House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Bassoon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:58 am UTC

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. By far, the scariest part was
Spoiler:
When Johnny was describing the thing creeping up on him.


My favorite part would have to be the very end, where
Spoiler:
Karen marches straight into the house, goes down the hallway and finds Navidson.


Did anyone else notice when
Spoiler:
Pelafina said she'd been practicing her smile and tied to to Karen? There were other things tying Johnny to Chad, if I recall correctly.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Malice » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:37 am UTC

Finished the book today. Liked some things about it, didn't like other things. The basic idea is awesome, the execution is flawed as hell. I'm sorry, but if you want me to enjoy your book, don't make your narrator a bad writer! It was also disappointing that the ending,
Spoiler:
instead of doing a full-on Lovecraftian descend into terror and madness, came back up again from "it's unknowable and deadly" to "oh well, life goes on, the Navidsons came out okay, this was totally cathartic to our emotional problems."


The whole last third of the book doesn't really deliver on the promise of the rest of it. Exploration #5 is boring offering nothing new over #4's apocalyptic events.
And there's way too much unnecessary sex stuff going on throughout the whole thing. I have nothing against sex in a book, if it has a point, but this didn't seem to.

To respond to something earlier in the thread, I thought HoL was definitely poking fun at postmodernism and literary criticism--look at the way every single article title is either a bad pun or a pretentious literary reference (or both).

--

Anyway, it'll make an excellent movie, once it's changed around just a little. And added to, of course--any film has to give it another layer or two in order to be worthwhile. I hope I'll get the chance to do that. Which is not to say I want Mark to die. I'd much rather convince him to change his mind.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby johnie104 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:21 pm UTC

My local library doesn't have the original English version. Would I be missing out on something if I read a translated version?
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby kinigget » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:42 am UTC

possibly, but half the time it's not the words alone that make the greatest impact, I speak specifically of chapter IX, which is a record of exploration #4. It will get to you no matter what language it's written in.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Malice » Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:53 am UTC

johnie104 wrote:My local library doesn't have the original English version. Would I be missing out on something if I read a translated version?


Depends on how well it is translated. There's a lot of subtleties using puns, typos, and echoes ("a sonata for a son", that sort of thing); I'm not sure that can all be translated into another language.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:23 pm UTC

Malice wrote:Anyway, it'll make an excellent movie, once it's changed around just a little. And added to, of course--any film has to give it another layer or two in order to be worthwhile. I hope I'll get the chance to do that. Which is not to say I want Mark to die. I'd much rather convince him to change his mind.


I may have mentioned this before - probably in this very thread - but in my humble opinion the best way to do a film of this book would be to release about five or six different versions of the Navidson Record into theatres; but then for the DVD release have an edition called House of Leaves. It starts out like a very, VERY plain DVD of the Navidson Record - like, blank white background, title, and Watch Movie - but after you watch it once, there's another option that shows up (and you have to have watched it once) called Director's Commentary. And then you watch that, and you get a story about two filmmakers trying to make a film of the book House of Leaves and how they couldn't find Johnny Truant but they're making the film anyway, and have bits of the film start to cut away to THEIR story at strange points.

And then each time you watch it, more and more weird DVD menu options start popping up as the thing begins to expand inexplicably. Each new option gives a different side to the story, and maybe you can watch single tracks (like, Johnny's Story... which is different than the one in the film. And then Pelfina's Story, which is ALSO different)

No I have not a goddamn clue how you'd program something so complicated into a DVD.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Ishindri » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:06 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep: That would be awesome beyond measure.

I myself haven't finished the book yet, but I think the idea of it being a kind of parody of literary criticism is pretty accurate. Here you've got this film about people being swallowed up by a Lovecraftian horror, and people are trying to analyze it in terms of normality - social dynamics and so on. It's somewhat surreal.

I remember reading somewhere else, it might have been here on this forum, that someone had the idea of making their own notes in the margins of their copy. Make your own notes, then pass it on to a friend who does the same. Soon the book will be amended, scribbled in, filled with post-its and bits of paper and other detritus. Could really add to the experience.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Malice » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:08 am UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:
Malice wrote:Anyway, it'll make an excellent movie, once it's changed around just a little. And added to, of course--any film has to give it another layer or two in order to be worthwhile. I hope I'll get the chance to do that. Which is not to say I want Mark to die. I'd much rather convince him to change his mind.


I may have mentioned this before - probably in this very thread - but in my humble opinion the best way to do a film of this book would be to release about five or six different versions of the Navidson Record into theatres; but then for the DVD release have an edition called House of Leaves. It starts out like a very, VERY plain DVD of the Navidson Record - like, blank white background, title, and Watch Movie - but after you watch it once, there's another option that shows up (and you have to have watched it once) called Director's Commentary. And then you watch that, and you get a story about two filmmakers trying to make a film of the book House of Leaves and how they couldn't find Johnny Truant but they're making the film anyway, and have bits of the film start to cut away to THEIR story at strange points.

And then each time you watch it, more and more weird DVD menu options start popping up as the thing begins to expand inexplicably. Each new option gives a different side to the story, and maybe you can watch single tracks (like, Johnny's Story... which is different than the one in the film. And then Pelfina's Story, which is ALSO different)

No I have not a goddamn clue how you'd program something so complicated into a DVD.


I've thought about it, but I'd rather do an actual film that stands by itself as opposed to a DVD thing that's just sort of there. A DVD of that film would probably have some special bits like you say, but I think the movie can work fine leaving out the interactivity. If you want interactivity, a video game makes much more sense. "God, I've been going down this staircase for a week! When does the next level start?" :p

The problem with doing just the Navidson Record is twofold; first, it would strip away the layering effect of analyzing that film and wondering if that film actually exists. And second, you kinda need to be able to skip over certain parts in order to get away with things like "Oh me yarm Navidson is the best photographer ever."
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby McCaber » Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:44 pm UTC

I just finished it. It was an experience like never before.

I'm letting it digest before I do any serious posts about it.
Spoiler:
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby johnie104 » Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:24 pm UTC

Haven't finished the book yet (I'm in the middle of chapter 9), but there is something I noticed.
In chapter 8 (about s.o.s's) there are some black and outlined dots between paragraphs. Has anybody tried to see if those dots make a morse-coded message?
I would want to post the dots, but I have a translated version so I don't know how well that would work.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Jesse » Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:31 am UTC

http://www.houseofleaves.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=3

Go here, pick whatever language version you want. Marvel at the analysis that goes on.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Narsil » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:09 am UTC

I'm marveling, but not in a good way. "House of leaves and "The Simpsons"". Really?
Spoiler:
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:33 am UTC

johnie104 wrote:Haven't finished the book yet (I'm in the middle of chapter 9), but there is something I noticed.
In chapter 8 (about s.o.s's) there are some black and outlined dots between paragraphs. Has anybody tried to see if those dots make a morse-coded message?
I would want to post the dots, but I have a translated version so I don't know how well that would work.


I think it's just SOS, SOS, SOS. The paragraphs also follow the long-long-long-short-short-short-long-long-long pattern iirc.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Jesse » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:16 am UTC

Narsil wrote:I'm marveling, but not in a good way. "House of leaves and "The Simpsons"". Really?


You've not spent enough time there yet. They do have a sense of humour on that board, and the Simpsons thread is a joke. Poking fun at their own analyses of House of Leaves.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby kinigget » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:54 pm UTC

I just finished reading the book, and I must say that it is one of those books that doesn't truly have an "end" in any normal sense. nothing truly becomes normal after they leave the house. It continues to exist, it is entirely possible that the labyrinth has affected many more people than the book lets on. I get the same feeling from it that I did from Lord of The Rings: That we're just being allowed to view a small piece of a much larger story, quite possibly the story of life itself.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:00 pm UTC

Cause it's the CIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRCLE.... The CIIIIIIRCLE, of..... LIIIIIIFEE!!!!

I'm also left with the impression that everyone who is also reading the book is affecting the labyrinth.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Dayman » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:39 am UTC

I just finished it today, and it seems nobody has commented on Yggdrasil at the end. It is maddeningly pointless but it still gets listed on the contents page in the beginning. I don't if it made sense and just went over my head, but could y'all please explain the point of it.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby diotimajsh » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:17 pm UTC

Dayman wrote:I just finished it today, and it seems nobody has commented on Yggdrasil at the end. It is maddeningly pointless but it still gets listed on the contents page in the beginning. I don't if it made sense and just went over my head, but could y'all please explain the point of it.

Well, at a glance, the forum linked above offers speculation in at least one thread.

My own first thought had to do with centers: mythologically, world trees are seen as centers (the "navel of the world"), and the book mentions this explicitly in the chapter on the Minotaur and labyrinth. (p. 113). (Also, less explicitly: where did king Minos put the Minotaur ? ... That's right, at the center of the labyrinth.)

As for why it shows up at the end... hmmm. This might be stretching things a bit, but from the Derrida quote on the previous page (112), we get "That is why classical thought concerning structure could say that the center is, paradoxically, within the structure and outside it. The center is at the center of the totality, and yet, since the center does not belong to the totality (is not part of the totality), the totality has its center elsewhere. The center is not the center." (Emphasis as originally quoted.)

So, we get a world-tree or axis mundi, which ought to be the center of everything, but it appears at the end of the book, after the main content, appendices, and even the index. Rather than seeing Yggdrasil placed at, say, the center of the pages (710 / 2 would be 355, but I don't see anything relevant there) or the center of the chronological story/commentary, we see it almost as though it were meant to be outside of the book.

Oh god, I suddenly see yet more possible implications. There's furthermore a connection between centers and destinations. Spoilered for excessively analytic pedantry.
Spoiler:
Again from p.113, Zampano tells us "Eliade points out that in most [mythological/spiritual] beliefs it is difficult to reach the centre. It is an ideal goal, which one can only attain after a 'hard journey.' To 'reach the centre is to achieve a consecration, an initiation. To the profane and illusory existence of yesterday, there succeeds a new existence, real, lasting and powerful.' But Eliade also points out that 'every life, even the least eventful, can be taken as a journey through a labyrinth.'"

Centers are goals, and we as readers have reached this book's goal/center by getting all the way to the end of the book. Furthermore, after finally reaching this paradoxically displaced center, we readers will succeed to a new, realer, more lasting existence – which is to say, we return to our own real world existence! As we finish the page and put the illusory world of the book down, we return to reality after the "hard journey" which culminated in re-birth or re-entrance into our own higher world.

I don't think this is that far-fetched, actually. The theme of transcending an illusory, transient world to reach a true reality is deeply ingrained in human mythological thought--and yes, most often this has involved symbolic initiation, birthing, or re-birthing ceremonies. We return to prior state--the state of innocence, the state before the fall/deception/whatever. See Joseph Cambell's work on mythological cycles in The Hero With a Thousand Faces for some supporting thoughts. (Campbell furthermore says that hero myths simultaneously represent the challenges incumbent in everyday life--just as Eliade apparently said about labyrinths. On that note, looking into Mircea Eliade's Ordeal by Labyrinth might prove fruitful, but I haven't read it at all.)

Warning that this all is a bit generic. I mean, really, humans are goal-oriented creatures, and every goal we have (not just those in House of Leaves) could be seen of as a journey through a labyrinth (and thus analogous to the hero's journey).


Then, another idea, this one borrowed from the forum (with my own additions). Spoilered for maybe containing some actual spoilers.
Spoiler:
The last page was written by his mother, Pelafina. Note that the last letter she sends before she commits suicide omits the O from "Mommy" (so, "Mmmy"), but then it shows up on the last page with Yggdrasil. Pelafina always signed her notes as "P." where she didn't use "Mom" or "Mommy." The O on p. 709 is placed as it might be for her signature initial, yet with no period. ... But look above the Yggdrassil and poem-ish thing, and we see a gigantic period after all.

More convincing to me is simply the style of language in the poem. Neither Johnny nor Zampano write that way, but Pelafina does--although it is admittedly less florid than her usual standards. And, I guess Johnny does show some similar stylistic tendencies in the Pelican poems. I don't know.

The O might simply connote circles/cycles/rebirthing/eggs/Ouroborus, which as far as I'm concerned are all strongly linked concepts, and they're symbolically relevant to the idea of "returning to a higher reality."
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Rufaellie » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

I just started reading it. I just started reading it. I just started reading it.1It is an incredible work, a logician's Alice In Wonderland.2

I should have slept the other night. I stayed up until 2:30 AM reading "House of Leaves" last night. Of course I was reading "House of Leaves, that's the book we are discussing. Although there is the faint possibility that it is some other book entirely3, but I don't think that's the case. I think this is the same book. This book is crazier than Fahrenheit 4514

It all starts at the beginning for me.
I should have listened to his warning.
Or should I have?
If I hadn't I wouldn't have heeded the importance of it.


But the Navdison house is of itself thoroughly freaky. That can't be the right word, it isn't the right word. Perhaps unsettling. They settle in it and it is unsettling. I'm glad my house isn't like that, it can't be anyway. It's more of a home, if it was a home it wouldn't be like the Navidson house. I hope not anyway. God I need to sleep.


No nightmares yet, I have walked down a dark patch of sidewalk and suddenly lost my viewporientation. Suddenly I wondered whether the darkness in front of me was complete or simply there. I wondered if I could walk through it or if I would become it. Of course the feeling was fleetng, but I thought back on the times I had read the book and that scared me.5

Where was I? I can't remember anymore. I do know this, the book has a warning6 for a reason, if you are going to read it be prepared to face the darkest and most crazed depths of the soul and mind of man. If you can't, then for god's sake, do not walk into that house.








1Italics added for emphasis.
2I think that title has been used for other books, I don't know which book's I can't provide the names of the authors or publishing houses. I can't point to references for interviews, book reviews or statements making this inferrence. Then why would I make it? I believe it I suppose. Or do I? Perhaps no one thinks of it as such, perhaps I'm one of the only one.
3http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=12397
4I have read Fahrenhiet 451. So I know.
5
Spoiler:
  • (1.) December 29th 12:05 AM - 2:34 AM
  • (2.) December 28th 8:46 PM - 8:58 PM
  • (3.) December 28th 8:07 PM - 8:25 PM
  • (4.) December 28th 7:40 PM - 7:49 PM
  • (5.) December 27th 11:02 PM - 11:30 PM
  • (6.) December 26th 10:07 PM - 10:20 PM
  • (7.) December 25th 6:31 PM - 7:46 PM
  • (8.) December 25th 3:22 PM - 3:34 PM
  • (9.) December 25th 2:10 PM - 2:22 PM
  • (10.) December 25th 9:46 PM - 10:03 PM
  • (11.) December 24th 10:02 PM - 11:03 PM

6"House of Leaves" Mark Z. Danielewski, Page 1.
Last edited by Rufaellie on Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:38 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:48 am UTC

I finally got my hands on this book. It's pretty interesting. So far, I mostly like it.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby icenine » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:28 am UTC

I do know this, the book has a warning6 for a reason, if you are going to read it be prepared to face the darkest and most crazed depths of the soul and mind of man. If you can't, then for god's sake, do not walk into that house.


My thoughts exactly. I was fascinated with this book, but decided not to try it because 1) of its screwed grammar and spelling (so I heard?) and 2) I would be totally freaked out after reading it - considering that I got chills after reading Sphere (Michael Crichton) when I was younger.

I'll be content with reading the endless reviews/analyses of this book.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Rufaellie » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:36 pm UTC

icenine wrote:
I do know this, the book has a warning6 for a reason, if you are going to read it be prepared to face the darkest and most crazed depths of the soul and mind of man. If you can't, then for god's sake, do not walk into that house.


My thoughts exactly. I was fascinated with this book, but decided not to try it because 1) of its screwed grammar and spelling (so I heard?) and 2) I would be totally freaked out after reading it - considering that I got chills after reading Sphere (Michael Crichton) when I was younger.

I'll be content with reading the endless reviews/analyses of this book.


No, the spelling and grammar is perfect, or noted when it isn't. It's creepy in the extreme, but if you want to read commentary about it you should read the actual book. It provides its own commentary very nicely. But if you want to read the commentary on the commentary then you must be what this comic is talking about.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Pa-Patch » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:43 am UTC

Recently finished this, and boy was it good.
Spoiler:
As pointed out by Basoon:
So, I was looking over the letters today for "My dear Zampanò, who did you lose?", which I would have missed, and came along this highly interesting line on 615:

"Practicing my smile in a mirror the way I did when I was a child."
Which strongly brings to mind Karen.
Now, what this suggests to me about the identity of Johnny's mother, and by extension Johnny, doesn't entirely seem to fit (not that I've made everything fit when trying to explain certain things in the book). It may not even be intentional. Still very interesting though, and making readers flip a shit like this is basically what makes the book good.

This business with "Doc" and his story is also pretty wierd. It strikes me as reasonable that he just wrote it all off as bullshit because he actually came close to recovery and then failed. It's also entirely possible that it's just all made up.

Oh, and I'm pretty much in the camp that Zampano is Navidson. His obsession with visuals, military history, etc. I didn't come across anything majorly contradictory to that, either.

The notion that Johnny's mother wrote everything is pretty damn interesting, too.


As for scary, this book did the job more than any "horror" book I've ever read. Not terrifying or anything, mind you, but certainly creepy. When there were nights when after reading, when walking upstairs to my room, I found myself automatically looking closely at every dark corner. Also, if my house happened to make a noise while I was reading certain parts, I'd find myself peering over for a few seconds.

Spoiler:
One of the biggest wierding-outs for me was, especially as the book is drawing to a close, that there's all the talk and gradual growth towards the nature/scariness of the house being nothingness. So you're like "Oh, ok, the power of it all is just in the fear and paranoia. I kinda saw that coming, neat. What a good book"
Then you remember the claw marks next to Zampano, and all sorts of other little things.

Oh, and my favorite single freak-out parts:
The check in the bottom right of Johnny's writing at one, seemingly random point.
"This if not for you."
When Daisy wants to play "always"


This book needs to be read at night in a quiet house. There are a fair number of things in the book that are really great in a certain mood and come off as silly (or in there a little too blatantly ENTIRELY just to mess with you, which detracts from it a little) in others.
Also, it's not a perfect book. It's got a lot of problems. The literary criticism stuff does get a little tiring at times, every once in a while I found myself wishing Johnny would just be done with his latest rant, and the ending of the book really pales in comparison the beginning portions. It's still worth a read though, even if only because it's so different from most books out there.

Did anyone else just really like index?

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby thepope » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:04 am UTC

I find it amazing how well this book manages to freak the jebus out of me by simply reading through this thread. Seriously. I finished the book probably more than a month ago and it's currently not even at my house but instead with my girlfriend who I am having read it so it isn't even like it's sitting in the corner enticing me to read it again. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that freaks out over this though. My girlfriend and I are currently freaking out over minor things such as printer errors and attributing them to the book and how it is driving us insane.

That said, I think I have a theory on the meaning of the book. I think that Danielewski went ahead and wrote in as many allusions to other characters and relatively unrelated parts of the book in such an incomprehensible way so that in reality there is no actual solution to the book's mysteries. Unfortunately it ends up being so goddamn enticing that you can't help but analyze it and try to find out what's really going on anyway. Just a thought. It seems to be the only thing that explains why none of the other explanations ever make total sense or have enough to back them up in order to make them believable. It seems like there is always some tiny detail that throws a wrench into whatever awesome theory anyone comes up with.
Ezekiel 25:17. "And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:22 am UTC

thepope wrote:That said, I think I have a theory on the meaning of the book. I think that Danielewski went ahead and wrote in as many allusions to other characters and relatively unrelated parts of the book in such an incomprehensible way so that in reality there is no actual solution to the book's mysteries. Unfortunately it ends up being so goddamn enticing that you can't help but analyze it and try to find out what's really going on anyway. Just a thought. It seems to be the only thing that explains why none of the other explanations ever make total sense or have enough to back them up in order to make them believable. It seems like there is always some tiny detail that throws a wrench into whatever awesome theory anyone comes up with.


This is the theory I've supported, but the way you said makes me remember the episode of TNG where they discuss sending the Borg a problem specifically made to become more complex with each iteration of attempts to solve it, so the Collective eventually crashes. Perhaps MZD is up to no good here.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Midnight » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:23 am UTC

so wait. i merely read the book, i didn't go anything beyond that. I dunno about this whole "zampano, who did you lose?" thing, but what I want to know is this:

I
am too lazy to figure out what one of Johnny's mom's letters says. It's a few pages long, but it's in the code that has a tendency to of will, ornithopters race klaxons' lightning, infinite kamikaze evermore--this heinous inscrutable style. that him and his mother share. rather, that she sends at him. anyone know what she actually says to him, there?
uhhhh fuck.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby ducknerd » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:58 am UTC

I got this at the library today and I'm about 40 pages in. The "Yggdrasil" at the end of the table of contents has me incredibly curious and creeped out; it's a wonderfully sinister word and brings the sense of the dread of the unknown right to you as you start. I'm trying to keep from jumping to that part; would it be a spoiler, or is it okay to do (the posts above referred to the section as the "center" of the book, outside the rest of the narrative)? or is the struggle with my own curiosity the best thing for reading the rest of the book?

I also love the idea of a narrator who's a terrible writer. Great idea, though the character seems to abruptly switch between responsible commentator and confessor. His writing gets all of a sudden great when he's commenting on the text. Is this Danielewski's oversight, or is it deliberate?
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:03 pm UTC

ducknerd wrote:I also love the idea of a narrator who's a terrible writer. Great idea, though the character seems to abruptly switch between responsible commentator and confessor. His writing gets all of a sudden great when he's commenting on the text. Is this Danielewski's oversight, or is it deliberate?


Could be either. Given how...fine-tuned this book is, I would guess it was deliberate.
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Re:

Postby wisnij » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:44 pm UTC

I know this is running back a bit, but:

skilaatara wrote:House of Leaves did what H. P. Lovecraft continually tried to do: it made a horror out of the unknown and impossible. I know Lovecraft has his share of crazed fans*, and I won't insult them by saying Lovecraft's efforts were a universal failure on his part; I merely mean they did not work for me. Lovecraft relied heavily on the exotic mystery of his ancient lore and his Elder Gods from before the dawn of time to unsettle his readers, and perhaps in the 1920's this was effective, but this is an age when we know what the Ancient Egyptians and the Babylonians and the Mayans meant by their mystical symbols, and it turns out to be nothing more ominous than the guest list for the high priest's barbecue and his sales receipts for the hot dogs and buns.

It can still be done well.

The execution of traditional Lovecraft and House of Leaves may be widely different, but they are similar in the respect that a good amount of the horror comes from the description of the universe as being somehow fundamentally broken, or even actively malicious.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Chfan » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:00 pm UTC

Do any of you really recommend this book? My dad didn't like it, but I want to read it- it seems to be something my speed.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby thepope » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:03 pm UTC

If you've skimmed through this thread - avoiding spoilers of course - and nothing has scared you away, then I would certainly recommend it. It's the type of book that some people certainly would not like and others should certainly not read, but if you're at all interested you'll be hooked. That's my opinion anyway.
So, in short, yes you should read it.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby diotimajsh » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:20 pm UTC

ducknerd wrote:I got this at the library today and I'm about 40 pages in. The "Yggdrasil" at the end of the table of contents has me incredibly curious and creeped out; it's a wonderfully sinister word and brings the sense of the dread of the unknown right to you as you start. I'm trying to keep from jumping to that part; would it be a spoiler, or is it okay to do (the posts above referred to the section as the "center" of the book, outside the rest of the narrative)? or is the struggle with my own curiosity the best thing for reading the rest of the book?
I think the struggle with curiosity can be a valuable part of it... but you might be a little disappointed by Yggdrasil, since it's not terribly sinister just by itself.

Are you familiar with its place in mythology? I.e., Nordic world tree whose roots are eaten by a wyrm, the tree upon which Odin was hanged? I think it's more symbolically important for that than overtly scary.

Although, glancing at Wikipedia, I found this nifty bit:
"Yggr" is one of Odin's many names...

A third interpretation by F. Detter is that the name Yggdrasill refers to the word Yggr ("terror"), yet not in reference to the Odinic name, and so Yggdrasill would then mean "tree of terror, gallows".
Daniewlski plays with the similarity between divine reverence and dread/fear/awe at various other points. Wouldn't surprise me if he noticed that "Ygrr" meaning both "Odin" and "Terror" and found it handy for his purposes.

ducknerd wrote:Is this Danielewski's oversight, or is it deliberate?
You know, I'm fairly positive that's intentional. There's some explicit inconsistency in Johnny Truant's apparent education level--he tries to pass himself off as an everyday man, making a big fuss about the "scholarly" words Zampanò uses and the untranslated foreign passages. At first he acts baffled, as though he's never seen an academic treatise before; but later on, we discover Jonhny had won an essay competition on the subject of art history while fairly young. After a while, Johnny starts using scholarly words himself and revealing that he knows rather more than he's been letting on. At one point he says, something like, "Y'know what, Latin is way out of my league"... but later on he (subtly) uses a Latin phrase himself, and the book eventually suggests that he is "practically fluent" in Latin.

Chfan wrote:Do any of you really recommend this book?
Highly. I highly recommend it.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby el_loco_avs » Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:23 pm UTC

I enjoy finding references to the book in the outside world.

Mainly in Fall of Troy songs.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby ducknerd » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:59 am UTC

Finished all the text. Won't ever finish the book itself, and I suspect that's the point; to drag yourself away from the ambiguous, infinitely complex text and rejoin the world. That's when the fiction-nonfiction line truly blurs; you experience that struggle at the same time that all the protagonists do. I wrote a happy ending by returning the House to the library.
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby SilentSigil » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:43 am UTC

I may or may not have torrented the book in question here...

I'm only on page 34, according to the file...

I keep having the feeling that I'm overlooking something of importance, that I'm missing something of minute detail that might explain something later. The overlapping stories mixed with editor notes that may or may not be accurate on top of the overall writing style make this interesting.

This book is definitely a meta concept taken root in the flesh...I'm just hoping that the 'copy' I have in my 'possession' hasn't been tampered with overmuch, and that what I'm looking at is what others see when they 'read' said 'book' in their houses...

This is the first book, other than russian literature, that has had me second guessing what I think about it...

*edit*

I started reading the book after watching Requiem for a Dream and Pi for the first times.... I wonder if that will have any effect on how the book affects me?
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby rustedneurons » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:11 pm UTC

SilentSigil wrote:I may or may not have torrented the book in question here...

If you can, get a physical copy. It will make a world of difference.

House of Leaves was an amazing experience. I tried describing the book to somebody, tried to give them some insight into the scope, the terror, the wonder of it all, but started shaking and babbling as the story echoed in my mind. The realisation 'leaves' can also mean 'pages' messed me up something nasty.

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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Enigma90825 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:22 am UTC

I'm about 2/5 way through the book, and I've put it down for awhile. I get kinda bored with it. I know what he's trying to get at but can't seem to get that into it... :roll:
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Chfan » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:27 pm UTC

I got it at the library today. I'm a little scared to read it...
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Spacemilk » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:58 pm UTC

How terrifying is this book? People seem to describe it as a mindfuck, but others make it sound like a horror story... Is it frightening?

Also, will I lose something if I download it on to my colorless Kindle, or will I get most of the book still that way?
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Re: House of omgwhyamIturningmybook Leaves.

Postby Chfan » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:50 pm UTC

Reading through this thread, I'm really scared to read any further. I think I'm going to be reading this with people around me, during broad daylight. If that's okay with you.
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