Book Club Nominees

6 Fungal Favorites

by @Thea Meave (she/fae), curator of HOWLS Book Club nominees for July’s “Sporror! Fungal Infections Gone Wrong” category

Cover of The Girl With All The Gifts by MR Carey 

The Girl With All The Gifts by MR Carey 

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad. (Goodreads)

The story is often compared to The Last Of Us video game, which should be enough for anybody to want to read this. It is often described as a must read for fans of zombie fiction, built on a strong heart wrenching emotional core. Its inclusion in this category may be a light spoiler, but I am told everyone is able to pick up on the fungal horror rather quickly.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight 

The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight 

Strange, mushroom-like growths are appearing on peoples’ bodies and doctors, puzzled by the strange virus that plants inhuman desires in the minds of victims, look for a cause and uncover a horrifying reality. (Goodreads)

It is a page turner, packed with fast paced action, and weird horror. For those who are fans of Paperbacks From Hell, this will be right up your alley. This cult classic from the 80s will make you rethink getting mushrooms on your pizza.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Fungi edited by Orrin Grey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

Fungi edited by Orrin Grey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

A collection of fungal wonders…and terrors. In this new anthology, writers reach into the rich territory first explored by William Hope Hodgson a century ago: the land of the fungi. Stories range from noir to dark fantasy, from steampunk to body horror. Join authors such as Jeff VanderMeer, Laird Barron, Nick Mamatas, W.H. Pugmire, Lavie Tidhar, Ann K.Schwader, Jesse Bullington, Molly Tanzer and Simon Strantzas through a dizzying journey of fungal tales. Feast upon Fungi. (Goodreads)

Why have just one author show us the wondrous horrors of fungi, when we can have many authors do so! The stories in this anthology range from serious body horror to whimsical adventures. There will be something here for everyone.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

… Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind. (Goodreads, shortened)

Mexican Gothic received widespread acclaim during its mainstream release. It is time for HOWLS to discover what all the hype is about to this story, which will shine light on racial and social issues. Be careful. Black mold is everywhere, and it is spreading. Might seep off the page and onto your hand.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher 

What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher 

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all. (Goodreads)

The highest rated book in the list, this may be a bad trip. In a good way. For horror fans. Not for the characters in the book though. A retelling of the Fall Of The House Of Usher, with all the weirdness that fungi can offer. And Goodreads reviews are unanimous: it takes very unexpected and thrilling turns from the original Poe story that will delight any horror fan.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it. (Goodreads)

Rivers Solomon is known for social commentary from a black queer perspective with stories that can pack an emotional punch. I have read fae’s novella before so I am interested to see how fae has grown as a writer with a larger work. (Also I use fae pronouns, Rivers uses fae pronouns!) What can be more horrifying than fungi taking over your body? 

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

And The Winner Is…

Out of these six books, HOWLers voted to read What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher. Join HOWL Society on Monday, July 18, 2022 to begin discussion!

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

1 thought on “6 Fungal Favorites”

Leave a Reply