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  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "A lovely book with a few rough edges"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pasquale (the Italian guy) is my absolute favorite character. He has humor and heart and held my interest the most. The historical characters seemed to have more depth than those in the current time period, which were slightly stereotypical, although they also had their own truth about them. And the they did gain more layers as the story progressed.

    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    Amazing. Wonderful. Fabulous.

    He did a great job of giving each character its own voice, and he handled the American and Italian accents with ease.

    Any additional comments?

    I thought this was a lovely book, although it got off to a slow start. It's told in two different time periods, and when the story line is split, both need to be set up before anything can really happen. What kept me going at the beginning was the wonderful narration by Edoardo Ballerini -- he was fabulous!

    Although it started slow, it wasn't was kind of like a languorous walk on the beach, enjoyable but not getting anywhere fast. This isn't a high action book, but more begins to happen and the story unfolds in the second half of the book. I stopped about 30% of the way through and picked up another book. A week later, I started where I left off, and it captivated me and held my attention.

    I recommend this book. Although beware, there are times when the language can get a little "rough". There are also some sexual situations, but they are brief and not very descriptive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Mike Brown
    • Narrated By Ryan Gesell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The solar system most of us grew up with included nine planets, with Mercury closest to the sun and Pluto at the outer edge. Then, in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a 10th planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of its resulting in one more planet being added to our solar system, Brown's find ignited a firestorm of controversy that riled the usually sedate world of astronomy and launched him into the public eye.

    Rickapolis says: "Informative and fun"
    "Fun & Informative"

    Mike Brown does a fantastic job of interweaving the story of his search for large astronomical bodies beyond Pluto with his family life. There's suspense (bad guys trying to steal planets), humor (Mike graphing his newborn daughter's eating and sleeping habits), science (explained so a person of average intelligence can understand it), and controversy (Pluto was kicked out of the planetary fraternity with more than a little discussion). I found it fascinating to discover that the number of accepted planets has fluctuated many times.

    The only complaints I've seen about the book focus on the fact that it's not just about Pluto, Eris' discovery, and science. Go into your reading of this book with your eyes open. It's also about several large planetoids he's found, which, for me, helps put things in perspective. It includes a little bit of his childhood. He talks about his wife and child. This isn't really Pluto's story. It's Mike Brown's story and how his discoveries and the question "what is a planet?" resulted in Pluto's demotion.

    This was an incredibly fun & informative read and listen. After I borrowed the book from the library (December 2010), I not only bought a hardbound copy, I purchased an audiobook version too. The narrator did a great job. I recommend this book to everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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