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Reading Method? 
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Post Reading Method?
Hello, all. I know it's been a while since anyone has posted about this particular book, but I was wondering if anyone could recommend a certain way to begin reading House of Leaves.

I tried multiple times and I heard it's an amazing book, but I cannot seem to wrap my mind around the unconventional way of writing. Am I doing something wrong?

Should I be writing clues down immediately, or paying attention to certain characters more than others? This is a book I'd LOVE to get into, but it's not sinking in.

Any suggestions would be great! Thanks :-)



Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:25 pm
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Post Re: Reading Method?
This is a good question. It is precisely the complicated style of the book which actually drew me in! The method I have taken the most pleasure in using, has been just enjoying the deeply symbolic nature of the text!

I take it as it is- read each page and reflect on how ironic it is...It seems to be an illustration of the ironic nature of existentialism. I am only beginning the book- but so far, I feel it is a commentary on human nature....like a joke being played on the reader. The author is very clever in pointing out that human beings oft make something out of nothing, in their endless pursuit for meaning in a meaningless world.



The following user would like to thank CuriousChrysanthemum for this post:
jill315
Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:07 pm
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Post Re: Reading Method?
Thank you, Curious. I agree that this is definitely a book you can't overanalyze, otherwise you'd drive yourself crazy trying to unlock every clue. It's just that some have told me how eerie/scary the story becomes at certain parts, so I thought I was missing something. Now, I think I may start from the beginning with a much more open mind. :)



Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:20 am
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Post Re: Reading Method?
So Jill, since you responded to my post I am assuming you will respond again. :] I am barely passing the point at which navidson discovers the house is larger on the inside than on the outside. I find this piece to be particularly symbolic of existential thought- the way Karen carries on, making shelves, not letting the "unknowable" disturb her enough to take sense out of everyday life. There is a contrast between her personality and Navidsons. Navidson must find an answer- Karen accepts there is no sense to the whole ordeal and tries to make sense out of what little comfort she can create for herself with friends, building shelves and a vodka tonic. LOVE it. :]
What do you think?



Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:53 pm
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Post Re: Reading Method?
It has been a while since I read and reread the book and my approach was quite simple-minded and literal.
After trying to read text and footnotes simultaneously, I abandoned that linear approach. It seemed to me that they were largely disjoint, so I read all the text first (the upper part of all the pages) and ignored all notes and citations. After a while, to allow my brain to reflect a bit on what I had read, I started out at the beginning again, and read all the notes at the bottom of the pages straight through, ignoring what they were referring to. That got me through the story one complete time and provided two blocks of information which it seemed to me could easily be interconnected at the top level as need be (with a lot of fluff easily ignored). Symbolic interpretation and allusion I did not bother with. So, parts of the book were suspenseful and interesting (in the cave), and others unremarkable to me (the door, a tired cliche).
In this day of Escher staircases and post modern writing, I don't think the book would be difficult to dissect into its fragmented story lines and fragmented timelines (and fragmented points of view), so I put off detailed note-taking and page-marking. I just plowed ahead, over all difficulties.
I am glad I can now say I have read it, and it has already received my share of time. so it now sits quietly on my shelf as I read other things.
I hope this helps someone.



Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:44 am
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