Book Clubs Are Back, Baby!

I know, I know. I’m the worst about updating (says almost every blogger ever). But quite a few of you followed me to WordPress from my LJ, and back in the heyday at LJ, when I was still posting book reviews, there was a little thing we created together called a book club, and that became quite the popular hang-out every month.

After I closed the book blog down, many of you expressed how much you missed the book club, and while time and circumstances have moved all of us into different stages of our lives, it occurs to me that some of you might jump for joy if that book club came back.

Well, it’s not back, not like it used to be (and not here). But over at Speculative Chic, which has been up and running for over a year now, we started a book club back in August. To date, we’ve read Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Carrie Vaughn’s Bannerless, and Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It. Currently, we’re reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, which we’ll start discussing starting on Black Friday, and in December, our handful of readers have selected Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather.

Right now, we’re voting on January’s read, which is built around the theme of First Contact. The selections are fantastic, and we’re stuck in a tie: Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, Elizabeth Moon’s Remnant Population, and Octavia Butler’s Dawn.

The book club is starting to find its groove, but it really needs to find more readers. As with we did over at Calico Reaction, participating didn’t mean you had to read every month, or that you had to have the book read by the date the discussion post goes live. It’s all very flexible, but we’d love to expand to include more readers, more opinions, and more interpretations of the books that are chosen. And you get to have a say in what we read!

So if you miss the old book club over at LJ’s Calico Reaction, would you please consider hopping over to Speculative Chic and participating as much as you can (even if it’s just for the polls; even if you’re just spreading the word)? Or if you never got to participate at the book club here, but are curious, please, come check us out. Let’s all create something amazing together!

I Don’t Read as Quickly As I Used To

Once upon a time, when I was but a humble book blogger, I could tear through books like a knife through butter. At the height of my blog, it was nothing to post anywhere from 2-4 book reviews per week, nothing to read 100+ books per year. I miss those days, sometimes, when my free time was spent absorbed in fictional worlds, admiring the craft that made those worlds and the people who populated them so vivid and real.

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Remembering Calico Reaction: 2005-2013

On May 24th of last year, I closed my book blog. It was both a sad and liberating day. Sad, because there was a part of me that really, really wanted to hit the ten-year mark, and liberating because I was so burdened by the responsibilities I’d placed on myself, my reading, and my blog that I just wasn’t happy doing it any more. I don’t regret that decision, and I even miss those book-blogging days. However, as book blogging and fandom evolves, I’m glad I’m out.

Last week, Nancy from Picking Up the Pen reached out and asked if I followed’s Rocket Talk Podcast. I explained I did not, and she went on to tell me she was listening to the most recent episode on Gender Parity in the SFF Community and said that I was mentioned. Well, not me, but rather Calico Reaction.

I was flabbergasted, because it’s been a year since I’ve posted under that name, so I promptly downloaded the podcast to get the context and figure out why my blog–one that didn’t garner many nominations when the Hugos came around–was suddenly popping up on someone else’s radar.

The segment is about 45 minutes in, but I recommend listening to the whole podcast for the proper context. Gender parity in the SFF Community boils down to the annual Coverage of Women on SFF Blogs study that Renay @ Lady Business has been spearheading. It’s a great project, and it’s worth listening to the podcast and browsing through the studies to really get a sense of what’s being talked about and why, especially if you’re a blogger/reviewer in the SF/F community.

I won’t rehash the details, but I’ll say this: it’s nice to be remembered. More importantly, it’s nice to be remembered for something that I didn’t initially strive to do, which was feature mostly books written by women in my blog. But while I didn’t originally intend to become a showcase for women authors, it ended up happening anyway, because I wanted to have a firm grasp on the female voices writing in the genre I hope to one day debut in.

So here’s to Calico Reaction (the blog, not me) and whatever good it did for audiences it served. I was very lucky to have been able to blog for as long as I did, and I still consider myself incredibly lucky that it developed such an intelligent, engaging, and energetic following. I give many thanks to those who read it, those who helped me shape it, and to those who remember it even today.