House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danieleski – $13.57 on, £16.49 on, £16.48 on Book Depository

I got my brother this book last year and it’s pretty amazing. I still have to read it, but my brother was addicted to it the moment he laid eyes on it.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Johnny Truant, a wild and troubled sometime employee in a LA tattoo parlour, finds a notebook kept by Zampano, a reclusive old man found dead in a cluttered apartment. Herein is the heavily annotated story of the Navidson Report. Will Navidson, a photojournalist, and his family move into a new house. What happens next is recorded on videotapes and in interviews. Now the Navidsons are household names. Zampano, writing on loose sheets, stained napkins, crammed notebooks, has compiled what must be the definitive work on the events on Ash Tree Lane. But Johnny Truant has never heard of the Navidson Record. Nor has anyone else he knows. And the more he reads about Will Navidson’s house, the more frightened he becomes.

From what I understand it’s a story within a story. You get to read Johnny’s experiences as he tries to uncover what happened, yet at the same time you’re reading the actual Navidson Report that Johnny is reading.

house leaves small

Besides that though the book is full of interesting elements to make the reading experience unique. For starters, the words in the book are arranged to echo the feeling of the what is written. When characters are navigating a claustrophobic maze-like sections of the house’s interior, the text is dense, confusingly packed into small corners of each page. Later, when a character is running desperately from something, there are only a few words on each page for almost 25 pages, causing the reader to flip quickly through the pages to frantically figure out what happened next.

Another example is the font choices. Each narrative of each separate person has a different font, with the main character in Courier, another in Times, and two others in Bookman and Dante. Also the colour of certain words are changed, although this depends on which version of the book you have (there are 4 versions: black/white, blue, red, and full colour).

house of leaves

What intrigued me the most though was that there are also secret hidden messages in the book. Stuff like taking the first letters from sentences to form a secret message. I still haven’t read it myself, so I have no idea how much of these codes are in there, but I love the idea behind it.

If you’re looking for something unique to give at Christmas, this is a great book. It’s perfect for the person who likes complex stories and figuring out things. Also: cool for the designer in your life, or anyone who likes typography.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danieleski – $13.57 on, £16.49 on, £16.48 on Book Depository

Tags: Books