Adventures in Reading

(First Time) Booking Through Thursday

After reading some Booking Through Thursday posts on my Google Reader, I couldn’t resist participating. This week was for “most unusual book you’ve ever read” and thus far all of the posts I’ve read on it are about unique, unusual, and/or interesting narrative structure. In addition to short stories have I yet to express my love for the breaking and smashing and experimentation away from the linear story line? The books, it’s a tie, that stand out most for me are:

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski and Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. House of Leaves is a “horror” novel told in altering chapters of a detailed essay referred to as the Navidson Report and the effect this has on the narrator. It’s dark, creepy, and took awhile for me to love it. Not only does Danielewski break conventional narrative structure but also conventional spatial structure as text in the book regularly appears upside down, in circles, blocked off, etc. There’s even a “letter” written where the first letter of each word spells out a secret message. Seriously.

Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce is considered unreadable by many, or at least, in the traditional sense. Anyone attempting to move from page one to the final page – I would have to question their sanity. So while I have yet to read Finnegan’s Wake in that since, it’s a book I regularly and randomly open and greatly enjoy. Eighty or more languages used throughout the book, complex story unfolding, and everything (at the very least) has a duel meaning.


You’ve read titles that I have not attempted. And, you’ve survived. However, I’ll just continue reading my non-horror books. I did post about one complex book, though, that I liked. Maybe you would too.

Comment by Sally

They do sound interesting, jut not my type of book.

Comment by Brie

I’ll take your word on House of leaves, which sounds like a very witty and sophisticated book. While I did not finish Ulysses, I managed to finish, and enjoy, Finnegan’s Wake. The professor gave only one lecture on the book and he emphasized on the duality of the language and its meaning. I’ll have to re-read the novel.

Comment by Matthew

I’ve actually looked into reading “House of Leaves” but the descriptions of the novel just kind of turned me off. I may still pick it up though, because it does sound pretty interesting.

James Joyce, on the other hand, I am not a fan.

Comment by J.S. Peyton

House of Leaves sounds like it might be just the sort of book I’d like – I’ll have to look for it. I’ve also sampled parts of Finnegan’s Wake, from time to time, and found it interesting. Just not interesting enough to sit down and read from cover to cover.

Comment by JLS Hall

My husband keeps wanting me to read House of Leaves but I just can’t do horror anymore. Strangest for me was Slaughterhouse 5.

Comment by confuzzledbooks

House of Leaves has been on my To Read list for awhile now, but I haven’t been able to make the time commitment to it and its glorious length yet. Perhaps sometime in 2009…

Comment by mangomissives

House of Leaves scared the crap out of me! I read it during finals week several years ago and remember having a tough time going to sleep at night. :) I would love to re-read it but my ex-boyfriend “stole” my copy…

Comment by Trish

I have never heard of the first and have not read Finnegan’s Wake.
House of Leaves sounds scary and perfect for this time of year, though. I may have to find myself a copy.

Comment by mari

Sally: House of Leaves was my first experience in the horror genre and I was not disappointed. I spent half the book terrified!

Matthew: You should definitely give Ulysses a try, it’s well worth a read.

J.S. Peyton: The only reason I picked up House of Leaves was because it was for a book club. Otherwise I would never have gone anywhere near it. My love of Joyce, I confess, is because of a professor I had at university that made him completely addictive for me.

JLS Hall: I would be terrified to read Finnegan’s Wake cover to cover (and definite kudos to Matt above who has), but you should give House of Leaves a try. I found it to be a worthwhile endeavor.

confuzzledbooks: Somehow in all of my readings I’ve managed to miss out on Vonnegut. I really do need to read something by him.

mangomissives: There’s always 2009!

Trish: The book definitely gave me chills as well. It made me very claustrophobic and at the time I lived in a closet-size, sub-level. To say the least, I spent a lot of time going on walks after reading it.

mari: Definitely pick up a copy!

Comment by bookchronicle

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