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W. Perry Hall

Member Since 2014

417
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 123 reviews
  • 528 ratings
  • 604 titles in library
  • 53 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
18

  • Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    What if you could travel anywhere, whether Europe, South America, or the remote reaches of the African continent? And what if you could choose not only your destination, but your era, as well-so that you might choose from the sparkling court society of 18th-century France, a 19th-century whaling ship out of New Bedford, or the streets of Dublin in the early part of the 20th century?

    W. Perry Hall says: "No Course Credit; Just Ivy League Lit Appreciation"
    "No Course Credit; Just Ivy League Lit Appreciation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You love books and majored in business or medicine or dropped out of school to become a multi-millionaire salesmen?

    Now, you just wish you had paid more attention and that you would have taken that American or British Lit course instead of taking the easier route?

    If so, or if you just love lit and don't care if you'd taken it in college or not, this is a perfect chance to listen to hours and hours of a mild-mannered but lively Ivy League (Brown) professor Arnold Weinstein searching the meaning and imparting his knowledge of many of the Classic Novels.

    If you haven't read a lot of these novels, don't worry. For a few I hadn't read, Professor Weinstein inspired me to read these books and his teaching method doesn't require you to have read these to enjoy the course.

    I'd definitely recommend the Professor Weinstein lit courses. I've bought all of them and I'd say that just an hour or so out of the course's many is worth what you'll spend to make the purchase.

    8 of 8 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
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    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.

    0 of 0 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
    (175)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (92)

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gangsterland: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tod Goldberg
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    A few surgeries and some intensive training later, and Sal Cupertine is gone, having disappeared into the identity of Rabbi David Cohen. Leading his growing congregation in Las Vegas, overseeing the population and the temple and the new cemetery, Rabbi Cohen feels his wicked past slipping away from him, surprising even himself as he spouts quotes from the Torah. But the Mafia isn't quite done with him.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Goombah Goes to Vegas and Becomes Tony with Torah"
    "Goombah Goes to Vegas and Becomes Tony with Torah"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked this easy-to-listen crime novel with its dryly witty, yet dark, plot I'd sum up as:

    Great Lakes Goombah Guns Down 4 G-men, Goes to Vegas, and Turns into a Tony with a Torah.

    Rabbi David Cohen (aka Sal Cupertino, a 35-year-old shadowy hitman with a bad plastic surgery job) appears to go through a existential crisis-lite as he misses his wife and young son and considers the Torah that he's basically committed to memory (his mob nickname was "Rain Man"), but maintains his killer karma. While Mr. Goldberg has fun playing with the interplay among Italian mobsters, a hitman's rabbinical conversion and perhaps a reptilian shedding of the Jewish skin, he doesn't glamorize gangsters, the mob lifestyle, Jews or G-men. The novel maintains a diabolical darkness in 1990's Las Vegas despite the comedic diversions.

    I'd not heard of Tod Goldberg before seeing the good reviews for this book, but he really seems to have hit his mark. I'll be looking forward to his next book.

    If you loved "The Sopranos" and "Bugsy," you should revel in "Gangsterland."

    My only complaint is the narration. I hate it when a narrator botches an easily recognizable, nearly household name, like Brett Favre (as Fave-ruh), a Hall of Fame QB, in an important part of the story, and then repeatedly mispronounces it. Of course, the Producer is just as much at fault for not correcting this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Drink Before the War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (441)
    Performance
    (377)
    Story
    (381)

    With novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has dramatically altered the landscape of the crime thriller—while boldly overstepping the boundaries that have long separated mystery from literature. Now two of his sensational early novels have been combined in a single volume—two gritty and mesmerizing masterworks of suspense featuring the private eye duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Great beginning to thriller series"
    "Highly Enjoyable Potboiler on Beantown Backstreets"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent, suspenseful beginning to the series. Lehane was able to create magic mojo between partners Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro from the start, for a super 1-2 Irish-Italian P.I. punch, taking it to the Boston streets, dodging bullets, brawn and barbs from 2 black street gangs and some powerful politicians.

    This is a close 2d in the series to #4 "Gone Girl." I have criticized a couple of the other (particularly, #3) in the series as being too implausible and feeling forced. While the plot in #1 could be seen by some as far-fetched, it all seemed real and true to me.

    A highly enjoyable potboiler on the backstreets of Beantown.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Johann Hari
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (83)

    It is now 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, 30,000-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

    P. Smith says: "A Must if the drug war has touched you at all"
    "Engrossing Exploration of Drug War Failures"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An engrossing exploration of the failures of the "war on drugs" and the reasons why, through a narrative of the war's czar, users and abusers, peddlers, law enforcement, the poor souls who have been "collaterally damaged," current policy makers and governments who have legalized certain drugs (like Vancouver) and all drugs (Portugal). I also found his coverage of studies on addiction fascinating.

    Mr. Hari makes a compelling argument for legalization of all but darkly-affecting drugs like heroin and crack. I cannot say he's convinced me of the answers, but I am much more open to the persuasion of the arguments, as to certain drugs, after reading this book. While I do not believe I will see such legalization happen in my lifetime, this is a much-needed treatment of the subject that is certain to start conversations.

    I enjoy Mr. Hari's conversational writing style; yet, in parts, he seemed unable to control his supercilious tone.

    The narrator was terribly annoying, indulging himself in affected, preposterous American accents, depending on who he (the narrator) decided should be ridiculed (ironically).

    I definitely recommend this if you have someone near and/or dear to you with a drug problem.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • We Are Not Ourselves

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Matthew Thomas
    • Narrated By Mare Winningham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (269)

    Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed. When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit.

    Paula says: "Profound Narrative of FantisizingTragedy, Regret"
    "Somber, Poignant Novel on Timely Topic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An elegiac novel to a committed wife/mother whose husband suffers early onset Alzheimer's. I could relate to her pain and loneliness as all the past and passion slowly slipped away and found particularly poignant her coping with the loss of her dreams of a dashing, successful professor husband with a beautiful home in the perfect suburb.

    A pure work of artistry in development of the characters of the wife, the husband and their son. My one complaint: it is a bit slow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Sunshine Away

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By M.O. Walsh
    • Narrated By Kirby Heybourne
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when 15-year-old Lindy Simpson - free spirit, track star, and belle of the block - experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

    Melinda says: "'I dreamt I held you in my arms...'"
    "Remarkable Retrospective on Becoming a *True* Man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some books are so piercing, so damn good that one hesitates to write a review, for fear that he cannot do that novel justice by failing to adequately convey the effect on him and how it caused so much self-reflection. But, here goes:

    I truly love this book. It is so many things: suspenseful, literary, coming-of-age. And yet, it doesn't fit neatly into one, rather it transcends categorization. It is, most of all, a melody to the evolution of young teen into man, a man of character, of morals, and of responsibility to his children and the women in his life: a real father to his kids, a devoted husband to his wife, a caring son to his mother and a brother grateful for his sisters.

    A retrospective traveling the path of progress toward manhood through the burning memories of first love, the pain of losing it, juvenile mistakes and self-doubts, going from innocence to the teen male's idolatry of sex and objectification of females, the protagonist learns life's hard lessons via a host of females and their relationships to the wrong kind of men, including his mother who was abandoned by his adulterous and absent father, his sister who had a penchant for abusive boyfriends, and his first love who was raped and struggled to move on.

    This lyrical Louisiana novel was so true to me and so eloquent.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Before He Finds Her

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael Kardos
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    Under the name Melanie Denison, she has spent the last 15 years in small-town West Virginia as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has never been allowed to travel, go to a school dance, or even have internet at home. Precautions must be taken at every turn, because Ramsey Miller was never caught and might still be looking for his daughter. Yet despite strict house rules, Melanie has entered into a relationship with a young teacher at the local high school and is now 10 weeks pregnant.

    Big jim Picotto says: "Enjoyable page turning mystery"
    "Riveting Mystery Glues-2-U for Hours"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am so glad I took a chance on this after reading the raves by other authors. I only half pay attention to these, but I've learned, I think, to trust certain authors not to BS and to read between the lines.

    The cover blurb by Jeffery Deaver is so dead-on: Read a few pages of this novel and kiss the next 24 hours goodbye. I couldn't give it up, as it eased back and forth between 2 storylines: 1) a 17-year-old recently pregnant girl, who's been hidden away in WVa in witness protection since 1991 she was nearly 3, searches for the father she knows killed her mother and who she's always assumed wants to kill her; and, 2) back to 1991 in the days and minutes leading up to her mother's murder (mostly omniscent from her father's POV but some from her mother).

    Plenty of twists and turns I cannot describe here without spoiling the book.

    Julia Whelan's narration is outstanding.

    I highly recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blood-Drenched Beard

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Daniel Galera
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    A young man's father, close to death, reveals to his son the true story of his grandfather's death, or at least the truth as he knows it. The mean old gaucho was murdered by some fellow villagers in Garopaba, a sleepy town on the Atlantic now famous for its surfing and fishing. It was almost an execution, vigilante style. Or so the story goes.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Seaside Samba Set to Waves and Crosscurrents"
    "Seaside Samba Set to Waves and Crosscurrents"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just prior to his suicide, the protagonist's dad tells a tale of the grandfather who was murdered under mysterious circumstances in a small town on the Brazilian coast. So the protagonist, who is a PE teacher/triathlete with the rare cognitive disorder called prosopagnosia (or, face blindness) with no real ties to his hometown, attends his dad's funeral then departs with his dad's 15-year-old dog for the coastal town of his grandfather's demise.

    The author's beautiful prose sings the uncertain atmosphere of the small seaside town in Brazil as our guy (who never meets someone who's not a stranger) endeavors, at least initially, to discover what happened to his grandfather. This superb novel carries us on a moody, sometimes haunting, journey through a unique cast of characters, including 3 girlfriends, a rowdy friend, the strange and hostile town, the ocean and its whales and the dog, as well as into a mountainous region on a walk-about of self-discovery and mirrors of the past and the present, as we discover and contemplate fate v. determinism, the ephemeral nature of love (familial and amorous), loyalty among family and of man's best friend, and the human capability (or not) of true forgiveness.

    Daniel Galera reminds me a bit of Márquez in his rhythmic prose and hazy, contemplative themes. He may well be destined for a similar plateau. Surely Senhor Galera is well on his way with a "Blood-Drenched Beard."

    Jonathan Davis outdoes himself with this assorted saltwater taffy of characters as he smoothly surfs through the dreamlike ocean winds of this novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Prayers for Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (139)

    What if a total stranger was watching your every move? What if he read your mail, listened in on your phone calls, knew what you spoke of only to your most trusted confidants? What if he learned Your routines? Your weaknesses? And, most important, what if he discovered those things you love and cling to . . . and then he stripped you of them? And sat back to watch while you self-destructed?

    Cindy says: "Too wordy, too implausible"
    "A Dark, Depthless Diversion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this one. While the mixture of Kenzie and Gennaro and their dialogue seemed genuine and action suspenseful, the plot and the characters surrounding it were too stereotypical and implausible.

    A dark diversion without depth.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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