Calamity Refuge Book Club

Started by Catherine, January 30, 2023, 01:10:14 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.


It started, as many things do, with a book club. And a dream that perhaps it could return.

15 people responded to the calling to share their thoughts, which are below. And then my thoughts on those thoughts! And you can reply with your thoughts on my thoughts on your thoughts. INTERDEPENDENCE. SYNERGY. THE CIRCLE OF LIFE. :BIGCAT:

QuoteQuestion 1: What genres do you like? Choose as many as you like.
13 votes: fantasy, and sci-fi
8 votes: classics
7 votes: historical fiction
6 votes: action and adventure
5 votes: crime/mystery, and young adult
4 votes: romance, graphic novels, and dystopian
2 votes: horror, and nonfiction
1 vote: autobioghraphy/memoir, and thriller

We lean very heavily to fantasy and sci-fi, shared interests are nice! 

QuoteQuestion 2: Which three of the following would be most important to you in a CalRef Book Club?
7 votes: a dedicated space to talk about the book and share reviews/fanart, prompts, and thoughts or questions from others while we read
5 votes: free options (e.g. available through online libraries), voting on book suggestions, reading genres I like, and reading books I've never read before
3 votes: accessible options (e.g. audiobooks)
2 votes: diverse authors, reading at the same pace as others, and somewhere to share my reading goals
1 vote: books that are also a film/tv show

The top two are fairly simple! This thread can be our dedicated space to share our thoughts, and I can do my best to come up with some prompts if things are quieter, although I would love it a lot if we all shared questions and ideas.

The ones with 5 votes are a bit more varied. Voting is easy and can take place via emoji in Discord, and reading genres we like is hopefully doable with the handy-dandy answers to Question 1 above. For reading books we've never read before, that should hopefully be covered in the voting. For free options, there are online libraries which will be fine for classics and older books, but if we're reading anything relatively more recent the best option is honestly probably to support your local libraries and ask if they use apps like Borrow Box or Libby!

QuoteQuestion 3: How often should Book Club run?
9 votes: every month
3 votes: every 2 months
2 votes: reading a chapter per week
1 vote: every 2 weeks

This is a pretty substantial majority preference for once a month, that's easy! Although of course, you still don't have to join in every month to renew your book club membership.

TLDR: why aren't you reading, this is Book Club >:)
One book a month, will probably lean heavily to sci-fi and fantasy, we love democracy and encouraging the support of local libraries!

Well, now what?
It would be nice to start the book club on 1st February, as it will be easier to remember when the month starts and ends if we follow the calendar. I'll post some book club voting options tomorrow (31st January), and after 24 hours to vote, I will post February's book in this thread! Don't forget to add the Book Club role on Discord to get voting pings.
Good morning friends and foes


This month's Book Club book will be The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez.

Are there any themes or tropes anyone is particularly hoping to come across in this one before we start reading?

Based on the blurb, I'd like to see some family/found family, and I'm also really curious about the world and whether there's magic.
Good morning friends and foes


I read chapter one on the train home yesterday! Thoughts so far below, but the spoiler tag really is there for a reason if you haven't read that far yet.

Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

If anyone else is reading it I'd love to know what you're thinking so far!
Good morning friends and foes


A book club! I'm joining in late, if y'all don't mind.


I've finished! I really liked this one. Heed the spoiler warnings!

Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. It's different from a lot of what I usually read, with some fun twists and good worldbuilding. If it wasn't for all the masses of violence I'd quite like to live in the world of The Spear Cuts Through Water lol.

It's also the first book I've ever felt compelled to highlight quotes to look back at later. Perhaps it's because I've had trouble reading in the last year and I read this one a lot more slowly, maybe it's the writing, I genuinely can't tell. But I think my favourite quote was this:

"I do not know if this is a reward, or if it is a punishment. But maybe it is neither. Maybe you are just here."

If you read this month's book, what are your thoughts?
Good morning friends and foes


I hope those of you who finished The Spear Cuts Through Water enjoyed it!

There's no rush to post your review, but if you're not confident with reviews I want to know this:which of the characters would you want by your side in battle, and why?

For March, we're going to read Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. In contrast to February's book, this one is quite short and available for free on Project Gutenberg! Happy reading, folks, and remember to let us know what you think here. <3
Good morning friends and foes


Hey folks! I just read the first 3 chapters of Carmilla! I haven't really been reading much lately, but the lesbian vampires definitely compelled me to start reading this one. (honestly I would definitely read more if there were more books about lesbian vampires :P)

My official conclusion so far? Definitely gay. I love how the third chapter is basically just "wow this woman's kinda suspicious but she's really pretty so I don't care, let's be ✨best friends✨"


Okay, so I finally have a physical copy, and uh. When the description was lesbian vampires I was thinking like, gal pals with maybe love implied. But wow this goes hard immediately. I have some mild spoilers cause I've seen random pages - but I like spoilers - mostly I'm just surprised by how unabashedly gay it is. So many snuggles and declarations of attraction! Once I'm done reading it I really wanna read some reviews from the time.

QuoteShe used to come down very late, generally not till one o'clock, she would then take a cup of chocolate, but eat nothing; we then went out for a walk, which was a mere saunter, and she seemed, almost immediately, exhausted, and either returned to the schloss or sat on one of the benches that were placed, here and there, among the trees. This was a bodily languor in which her mind did not sympathize. She was always an animated talker, and very intelligent.



Yeah this book is crazy, but it's one of those where you realise that the only reason a lot of Victorian novels are boring is that they're way too long. This one is short and enjoyable, even if the ending (I won't spoil) isn't what we would want in the modern day.

I actually kind of love Carmilla, she's so cool. The more you learn about her (especially near the end), the cooler she is. Her whole vibe is exceptionally modern for something written 150 years ago.

I'm looking forward to more people finishing it!


I definitely agree with what Emily said. The book was weird but enjoyable. While the ending was sad, it was pretty much what I expected to happen.

And though the book had lots of descriptions of people and places, I kinda thought they helped set the scene more than in other victorian era novels, where the descriptions of rolling hills and feathery hats seem to drag on and on. 

I'd like to know what other people thought about that because I'm probably biased towards the lesbian vampires.


I'm partway through Chapter 4 this morning and I just

Quoteher hot lips traveled along my cheek in kisses, and she would whisper, almost in sobs, "You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one forever." Then she had thrown herself back in her chair, with her small hands over her eyes, leaving me trembling.

"Are we related," I used to ask

I can't stop laughing at this quote. I feel like it should be framed and hung in a museum of lesbian culture along with like, this tumblr post. I wasn't expecting Victorian lesbian vampires to be this relatable.
Good morning friends and foes


Double post, but I've just finished Carmilla!

Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

Even though this book wasn't terrible for it, I don't picture things as I read, so I always find all the descriptions of settings or people quite hard to get through. I'd quite like to watch the webseries Maddie mentioned, or read some modern retellings of it too. However as I said, this one wasn't too challenging and I enjoyed the plot a lot.

I enjoyed this story of relatable lesbians, thank you for the recommendation, Emily!
Good morning friends and foes


Okay, thoughts on Carmilla!
Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.


Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

Like this book is good, not just "for its time" but as a modern reader, I did genuinely like it. But yeah, you're right, I kind of want to know more about this the more I think about it.
Good morning friends and foes


Quote from: Catherine on March 11, 2023, 09:08:45 AM
Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

All I'm saying is that you'll probably like the webseries! But yeah, the tone shift was kinda weird with the lens I was going into it with, and the way it just kinda gives the big reveal and then ends deffo left me wanting more.
Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

10/10 would read again.


So here's what I'm most interested in. Carmilla came out (ayy) in 1872, and Dracula wasn't published until 1897. Both are very similar in construction and plot, but the differences are that Dracula is more of an outside force throughout the story than Carmilla, and the story of Dracula travels a lot further.

Why wasn't Carmilla the story that exploded in popularity instead? It's so much better, and it's legitimately scary.

Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

I feel like Dracula became more popular for a few reasons, but I'm interested in seeing more discussion about it. I think it was helped by the fact that it (an English novel) was set mostly in England, the vampire was an imposing male figure who was a sexual danger to women, and it had more action near the end. By contrast, I imagine popular audiences weren't as on board with something so openly gay (though lesbian couples were a known thing throughout the 18th and 19th centuries- but since women weren't full citizens, nobody cared as much as they did about M/M couples), so solitarily domestic, and something that was more tension-based than outright horror.


Anyway, the story is great. And the fact that it's easy to read even 150 years after it was published is incredibly cool.


More of a general question than a Book Club one, but what do y'all do to sit down with a book and focus on it, away from worldly distractions? I've been wanting to get back to reading more but it's hard to find the right way to get my mind to that place and commit to it.


Something that was recommended to me recently that really worked was to read short stories or comics and let your brain build back up to longer books.

Other than that, I don't tend to read without distractions, as long as I keep returning to it then it's okay to get distracted every so often for me. Although I guess I'm just reading for pleasure and not to really analyse a book, but reading distractedly is still reading at the end of the day imo. If the goal is just to read, then half assing it is still gonna meet that goal more than giving up cause you're not doing it right.
Good morning friends and foes


Short stories are a good idea. For me, I absolutely can't do distracted reading though. I need to sit away from my computer and my phone and really immerse myself in the story and visualization, and I have trouble getting myself to go do that.


Quote from: Natalie on May 19, 2023, 03:23:46 PMMore of a general question than a Book Club one, but what do y'all do to sit down with a book and focus on it, away from worldly distractions? I've been wanting to get back to reading more but it's hard to find the right way to get my mind to that place and commit to it.

If I'm starting a new book, I need to do it on public transport or while waiting for an appointment at the doctor's or similar, so that it gets a good attempt at sticking in my brain long enough for me to pick it back up. And then if I'm on the bus again I'll be like "oh right, book!". This may not work exactly if you don't use public transport that often but you may have similar periods of time that's otherwise hard to fill.