I am generally not drawn to books like The Supreme Macaroni Company. As readers of this blog may...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
I am generally not drawn to books like The Supreme Macaroni Company. As readers of this blog may have noticed I tend to dabble the most in speculative and historical fiction. And when I do venture into contemporary I either expect it to make me cry all the tears, or laugh (until I also cry all the tears). But I had heard so many great things about Trigiani’s books that I decided to give this more straight forward contemporary romance a shot.
This is technically the third book in Trigiani’s Valentine series but you don’t need to read the first two books to enjoy The Supreme Macaroni Company. The first two books may give you more insight into Valentine’s character but the actual plot itself is completely self contained. It begins with Gianluca proposing to Valentine and follows them throughout their time together. I found The Supreme Macaroni Company to be a really interesting portrait of married life, with all its ups and downs. Valentine and Gianluca clearly love each other very much but they come from very different lifestyles and have some conflicting values and ideas. They have a lot of really adorable scenes but a lot of really tense ones too and through them all Trigiani provides a very balanced look at married life.
In addition to marriage The Supreme Macaroni Company also explores the complicated beast that is large families. Valentine and Gianluca are both Italian and have the giant, close families that come along with it. But I don’t think you need to be Italian to understand what Valentine and Gianluca go through. If you have a large, close knit family you’ll be able to relate to so many scenarios that come up in this book – marriages, births, deaths. The whole nine yards.
The reader see’s the events of the novel through Valentine’s eyes, which was an interesting experience. She was an extremely complicated character. As the head of the family shoe business, as well as their primary designer, I admired her a lot – both for her business sense, her stubbornness and her artistic nature. I also loved that she always stood up to Gianluca, even when it felt like he was bullying her into accepting his way. But at other times I found her incredibly frustrating for some of these same qualities. Occasionally she would take her stubbornness a bit too far and refuse to comprise. Or she would blow small fights out of proportion and take them to the extreme. I suppose this was just another way for Trigiani to make this book as realistic as possible – we are all complicated creatures capable of extreme and varied emotions – but it was a bit of a double edged sword. At times it would push me away from Valentine, and since she was the sole narrator this made me feel disconnected from the story at large.
In what felt like a very short amount of time Trigiani paints a very large and detailed picture of family and married life in The Supreme Macaroni Company. It is very focused on those themes, however, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. If you prefer more plot heavy or action packed novels, you may struggle here. But if you enjoy family sagas and realistic romance I would definitely suggest it.(less)
There are three kinds of stories in One More Thing – the ones that made me laugh, the ones that m...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
There are three kinds of stories in One More Thing – the ones that made me laugh, the ones that made me think and the ones that really stood out. I thought for this review I would break down each kind.
The ones that made me laugh
This title is applicable to the majority of stories in this collection. Novak’s stories are short and sweet but also quite charming and many left me with a smile The following were some of the highlights. Stories like “All You Have to Do,” ”No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg” and “Chris Hansen at the Justin Bieber Concert” flowed smoothly, used charming language and were just all around easy to read. Other stories like “Great Writer’s Steal” were simple and straight forward but would always have one line (in this case: ”they misunderstood literature on an unusually fundamental level”) that stood out and really brought the story together.
Of all the ‘stories that made me laugh’ there were three that stood out in particular. The first was “Closure.” Partially because it was just a fun story with a great twist. But also because I listened to the audiobook sample (read by Mindy Kaling and B J Novak) and it reminded me so much of Kelly and Ryan from The Office. Then there was “Julie and the Warlord” which physically made me spit out my coffee when I got to the discussion questions at the end. And last but certainly not least “The Something by John Grisham.” I went through a HUGE John Grisham phase when I was in high school and I loved how perfectly this story captured some of his more common tropes.
The ones that made me think
There are less stories in the ‘ones that made me think’ category but that makes them no less meaningful. What really stood out about this stories was that it was often only one line that really grabbed you and worked its way into your head. For example in “The Best Thing in the World Awards” - ”the fun isn’t whether love is going to win the fun is seeing how.” Or “If You Love Something” - ”If you love something let it go. If you don’t love something definitely let it go. Basically, just drop everything, who cares.” And perhaps best of all “J C Audetat, translator of Don Quixote” – ”Have you heard this song? It’s like poetry…Have you read this book? It’s poetry. Oh no thank you”
The ones that really stood out
There are really only two stories in this category – “Sophia” and “Kellogs.” I don’t want to say too much about them because I think part of the reason they were so great is that you truly had no idea where the story was headed when you started reading. “Sophia” got much more serious than I expected and I loved when the narrator talks about the nicks and dents that happen every time you get your hopes up and are disappointed. “Kellogs” has so many twists and surprises but was ultimately a great story about family, values and potential. What both of these stories had in common was their length – they were both on the longer side, which really allowed B J Novak’s true story telling ability to shine through.
Even if you don’t normally read short stories I would recommend this collection. They’re not all fantastic offerings but more often then not you’ll find yourself chuckling along or wanting to highlight a certain passage so you can come back to it. If you like humour, witty dialogue and great twists, One More Thing is for you.(less)
Firefly fans – this one is for you. It’s that fantastic mix of science fiction and Western with a...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Firefly fans – this one is for you. It’s that fantastic mix of science fiction and Western with a little time travel thrown in for good measure (so Doctor Who fans may want to check this out as well). The story focuses on a rag tag team of individuals who have all time travelled to the mysterious Wasteland from different periods of history – it’s a unique concept and one that grabs you right away, as you wonder where exactly they are and what brought them there. All the characters are interesting, but with so many players on the board it was hard to get to know any of them that well. That being said, I have to admit my favourite was Edgar, a prohibition era bootlegger. He was charming, sweet and brave. What more could you ask for?
Matt Burns did a good job narrating this story – particularly when he took on Jack’s Western drawl. At times I found it a bit too slow but once I sped it up to 1.25x speed my listening experience improved greatly.(less)
This was my first David Sedaris and I found it extremely funny. I've been told it's not as funny as his other books so I am excited to read them as we...moreThis was my first David Sedaris and I found it extremely funny. I've been told it's not as funny as his other books so I am excited to read them as well. It reminded me a lot of Augusten Burroughs work (of which I am a big fan).
I also listened to the audio of this - as read by David Sedairs and I recommend going that route. He has a great voice and knows the comedy of his work better than anyone. (less)
The story of The Bling Ring is a fascinating one. What these kids did and how easy it was for them to do it kind of blows my mind.
But honestly I thin...moreThe story of The Bling Ring is a fascinating one. What these kids did and how easy it was for them to do it kind of blows my mind.
But honestly I think you're better off just Googling the story. Nancy Jo Sales originally wrote this story as a magazine article and then turned into a book to coincide with the release of the film (I presume). As a result this makes the whole thing feel stretched, over long and she ends up extrapolating on some of her points and pulling things together with some VERY lose threads.
Some problems I had with this book: - trying to draw direct parallels between The Bling Ring and the Columbine shootings - Stating that their are "no shortage" of positive female role models for teenage girls and having one of the examples be Oprah. First of all their is an incredible lack of visible positive female role models and second of all what teenage girl looks up to Oprah? - Blaming the media and social media and teenagers for everything that's wrong with society but giving absolutely no mention about how The Bling Ring kids all seemed to be children of absentee parents. - Stating that in her day "people were famous for actually doing something" ignoring the fact that socialites have been "famous" for decades. Prime example - Jackie O. - And perhaps my favourite was when she said young people today feel "entitled" when they entered the work force. Never mind that they probably learned this attitude from the Baby Boomer generation.
All in all I just couldn't keep listening to this audiobook no matter how interesting the subject matter itself was. (less)
This is a tricky one. I've only recently begun watching the show and sort of marathoned the first 5 seasons. And I'm of mixed feeling about it. There...moreThis is a tricky one. I've only recently begun watching the show and sort of marathoned the first 5 seasons. And I'm of mixed feeling about it. There are things I really like about the show and things I can't stand about it.
So after hearing a number of people tell me the books were better than the show I decided to pick the first one up on audio. And just like the show I am of mixed feelings - but for different reasons.
One thing I really liked is that the Dexter in the book actually feels like a psychopath. He knows what he's supposed to feel and is really good at faking it, but as his inner monologue tells us - he can't actually feel it. I thought this was much more accurate than the Dexter in the show who tells us he's incapable of feeling and then proceeds to FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS.
However, maybe it's because I watched the show first that I did not enjoy the mystery all that much. The end result of the Ice Truck Killer murders was pretty much the same but the journey there was a lot less complex and at times kind of boring.
Then there's the secondary characters. In the show I find them likeable enough but never really care about their subplots. In the book Dexter's own disdain for this people pollutes how you view them. I DESPISED these people -Vince, La Guerta, Angel, the whole group. At first I found this annoying but then I grew to like it because it meant the ridiculous mudance lives of the people weren't polluting the overall mystery. Debra however is the same and for this I was eternally grateful as she is by far my favourite character.
The audio is narrated by Jeff Lindsay himself and he did a fantastic job. His voice is low pitches and creepy. It gave me the shivers. He spoke slowly and deliberately and made me feel unsettled - the way a character like Dexter should.
This wasn't my favourite book - much like the show isn't one my favourite shows - but I am intrigued to read the next book and see how it differs from/stays the same as the show (less)
This is a gorgeous novel about love, family, and responsibility. I was mesmerized by the story of...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
This is a gorgeous novel about love, family, and responsibility. I was mesmerized by the story of Li Lan right from the get go.
The idea of “ghost brides” seems to slipping (unintentionally) into a lot of my recent reads. But Yangsze Choo does something interesting with it. Instead of simply focusing on the Lim family’s desire for Li Lan to become a ghost bride, she catapults Li Lan right into the land of the dead. I have to admit my knowledge of Chinese folklore and religious beliefs is rather limited, so I loved learning about the various customs and traditions touched upon in this book. I also think that Li Lan was a well written character. She started out a little immature but she continues to grow as she is challenged throughout the story.
The author is also the narrator for the audiobook and I think this was a good choice. I found her voice to be very light and pleasant to listen to and it felt like a perfect fit for Li Lan’s personality. I’m also a big fan of authors reading their own books, because then you get to hear all the emphasis and emotions they imagined when they wrote the story. It makes me feel like I’m getting a bonus glimpse into the mind of the creator.
Zebra Forest is the story of Annie and Rew, a pair of young siblings that live with their Gram. T...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Zebra Forest is the story of Annie and Rew, a pair of young siblings that live with their Gram. They run a little wild, knowing how to lie just right to teachers and case workers. Their mother is no where to be found and their father is in prison. Or rather, he was in prison…One night during a particularly large storm, he escapes, making his way to Gram’s house, and holding them all hostage, despite Annie and Rew’s best efforts.
I loved how Zebra Forest looked at sibling relationships. Annie and Rew live with their Gram, who isn’t the best caregiver and their parents haven’t been around for years. But they look out for one another. They fight – frequently – but at the end of the day they have each other’s back. Though the scenario in this book was an extreme one, I still thought their relationship was indicative of sibling relationships as a whole.
I also loved the role Treasure Island plays in the book. Annie and Rew love that book and read it over and over again. It inspires a sense of adventure in them and they turn to it when in need of comfort. It even bridges a bit of the gap between Annie and Andrew Snow. I think it’s beautiful and a fantastic example of how a good book can bring people together.
Zebra Forest is a very simple story. There’s no real mystery or suspense. Just a family drama. And though granted this particular family was unique and highly dysfunctional, at times it simply felt like people playing house. I personally could have used a little more excitement. As Douglas Coupland said “all families are psychotic” so I wanted something a little more from Annie, Rew and their elders.
Zebra Forest is the story of families, of building and regaining trust, of telling the truth and of what it means to be free. It is beautifully written and Adina Rishe Gewirtz has a fantastic literary voice. It is a book that will resonate strongly with some readers – especially younger readers with difficult home lives.
Notes on the Audio
Kate Reinders has a very clear, very straight forward way of reading this book and it would be perfect for younger listeners. Annie is the narrator and Reinders voice sounds like the right age. I think young listeners will enjoy the steady (but not slow) pace of the audiobook and Reinders expressive tone. And at only 4 hours 11 minutes, this would be a good book to try out if you (or the children in your life) are new to audiobooks and want to test them out.(less)
My original goal was to read this book before going to see the movie. But then I got fairly busy...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
My original goal was to read this book before going to see the movie. But then I got fairly busy and didn’t get to the book in time and before I knew it the movie was out of theatres. But I was still curious so I read the book anyway (I can always rent the movie right?)
The neat thing about this book is that it puts the reader right into the head of a zombie (R). It was a nice change from your standard zombie fare. And as zombies go, R is a pretty interesting character. He doesn’t know who he was before he was reanimated, but he has had a pretty busy after life since then. He can form full thoughts and opinions – even if he can’t speak very well – and faces a whole bunch of unique problems and obstacles. In this way Warm Bodies was a really unique and interesting story.
However, once you get past the zombie point of view, Warm Bodies is a pretty standard love story at heart. Basically, it’s Romeo and Juliet (With R as Romeo and Julie as Juliet respectively). And this is where it kind of made me lose interest. I’m all for re-tellings, don’t get me wrong. But I like there to be a new angle, a new perspective and once you stripped away the zombie element, the story itself was predictable and a tad cliché. Even the names didn’t stray very far from the original.
I think the main reason Warm Bodies is worth reading is for Isaac Marion’s style. He writes some really kick ass sentences. The only problem with listening to the audiobook version of this book was that I couldn’t sticky note all my favourite passages. But I CAN include some of them here for you to drool over:
“I want to change my punctuation. I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.”
“In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.”
“I crush her against me. I want to be part of her. Not just inside her but all around her. I want our rib cages to crack open and our hearts to migrate and merge. I want our cells to braid together like living thread.”
Doesn’t that make you want to read more?
Recommendation: Warm Bodies is a good book if you want a nice easy, light read. Not what you would normally expect from a zombie novel, but fun none the less.
Notes on the Audio
Kevin Kenerly does great ‘zombie’ voice. It was rough and raspy and sounded like it was battling against the bodies natural instincts to decompose. However this also worked against the book because he sounded really old compared to Julie’s 19. As far as I could tell the book never explicitly tells you how old R is, but I sincerely hope he’s not as old as he sounds. Not a bad audiobook overall but it doesn’t really stand out either.(less)
Sharp Objects is one dark and disturbing tale. I would even venture so far as to claim that this...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Sharp Objects is one dark and disturbing tale. I would even venture so far as to claim that this story is even more twisty and dangerous than Gone Girl. It may even be Flynn’s best work.
Camille Parker is a very damaged individual. Part of this is because she was raised in a suffocating small town environment, part of this is because her sister died at a young age and probably the largest reason is because of her equally damaged mother. She’s managed to escape her small town a long time ago, running away to Chicago to be a reporter. But when two young girls are gruesomely murdered she is sent back on assignment to break the story and confront her demons. Overall Camille is an interesting character and it was fascinating to see her life slowly unravel in front of you. Although at times she was a bit much – her inner monologues could get a tad too melodramatic and there was definitely some eye rolling from my end.
The final twist is a bit of a doozy. It’s one I’ve seen before but wasn’t what I was expecting until almost the end of the audiobook. I found the twists in Gone Girl to be fairly predictable and unexciting, but Sharp Objects kept me hooked and eager to find out more.
This book was narrated by Ann Marie Lee and she does an excellent job of capturing Camille’s personality – vulnerable and damaged but also haughty and stuck up. I know that sounds like a weird combination, but Lee totally pulls it off, leaving you with a perfect image of the character in your mind. If you’ve enjoyed Flynn’s other work I recommend this one as well, and if you didn’t enjoy Gone Girl, you might find Sharp Objects more to your liking.(less)
Every time I read another Gillian Flynn novel I love it more than the previous one. She is just s...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Every time I read another Gillian Flynn novel I love it more than the previous one. She is just so talented. Dark Places is written in her signature style – it is the story of a challenging female lead, neck deep in a dark and twisty mystery.
As I mentioned the lead in this story is challenging – to say the least. Libby’s very self-centered, anti-social, rude etc. But you can’t really fault her because she did see her family get murdered at a young age. It would be weird if she wasn’t a little screwed up. And I think all those flaws are what make her so compelling. In a lot of ways her character growth was more interesting than the mystery itself. She really has to struggle against her own status quo and the more she learns about her brother and the murder, the more her understanding of the world is turned on it’s head. All that being said the mystery is still really well constructed with a lot of great twists! I found the twists in Gone Girl and Sharp Objects to be somewhat predictable but this one totally surprised me.
I’m also incredibly grateful that they used different narrators for the different points of view. It really added depth to the characters, as their voices melded with the different personalities. Though I think Rebecca Lowman was the real shining star of the bunch – her narration was expressive but also apathetic when it needed to convey that tone as well. I found her chapters in particular really easy to listen to for long periods of time.(less)
“All monsters are scared. That’s why they’re monsters.”
Here is another fantastic example of an author who should always narrate his own work. It was sort of like listening to the Doctor mixed with Alan Rickman. Both creepy and almost melodic. Which is kind of the tone of this entire book. It was actually a lot creepier than I expected. From the description it sounded like a pleasant story about a young boy but since it’s Neil Gaiman I should have known better. In particular there’s this bit with a worm *shudders* If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about – if you haven’t you’ll understand as soon as you get to it.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a very imaginative, creepy book. My only complaint is that it was too short. I wanted to go deeper and explore the characters more and the magic of the Hemstocks. It was still brilliantly told, I just didn’t want it to be over so quickly.(less)
Why did it take me a year to finally get to this book? It is an absolutely amazing, incredibly well written, pos...moreOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
Why did it take me a year to finally get to this book? It is an absolutely amazing, incredibly well written, post-apocalyptic tale.
I know it's incredibly trendy to compare everything to the Hunger Games and I know how annoying it can be when those comparisons fall flat. But this is truly one book that really felt similar in style and theme to Suzanne Collins' series. The stories are incredibly different, but they explore similar issues and both writers have an incredible knack for character development.
I really loved hearing about all the different characters in this book. Each one was incredibly rich and fleshed out. At times it felt like I knew some of them personally. Characters really make or break a book for me, and these characters are everything you could ask for and more. I loved Violet, Jenny, Marcus and Jackson. They were such a regular family, living in such an irregular time. It made me happy to think there could be people like that in the very plausible future Jeff Hirsch sets this book in. I was also incredibly impressed with the amount of emotion (in particular anger) I could feel for a character that is never officially introduced - Stephen's grandfather. Bravo Jeff Hirsch. Bravo.
For me, one of the key themes of The Eleventh Plague was responsibility. Stephen's responsibility to his father and their survival, the responsibility of the community to take care of one another, the responsibility to be a better person than the world around you expects you to be. I think this was an incredibly interesting approach to this story, and it really made me take pause and think about what was going on, and how I would react in similar situations.
Final recommendations: A brilliantly executed book. One that I recommended strongly to both male and female teens AND fans of The Hunger Games.
Notes on the Audio Dan Bittner did a fantastic job with this book. All the voices were clear and easy to understand. Everyone sounded like the right age - which is pretty impressive considering there is a huge range of ages in this book, from young teenagers, right up to senior citizens. He also nailed the energy needed for this story. He was subdued when needed, and exciting and/or anxious when the tone would fluctuate. I would happily listen to his narration again. (less)
Simply put this novel is an exercise in bad decision making. If West (our protagonist) was as cle...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Simply put this novel is an exercise in bad decision making. If West (our protagonist) was as clever as the book kept telling me she was, then it didn’t make sense for her to continually and consistently make poor decisions. She should have been able to at least speculate on why something would end up working against her. But every time she was reckless and impulsive and I wished I could jump into the story and talk some sense into her.
Although to be fair, it may not be West’s fault that she made such poor choices, since the premise of the novel itself was a little shaky. I couldn’t understand why a society that was so poor would spend so much of their resources on the Alternate system. There was a brief explanation about breeding the strongest people but a society built solely on physical strength is doomed to fail and furthermore it seemed like all the money and resources invested in the manufacturing of alts could have been better spent on education and other programs that would have also created a stronger, smarter population but with a lot less bloodshed.(less)
I remember last year when Shine Shine Shine came out. It received rave reviews from publications...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
I remember last year when Shine Shine Shine came out. It received rave reviews from publications and fellow bloggers and I knew I had to check it out. I was also incredibly intrigued by the myriad of genres that were attached to it. Science Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance, Magical Realism. I’ve seen it described as all of the above. Having now read the book I still don’t know if I can agree with any/all of those but I digress. On to the content of the book itself.
Shine Shine Shine is a challenging novel. There’s a lot at play here. I like novels like this. Books that require me to take some time and really think about what I’m reading/listening to. And to question what’s really being said below the surface of the story. I don’t claim to understand everything that’s going on in this book – or even most of it but there were two elements I found especially interesting.
Shine Shine Shine focuses on two central figures – Sunny and Maxon. It switches back and forth between two times in their lives. Their present life as a married couple and their time growing up together (from childhood to adolescence to young adults). I loved this juxtaposition of their lives growing up together and their lives post marriage. I found it interesting to watch them grow together, and grow apart and and see how their previous decisions influenced their present life.
In addition to their relationship I found that a central focus of Shine Shine Shine is motherhood. Sunny being a mother to Bubber. She’s now pregnant for the second time. She’s forced to make a decision regarding the prolonged car of her mother or pulling the plug. And Maxon’s very complicated relationship with his even more complicated mother. It gives you a lot to think about, looking at motherhood through all these different angles.
As you can see Shine Shine Shine was a book that sat heavy in my mind. Both while I was listening to this audiobook and after it was over. Though I felt the the ending was quite abrupt. And I definitely wanted more to the story. I can’t help but admit that this is an incredibly well written narrative.
Recommendation: If you like books that are constantly eating away at your thoughts and leave you asking questions you had never considered before, Shine Shine Shine is for you.
Notes of the Audio
Joshilyn Jackson is a good narrator. I really felt like she was Sunny. Her personality came through loud and clear. But in addition she also able to affect other unique characteristics in Bubber, Maxon, Maxon’s mother… The list goes on. Everyone feels incredibly unique and I never once got one character confused for another.
However, despite the quality of the narrator I wouldn’t recommend Shine Shine Shine as an audiobook. Since it shifts from past to present so frequently I found it a little disjointed. Time shifting would’ve been easier to keep straight in print. Maybe it’s just me but I find the little headers with the date/year extremely helpful.(less)
Is it possible to fall in love with a fictional character? Because I may be in love with Clay Jan...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Is it possible to fall in love with a fictional character? Because I may be in love with Clay Jannon. Seriously. He works at a book store, he codes things for fun, he loves fantasy novels and makes great references to all sorts of nerdy stuff. Plus he’s socially awkward and random. Love him. I would marry him (shhh don’t tell my boyfriend) Characters like Clay Jannon are one of the reasons I love reading so much. You can’t help but fall for them. Become invested in them. And hang onto their every word.
It was Clay that hooked me into the dazzling story that is Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, but it was the ultimately the mystery that got me to stay. It’s so intriguing. And the idea of a secret society that revolves around books is just too good to pass up. As someone who loves to read and talk about what their reading, the idea of following clues hidden in writing is very appealing. I think it’s an idea that would be appealing to all book lovers. We all know what it’s like to become obsessed with books.
When I was done reading/listening to this book, the idea that really stuck with me was how Robin Sloane presented the new technology (Google and all it’s gadgets) and old (books). I loved that they worked together for a common goal, rather than against one another. I think this book is a wonderful example of how we don’t have to choose one over the other. I can have my e-reader and my bookshelf full of print books and there’s nothing wrong with that. New and old technology can co-exist. It doesn’t have to be a fight to the death.
Recommendation: Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore is a quick, fun read with lovable characters, and intriguing plot. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet still manages to say something important about our society. This is definitely a book for book lovers.
Notes on the Audio
Ari Fliakos did a fantastic job on the narration. He was Clay. He was able to perfectly conveying both Clay’s awkwardness and his internal sarcasm. I also enjoyed the way he did Mr. Penumbra’s voice. It really helped me picture the character, and I don’t think he would have been as vivid to me without Fliakos’ particular style.(less)