Book Club Nominees

Two Weeks With a Terrifying Tome Returns: 2 Thicc 2 Impervious

by @bunttriple, curator of HOWLS Book Club nominees for March’s “2 Thicc 2 Impervious” category

That’s right, baby—the doorstoppers are back! Get out your shrines to George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Ayn Rand, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, and all the other writers who never met an editor they didn’t disagree with, and say a prayer.

For two weeks in March, we’ll be reading one of these six megabooks. Outside of them being over 600-pages long (and horror, of course), there are no specific content requirements to be considered for this category. I’m keeping it to one title per author, as there are a large number of long books to consider.

Cover of The Stand by Stephen King. Cover shows a road way with bodies scattered across the roadway in a random fashion, as if people standing in different places on the road have just laid down.

The Stand by Stephen King

“When a man escapes from a biological testing facility, he sets in motion a deadly domino effect, spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 percent of humanity within a few weeks. The survivors who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge–Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them–and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.” (Goodreads)

A bonafide classic of the genre (and nearly doubling the minimum page length for this category), The Stand is a grimy, bloody, post-apocalyptic epic. King’s It was also under consideration for this spot, but The Stand nearly won this category last year (losing out to his son, Joe Hill), so Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg are getting another shot at winning your allegiance.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of The Terror by Dan Simmons. Cover shows a snow covered landscape with jagged cliffs on the edge of a body of water.

The Terror by Dan Simmons

“The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive with poisonous food, a dwindling supply of coal, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is far more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in.

When the expedition’s leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Inuit woman who cannot speak and who may be the key to survival, or the harbinger of their deaths. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear that there is no escape.” (Goodreads)

Somewhere along the line, beloved science fiction author Dan Simmons decided to turn to horror—and somehow found even more success. The Terror more than lives up to its name as an oppressively atmospheric, supernatural reimagining of historical events. You’ll practically feel cold reading this one.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Weaveworld by Clive Barker. Cover shows an oval shaped glowing puff that looks similar to a cloud, with rays of light extending from it. There is an eye in the center of the cloud-like glowing oval, and there are two hands extending from it.

Weaveworld by Clive Barker

“Clive Barker has made his mark on modern fiction by exposing all that is surreal and magical in the ordinary world — and exploring the profound and overwhelming terror that results. With its volatile mix of the fantastical and the contemporary, the everyday and the otherworldly, Weaveworld is an epic work of dark fantasy and horror — a tour de force from one of today’s most forceful and imaginative artists.

Barker turns from his usual horror to epic-length fantasy for this account of the Fugue, a magical land inhabited by descendants of supernatural beings who once shared the earth with humans. The Fugue has been woven into a carpet for protection against those who would destroy it; the death of its guardian occasions a battle between good and particularly repulsive evil forces for control of the Fugue. Weaveworld is rich with memorable characters, exciting situations, and pockets of Barker’s trademark horror.” (Goodreads)

Clive Barker seems to do his best work at either twenty or 800 pages. This fantasy-horror is a hugely imaginative, creepy epic. Weaveworld might err on the side of fantasy, but where modern fantasy often tends towards “weightless,” magical, and inconsequential action, Barker isn’t afraid to bring the blood.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Swan Song by Robert R McCammon. Cover shows a sunset scene; we are looking across a barren landscape at the setting sun. There appears to be a path carved into the landscape. There is a devilish face suspended inside of the setting sun.

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

“An ancient evil roams the desolate landscape of an America ravaged by nuclear war.

He is the Man with the Scarlet Eye, a malevolent force that feeds on the dark desires of the countless followers he has gathered into his service. His only desire is to find a special child named Swan—and destroy her. But those who would protect the girl are determined to fight for what is left of the world, and their souls.

In a wasteland born of rage, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, the last survivors on earth have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of humanity….” (Goodreads)

It’s been rumored that Robert McCammon woke up one morning and looked out upon our post-The Stand world and grumbled, “….me too, motherfucker.” Reportedly, he started his own postapocalyptic horror epic that very day.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Night Film by Marisha Pessl. Cover shows the bottom half of a face of a gender ambiguous white person with cheek length hair. The person is wearing a red coat with a turned up collar.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

“On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror film director Stanislaus Cordova–a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.” (Goodreads)

Night Film is an unpredictable, creepy story that sits at the intersection of family, horror, and cinema. It only feels appropriate that one of the nominees in this giant book category would tackle the history of horror movies.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Cover shows a historical painting of the face of a man with a thin moustache. The painting is turned 90 degrees, and we can only

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history….Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of, a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself–to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.” (Goodreads)

Kostova’s intergenerational saga plays like Raiders of the Lost Ark x Dracula. This is a hugely enthralling read that spans decades. Its evocative writing, exciting pacing, and action will make you forget it tops 700-pages.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

And The Winner Is…

Out of these six books, HOWLers voted to read Weaveworld by Clive Barker. Join HOWL Society on Monday, March 21, 2022 to begin discussion!

Joseph Andre Thomas is a literature teacher, horror/baseball/Dark Souls fanatic, and sometimes writer living in Vancouver, BC.

*The HOWLS affiliate storefront pays a 10% commission to HOWL Society and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores

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