BOOK REVIEW: THE HOUSE OF LEAVES BY MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI

The house of leaves may intimidate you. It isn’t small and the fact that it is classified as a horror novel may frighten you. If you are willing to take the plunge, I assure you that this book will not disappoint.

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Title: The House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Published: March 7th 2000 by Random House
709 pages
Rating: ★★★★

The story itself isn’t very easy to explain. As a reader, you are following a few different perspectives, mainly Zampano’s manuscript and Johnny Truants thoughts. Both of which were equally as important and interesting throughout this book.

Johnny Truant is a young man who works in a tattoo shop and who’s biggest concern is getting a pretty girls attention. That is, until he discovers this book.

His best friend, Lude, lives in the same apartment building as Zampano. When Lude learns about the passing of his neighbour, he brings Johnny inside of Zampano’s home. There, Johnny is questioning the man who had once lived within those walls and comes across a mysterious trunk full of documents written by Zampano himself. Curious, Johnny takes this with him. When Johnny begins sorting through the strange pile of papers (leaves), he discovers that Zampano was writing a manuscript about a very strange short film: The Navidson Record. This horrifying documentary is about a family that had lived in a house unlike any other. The house on Ash Tree Lane was in fact bigger on the inside than on the outside. Don’t laugh. Hallways would appear unexpectedly and disappear just as fast. The depth and what lies within the hallways were also always changing without the slightest explanation. In The Navidson Record, Navidson and his team explore the hallways, with high hopes of finding answers.

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It is safe to say that the house had a mind of it’s own and could somehow read into the paranoid minds of the people who dared to explore it. The more you read, the more it becomes clear that the houses changes reflected the psychology of those inside.

Johnny soon becomes obsessed with the fascinating manuscript written by Zampano, and adds his own notes as he reads and analyses, desperately wanting to finish what Zampano had started. Through his notes, we can see how Johnny’s mental state changes because of the horror that is The Navidson Record.

But was there really ever a film titled, The Navidson Record? This still puzzles me.

The book is a maze. While reading it, you will be turning it every which way. Sometimes starting from the bottom, sometimes from the side. You will even go as far as flipping your book upside down to grasp and comprehend as much as you possibly can. The format makes for a very original, unforgettable read. The style really impacts the storytelling and makes The House of Leaves realistic and frightening. It is like having the original manuscript by Zampano in your very own hands.

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It will mess with your mind.

Reading about the manuscript and how it had affected Johnny, and feeling as if you are holding that terrifying manuscript, is more than enough to take over your thoughts. Even after finishing, you will have questions. Questions that may never get answered. Questions that may always haunt you. There really isn’t an end to The House of Leaves.

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It’s complicated.

I find it impossible to read The House of Leaves one single time and feel as if you know everything. There is so much information, that it is easy to miss out on small details that may answer your future questions. The book is packed with references, poems, pictures, side notes, symbols and clues. I tried my best to apprehend as much as i could, although it really is difficult to analyse this story as you read it for the first time. Therefore, I plan on reading this monstrous book for a second time someday in the future.

It’s not so much a horror novel. Yes it scared me. It took over my life until I had finished the entire 709 pages. I couldn’t think of anything else as I sat alone in my quiet apartment, let alone sleep. However, it is much more than just horror. It has romance. It has suspense. It has mystery. It has psychology. It has almost everything and it brings readers to really participate in this story more than I believe any other book can.

Feel free to search through the forums on The House of Leaves official website if you have already read this book. I, however, had tried to do so and ended up with an even bigger headache than when I had first finished this book. I am going to give myself some time before re-reading and trying to decode this mind-blowing piece of literature.

All in all, I really enjoyed The House of Leaves, perhaps more than I ever thought that I would. It is still just so frigging fascinating to me. What is real? What is fiction? What if my hallway turns into this? What if I end up like Johnny? I have developed a great appreciation for the complex work of Mark Z. Danielewski and I highly highly highly recommend giving The House of Leaves a try.
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MARIA’S WONDERFULLY WICKED READ-A-THON WRAP-UP

readathonAs you may know, Mallory and I had participated in the Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon hosted by Bex at Kindle Fever and April at My Shelf Confessions. It had started on October 17th and finished on October 27th. It has been a busy week, but I am happy with the books that I had managed to finish. Below are the books that I had completed, my rating and mini review.

Total of books finished: 4

Page count: 808 pages

Favorite book: The Merciless by Danielle Vega

1. Soppy : A Love Story by Phillipa Rice (provided by Netgalley) ★★★★★

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Soppy is an adorable collection of illustrations based on Philippa Rice’s relationship with her boyfriend. I loved this so much because it was so realistic. You can relate to the characters. The comics make you realize that in a relationship, it is really important to appreciate the little things. I recommend this to those who enjoy a cute romance – give this graphic novel a try! Well worth the read!

2. The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski ★★★★

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This was the biggest and most intimidating book on my October TBR. I had started it before the read-a-thon began, but I am so proud to have finished it. This book is told in two main parts. The first tells the story of Johnny Truant, a young man working in a tattoo shop. The second part is the manuscript that Johnny had found. A manuscript that has the power to mess with your mind. I will review this book in more detail in an upcoming blogpost. For now, all I will say is that I had become almost as obsessed as Johnny had with the House of Leaves. While reading this book, it was extremely hard to think of anything else. Unlike anything I have ever read (or even heard of), I really enjoyed this complex piece of literature and plan on re-reading it someday in the future.

3. Ed Undead: The Chronicles of a Teenage Zombie by Edward Kent (provided by Netgalley) ★★★

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Ed is on his own. When the zombies took over, he had lost everything: his parents, his schoolmates, the girl he loved… And he too had caught the disease. But why wasn’t he turning into a full fledged zombie? This book follows Ed’s journey, as he does his best to survive in such a messed up world and meets up with people along the way. I really did enjoy this book. It was a light, fun, halloween read. If you like to read about zombies, you should give this one a try!

4. The Merciless by Danielle Vega ★★★★★

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This is the story of some very messed up girls. Don’t take that lightly. When Sofia moves to a new town and starts a new school, she becomes friends with the “popular girls” (yes, just like our beloved movie “mean girls”) but she also becomes friends with the “weird girl”, Brooklyn. I don’t want to give too much away. It really is better not knowing. Just know that when you start this, you will not want to put it down – no matter how scary or gross it gets. I couldn’t sleep after finishing!

Comment below to let me know what you accomplished during this read-a-thon and your thoughts on these wonderful books 🙂

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BOOK HAUL – OCTOBER 2014

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It is still early in the month, but I wanted to share my recently purchased books with you. You may notice that many of these books are also in my October TBR. Before I begin, i’d like to mention that the majority of them were purchased online through Chapters Indigo, three of them were from the dollar store and one of them was sent to me from Mallory. A lot of these books are spooky\creepy reads because you all know I am loving this fall reading. If you would like to know more about these books, click on the book titles to be directed to it’s goodreads page.

1. The Merciless by Danielle Vega

I bought this book for Mallory and I because I thought that the month of October would be a great time to read it together. The Merciless is a YA horror novel that is being compared to Mean Girls and Pretty Little Liars (sold!) From what I hear, it can get pretty gruesome at times. Hoping to like this one!

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The synopsis doesn’t leave us with much, only saying that there was an accident and Mara Dyer was the only one who ,one way or another, made it out alive. I’ve always been curious about this mysterious series and decided it was time to jump onto this bandwagon since the third book is coming out very soon.

3. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

My horror novel of the month. This chunky book tells the story of a family who moves into a creepy house that moves – literally. All I know is that it is a book that really makes you think, full of side notes and mystery. I hope that I get the chance to get through this one before the end of the month!

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I’ve been wanting to read Gone Girl for so long now, so I am very happy to finally have it on my bookshelf. I’m sure you all know what this is about, especially since the movie recently came out in theaters, but for those who don’t know, Gone Girl is the story of a woman who goes missing on the day of her wedding anniversary. I don’t want to give anything away, being over halfway through the novel. If you are in the mood for a thriller – pick this one up!

5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Mallory sent this to me in the mail and I was so glad because I’ve heard such amazing things about Neil Gaiman. We are reading this book together this month, so keep an eye out for our review. The Graveyard Book sounds like the perfect Halloween time read because it follows a boy who gets adopted by ghosts and grows up living in a graveyard.

6. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris 

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Sookie Stackhouse series and got so excited when I found this at the freaking dollar store! This book follows Sookie, a mind reader, and her relationship with Bill, a vampire. It sounds like a really fun paranormal read and i’m looking forward to diving in.

7. Sweet Surrender by Mara Banks 

This one stood out to me as I browsed the small book case at the dollar store, recognizing the authors name from her popular Breathless series. Obviously an adult novel, Sweet Surrender follows a cop who is after the man who killed his partner and his relationship with the woman that he is supposed to be watching. At 3$, I figured I might as well give this one a shot. I hope the suspense aspect turns out to be good.

8. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My last dollar store buy! I really don’t know anything about this one either. Only that it is written by the same author that wrote The Time Travellers Wife, that it follows two girls in there twenties and that they meet the ghost of there aunt in a graveyard. Seemed interesting enough and I couldn’t let it pass when I found out that there would be ghosts involved.

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If you have read any of these books, please let me know what you thought of them. A lot of the synopsis are really vague, so I would love to hear some opinions.

Also, let me know if you like this type of blog post. It is my first book haul post and if you guys enjoy these, I will definitely post some more in the future.

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