ACDelco Radiators & Heating Components 100 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Shop Men's Watches Cloud Drive Photos nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Janet Jackson belkin Fire TV Stick Beauty Videos Introducing Handmade Create an Amazon Wedding Registry Amazon Gift Card Offer wdftv wdftv wdftv  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Now Learn more
Profile for W Perry Hall > Reviews


W Perry Hall's Profile

Customer Reviews: 225
Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,682
Helpful Votes: 344

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
W Perry Hall "May you build a ladder to the stars, and climb on every rung... May your heart always be joyful, and your song always be sung.- RA Zimmerman" RSS Feed (Mobile, AL)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Les Misérables (Modern Library Classics)
Les Misérables (Modern Library Classics)
by Victor Hugo
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.13
91 used & new from $0.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Good translation, great expiation, October 12, 2015
As you are likely already aware, this magnificent story is Epic (with a capital "E"), entertaining and evocative. Redemption of a petty criminal, constant conflicts, cat and mouse, a father's love, a daughter's blooming love and the expiation of her poor late mother, in a monumental setting of post-Revolutionary France.

I must forewarn you that Hugo dropped 2 bombs into the novel: each 75 or so pages discussing historical matters that, in hindsight, didn't appear to me that crucial to the storyline. Reading either will have you feeling like you just ran the gauntlet - early in the book is a wooden discussion of, if my memory's correct, the history/politics of Roman Catholicism in France, and the other a plodding description of Waterloo. If you're not particularly interested in the subject matter or a history buff or religion scholar, you may pull out all your hair, given the novel is nearly 1,400 pages. This proviso aside, I highly recommend this Julie Rose translation of the novel which I found to be a more comfortable read.

Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power
Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power
by Dan Hurley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.53
52 used & new from $3.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Stagnating Stationary Bike, October 12, 2015
"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." Pres. Lincoln

I didn't see much original. Though, one would consider this to be another book for the shelves - the literary equivalent of the stationary bike that's been in the storage shed for the past few years.

David Copperfield (Penguin Classics)
David Copperfield (Penguin Classics)
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.00
137 used & new from $1.94

5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Story, October 10, 2015
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” So opens the greatest story ever told of a youngster's journey into adulthood and amour.

Nearly 20 years after writing David Copperfield, Dickens wrote that, "like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield."

In no novel did Dickens have as colorful a set of characters and character names as in this one - from Peggotty, David's childhood maid and lifelong friend, Wilkins Micawber, his melodramatic landlord, James Steerforth, the cad of a school friend, Uriah Heep, the all-time most despicable sycophant in all of literature, and his love Dora (“Lovers had loved before, and lovers would love again; but no lover had ever loved, might, could, would, or should ever love, as I loved Dora.").

As with most of his novels, Dickens brought to light a social evil--here, the working conditions of minors, as David was (8 or 9) when his evil stepfather Murdstone took him out of school (after David's mom died) and sent him to work in London.

“I know enough of the world now to have almost lost the capacity of being much surprised by anything.”

It's nearly indescribable how much I identified with this novel. It may not be the best novel of all time (structure, conflicts, character development and all that jazz - I think that's "Anna Karenina"), but I think Charles Dickens' DAVID COPPERFIELD is the best story. If you haven't read it or it's been a while, you should pick it up.

Purity: A Novel
Purity: A Novel
by Jonathan Franzen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.80
108 used & new from $10.12

4.0 out of 5 stars The Attack of the Quinquagenarians, October 10, 2015
This review is from: Purity: A Novel (Hardcover)
“Don't talk to me about hatred if you haven't been married.” J. Franzen, "Purity"

I generally like Franzen's novels in spite of his insolent air of superiority.

I enjoyed this one. As one reviewer wrote, there wasn't a moment when I was reading it that I was wishing I was reading something else. Yet, though Franzen goes Global in this sprawling novel, his novel evoked no real emotion relating to any of the characters or their plights.

I see Pip's birth name, Purity, in her youth and in searching for an unknown father, juxtaposed against the impurities of the world from the backward-looking glasses of the four other main characters' fifties against the prism of their shattered relationships and personal myths. What Franzen paints through these quinquagenarians (2 males, 2 females) is a view of the world dirtied by the detritus of warped personal relationships: a self-centered man with his nearly insane wife (a "River of Meat" documentarian); her non-relationship with her father; a reporter, who wanted a baby in her early 40s when, while married to a much older man, she met a man whom she deeply loves but who does not want children because of his bad marriage years before; and, finally, an Assange-type who believes he's in line for a vacancy in the Trinity, suffers significant Oepidal issues and has problems with any relationship lasting more than a month.

As usual, Franzen peppers his novel with humor, sagacity and current events: a symbolic missing thermonuclear warhead in Texas, exposed by a wikileaks-like organization that is dumped with highly confidential government and corporate files.

Pip wanted to find her father and have a relationship with him, but does she really, or is that just another relationship that can explode. And yet, is it not inevitable that we all become impure by some relationship in our life, and the only way to avoid that is to avoid relationships, which are really our main reason for living?

The Litigators: A Novel
The Litigators: A Novel
by John Grisham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.24
468 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars What's the Difference Between a Lawyer and a Vampire?, October 9, 2015
What's the difference between a lawyer and a vampire?
A vampire only sucks blood at night.

Prior to reading to this Grisham novel a few years back, I had become disillusioned by books like "The Brethren," which was as agonizing as it was silly. I thought perhaps writers may be like NFL QBs and wear out after about 20 years. Either that, or they get bored, develop mental blocks or move on. I suspect it might have been all three for John Grisham.

For a while there, he stropped his writing tools on the legal profession, slugging Big Business with a succession of suspenseful and realistic blockbusters that explored legal issues that were just hitting press. Much like a sustained thrum with yearly mocking knocks, out came another NYT #1 bestseller in which Grisham flexed his muscles for another upper left hook to Big Business. And yet, he apparently lost the fire in his belly somewhere along the way, and "mailed in" some formulaic evanescent stories with stiff, unlikeable and forgettable characters, and unrealistic plots (see The Brethren as Exhibit 1).

In any case, I approached this novel with a bias. And then..., something incredible! Another **John Grisham** special: a suspenseful and enjoyable yarn spiced up with humor and having affable, true-to-lifelike characters, while also hitting a pressing social issue (taking on foreign manufacturers and domestic importers of toys with excessive lead levels as well as ambulance chasing, class action lawyers).

I definitely recommend this one, my faith in Grisham restored.

Why Evil Exists
Why Evil Exists
Offered by Audible, Inc. (US)

5.0 out of 5 stars But, What's Puzzling You is the Nature of My Game, October 9, 2015
This course is an exceptional study of EVIL, as examined and imagined in art, philosophy, theology, sociology and psychology. I recommend it (with the proviso below) if you write much or if you are fascinated by the forces of good and evil in film and other arts, theology, the psychology of those who commit atrocities or in politics.

The course covers:

the nature and origins of evil (including the symbolism of tragedy, sin and wickedness),

the Enuma Elish and Gilgamesh, the Peloponnesian War (and Greek tragedies), the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle,

the Hebrew Bible (Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the tower of Babel, Abraham and Job), Christian scripture (original sin and the Apocalypse), Augustine, Rabbinic Judaism, Islam (the Qur'an and the story of Iblis), Thomas Aquinas, Dante (Hell and the abandonment of hope), the Reformation (Luther and Calvin),

Machiavelli, Hobbes (The Leviathan), Montaigne and Pascal and divertissements, Milton (Paradise Lost and epic evil), the Enlightment (Theodicy, Voltaire v. Rousseau and Hume),

Kant (the idea of radical evil), Hegel (evil in history), Marx's failed idea that evil is fundamentally a problem of material conditions), the American Civil War (Huck Finn and Abe Lincoln), Nietzsche,

Dostoevsky (Demons and the nature of evil in modernity), Conrad (human incapacity to escape the Heart of Darkness), Freud (the death drive and pleasure principle), Camus (biological evil in The Plague, selfishness and narcissism in The Fall),

the religious outlooks on evil after WWII (Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish), Hannah Arendt (the banality of evil in Totalitarianism), 20th Century poets on evil (the poetry of surviving Shoah, or catastrophe), science and the empirical study of evil (the shock and prison experiments, on obedience to authority), the "unnaming" of evil (genocide, 9/11 and the H-Bomb), and

whether hope can be found (by avoiding hatred and guilt, "planting iris [that] will be flowering long after [Hitler] is dead").

The Professor did a remarkably good job on an exceedingly ambitious subject.

Proviso: The lectures get rather deep at times, making it difficult at times to follow if you're doing something else, like driving, while listening.

The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories
The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories
by Anthony Marra
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.63
53 used & new from $13.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Nutcracker's Cosmonautic March, October 8, 2015
I normally find it difficult to complete even half of a short story collection, except on the rare occasion the stories are intertwined by characters and events. I'll read 1 or 2 but eventually go back to the traditional arc of Freytag's Pyramid, invest myself in it, and then forget about the collection of nice, but not compelling, stories.

Comparatively, THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO instantly enthralled me because the first story is both chilling and compelling and these stories had me eager to discover the interlacing threads and see the completed whole. That is to say, the reader learns through each story which characters are primary, and discovers that character has returned in a later story in some other context. The stories so complement the others that, aside from the 1st, 3d and 4th stories, I'm not sure the others would have nearly the impact they do had any one of them stood on its own outside the context of the collection. I enjoyed the entire collection excepting the second story. Should you get annoyed by the shrews, stick with the book; while irritating in itself, the second story adds pieces to the whole. In hindsight, the structure seems hard to have pulled off, but I couldn't tell at the time because of the seeming simplicity of each story (which was done brilliantly).

These stirring stories center on an uncle and nephews, a pair of brothers, a couple, a mother (and daughter), a girl (and grandmother) and a painting, and occur variously at three locales of the former Soviet Union (Leningrad/St. Petersburg, Kirovsk [in Siberia to the east of China] and within Chechnya). The first story is set in 1937 during the Stalin purge [“In order to become the chisel that breaks the marble inside us, the artist must first become the hammer," said the Soviet censor of paintings and photos.] The remaining tales occur primarily between the mid-1990s and 2013. They hit on a wide array of subjects like censorship, Russian art, the breakup of the Soviet Union, Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy, Russians in Chechnya, mine fields, the nuclear age and outer space, and art (in life and capturing life in art). IMAGES - mix tapes, leopard bikini bottoms, a ballerina, a painting of an empty Chechen field in the afternoon, a wolf.

This magnificent collection had me reflecting how circumstances can change people so that basically good people have the capacity to do evil, but how, in all but the most aberrant among us, there's a reservoir of basic goodness in the face of evil. It made me consider the fleeting nature of life, what impression do we really and truly make on a planet we visit so shortly, how small each of us is in relation to time and space, and how Art, above most else, can transcend life.

Anthony Marra is a master at evoking sympathy for characters so foreign to a reader in the U.S., and in his ability to simultaneously create both sympathy and contempt for a character. Even in short stories, knots of complexity surround the six major characters, making them so human, their sentiments so real.

In my opinion, this book is even better than Mr. Marra's debut novel "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena." I believe he has the potential to write a novel for the ages. No exaggerating.

On a side note, I think Marra made up for his debut's hard-to-recall title and its washed out cover with his new Hip title and even Hipper cover.

The Silkworm (A Cormoran Strike Novel)
The Silkworm (A Cormoran Strike Novel)
by Robert Galbraith
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.38
122 used & new from $5.34

4.0 out of 5 stars A Savage Breed, October 6, 2015
For those who have stalled on purchasing a Cormoran Strike novel, JK Rowling's second writing life (as Robert Galbraith) has her on the verge of publishing her 3d crime novel starring London PI, Cormoran Strike, which is entitled *Career of Evil*. This novel, SILKWORM, the second installment in the series, has Strike taking on a new high profile case after the press he got from his PI work in the first, *The Cuckoo's Calling.*

In Silkworm, Strike is hired to find a missing novelist who is about to come out with a new novel -- a fictionalized account of his life in which the protagonist is tormented by those around him. Rumors are swirling that it's a tell-all, pointing a poisonous pen at a number of notables in the publishing world. The novel's title is to be "Bombyx Mori," more commonly called a Silkworm, which dies in its cocoon from the heat after producing and surrounding itself in silk. “...writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camaraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels.”

SILKWORM, as was the first in the Strike series, is a remarkably tense and intelligent mystery novel with crisp dialogue, a perceptive and likeable protagonist who develops more with each successive novel, as does a simmering, enigmatic mutual attraction with his 25-year-old female assistant who's bright, attractive and in a difficult marriage. Each book has had a creative plot and its own assortment of almost Dickens-like characters (certainly were he alive today, he'd love the name Strike for a Private Investigator).

I expect Career of Evil will be even better.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "With Atlantean Shoulders, Fit to Bear", October 5, 2015
This book is a grand and gratifying overview of the Innovators who have played a major role in forging today's dynamic technology and our high-tech society, with its main focus on the last 80 or so years.

Only Walter Isaacson, who has written bios of Jobs and Einstein, would have the brilliant ability to research (on the shoulders of a wealth of prior research), comprehend and assimilate all this intriguing and highly complex information and transform it all into an inquisitive and fascinating look at our technological Innovators, coherent and clear enough for the average reader to understand AND enjoy.

I took away a much more informed perspective of how we got here and a distinct reverence for the innovators in the text and generally for the human capacity for incredible intellect and curiosity as well as our enduring and limitless creativity.

The following quote gives the best overview, in my opinion, of the book to an average reader (such as I):

"Most of the successful innovators and entrepreneurs in this book had one thing in common: they were product people. They cared about, and deeply understood, the engineering and design. They were not primarily marketers or salesmen or financial types; when such folks took over companies, it was often to the detriment of sustained innovation. “When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off,” Jobs said. Larry Page felt the same: “The best leaders are those with the deepest understanding of the engineering and product design.”

Another lesson of the digital age is as old as Aristotle: “Man is a social animal.” What else could explain CB and ham radios or their successors, such as WhatsApp and Twitter? Almost every digital tool, whether designed for it or not, was commandeered by humans for a social purpose: to create communities, facilitate communication, collaborate on projects, and enable social networking. Even the personal computer, which was originally embraced as a tool for individual creativity, inevitably led to the rise of modems, online services, and eventually Facebook, Flickr, and Foursquare. Machines, by contrast, are not social animals. They don’t join Facebook of their own volition nor seek companionship for its own sake.... Despite all of the proclamations of artificial intelligence engineers and Internet sociologists, digital tools have no personalities, intentions, or desires. They are what we make of them.”

This book is due all exceptional acclaim.

The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics)
by Alexander Dumas
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.93
175 used & new from $3.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Transcendent Novel of Divine Retribution, October 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The ultimate story of vengeance! We are programmed, I'm sure, to love a comeback story, one in which the wronged are enabled to dispense justice to their wrongdoers. I can't think of a better one, that on which all subsequent stories of revenge have been, at least in part, based.

On the eve of his marriage, Edmond Dantes has his fiance and his life taken away from him, when he is falsely accused and imprisoned in a solitary cell in a fortress prison on a tiny island in the Mediterranean, where he spends the next 14 years until his escape. The rest of the story is all the fun.

I found this just as much as spectacle as when I read it 30 years ago. While the cognoscenti complain that it's poorly written, this stands as the finest example that story will always rule over writing tools.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20