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Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged childrenNow, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendicesThe story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outsideOf course, neither Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story of creature darkness, of an ever growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams I think this just about sums it up I think this just about sums it up So there s a definite cult around this book, and I am one of the many who drank the Kool Aide and never looked back Here s a little anecdote that speaks to the possibilities of this book I was an RA my junior and senior years of college One year I had a good friend of mine living in my building, and upon one of her visits to my room I put The House of Leaves in her hand, telling her that she should read it A couple of days later I was in my room, awake at some unholy hour due to my vampiric s So there s a definite cult around this book, and I am one of the many who drank the Kool Aide and never looked back Here s a little anecdote that speaks to the possibilities of this book I was an RA my junior and senior years of college One year I had a good friend of mine living in my building, and upon one of her visits to my room I put The House of Leaves in her hand, telling her that she should read it A couple of days later I was in my room, awake at some unholy hour due to my vampiric sleep schedule, and there s a knock at my door As an RA this is a rather unsettling experience On the other side of that door could be a drug overdose, suicide attempt, food poisoning or any other host of problems we re warned about as RAs So tentatively I open the door and am relieved to find that it is not some horrific medical emergency, but simply my friend Except my friend looks haggard Her hair is unkempt, there are bags under her eyes and she is slouched forward, breaking her usually quite nice posture In her hand is The House of Leaves We stand there, silently measuring each other up, and then my friend rears back and throws the book at me, then walks away Such behavior is not terribly unusual for this friend of mine, so I make a note to ask about this later and then go back to bed.The next day I call up my friend and ask her what exactly was the deal I hadn t slept in two days, she said That damn book kept me awake I couldn t finish it, I couldn t sleep with it in the room, I had to get rid of it That book fucked me up To this day she still can t bring herself to finish reading the book And so.The book has an amazing way of crawling beneath your skin and taking root When I read it my sleep schedule, already astoundingly bad, became evenirregular and bizarro I started looking at things differently The world changed Not in any big way, but there was a definite shift, and that s the way this book works It comes at you sideways People who just see it as a gimmick, in my opinion, are trying to hit the book straight on when you just have to give into it It s like music, which isn t surprising seeing as how Mark Z Danielewski s sister is the recording artist Poe, who came up with her album Haunted in tandem with Danielewski s writing of House of Leaves There are sections of this book I found so surprising and affecting that I had to put it down and give myself a minute to take in what I d read and go over it in my mind Every person I ve ever met who has read this book has had something to say about it, somethingpersonal than just Oh yeah, I liked that, or It s overhyped There s a visceral reaction this book can elicit, and I find that fascinating.I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she mentioned something David Mamet said once, something along the lines of When you leave the theater wanting to discuss the play, that s a good play When you leave the theater wanting to discuss your life and the world, that s art I like that definition, and I think it applies to House of Leaves Conversations about this book never stay on the book, they branch out into other areas and interests, they can t help but grow longer and deeper, not entirely unlike a five minute hallway If you want a really good, insightful review of House of Leaves that I didn t write , go read this one from Aerin.If you want to read mine, here you go House of Leaves isn t one of those tidy little things that holds your hand and wipes your bottom and tells you that you re special It makes you work, and what you get out of it depends largely on how much work you re willing to do House of Leaves is difficult at times, incredibly complex, occasionally pretentious, and view spoiler it doesn If you want a really good, insightful review of House of Leaves that I didn t write , go read this one from Aerin.If you want to read mine, here you go House of Leaves isn t one of those tidy little things that holds your hand and wipes your bottom and tells you that you re special It makes you work, and what you get out of it depends largely on how much work you re willing to do House of Leaves is difficult at times, incredibly complex, occasionally pretentious, and view spoiler it doesn t neatly wrap up some of the biggest questions it raises hide spoiler.When I finished it, I thought I was unsatisfied with view spoiler the ending hide spoiler , but it lived in me long after I closed the book I could not stop thinking about the characters, the puzzles, my various theories about the nature of the story and view spoiler whether Zampano existed at all, or was just invented by Johnny Truant hide spoiler Here s the thing about House of Leaves you can enjoy it simply as a horrifying story that could possibly be true You could enjoy it as a love story on a number of different levels You can enjoy it as a whole bunch of puzzles and codes and ciphers You can enjoy it as a unique reading experience that will make you fall back in love with actual paper books.But however you choose to enjoy it, you ve got to just commit to it Let the book s reality capture you, and ride it out until you finish the book When you re done, you ll probably find that the House has taken up some space inside you, and you ll wonder if the nightmares will actually come, assuming they haven t already.You ll go back to the beginning, and you ll reread sections large and small You ll take a magnifying glass to the pictures and you ll spend a long time reading message boards that haven t been updated since 2004 You ll grab that copy of Poe s Haunted that you bought before you knew House of Leaves existed, and you ll listen to it again in an entirely new way.You ll discover that you live at the end of a five and a half minute hallway.Or maybe you won t Maybe it won t live in you the way it lives in me but it s worth your time to find out Totally infuriating It made me feel dumb, bored, and annoyed all at once If I want that, I ll date my first boyfriend again.