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Bloody Shambles

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Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos by John Shade
Vladimir Nabokov, Brian Boyd
Pale Fire
Vladimir Nabokov
Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind
Under Stones
Bob Franklin
The Erotic Potential of My Wife
David Foenkinos, Yasmine Gaspard
A Corner of White
Jaclyn Moriarty
Winter's Bone
Daniel Woodrell
Progress: 99 %
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
Neil Gaiman
The Beetle
Richard Marsh
Wreck This Journal
Keri Smith
House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski Wow. Where do you even start with a book review of House of Leaves? I guess by pointing out that HoL is really more of "an experience" than "a book". And for once, that's not hyperbole. Along with being a book-about-a-book-about-a-book-about-a-film-about-a-house, it uses its own typesetting as a story-telling device. It uses footnotes about footnotes to tell a parallel story, it includes references to be decoded or googled, there's a companion album by the author's sister, photographs and collages, coloured text and poetry, and more appendices than core content. This is an experimental novel in every aspect. As with most experiments, some work and some don't, but at the end of the day they're worthwhile exercises. As pretentious as some of the devices may seem at a glance, you really do notice a difference in the way you perceive the content.One example of an experiment that works is the scene where Navidson is floating in the void, unable to tell which way is up, or if there even is one. Is he flying or falling or perfectly still? The way the text is printed running in all different directions, so that you actually have to turn the book around and around to read it, actually did add to the sense of disorientation.But there were a couple of things that didn't work for me. Danielewski frequently interrupts his own momentum and suspense, which gets irritating at certain points. It seemed like every time I became engrossed, I was rudely pulled back out of it by a jarring word or an abrupt change of context. Mostly, that appears to be deliberate - a footnote that takes you somewhere else entirely - but sometimes it just seems.....sloppy. For example, there is a heart-stopping action sequence where the story is spread out to a single line of text stretching across each page. You find yourself flipping the pages faster and faster, trying to find out what happens next.....building momentum....... and suspense........until........ the word "muntin" appears at the end of a sentence. If you don't know what the word means, don't worry. Neither did I. I had to google it, to discover that it's the strip of wood between panes of a window. Not completely appropriate to describe a door, but it kind of made sense. Until you realise that throughout the book reference is made (and if you've read the book, you'll know just how very MUCH reference is made!) to there being no single detail to the doors or walls. So not only was the momentum ruined by having to look the word up, but it wasn't really an appropriate word anyway. Grr.What is masterful is the way that parts of the story interlink with each other, in a similar way to The Illuminatus Trilogy, so that you're never quite sure which bits are real and which aren't. This draws you in to the book's world, and you can easily start seeing references to the book in everyday life. Good news for people like me. Bad news for anyone with a paranoid disposition or mental illness, I suspect....I could continue to dissect the book, but at the end of the day it really is a unique experience for each person that picks it up. Just trust me when I say: You NEED to read this.