Hats! On heads!

Last Saturday I apologized for not having a picture of hats in action.  My sister-in-law has remedied that situation.

Milo, Georgia, and hats!
Milo, Georgia, and hats!

I think they rank right up there as two of the best knitwear models ever. They also provide great quality control, as they live in one of the colder quadrants of Canada. Chances are pretty good that there will be more hats (and mittens, and scarves) in their future.

I refuse to knit them socks (and sweaters) until they stop growing. Even Auntie has her limits 😉

Hats! I knit them!

I knit a couple of hats!

I actually knit them a while ago, but I was waiting until they landed in Yellowknife with their new owners before I posted anything. You see, one of them is an early birthday present and the other is a belated birthday present. Unfortunately, while I have a picture of the duo in their new hats, I do not have permission to post it (it’s pretty informal). If, however, winter action shots of the hats in use come my way with permission to post, I shall happily do so.

Milo's Hat
Milo’s Hat

This is what happens when Auntie Maire sees her niece and nephew wearing commercially knit toques in family pictures. Seriously.

sheepies
Georgia’s Hat

Georgia’s hat is Baa-ble Hat by Donna Smith, and Milo’s is my own variation on The Force Awakens Hat by Mrs. Luedeke. As always, I can’t help myself from messing with a pattern. I added  a Y-Wing fighter, the Rebel Alliance logo to the first row of icons. I added Boba Fett (because he’s awesome), and Darth Vader to the top, and got rid of the light saber-ish thing. Last, I used “May the force be with you” instead of branding the hat to the movie. Essentially turned it into a general-purpose Star Wars Hat. Because that’s the way I roll.

bewithyou
The back of Milo’s hat

The only things these hats are missing are wonderfully ridiculous pom-poms, and that’s only because I wasn’t sure the kids would want wonderfully ridiculous pom-poms. They’re at an age where pom-poms can be a point of contention.

So I will patiently await a publishable action shot of the hats and the final word as to whether pom-poms are go.

ps: I also made yarn. But that’s a whole other story.

I made yarn! Into The Whirled "Andraste" on English Shetland
Into The Whirled “Andraste” on English Shetland

Mittens!

With my love of knit socks, it’s no wonder I’ve gravitated to mittens. I particularly love stranded mittens, but I’ll happily knit away on a pair of cabled or plain mitts as well. Small projects seem to be my forte. While I’ve knit at least one sweater, mostly to prove I could, they’re not my current obsession.

This is knitting that isn’t going into the Yule Gift Pile for next year. Once in a while, I have to make something for myself and the husbeast. These are for me, mostly because they’re way too small or girly for him!
I will note that he works in trucking and delights in wearing colours not generally associated with diesel fuel and testosterone fumes just to piss off his co-workers, so girly really isn’t a problem for anyone but me…because I don’t always want to share.

2♥s Beat As 1 mittens

2 Hearts Beat as One mittens

First up, a pair of 2♥s Beat As 1 mittens by Yvette Noel. Lovely cable mitts made out of Burgundy Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. At least, I think that’s what I made them out of because I lost the ball band. Hopefully that will be less of an issue this year, because most of the ball bands that went missing did so when I cleaned up my little craft cave in the basement. Now that it’s relatively clean down here, I should hopefully be able to keep track of my ball bands.
The mitten was the December “Pattern of the Month” for the “I Make Mittens” group on Ravelry. I was very happy to take part because the mittens are lovely! I think that my only minor criticism is that cables are slow-going for me, like speed bumps to my knitting. Maybe that’s a good thing, and maybe I should try to slow down a bit more, but there’s always that part of me that says…

mustgofaster

Rubywhat mittens?

Ruba'iyat mittens

These look finished, but they’re not. I can tell because they have a provisional cast-on in bright pink yarn. Gorgeous Ruba’iyat Mittens designed by Heather Desseraud. I plan on lining them, so while the pretty exterior is done, the interior linings are still waiting for me to decide what colours I’m going to use, and whether I’ll just use leftover sock yarn or some other yarn that I’d intended to use for mittens but found were a little difficult to work with. Updates will be posted when I figure out where I’m going with this!

Christmas Knitting 2015

I honestly meant to update well before now, but while my intentions were good…my followup was crap.

The knitting content has been almost non-existent on the blog for a while, so I will offer up an apology for anyone looking for knitting and finding everything else. My knitting has had a tendency to go in fits and starts the past couple of years. First it was a full-out sock obsession that went into overload, after which I took some time off from serious knitting. I really did burn myself out. The past two years, I’ve recovered in just enough time to get the Christmas Knitting over and done with before sinking back into well-earned break that turned into extended sabbaticals.

So I’m going to try and do better this year. Maybe space out the Christmas knitting so that it’s not all being hurriedly done at once.

Excuses aren’t knitting, however, so here we go!

ONline Supersocke 4-fach Neptun Color
ONline Supersocke 4-fach Neptun Color

These were the first socks completed, sometime in June. I was experimenting with tighter gauge and had knit them on 2mm needles. They fit my foot, but they were somewhat too snug — so they are a perfect fit for my mother-in-law, Sheila. The tighter gauge will ensure that they will last a long time and stay nice and cozy.

momsocks

Socks for my own Mum! These, too, were at a slightly tighter gauge, but for a bigger foot. They were knit from the toe-up using a Fleegle Heel. I couldn’t tell you what the yarn is, but it felt like it was possibly a Zitron/Trekking product from the feel of the yarn. The colour, however, doesn’t seem to be part of that line. Ah well…it was still a good knit 🙂

dadmitts
Knit Picks Palette in Almond & Garnet Heather plus leftover Trekking/Cascade sock yarn for lining

Mittens for Dad! I had made mittens for everyone *but* him last year, and I really wanted to make sure that he had warm hands for this year. They were started last year on boxing day, and I managed to get one mitten finished before putting them aside. Picked ’em up again at the end of November, finished the second mitten, then moved on to the liners. The liners look pretty similar for both mittens, with the greet at the finger tips. I had two small balls of very similarly coloured Trekking (if not two dyelots of the same colourway), which I used for the liner closer to the openings. The fingertips are some leftover Cascade sock yarn. Dad assures me that the thumbs are the right length, and since my only worry was that I’d knit the thumbs too short, I guess we can call these a success!

lilamitts
Kroy Gentry Grey and possibly Bernat Baby CoOrdinates Ombres in Funny Print

A set of mittens for my co-worker Lila, who loves Tolkein and the Peter Jackson version of Middle Earth. She caught sight of these over my shoulder one day when I was glancing at Ravelry, and mentioned how she’d love a pair. She has knitters in her family, but getting them to make anything for her is a trial. These are my birthday/Christmas gift to her. The background is Kroy and the design is actually an acrylic baby yarn that was chosen mainly for the glittery bling that magic doors require. The wool in the Kroy will keep her plenty warm, methinks.

donsocks

Socks for my father-in-law, Don – aka “why do I keep losing the ball bands?”
The yarn is possibly ONline Supersocke 100 Forest Color, but I can’t be 100% certain as…well…I lost the ball band. Probably when I cleaned up my office earlier this fall. Oops. Again, stripey goodness. It keeps me amused.

tashascarf1

Last, but certainly not least, a scarf for my sister-in-law, who can be rather difficult to shop for. She apparently loves the scarf, however, and I’m not surprised…it’s 2 skeins of Malabrigo Mecha in the Lotus colourway. 100% Merino goodness! I used the 1-row scarf pattern, and it worked beautifully with the way the yarn was dyed.

Next time, I’ll try to show a couple of the other projects I’ve been working on but haven’t had time to post quite yet!

Well that’s that (Prix Aurora Award voting done)

I submitted my final votes for the Prix Aurora Award this morning. I have some mixed feelings about it.

First, I feel happy that I looked over as much of the work as I could within the time I had. I feel like I’m coming to know Canadian SFF fandom a bit better, and I am glad I had the opportunity to read and view some excellent and/or interesting work. Continue reading “Well that’s that (Prix Aurora Award voting done)”

Book Review: Echopraxia by Peter Watts

Echopraxia Book Cover Echopraxia
Firefall #2
Peter Watts
Fiction
Macmillan
August 26, 2014
ePub
384
Prix Aurora Awards

It's the eve of the twenty-second century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldiers come with zombie switches that shut off self-awareness during combat. And it's all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to show itself.

Daniel Bruks is a living fossil: a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational, a cat's-paw used by terrorists to kill thousands. Taking refuge in the Oregon desert, he's turned his back on a humanity that shatters into strange new subspecies with every heartbeat. But he awakens one night to find himself at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside-out

 

Echopraxia is the third book that I have read of the five Best Novel (English) nominees for the Prix Aurora Awards. I did not purchase the book; it was a part of the award’s reader’s pack.

I will be purchasing a copy of Echopraxia to join our copy of Blindsight on the Husbeast’s office bookshelf.

♥ ♥ ♥

What is the outstanding “trend” in the book? (ie: outer space, aliens, dragons, elves, parallel worlds, etc):
Outer space. Vampires. Aliens. Science. Immersive Realities. Emerging Dystopia.

Is there a Message?:
There might have been. I’m still trying to parse it all.

Any other genres incorporated into the book? Was it done well?:
I think that “outer space” and “vampires” covers that question rather neatly. And yes, it was done rather well. I’m impressed.

Is the “trend” realistic?:
Watts has made his vampires a biological construct — a re-emergence of a prehistoric genetic code that had died off at a time when humanity needed to thrive. He’s also built science into humanity’s base fear of vampires. So….yes?

Was the book easy to get into?:
Since I had just read Blindsight, yes.

Did you have to do any homework (pre-reading) to really understand the book?:
Echopraxia is the second in a series, so yes, I would recommend reading Blindsight first. You can also, apparently, get the books as a collection titled “Firefall” if you don’t want to pick them up separately. Blindsight lays the base groundwork for the universe, and as its main character Siri Keeton and the Theseus mission are integral to the story, you’ll want to read it first.

Was the world believeable?:
Amazingly so.

Were the characters believable?:
Yes. The characters that we fully engage with are very well-rounded, and feel like complete personalities. There don’t appear to be any “throwaway” characters. They all have their place in the story.

What “problems” did you have with the book?:
If anything, my problems with Echopraxia were comprehension-related. I like science fiction. It takes me a while to work out the jargon. Due to the fact that the main character is a biologist, there is a lot of science to work through. It’s also very prevalent when it comes to scene-setting. Even though this book is only set about sixty to seventy years in the future, there are a lot of world changes that require explanation.

My only other criticism is that it felt like the book only started to “wake up” around the midpoint. Even though there seemed to be plenty of action, that’s where I started to feel the most engaged. Your mileage may vary, though…I needed more time to wade through the science, and I had to break my reading into bite-size chunks due to my Real Life schedule 🙂

What did you like about the book?:
I got comfortable with Dan Brüks. I came to imagine an older, curmudgeonly gentleman  scientist and former professor, suddenly caught up in a whirlwind of action and opinion. And Dan has plenty of opinions. Much like Siri Keeton of Blindsight, Dan seems to be in the dark about most of the motivations of his fellow travellers, though unlike Keeton, is prone to intense flashes of insight that take the reader along with him.

You could probably stick Harrison Ford into the role. Or maybe Last-Crusade-era Sean Connery, if you want a little extra “grump” (which I did…oh, goodness, I did). It’s possible that Dan isn’t in that age-range and I totally missed it, but that’s where I put him, and it worked.

The book deals with science, religion, loneliness and intimacy in ways that are subtle and changeable — from the perspective of a person who is very obstinate and stubborn. It puts him into some degree of conflict with just about every other character he meets. It makes Dan’s journey richer in some ways, frustrating in others. He’s given the nickname “Roach” early on in the book, and you never really know how apt it is until the story is complete.

Last Thoughts:
This is definitely one of my award contenders. The book was sometimes challenging (and thus frustrating!) to read, but it was worth the extra brain cells. The only huge drawback is that the story really isn’t complete without reading Blindsight first. You probably could go on without it…but it gives the story much-needed context. Unless you already own the first book, you might want to pick up the aforementioned Firefall.

Watts has also left a few doors open for a third book in the series. There are plenty of loose ends that are strategically untied that would allow a nice, neat trilogy to bring it all together. I’m pretty sure we’d pick it up if/when he does.

Book Review: The Future Falls by Tanya Huff

The Future Falls Book Cover The Future Falls
Gale Women #3
Tanya Huff
Urban Fantasy
DAW Books Inc.
November 2014
PDF
336
Prix Aurora Award Package

When Auntie Catherine warns the family of an approaching asteroid, the Gales scramble to keep humans from going the way of the dinosaurs. Fortunately for the world, they're wielding a guitar and a dragon.

The Gale family can change the world with the charms they cast, which has caused some supernaturally complicated family shenanigans in the past. So when NASA and Doomsday Dan confirm Auntie Catherine's dire prediction, Charlotte "Charlie" Gale turns to the family for help.

But Allie is unavailable because the universe seems determined to have her produce the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son of a Gale.  And the Aunties can't help because they're tied to the earth – although they are happy to provide their delicious, trademark pies.  And in the end, all Charlie has is a guitar...

...and Jack. The Dragon Prince, and a Sorcerer.

But Charlie might like Jack just a little too much, and Jack might like Charlie a little too much in return. Actually, between Allie's hormones, the Aunties trying to force her and Jack into ritual, the Courts having way too much fun at the end of days, and Jack's sudden desire to sacrifice himself for the good of the many, Charlie's fairly certain that the asteroid is the least of her problems.

The Gales are going to need more than pie to save the world from an incoming asteroid. But together there isn't anything they can't deal with – except possibly each other.

 

The Future Falls is my second-read book out of the five Prix Aurora Awards nominations for Best Novel. I finished the book in one day of reading. I did not purchase the book; it was included in the voter’s package for the Auroras.

What is the outstanding “trend” in the book? (ie: outer space, aliens, dragons, elves, parallel worlds, etc):
Dragons. Of course it’s dragons.

Is there a Message?:
Nope. Once you get around the world-building, it was a straightforward fantasy romp.

Any other genres incorporated into the book? Was it done well?:
There was quite a bit of romantic angst in it. In fact, I’d say that the Urban Fantasy was pretty much just a vehicle for the overall Romance plot.

Is the “trend” realistic?:
I have problems with romantic dragons. Particularly romantic teenage dragons who pine for women in their 30’s, but mostly just with dragons. The dragons I grew up with were ruthless, cunning, and greedy. Yes, Benedict Cumberbatch made Smaug sound sexy, but Smaug is downright avaricious. I’m pretty sure that by now most people should be aware that one does not meddle with dragons — for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Was the book easy to get into?:
Content-wise, yes. Format-wise, no. Stupid PDF files.
I did feel that the book was loooong. But that’s possibly due to the huge amount of backstory that’s built into the novel due to it being part of a series. Could also be due to the fact that I was reading really tiny text on a PDF displayed on a Kobo, and having to manually adjust every bloody page. Every. Bloody. Page.

Did you have to do any homework (pre-reading) to really understand the book?:
It would have helped. The Future Falls is the third in a series. There was a ton of world-building vis-a-vis the family dynamic, which probably would have made more sense if I had started with book #1. Also might have dulled the WTF-factor regarding that same family dynamic.

Was the world believeable?:
In regards to the setting? Definitely. I live in Calgary. I’ve been to, or driven past, most of the locations mentioned. Most of those locations are mentioned casually, without a ton of detail, so it’s not like I could or would nitpick.

I had some problems with the family dynamic.

Were the characters believable?:
Yes and no. I genuinely liked the Main Character, Charlie. She’s a musician, I’m a musician…I get that. She doesn’t want to be forced to stay in one place, wants to keep moving…again, I get that. I moved often enough before I was 10 years old that I’m always wondering when the trucks are coming to pack up my house. The conflict between her wanting to do the right thing to save her family and save the world versus just packing it all in and finding a jazz bar to ride out the coming apocalypse is a good one.

And then we have the dragon. A teenage, lovesick dragon. And suddenly the book isn’t just about “how do we save the earth and keep the family intact”, it’s now also “you have an inappropriate attraction to a much younger man.” Never mind the fact that he, too, is somehow genetically related to the main character. In fact, they’re all related to each other.

What “problems” did you have with the book?:
Many, many problems.

♦  The age gap between the romantic leads felt like I was watching the lead-in to a movie-of-the-week about the 30-something schoolteacher who takes up with her student because she’s bored with her lifestyle.

♦  Dragons. Dragons, dragons dragons. Lovesick teenage dragons. I fully admit that I have issues with the Romantic Dragon scenario. It’s possible that’s because every time I do a lookup on fantasy novels lately, there seem to be a ton of them. I have friends who read dragon erotica. Perhaps I’m just dragonned-out. Maybe it’s because the last book I read that featured a dragon (Uprooted by Naomi Novik) was absolutely fabulous. The Dragon in that novel didn’t disappoint. Yes, I had said that if I were the heroine he’d have been chucked out a window, but he was acting like a dragon (even if it was only a title and not his actual species).

♦  There appears to be a lot of consanguineous sex in this family. The family is one big coven, and there are sex rituals. Often enough that it’s joked that one secondary (or tertiary) character needs some help as the women are wearing him out. There’s a concern for what one of the male characters will do if his mother crosses into his territory. This raised huge WTF flags for me. Big ones. I fully admit that when I was a kid I had a crush on one of my older cousins. Dude cosplays as Batman (now that he’s grown up and can afford it), so my crush was understandable. But that’s all it ever was. An innocent crush. We’ve seen what inbreeding does to a family. It’s not pretty. Why is this a huge plot point in this novel???

♦  The premise that had me eager to read the book became secondary to the romance. It’s like someone saying “okay. The sky is actually falling. Big asteroid coming to a planet near you. By warping time and space to get the one you love into the right age of majority, you’ll pull a Bruce Willis and deus-ex-machina that sucker out of the sky.” And this is why I have serious issues with the blurred line between Romance and Urban Fantasy.

♦  I had to Google search a musical instrument. This is only a very minor beef, but why choose a relatively obscure instrument as a device when there are so many other accessible instruments? The guy who brings this book for some light reading at the cottage may not have a computer or set of Encyclopaedia Britannica handy.

♦  There is an unnatural obsession with pie in this family. Even beings outside the family know about the pie. Why is it not being sold by Simple Simon so I can pick one up at the Co-Op???

What did you like about the book?:
I liked the fact that the setting was fairly familiar. As mentioned, I live in Calgary and the book is set mostly in that part of Alberta. I liked the fact that the main character was a musician, so it was easy for me to relate to her that way. I liked the fact that characters didn’t seem to be black-and-white in many of their views, and that  bisexuality was portrayed in a respectable way. I have serious issues with sexuality being seen mainly as gay or straight and the concept of bisexuality as really being one or the other but unwilling to admit it.

I liked the fact that there wasn’t a ton of canoodling. If there was sex, it was happening somewhere off-screen. It’s not that I don’t like sex in my books, it’s just that we’ve already seen my issues with Romance vs Urban Fantasy.

I liked that the author had a sense of humour. There were quite a few good pop-culture related jokes that I found myself giggling along with. It reminded me of a gentler, slightly-less-snarky Dresden Files in that respect.

The thing I loved? That it was an Urban Fantasy written by a Canadian and actually set in Canada. Perhaps I haven’t yet hit the motherlode of Canadian UF, but I find that my home country is often overlooked in favour of the States. Yes, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are cool settings, but Forever Knight was shot in Toronto. X-Files filmed in the Vancouver area. There are eldritch places in Canada that need more love and beg to be inhabited by pixies and kobolds. Trust me, I’ve been there!
(There’s a set of waterfalls just outside of Yellowknife that spring to mind, as well as rocky pools on the shores of the Ottawa River. Visit those and tell me you don’t feel goosebumps.)

Last thoughts:
There’s a part of me that is curious as to the content of the first two books in the series. Maybe it would have helped me wrap my brain around what was happening in this novel. Maybe not.

I was glad to see Urban Fantasy have a spot on the list. UF is a popular subgenre, and it’s really nice to see magic happening in an everyday setting. I just wish that the magic rules the author used had relied less on bloodlines and more on other things.

So do I think that this book deserves an Aurora? Unfortunately, no. Not at this time. We’ll see what Julie E. Czerneda, Peter Watt and William Gibson have for me.

Spooky September Challenge: Campfire stories? Nah!

Spooky September Challenge

Today’s Spooky September Challenge was supposed to be my favourite campfire story, but anyone who knows me well enough is aware that I don’t camp.  I haven’t been camping for about fifteen years now, and that last time was supposed to teach me about all the awesome things I’ve missed out on, not being a camper. It was cold and rained almost the entire trip. Seriously. We had to go back into town to get a tarp because nobody brought one. Not my best weekend – only salvaged by good company.

Continue reading “Spooky September Challenge: Campfire stories? Nah!”

Spooky September Challenge: Ten Spookiest Books

Spooky September Challenge

Parajunkee’s View has issued a six-day Spooky September Challenge. I figured I’d participate, as there’s nothing I like better than the run-up to Hallowe’en. Seriously, folks, you have no idea how much I love Samhain. I love October 31st so much that I book time off from work to coincide with the day (usually a full week). I love Hallowe’en so much that my significant other is boggled by my enthusiasm for handing out candy at the door.

Continue reading “Spooky September Challenge: Ten Spookiest Books”

Book Review: My Real Children by Jo Walton

My Real Children Book Cover My Real Children
Jo Walton
Science Fiction
Tor Books
May 20 2014
ePUB
320
Prix Aurora Award Package

It's 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. "Confused today," read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know-what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don't seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.

Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War-those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?

Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history; each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. Jo Walton's My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan's lives...and of how every life means the entire world.

 

My Real Children is the first book out of the five Prix Aurora Awards nominations for Best Novel. I finished it in one day of reading. I did not purchase the book; it was included in the voter’s package for the Auroras.

What is the outstanding “trend” in the book? (ie: outer space, aliens, dragons, elves, parallel worlds, etc):
Alternate Universes — Jo Walton shows us the two lives of the same woman after she makes a major decision in her life.

Is there a Message?:
It sure felt like it to me. I’m a little confused as to what it was, though. I don’t want to give away the book, but it felt like one decision punishes the main character personally while the world they live in thrives, and the other decision gives personal happiness at the expense of the main character’s world going to hell in a handbasket.

Any other genres incorporated into the book? Was it done well?:
Although the book was working with Alternate Realities, it really felt more like Women’s Fiction or Literary Fiction to me. It was a good read, don’t get me wrong, but not something I would generally reach for.

Is the “trend” realistic?:
Only halfway? I’ll get into that later.

Was the book easy to get into?:
Actually, yes. It was very engaging, right from the start. A huge part of that is the storytelling. The other, much much smaller part was the file format. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, ePUB reads very, very nicely on my Kobo.

Did you have to do any homework (pre-reading) to really understand the book?:
Nope. If the book is part of a series, I’m not aware of it.

Was the world believeable?:
Not in my eyes, but again, I’ll get into that below.

Were the characters believable?:
Yes, to a certain extent. It felt like there were characters that had been given a lot of development, and a few characters that were almost caricatured.  Again, I’ll get into that…below.

What “problems” did you have with the book?:
Welcome to “below”.
Problems, I have many.

♦  I have a hard time believing that the choice of whether or not you “marry the guy” would lead to the sweeping world changes seen in each reality in the book. Neither reality is set in our current timeline (there are references to J.F.K. in the book that support this). The world changes would suppose that *everyone* is making alternate decisions along the way, not just the main character. If I could believe that, I could believe that my decision to take piano lessons directly affected the fall of the Berlin Wall. I guess my faith in Chaos Theory just isn’t that strong.

♦  A character who is so closeted that he lives his life in misery to the point where he closes himself off to almost every single person in his life. He even goes the extra mile to be excessively verbally and mentally abusive. While I’m sure that these folks exist, the world he lives in is increasingly more and more liberal. I find it hard to believe that he couldn’t come to terms with himself and his liberal family in order to attain some glimmer of personal happiness. It’s like the character just exists to be an asshole and a burden on the main character.

♦  Some secondary characters feel like placeholders so you know what era it is. The kid who knows computers, the guy who dies from AIDS…just felt a little too stereotypical and shoehorned in for my tastes.

♦  Everyone turns against you when you’re old.  The children that we’ve seen Patricia raise throughout both timelines seem like a bunch of greedy little gits by the end of the book. And when Patricia is shown to have a medical problem, they get offended and treat it like a moral issue that Granny really can’t remember that X Event occurred. I’ve seen some skeevy family politics in my time, but I couldn’t point to a single redeeming member of either family by the end of the book.

♦  No real resolution at the end of the book. We get to see the two timelines, but the resolution is…vague. Or maybe I’m just not insightful enough to intuit it.

What did you like about the book?:
Practically seamless world building. It helped that there was a lot of exposition every time you jumped between realities, but the world building was cumulative.

I also liked that the author was able to tell two complete life stories in approximately 320 pages. That’s pretty impressive. You get to know both versions of Patricia fairly well, and explore the world from her eyes in two very different ways.

Last thoughts?:
I got to the end and the only thing that crossed my mind was “Huh. I guess that’s that.”

I was vaguely unsatisfied because the story was…well…kind of a memoir. It was a book of quiet reflection on the lives of two identities who were the same person (if you can follow that). There were peaks and valleys, yes, but nothing that I could discern as a solid story structure. It would be different if Patricia had woken up one day in her nursing home and a (singular) friendly person from both pasts was there to help her on her journey to Her One True Self. We could have the standard hero’s journey of hijinks and misadventure, coupled with the fact that our heroine is in her 90’s and has a memory like a sieve.  Instead, Patricia gets old and reflects on the two pasts that she has solid memories of living before the end of her days. Huh.
Maybe it’s just me, and maybe this is why I don’t generally read women’s fiction. :-/

I’m not saying I didn’t like the book. Just that it was far too easy to pick up the next one and start reading. I definitely recommend it, but I don’t think it’s my Aurora pick.