Book Club Nominees

5 Dives Into Murky Depths

by @L. (she/her/hers/ella), curator of HOWLS Book Club nominees for June’s “Water, Water Everywhere” category

Seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water…but who truly knows what lurks in the depths? Oceans, seas, rivers, streams, lakes, lagoons, and the water in our own bodies all, to some extent, hold secrets. Dive in and come join me for a swim, won’t you?

Cover of The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara.

The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara

As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. As O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive. A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since. (StoryGraph)

I chose this book because, as fans of horror, it’s important and essential for us to know and acknowledge the actual people who create/created different aspects of horror culture and the history of those people.

Bookshop* | Storygraph | Amazon

Cover of Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys.

Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.  The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.  Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature. (StoryGraph)

I’m a fan of well-done revisionings and reimaginings, especially when they subvert the racist/sexist/xenophobic/anti-Semitic/homophobic/ableist/classist/etc. attitudes and beliefs of the original works or original authors.

Bookshop* | Storygraph | Amazon

Cover of Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn.

Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

We are a people who do not forget. Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp. Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. (StoryGraph)

Afro-futuristic sci-fi horror in the middle of the sea? What’s not to love?! <3

Bookshop* | Storygraph | Amazon

Cover of The Deep by Alma Katsu.

The Deep by Alma Katsu

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic. This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers are convinced that something sinister is going on. And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes. Years later the world is at war, and a survivor of that fateful night is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, the survivor comes across an unconscious soldier she recognizes while doing her rounds, and she is convinced that he did not–could not–have survived the sinking of the Titanic. (StoryGraph)

I’ve enjoyed reading historical horror fiction about the Titanic since I was in elementary school and read Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck, and I was also taught a really dark song about the Titanic (possibly at school, possibly at camp, who knows). The first chorus: “Oh, they built the ship Titanic / to sail the ocean blue / and they thought they had a ship / that the water wouldn’t go through. / It was on its way from England / when an iceberg hit the ship; / it was sad when the great ship went down.”

Bookshop* | Storygraph | Amazon

Cover of Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield.

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah may have come back wrong. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home. (StoryGraph)

I chose this book because “yay!” for LGBTQ+ representation, and I’m very intrigued by “And when the person returned, they were somehow different” storylines.

Bookshop* | Storygraph | Amazon

And The Winner Is…

Out of these five books, HOWLers voted to read Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn. Join HOWL Society on Wednesday, June 29th, 2022 to begin discussion! 

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

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