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Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  45 reviews
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 t
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Roundfire Books
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  66 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
*3.5 Stars *

My little old dog
a heart-beat
at my feet”
― Edith Wharton

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 redemptiv
Louise Wilson
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

This book is written in a series of short chapters dedicated to one walk during a summer of hiking, the author finds that it's his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness, finding beauty, winder abd comfort. Seeing his neighbour with brand new eyes.

David W Berner has a labradoodle called Sam and this is a series of short stories about their walks. This is a light and refreshing quick book to read. There's less than 180 pages to read. It's al
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 thing ...more
Literary Redhead
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 pasti
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mindfulness
This was a pleasant listen on the whole. Not particularly revelatory or incredibly insightful, but soothing and containing some thoughtful observations on life and the world we live in. Berner references and quotes some interesting writers, philosophers and poets in the book that I will be looking up for future reading. The narration by the author himself is doable, but does feel rather rushed and monotonous at times. I think I would’ve enjoyed the book more had the narration been a bit better. ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
thanks to netgalley and the publishers for a free copy in return for an open and honest review

this book reminds me of marley but with more warmth as the dog teaches the man about life reawakening
N.N. Light
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 idiosync
Bonnye Reed
I received a free electronic ARC of this self-help/memoir from Netgalley, David W. Berner, and John Hunt Publishing - Roundfire Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Walks with Sam of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. 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 D
Kelly Long
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
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 neighborhood. 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
David W.  Berner
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it, so I kind of like it. Hope you do, too.

Some background on how the book came about. It started as a blog, one that I simply used to chronicle the walks, walks that came after the tragic death of my sister, my turning the chapter on a milestone age, and bringing a new dog into my life. What would be next? How to process what was and what would be? Take a walk, many of them, with one of the most mindfulness creatures on earth, the dog.

Each of the walks happened as they are portrayed. S
Holly Reynolds
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
What a sweet book!

I requested this book because I’m a dog-lover and I was keen to get a little bit of insight into a fellow dog-lovers musings... the fact that a dog was featured so prominently was an added bonus.

I found the author’s thoughts and the conversations with Sam to be endearing and sometimes even thought-provoking.

I enjoyed the details of the walks and Sam’s encounters with other dogs as well as her carefree attitude to life and everything she finds along the way.
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Walks with Sam initially appealed to me for 2 reasons: walking in, and communing with, nature, and dogs. I myself love taking walks as a way to soothe, get away from distractions or stress, to refocus. As for dogs, I love them, and I was in search of a short, cute book to help with a reading slump, and Walks with Sam seemed perfect. I will say I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought. I couldn’t focus on it for a long period of time (although that could be attributed to the slump, not the book its ...more
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
31/55 books read in 2020.
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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,
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Crossposted from Cozy with Books


Slow paced and an easy read, I found myself feeling “bored” but not really. Maybe the word I’m looking for is tranquil or meditative. A page turner in its own way, I quite enjoyed reading this book because of how different it is to my usual reads. I think with so much rushing around in life, we tend to forget about the smaller things. This is a nonfiction book about a man, his dog and their walks. A beautiful concoction that mixes the daily mundane task of
Rosalind Bryden
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it
When David Berner took a sabbatical from teaching, he decided it was a good opportunity to enjoy his daily walks with his dog, Sam. Walking a dog was not a new experience to him, but he decided to walk in a more mindful way. He noticed that in general he wanted to pace on vigorously whereas Sam wanted to nose around, smell things and take her time. So he decided to slow his pace and give Sam the time she needed. And as a result he started to notice little things around him.

‘Walks with Sam’ is a
Marie (UK)
I received an ARC of this book in return for an honest review. This book is a simple tale of how one man's mind goes through its cogitations whilst walking and caring for his dog - Sam - a dog with almost audible thought processes of her own. I can see why this book might be a bog hit for dog lovers as there is a real relationship between dog and owner. It is a gentle narrative which does open the reader to deeper thought. However It was not one that really grabbed me and my rating probably refl ...more
Lynda Stevens
Aug 10, 2020 rated it liked it
When David C Berner gets a new dog from the shelter, then it is axiomatic that said dog will need to go for walkies.

The narrator is 61 and has lived with dogs all his life. Sam, despite the name, is a bitch and so-called doodle - half poodle. She seems to be a very athletic, personable dog that likes to roll in mud, sniff a great deal, and indulge in most doggy pleasures..

More to the point, as with all animals, she lives totally in the present. It is perhaps this gift that she, along with all a
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to John Hunt Publishing for the DRC!

Nice book to dog lovers. In each chapter, the author reflects upon a different situation, analyzing his life and enjoying some great moments with his beloved dog, Sam. He wonders what life means to her and how much we're alike, despite the obvious differences.

He and his wife had other dogs before, but still, he learns something new with Sam every day. I know how that feels and it's beautiful. Even when we're doing the most ordinary things, they can st
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 "conversa
Philippa Mckenna
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely, light hearted book about the author's daily walks with his dog, Sam. Each chapter is about a different walk, and the people and situations they come across each day. I loved the way David communicates with Sam. He is a real dog lover and that comes across so well. He does a brilliant job of interpreting Sam's behaviour, and trying to put into words what she could be thinking and feeling. It's a short book too, just perfect for dipping in and out of as there's no ...more
Cozy Cat Reviews
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.

Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley. This book I highly recommend.
The everyday occurrences of life and the everyday observations - made infinitely better with a walk and dog for company. David W. Berner decides to use four months of his walks with his 2-year old dog Sam and simply look at what is. The outside world becomes a great way to introspect into his own life, value systems and belief. With Sam tagging along, it also is a journey to understanding the bond we share with other living species, especially our lovely dogs. The very fears and joys of being a ...more
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 abou
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 reacti ...more
Sue Frances
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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.
Jacque Stengel
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Roxanne Smith
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 livi ...more
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I welcomed the chance to read this book as I'm using extra lockdown time gained to read things that I would probably not usually try. I'm not a dog-lover but I do enjoy a good, solitary, contemplative walk and so I felt that there was a potential commonality to be shared.

The book is split into relatively short "walks" rather than chapters. Having read the first few I wasn't really being drawn in and I felt that, although the premise was good, much more could have been made of the observations th
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David W. Berner is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, author, and teacher. As a writer, he has been the recipient of awards from the prestigious Society of Midland Authors and the Chicago Writers Association. David has more than forty years experience in broadcast journalism as a reporter, anchor, news director, and program director. He regularly contributes to the CBS Radio Network and has ...more

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