil, Fury"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As with some literary historical fiction, I was skeptical when I started this book. I even went so far as to return it before hearing more and more praise. So I stuck it out for a couple of hours, and, boy oh boy was it worth it! A novel with themes of love and self-sacrifice and humanity in the face of greater evils.

    Somerset Maugham said it best in THE RAZOR'S EDGE (another novel centered in France): "... 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."

    So, O Fellow Impatient Ones, stay with this for 2 hours, and you will be satisfied once you've finished.

    The best book of 2014. Bar none.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alex: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Pierre Lemaitre
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (60)

    Alex Prevost - kidnapped, savagely beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a tiny wooden cage - is running out of time. Her abductor appears to want only to watch her die. Apart from a shaky eyewitness report of the abduction, Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads, and no family or friends anxious to find a missing loved one. The diminutive and brilliant detective knows from bitter experience the urgency of finding the missing woman as quickly as possible - but first he must understand more about her.

    Paul says: "A Dark Story"
    "Very Dark (description has PLOT SPOILER for Iréne)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I feel obliged to issue a WARNING re: the HUGE PLOT SPOILER for the 1st in the trilogy, Iréne (in the description of this book, Alex, the 2d in the Verhoeven trilogy).

    For whatever reason, this 2d book was apparently translated and published in the USA before the the 1st in the trilogy:

    I wrote a review of Iréne, which is much better than the 2d.

    But, Iréne is so good that you must read Alex and then Camille (coming to the States soon).

    With the proviso, I recommend this book as a 3.5 star.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Irene: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Pierre Lemaitre
    • Narrated By Peter Noble
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In Irene Lemaitre ingeniously uses five contemporary and classic literary murder scenes - from William McIlvanney's Laidlaw to Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho - as the framework on which to craft a diabolical prequel to his award-winning novel Alex. Camille Verhoeven, whose diminutive stature belies his fierce intensity, has reached an unusually content (for him) place in life. But when a new murder case hits his desk - a double torture-homicide - Verhoeven is overcome with a sense of foreboding.

    W Perry Hall says: "Napoleonic Inspector & Lovely, Pregnant Wife Irene"
    "Napoleonic Inspector & Lovely, Pregnant Wife Irene"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, a Warning: Do NOT read Alex (the 2d in the Verhoeven trilogy, but the first translated and published in the States) before reading this, or even the publisher's Irene-spoiler description of *Alex*. Regretfully, I did; else this review would be longer.


    *Irene* is a hyper-intelligent, noir, (quasi-meta) thriller with a quite original (and short) protagonist Commandant.

    Second Warning: This novel is not for the weak of stomach or heart.

    ***Highly recommended.***

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Concrete Blonde: Harry Bosch Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3198)
    Performance
    (1875)
    Story
    (1882)

    The Dollmaker was the name of the serial killer who had stalked Los Angeles ruthlessly, leaving grisly calling cards on the faces of his victims. Now, with a single faultless shot, Harry Bosch thinks he has ended the city's nightmare.

    Barry says: "Wow! Excellent Bosch thriller!"
    "Calvin P. Yeen and Da Bears"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like the later Harry Bosch novels, but this one evinces a Connelly initially trying to find his way to a good story that's also plausible. The Concrete Blonde is as realistic, from the standpoint of the centerpiece lawsuit, as a Calvin P Yeen on a Cowboy helmet in downtown Dallas.

    Dick Hill's thick Chicago accent grates the whole way through, especially when he attempts the female voices and even moreso when he puts his hand over the mike to try to give the effect of someone speaking from the other end of a phone call. Think, Mike Ditka narrating it to you in the passenger seat while he munches a super-size bag of Doritos.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Station Eleven

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Emily St. John Mandel
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (442)
    Performance
    (373)
    Story
    (375)

    An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

    Stacy says: "gah!"
    "Good, Literary, Novel, Post-Apocalyptic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel was a nice, different take on the post-apocalypse. Nothing profound or revelatory. If we had half-stars, I'd give it 3.5 stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Redeployment

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Phil Klay
    • Narrated By Craig Klein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (129)

    Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Must Read - Fantastic Heart Rendering Shorts"
    "Each Story Hits Hard at the Heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Many times I'll buy a collection of short stories and read/listen to 3, one of which is good and the others afflicted by such eccentricities and affectations that I cannot get past the thought (which seems confirmed by research on the writer) that these are foibles foisted on the writer by one MFA program or another, or by trying too hard to come up with a ingenious story.

    While I believe Mr. Klay has an MFA in creative writing, his writing is true and powerful because, it seems to me, he writes what he knows and what he knows has struck him in a way that he cannot help but write stories from the heart that are genuine and profound.

    I highly recommend these stories, each of which moved me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Those Who Wish Me Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael Koryta
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (283)
    Story
    (285)

    When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare. The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him.

    Jen says: "Best Bad Guys EVER!"
    "Villains too good to be wasted on the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book kept me interested, with a decent plot line, though a little disjointed, and a believable set of psychotic villains, though I thought shortcuts were taken to arrive at the climax, which itself seemed forced to the point of being affectatious. All in all, a good, not great, thriller.

    I hope Mr. Koryta brings back such superbly drawn evildoers (or some like the ones here) and put them in a grander story with a little more work on the protagonists.

    The villains gave Mr. Petkoff a chance to shine, so I give him 5 stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Churchill Factor: How One Man Changed History

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Boris Johnson
    • Narrated By Simon Shepherd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (44)

    On the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death, Boris Johnson celebrates the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the 20th century. Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays - with characteristic wit and passion - a man of contagious bravery, breathtaking eloquence, matchless strategizing, and deep humanity.

    Mike From Mesa says: "The Irreplaceable Man"
    "If you appreciate History but aren't its lover"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a near-flawless book in measuring, in an erudite yet conversational manner, the near-majesty of a man who played a leading role (arguably the leading part) in maintaining the course of the free world and altering evil in the 20th Century. I was hesitant, but Mr. Johnson was able to draw me into his scholarly chat, unlike the historians who can cure any insomniac.

    I highly recommend this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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