House of Leaves can be broken down into three main parts:
Part One: The fictional documentary The Navidson Record serves as the skeleton of the novel.House of Leaves can be broken down into three main parts:
Part One: The fictional documentary The Navidson Record serves as the skeleton of the novel. It begins as a record of a photojournalist and his family as they move into a new house to make a fresh start in their lives. Soon it is apparent that the house is much more than it seems, literally. The inside of the house begins to grow and change, while the outside remains the same. The film tracks both the family's exploration of their house's quirky little habit of being somewhat infinitely huge and the (often frightening) effects the house has on its inhabitants and visitors.
The description of the film is, to me, the best part of the book. Not only because it is a gripping tale of discovery and fear, but because the layout of the book reflects and enhances the narrative. It's an imaginative and powerful method of storytelling that more than makes up for the fact that the reader can't actually see the film.
Part Two: Part Two is a comprehensive analysis of the film, complete with exhaustive analysis, quotes, and a multitude of footnotes. It is a book in and of itself, making up the bulk of House of Leaves, and is the medium through which Part One is told. While at times Part Two is quite fascinating, as it offers a detailed and diverse look at the psychology, techniques, symbolism, etc., of the film, it can also be pedantic and distracting. I have to admit that I skimmed a few passages, like the summary of the acoustical analysis of echos.
Part Three: The book-within-a-book that is Part Two has been "edited" by a man named Johnny Truant; Part Three is the story of Johnny's journey through the manuscript he inherited from the author, an blind man named Zampano. This part was fascinating, as Johnny's notes describe the psychological effects that the manuscript has on him and delve into his own back story. However, I found Johnny's story to be at times distracting and unnecessary, given his penchant for word vomit and the random and sometimes nonsensical placement of his notes throughout the book.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. Mostly, it left me wanting to see the film and to know more about the history of the house. If Danielewski ever decides to write more about his enigmatic house, I'll be the first in line....more
- I have a bit of an unhealthy attraction to archaeological mystery novels, s*I got this book from a Goodreads giveaway*
Some thoughts about this book:
- I have a bit of an unhealthy attraction to archaeological mystery novels, so I thought this book to be right up my alley. But as I got further into the book, my "Yay, archaeology!!" attitude gave way to a "Wait, is this really going to be about (view spoiler)[aliens creating human civilization as we know it (hide spoiler)]?" And the answer is a great big slimy YES. A big no-no for me is the pseudoscientific suggestion that (view spoiler)[human beings needed extra-terrestrial help to become human beings; in this book, it's suggested that humans only learned how to communicate because of the Architects' intervention. (hide spoiler)]
- The protagonists are teenagers in name only. They're geniuses who can solve archaeological puzzles without breaking a sweat, speak half the languages known to man, cook like Wolfgang Puck, fly helicopters, fight off trained assassins, and Spider-Man their way up cliffs. Oh, and they have access to a sum of money greater than the GDP of Dominica. And with only one exception that I can think of, not a single person even treats them like teenagers. If the author had decided to make his characters 28 instead of 18, he wouldn't have had to change a single thing. Why am I mentioning this? Because it's just not believable, let alone relatable.
- More about being treated like the teenagers they supposedly are: Even with ever present danger and people dropping like flies, nobody tells these kids to leave it to the adults. Instead, they are encouraged in their quest by every adult they know, despite the fact that these adults are being followed, spied on, attacked, and even murdered. Not that I would expect them to listen if anyone said to back off and find a good hiding place, but I at least expect the adults in their lives to act like freakin adults and warn them off at least once. Seriously, just one expression of concern. That's all I'm asking for.
- The ending was kind of meh. (view spoiler)[I didn't quite get why it was so important for Morag to get to the loudspeaker. She kept telling everyone to focus on their own languages, but they ignored her, and I'm not sure what difference that made. And I don't get what the "villains" were supposed to be doing besides being villains. It's like the whole point of the villains was to try and stop Daniel because, well, someone has to be the antagonist. Oh, and the villains were there to give Daniel's father the briefest flash of redemption for being a shitty father and an all-around jackass. And as for Daniel becoming a Mystery, I'm guessing that by the end of the trilogy, Morag is going to find a way to make his mind whole again. (hide spoiler)]
- Overall, not the worst book I've read. There were parts I liked, and parts that made me want to read the rest of the trilogy when it comes out. Those parts were unfortunately overwhelmed by the rest of the book being unbelievable and irritating.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The illustrations in this graphic novel are first-rate and do a wonderful job of conveying action and rela*I got this book from a Goodreads giveaway.*
The illustrations in this graphic novel are first-rate and do a wonderful job of conveying action and relating the beauty of the scenery. However, it seems to me that choosing to write this biography in graphic novel form let the author rely a little too heavily on visuals to tell his story. The narration is stiff at times, reading more as a history book than as the telling of a beloved father's tale (in the book, the story of Musashi's life is told by his son to one of Musashi's admirers). The dialogue is sparse, which I suppose helps to depict Musashi as a silent, lone warrior, but much of the dialogue that does occur is awkward and forced, so I'm not quite sure of the intent. There is also a heavy emphasis on Musashi as a warrior, while Musashi the son, Musashi the father, etc., are all glossed over to fit in more fight scenes. This may be the result of a real paucity of detail regarding Musashi's personal life; historical records in general are notoriously picky and biased.
Overall, this was an interesting and informative read. I would recommend this mainly to those interested in Japanese history and martial arts....more
I started this book hoping it would be the vampire equivalent of Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide, which I suppose is what it was trying to be. VampiI started this book hoping it would be the vampire equivalent of Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide, which I suppose is what it was trying to be. Vampire Taxonomy, like Brooks' Guide, assumes that its subjects are truly real. However, it reads like a fast, poorly written overview of fictional vampires, presented almost as though their respective books, movies, and tv shows were a type of documentary instead of works of fiction. When confronted by the differences in vampire myths across these works, the author shrugs off any discrepancies by saying that vampires have evolved over the centuries. VT flip-flops between describing vampires as being real and talking about vampires in fiction so often and so badly that it reads like the author had two clear ideas of what her book could be and couldn't decide which route to take....more