Thursday, 27 September 2018

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves

 Series: N/A
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Page Count: 709
Published: March 7th, 2000
Publisher: Pantheon Books
  4 Stars ★★★★

House of Leaves follows the story of Zampano, Johnny Truant, and Will Navidson. Told through footnotes, a text-book style narrative, and editor's notes, the tale of a house that is a bit larger on the inside than on the outside unfolds. With exhibits and appendixes to enrich the story, the fear, confusion, and mystery behind Navidson's home is explored.

Zampano, the mysterious author of the Navidson Record manuscript, passes away, leaving the manuscript behind. Johnny Truant acquires it, and finds that it changes his life. The tale of the impossible house is more than just a story, and the eeriness of the account seems to bleed into the real world. Add the fact that Zampano was blind and that The Navidson Record, the supposed documentary film that Zampano's story details, doesn't exist, and you get a world of intrigue.

I bought this book because I'm looking to get into more horror-style stories. I was surprised by the book, however I can't really say I was truly scared. There were a few moments in the book that were genuinely eerie, but the almost academic-style narrative of the Navidson Record killed any fear that I might have surrounding the whole house situation. Characters did face scary situations, but I was never simply scared overall but rather scared for them. That's really why this book lost a star.....something was missing in the scare-factor.

This book definitely gets points for uniqueness. I've never read anything like it before. There are multiple stories being told in this book, and while I worried that it could be hard to keep track of them all, it honestly wasn't tough at all. There is a lot of flipping back and forth, what with referring to the exhibits, appendixes, etc.., but everything seemed really organized.

There are points when you have to flip this book to the side, upside down, or look in a mirror (or really focus to read the backwards letters). At times I was a bit annoyed, to be perfectly honest, especially concerning some of the pages that had just a few words, but the novelty aspect of this book overshadowed any annoyance I had.

The characters were all quite interesting, with Zampano being a mystery, Johnny being a complex character with problems of his own, and of course the characters of the Navidson Record providing an intriguing narrative. I admired Will Navidson's curiosity and determination. Honestly, if my house were as freaky as his had been, I'd just get out of there! But instead he wanted to explore and to understand what was going on. I have to admit I often empathized with his partner, Karen. She was worried about him and wanted him to stop exploring, and I really understood her worries. Seeing both sides of the conflict like this really added to my experience reading this, because I couldn't decide what I wanted! So of course I kept reading, to see the outcome.

I can't say too much more, because this seems to be the kind of book that you have to really experience yourself. I could go on about the story, but this book is more than just the story. The format really affects the reader's perception of the story, which I obviously can't detail online! If you're curious about this book, I'd suggest picking it up. Just be prepared for a long read, some slower parts, flipping your book upside-down, and reading backwards.

I recommend this book to those looking for a unique mystery. If you like unusual books, this book is definitely for you.

Find House of Leaves on Goodreads

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Book Talk

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to talk about books (as usual).

As someone who uses Goodreads, I often see my Goodreads friends' shelves, including their currently reading shelves. Sometimes, I see people who only read one book at a time. Other times, I see five or six books shelved as currently reading!

Personally, I tend to read two books at once: one physical, and one eBook. I tend to read the eBook on the bus. Sometimes, there will be three books on my currently reading shelf because I have received a review copy. How many books do you tend to read at a time?

This image was found here

I was also thinking about books as de-stressors. When you have four papers due in the next two weeks, or work is getting stressful, I suggest taking some time to relax and read. As a university student, I have a lot of assignments and assigned readings. However, I find myself managing them by dividing the readings into blocks, with breaks in between. I like to relax and read for fun during these breaks. I also like to set goals each day: for example, I make myself read two of my assigned readings one night, and then get to relax and read for fun for the rest of the night. This way, I have an incentive to push through my assignments. I use reading for fun as a reward. It's also great when I get stressed about assignments to remind myself that I have tons of awesome books waiting to be read....that I'll be able to read non-stop during winter and summer break.

Finally, I wanted to discuss reading on the bus. I mentioned earlier that I tend to read my eBooks on the bus. I read them on the ride to and from school, and I like them because they help me to wake up, or to wind down after my classes. They help the bus ride go by faster as well, which is great.

Do you have any similar, or different, reading habits?