Walks With Sam
During a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness.
During a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness.
During a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness.
Dogs (general), Mindfulness & meditation, Personal memoirs
A man, his dog, and a long walk can lead to unexpected discoveries. In the tradition of many literary walkers, David W. Berner sets out on foot hoping to reexamine his life, look back and forward, and most importantly, through the help of his young dog, Sam, try to find harmony in new beginnings and the uncertainties of the present.
In a series of chapters, each dedicated to one walk during a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness, finding beauty, wonder, and comfort in the ordinary, and to see a life, a neighborhood, and even a country with brand new eyes.
'With gentle humor and brilliant musings, both past and present, Walks With Sam has the charm and the innate truthfulness that some find in a work of art, a daily quest tinged with wonder and mystery with each forward step.' L.B.Johnson, author of The Book of Barkley.
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31 insights gained by walking 31 times with Sam. This is what I would call a glass of calm, refreshing water to offset all of the sad and bad news we are bombarded with this 2020. Berner had written 31 chapters in which one of his walks with Sam are laid out. He describes the neighbours he meets or seeks out, the decorations put up around the neighbourhood, the animals he and Sam encounter, his conversations with Sam, and Sam's different moods and behaviours. To be honest it was extremely cute, homely, and comforting. I'm glad I've read this. ~ Rianna Blokzijl (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Ever endearing, full of whimsical prose that eclipses the reader’s attention in refreshing wonder with each and every saunter with Sam. Highly recommend this book across all forms of leisure and recreation. I’d take this book on a plane ride and also give a copy as a gift to someone I absolutely adore. Well done! ~ Kidron Tirey (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Thoughtful look at the world. David is on a sabbatical from teaching, and these are the musings from his daily walks with his young dog Sam. As they ramble around, we get their observations and insights. Reminded me of what is really important and reinforced why I often prefer the company of my dogs over people. ~ Margaret Holmes (Reviewer), NetGalley
An inherently fascinating and unfailingly thoughtful read from beginning to end, "Walks With Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening" is an extraordinary testament to the value of canine companionship and is a 'must read' selection for anyone who has every gone walking with their dog. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. ~ Able Greenspan, Mid West Book Review (https://www.midwestbookreview.com/mbw/oct_20.htm#ablegreenspan)
This book reminds me of Marley but with more warmth as the dog teaches the man about life reawakening. ~ Stephen Hutchison (Reviewer), NetGalley
This is a really beautiful book and perfect for the current world situation. The author goes for walks with his dog Sam around his local neighbourhood. Well, so what! But this is really well written, very meditative and full of wisdom. Mr Berner imagines what his dog - Sam - is thinking and the interactions are delightful. It allows the author to follow meandering ideas that would be otherwise difficult and we follow willingly. I found it relaxing, amusing, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is feeling cynical about the world. ~ Anne Maguire (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Rarely does a book talk about Thoreau and walk like Thoreau. The musings of the author as he walks his dog are really enjoyable to read. You don't know where the book is going to go as it is literally dog-driven. I am known as someone who loves the writings of Danny The Dog by Andrew Joyce. Danny really needs to meet Sam. For Sam, he is ghostwritten by David. This is Danny the Dog from Andrew's perspective. The musings range from weather to age to mortality to politics. They include the idiosyncratic occurrences that are found within a block of one's home......This book just flows. You have no idea what the next page will bring. I loved the random nature......I recommend this book to every dog owner in the world. I also recommend this book to every armchair philosopher. You may be challenged by this book but in a good way. A terrific read. ~ N. N. Light (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This book is a delight. This is a series of short chapters by the author about a summer he spent mindfully walking with his dog Sam . Once only focused on his career he takes time to get know his dog and communicate with him on their series of daily enriching walks. I loved the sweet relationship between the author and his Sam and how he learned to be in the moment with what is truly important in life. ~ Cozy Book Reviews (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Walking with Sam is a very pleasant reading, one of those books that you love from the first pages. David’s season of walks with his dog is the perfect occasion to reflect and meditate during his sabbatical year. These occasions gave him the opportunity to contemplate on deep thoughts and to notice things and people he would have never noticed in his regularly and chaotic life. What I really liked is the strong relationship that develops throughout the walks between David and his dog, a special bond that helped him to see things fresh and to rediscover himself. ~ Francesco Camodeca (Reviewer), NetGalley
Life takes everyone on their own individual journey and often we miss some of the Dali and valuable lessons along the way. Job stress, family responsibilities and health factors often play a vital part and impact on what we do and how we respond. This is a unique story about one man babes David and his best friend and pet dog named Sam who brought meaning, hope, comfort and a clearer understanding of life, people, and live as the author takes us along on his daily walks with Sam. Each journey or walk he takes with Sam brings to light another issue in life that many of us take for granted to do not think about. Each chapter has its own theme and own lesson that David the author and Sam want to teach readers about. Everyone can learn something from what they discover about each other even though Sam might be a dog she is perceptive, smart and seriously loyal. Everyone wants to get something out of life is what is focused on in one chapter. Another chapter reminds people that are older or feeling old that they might not be here much longer. But in general, I think that we need to learn from his walks with Sam to embrace life in our own ways and hopefully take away something positive in every single day or get to experience. Just seeing Sam react to different dogs, other animals and people makes you think he is almost human and has a serious ability to tell good from bad. David is telling the story and at times his emotions rise, his anger soars and yet he calms it down an reflects at the end. The incident I found refreshing is the one in the chapter titled Summer when David dares a group of children to soak him and Sam in the hot summer weather. That felt cool and refreshing. Walk in America reminds us of the Fourth of July and how different people reflect on our nation’s independence. The Beauty of Bacon is quite different as the author tries to tempt his dog with bacon as a treat and the end result you have to read for yourself as Sam definitely has her own opinion of things, her own way of responding and definitely her own taste buds. An interesting walk is the one titled Jealousy as the author talks about what Nietzsche defines it as. Jealousy and envy the private parts of the human soul. Therapists he relates write about how of all the issues of the mind these two are the toughest ones to tame. Every story deals with some type of human emotion, flaw or feeling and in this one he reminds us that his wife, Leslie will be away from the house for eight hours, renting a truck to move a bed frame, and much more back home to sell from her son’s old apartment. Sam seems to be jealous of the author’s relationship with his wife. Why? David and Leslie went on a hike at The Morton Arboreturn, and Sam is not happy about it. It is a 1700-acre museum of trees a few miles from his home. Sam when he returns is under the dining room table trying to make David feel guilty. Why is he apologizing to a dog? It is like he is guilty for having a day out with his wife and Sam is not a child he’s the dog that he loves but even David has to remember that he’s entitled to wife and David time alone. Promising her a walk after his hike seemed to appease her. The rest of this chapter titled Talk to Me focuses on whether it is going to rain, walking with his students about registering to vote, and then Sam sees a small dog at the end of a leash up ahead. Its small and she wants to say hi but the dog comes close and he asks the man if the dogs can say hello but this man is rude and believe it or not the dog is not friendly at all. Like master like dog. At the end of the chapter David asks Sam is she is happy. What do you think? The book ends with an Epilogue walk where the author reflects on each of his outings and reminds us of how he loves to walk in the early morning. Taking time from his teaching job on sabbatical David finds himself understanding his own needs, understanding the differences in people, places and events in the world and even finding a new focus in life other than reflecting on his age and enjoying life in a more positive way. The author restates that when he stated to document a season of walks with Sam, he had a goal. At 60 he wanted to rediscover what he believed in, what was important, what he cherished and what he had been and who he is now. His age seemed like a good marker and walking could be a good catalyst to understanding and Sam would get there every stop of the way. But the story does not end with the last lines of this book it is just beginning as David continues writing on the blank pages what he came to know. If you truly want to embrace what he relates you have to read each chapter, join David and Sam on their walks and then close your eyes and pretend you are there with them every step of the way experiencing the walks along with them. With the world so tight and people not able to go places because of this horrendous virus that seems to have control over our movements, travel and thinking at times this is a book to remind us that taking a walk with a pet or just someone you care about can reopen your mind to the wonders of this world. Take the Walk with Sam and David and enjoy the fresh air and exercise and the beauty of the world. Fran Lewis: Just reviews ~ Just Reviews, Review
.............I loved this book and it'll be one that I could read over and over again, even if it's just to get me to think. ~ Esther C (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved this simple but profound book on the author’s walks with his “doodle” puppy, Sam. The author has turned 60 and is in a reflective mood, looking back but also trying to stay mindful in the present. Sam teaches him how to live in the moment. Each chapter details a different walk around nearby blocks where they meet neighbors and their dogs, and take the pulse of their quiet community. It felt as if I strolled with them, enjoying Sam’s vibrant energy and David’s wise musings — a lovely pastime! ~ Literary Soirée (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. We live in a crazy, hectic world. This book takes us out of there, even if just for a short time. The author, having reached the age of 60, takes time to look back on his life while staying in the present, while walking with his faithful dog, Sam, around his neighborhood. The author does not spend a lot of time telling us what to do or how to cure or end all the chaos we may encounter; he just notes items of interest as well as lessons brought out by his dog Sam, or his reactions to Sam’s reactions. Each chapter follows a simple walk, generally through his neighborhood, with his and Sam’s reactions and thoughts about what is going on or about to go on. The interactions come across as genuine. The insights and ideas put forth, while not always earth-shattering, lead one to ruminate on things that may never have come up otherwise. This a good book for the busy, busy person in a very harried world, as it shows that we can all settle back and “smell the roses” every now and then. I thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of the book, as well as the closeness between the author and Sam, as it is and has always been between me and my dogs. Definitely a must read for the busy person in today’s hectic world. ~ Kathy Talley (Reviewer), NetGalley
Engaging, endearing, humorous and wise, Walks with Sam is full of musings and observations on life as the author takes his beloved dog on daily neighborhood walks and wanderings. On sabbatical from being a professor, Berner reconnects with the meditative and therapeutic benefits of walking, and finds that walking with Sam, his dog, slows him down enough to be more mindful of the world around him. Some of the observations are poignant, some pensive, some laugh out loud funny. I loved the "conversations" between the two! Perfect for anyone who has ever loved a dog and understands that they help us see all things through new, curious eyes and a larger, more open and loving heart! ~ Kathy Fuchs (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.....I enjoy anything written by David W. Berner. He is an author I am pleased to recommend to friends and family. His works are always food for thought. Walks with Sam is a series of life lessons shared with us by David Berner - thoughts and patterns noticed by 60-year-old Berner as he walks his young dog, Sam, through his neighborhood and beyond. No preaching here, just casual bits of human interest and life lessons pointed out by the reactions of Sam or David's reaction to Sam's reactions. A quick, enlightening read.. ~ Bonnye Reed Fry (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A book that made smile and think. I loved the reflections and I liked the style of writing. It's an interesting read. Highly recommended. ~ Anna Maria Giacomasso (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This book is a delightful experience, it's the author's facility of looking at the world and his life through his walks with his young dog, Sam. Being an animal lover myself I appreciate this way of looking at and interacting with the world. David Berner describes his walks with Sam really beautifully and his gentle humour shines through, this deserves to be a modern classic, I foresee myself rereading it many times. A real gem of a book, very highly recommended. ~ Mary Price (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved this book, it is so gentle and charming. This book chronicles the thoughts and musings of David Berner as he takes a variety of walks with his loyal dog Sam. It was a delight to read, such a relief from all the pessimism in this Covid 19 world. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, such a relaxing read. It further increased the urge to get a dog even more! ~ Rosemary Groves (Educator), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I've got 4 rescue dogs, and 5 rescue cats, I don't take the cats for walks though ! I enjoyed this tale of one man and his dog, and their adventures while walking. It was not a taxing read, and is perfect for these strange times. Lovely little book, well worth a read if you are an animal lover like me, especially. ~ Angie Thomas-Davis (Reviewer), NetGalley
I wanted to read Walks With Sam because of the dog on the cover, and the book did not disappoint! Walks With Sam is a delightful collection of essay's about the author's daily walks with his young goldendoodle named Sam. Each essay includes notes about that day's walk, as well as insights and ruminations about life, marriage, parenting, and growing older. The format of the book makes it easy to pick up and put down when you have time to read. I would recommend this book for fellow dog lovers and owners. It's a perfect read for fans of Marley and Me, without a heartbreaking ending. ~ Lyndsay M (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A feel good read in this time of troubles. One man's journey of walks with his dog and his ruminations on life. The good, the bad and even the ugly. It was great! The book read so fast as each chapter was each individual walk and what was learned that day! This book is good for anyone that loves dogs and life lessons. Thank you NetGalley for the arc! Blog post closer to the publication date. ~ Jacque Stengel (Reviewer) , NetGalley/Goodreads
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Did I cry as I had expected to? Yes. Did I whine to my family to get me a dog? Yes. Did they refuse again? Course they did. I can't express how much I loved this book, how much of it I have highlighted and much of it I am going to keep with me for such a long time. The ruminations the author had were brilliant, Sam's presence was brilliant, I haven't loved a book so much this year. This book is definitely going on my favourites of the year. Definitely. The fact that David was worried about Sam when he went away, the fact that both of them cared for each other so much, the fact that walks mean so much to so many people. Can't recommend this book enough! ~ Harshpreet Kaur (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A strong evocative tale about a man and his dog. As David is on his walks with Sam you realize the truest outlook of life should be enjoying the little things. The little handprints left in the sidewalk curbs, the meeting of a glancing neighbor and the light exploration of one's neighborhood with their best friend. Also, Sam's assumed outlook of our human life is quirky and generously funny. I would recommend this book for everyone from someone on the cusp of entering a new phase of life or living out their days in the sunny afterglow of a life well-lived. ~ Roxanne Smith (Bookseller) , NetGalley
Novelist and memoirist Berner (A Well-Respected Man) reflects on life, love, dogs, and other topics in these charming essays. On sabbatical and facing the realities of aging, Berner embarks on a close-to-home “pilgrimage” along suburban sidewalks with his goldendoodle Sam to better get to know both the dog and himself. Each essay is full of sharp observations of the neighborhood and the human-canine dynamic: Berner muses on a “crazy” neighbor whose yard is decorated with “a baby carriage, an axe, an inflatable whale”; handprints in the sidewalk (“we all want people to recognize we spent time on this Earth”); the hygiene of dogs and humans before one of Sam’s grooming appointment; and getting angry when Sam is uncooperative. By the end of his season of exploration, Berner comes to realize: “This is what I do. I see. I hear. I am.... I love my wife, I cherish my sons, I adore my dog.” It isn’t profound, but Berner’s plainspoken manner reveals moments of true enlightenment. Dog lovers and spiritualists will adore this. ~ Publishers Weekly, http://www.publishersweekly.com/9781789044980
4 Star rating: He had me at “dog” and “walk.” But the rest of this book is so absorbing and delightful, it's like wading into eddies of grace and riding 'em into deep water. Walks With Sam isn’t another “dog book.” It’s more of a journey of self-discovery. Or maybe re-discovery. The author, age 60, is on sabbatical from Columbia College, Chicago. He begins his regular “mini adventures” in neighborhood walks with his beloved dog, Sam. Along the way Berner asks, “What might we learn from each other, find out about ourselves, and when this season of walking is behind us, who will we be?” Walks With Sam unveils the answer. With great skill and literary dexterity, the author eloquently captures “the beauty and redemptive power of a contemplative walk, and especially a walk with one’s dog.” You feel as if you’re at their side, tagging along. Lucid and lithe, the text glides effortlessly from one walk and setting to the next. The writing is top-notch, brimming with warmth and full-bodied flavor. It’s as crisp and clear as an October night sky. The author tosses out narrative bait at the beginning of each “walk” or chapter. A pungent statement or musing. An aromatic observation or interrogatory. Then he skillfully reels us in, rounding out each chapter with relevant reflections from his walks and interactions with Sam. Two favorite chapters are Walks 14 and 15, “Rain” and “Summer,” respectively. In rich, lyrical prose the author offers gentle insights into a wide variety of experiences and observations. A steaming summer in Chicago. (Does anyone run through sprinklers anymore?) Patience. Mindfulness. Reunions and remembering. Wanting what’s out of reach. Joy. Forgiveness. Woodstock and Watergate and walks in the rain. Jacques Cousteau. The difference between alone and lonely. In-the-moment-ness that dogs know so thoroughly and do so well. The final chapter is Walk 31 – And Now We Rest. The author’s sabbatical is at an end. He peers over the observations and lessons of the past four months of walks with Sam and pens a galaxy of glittering word pictures while ruminating on art, aging, relationships, and nature. Much more. Indeed, the final chapter is wistful and bittersweet. Candid, poignant, and thoughtful. “You are what you do.” I didn’t want it to end. Will someone kindly pass the tissue? P.S.: Be sure to read the Acknowledgements. They’re golden............ ~ Kristine Lowder (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Walks with Sam sounded an interesting idea, a book I could drop into and read piecemeal around other books or activities in my life, so imagine my surprise when I read it in a couple of sittings. A very thoughtful and thought inspiring series of short essays, linked with one man walking his trusty companion. A simple idea and yet fulfilling contents. I would thoroughly recommend this. ~ Simon Alphonso (Reviewer), NetGalley
Amongst the mayhem and madness that is Covid-19, comes a little respite, in the form of this delightful novel about author David Berner and his labradoodle Sam, relating the contemplative walks that they share around their neighbourhood, finding meaning in the smallest of things, along with David’s attempts at conversation with Sam, and him imagining her replies. This novel clearly demonstrates the beauty, healing, and redemptive power of a leisurely walk, especially in the company of that devoted creature, better known as man’s best friend. The sheer ordinariness of their daily encounters, lends a charm that is often lacking today................. ~ Maureen Ellis (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Sam is a dog. A black golden doodle and on his walks with his owner David the two of them discover not just their local neighbourhood but also their feelings about it and some of the things that are going on in it. This is no epic travel piece, it is a more sedate, local amble or series of ambles around Sam and David's local "patch" which they discover they don't know as well as they thought but by the end of the book know it and themselves much better. This is a well written and captivating set of stories, each based around a walk experienced by human and hound. There are some of regulars, like the crazy man and others that they meet along the way. It is in part a journey of discovery with both partners at different times in their lives and in part about the actual journeys they take together. If you liked Travels with Charley or Travels with Macy or similar stories then you are probable going to like Walks with Sam too. ~ Alan Williams (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved this book. Just like walks are relaxing, and I think about things and sometimes things become clear, that is what this book is. It was short walks with his dog and like most dog owners he talks to Sam and about the things he did and learned while doing them. With all that is going on today, this is a perfect book to read to escape it for a little while and I am so glad I did read this book. I am adding, since reading the book, I find myself at night opening the book and reading a walk or two because I find it quiets my brain and seems to be the perfect transition from the energy of my day to the peacefulness of sleep. ~ Joan Wright (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I loved this book! Just so sweet, lovely and easy to enjoy. It's split into "walks" rather than chapters which is cute. I will say I think there's some unrealized potential here in terms of ability to make deeper connections and observations, but at the same time what is here is lovely and a perfectly nice read. I haven't smiled this much at a book in quite a while! ~ Georgia Fourie (Educator), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Walks with Sam is a lovely book. It is humorous and gentle. David W Berner takes morning walks with his Labradoodle Sam, a lovely young dog. I love the way David talks to Sam and imagines his responses. A really happy book I highly recommend it. ~ Sue Frances (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I admit I judged this book by its cover but I usually can't resist a book that has a dog on the front. I enjoyed this book. It's a light read, which I needed. I like that he based each chapter about a different but simple walk, usually through their neighbourhood. I have two dogs with very different personalities so I really related to his attempt to walk two dogs at once. It definitely doesn't work well with my two. And I admit that my husband and I talk to our dogs like they're humans. As a dog owner and lover, I recommend this book to anyone who likes dogs. ~ Kelly Long (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. If I see a dog on the cover, I immediately request it. I don't even read the summary or look at any possible reviews - I just request it and hope for the best. Walks With Sam is about walks that David W. Berner takes with his labradoodle Sam and the adventures that await them. I had a golden doodle once so that was a wonderful surprise to me. Sam reminded me so much of my own dog and it made me happy. I loved that Berner often talks to his dog and wonder what her thoughts are about certain things because I do the same thing, as I'm sure most people with dogs do. Throughout the walks, there are random thoughts and musings about life such as growing into adulthood, signs of aging, death, and that change is inevitable. I really loved this one and it made me feel both happy and sad. ~ Sheena Alizadeh (Reviewer), NetGalley
Thoroughly delightful. David W. Berner describes his beloved dog Sam as “a teacher of the perfect way to move in the world.” And with that, Berner embarks on a season of dog walks, mindfully following Sam’s lead in opening himself more fully to the thoughts, perceptions, and encounters that cross their path. Effortlessly runs the gamut from the profundity of Berner’s musing on mortality, to the surprises that lurk within the seemingly mundane. A lovely testimony to the ways in which intention transforms our experience of our own lives. ~ Barbara Monier, author of Pushing the River
An element that is a constant in David's writing is his enormous sense of humanity. He is as much a philosopher of the porch swing variety as anyone writing today. ~ San Francisco Review of Books
As Kierkegaard once wisely said, "If you just keep walking, everything will be all right". On a sabbatical from teaching, author David W. Berner begins a series of daily walks with his dog Sam. What from outward appearance to others would appear to be a regular jaunt to exercise a beloved pet is inwardly a reflective journey as the world is explored by both two and four-legged friend. Each walk takes its tone from the lay of the land, from the people and dogs they meet, from the signs of a society that has forgotten how to slow down in wonder and empathy. With gentle humor and brilliant musings, both past and present, Walks With Sam has the charm and the innate truthfulness that some find in a work of art, a daily quest tinged with wonder and mystery with each forward step. ~ L.B.Johnson, author of The Book of Barkley
This is a sweet book from a sincere, thoughtful soul. As Thoreau found the whole world in his saunterings around Concord, Berner finds it walking his beloved dog Sam in an ordinary suburban neighborhood. His musings have a lovely, quiet inwardness, as he contemplates youth and age, continuity and change, community and solitude, love and envy, mourning and celebration, all with the subtle guidance of the dog he calls “the most mindful monk I know, a teacher of the perfect way to move in the world. ~ Dean Sluyter, author of Natural Meditation and Fear Less