Tag: Mark Z. Danielewski

Monthly Review – November 2012

Posted November 30, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

house of leavesNovember has ended and  the holiday season is well on its way. For the people who read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, I hope you enjoyed it. Yes. it was a really weird look into post modernism and I know there were a lot of ‘WTF’ moments within this book. But I do hope everyone got something out of it, even if it is just the ability to say, “Yes, I’ve read it”. For me the book was far too pretentious, even if that is normally my thing. I’m glad to have read it, but I don’t think it is something I would read again. There were some interesting discussions about the book, including if the book is a novel or a piece of art.

In December we will be reading the Beat classic; On the Road by Jack Kerouac as part of our Travel theme. This is a relatively short book so I’m sure people will be able to fit it in around all the festivities.

My monthly reading this month might have leaned heavily toward genre fiction but I felt like it was an enjoyable and relaxing month of reading for me, apart from House of Leaves. Highlights for me include Metroland by Julian Barnes, a look into the life of Christopher as he looks over his past and tries to work out if he is happy with his life. I’ve been looking to read another Barnes book for a while and this was well worth it. Then there was The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugendies; finally a book where a love triangle is done properly. This was a book of discovery as we watch three interconnected young adults grow into adults.

What have you been reading this month? What are the highlights?

  • Perchance to Dream by Robert B. Parker
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Without Warning by John Birmingham
  • San Miguel by T.C. Boyle
  • Truth by Peter Temple
  • Shadow of the Rock by Thomas Mogford
  • Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • No Orchids For Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase
  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
  • The Artist as Mystic by Yahia Lababidi
  • Metroland by Julian Barnes
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

House of Leaves: An Art Piece

Posted November 29, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 4 Comments

I picked up the book House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski as part of the Literary Exploration book club (check out my review) and while it is a weird postmodern novel, I think it is art more than literature. So I wanted to talk about my thoughts on this book as art. First of all Postmodern is a weird concept that I don’t fully understand; surrealism makes more sense to me. So I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into.

The book starts off like a normal book; in the sense that it’s formatted normally and you just read down the page. But then it turns into something weird. Different fonts, different coloured writing, upside down and even backwards writing spread out all over the page. It’s at this point where you have no idea how to read it.

Just looking over the book before I even started reading it, I got the sense that this was insanity written on the page, with the multiple voices represented in different typesets. But there is more on the page. The word house is represented in a blue font; even haus and maison show up in blue as well. This was a weird experience for me in the book, my brain wanted to tell me it was black writing so sometimes my eyes played tricks on me with that one word.

Mark Z. Danielewski’s sister, Anne Danielewski, known professionally as Poe wrote an album called Haunted which is meant to accompany this book. While I didn’t read the book while listening to the album, it gives this whole experience a multimedia experience. It is an interesting experience reading excerpts and hearing songs with similar themes. I believe they both toured together for a book tour.

As a piece of literature, I raged, but if I look at this book as art, there really is something unique about this book. Apart from making me pretentious for reading it and having it on my book shelf, this book has a very strong visual component to it. It is what I respect the most from this book. What do others think of this book? Literature or Art?


Monthly Review – October 2012

Posted October 31, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As October comes to a close, we have a quick look back at the month of the book club on Goodreads and our book of the month, The Satanic Verses.  This book got some mixed reviews from the group, there are some unique aspects to the book but it was a very difficult book to read. I’m sure most people are glad that they have now read the book and it does offer some interesting discussion points. I know some people weren’t able to read the book because of the controversy that has kept this book banned in some countries. But that was the risk we took when we decided to support banned book week.

Next month we will celebrate Halloween by reading the creepy and unique book House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. This is part of the Horror theme and while I’ve read some horror novels I don’t think I’ve read a book that would be considered purely horror. So it’s going to be good to read a literary horror book (when it gets here).

For my reading this month I’ve had so much fun reading some great novels and talking books with everyone that listens. Highlights include The Cocktail Waitress; finally James M. Cain’s last novel has been released. Everything you love from the Noir master you will find in the amazing story of the young widow Joan Medford. Also the book that I wanted to win the Man Booker, Swimming Home by Deborah Levy; the Daily Telegraph called this book ‘stealthily devastating’ which pretty much sums up this beautiful book, perfectly. What have you read this month?


Monthly Review – September 2012

Posted September 30, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

Now that September comes to a close, I would like to hear what people thought of As I Lay Dying. Did you read it? Did you find it difficult? Or any other comments you want to make of this book. Personally I found it difficult to read, and while I wouldn’t say I really enjoyed this book, I did find the writing style very interesting.

Next month’s book is to help celebrate banned booked week (which is currently on now) and we will be reading Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses which has been often described as one of the most controversial and acclaimed novels ever written. I’m sure this book will spark some interesting conversations but I do worry that it may cause fights. I hope everyone reading and  discussing the book, does so in a respectful manner. Also as a reminder that next month we will be reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski as part of the Horror theme and we will be looking for a book to fit the Road Trip/Travel theme. If you’re not aware, the book discussion and everything else will be happening over on the Goodreads forums, so feel free to join in there.

During the month I’ve read some great books, but I wasn’t as productive as last month. Some of the highlights from the months reading include, Justin Cronin’s The Twelve which I was lucky enough to get an advanced review copy of, Dare Me by Megan Abbott and He Died with his Eyes Open by Derek Raymond. But my favourite of the month was The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers; which is a heartbreaking work of beauty. A book of friendship and loss, The Yellow Birds follows the story of Private Bartle and his time served in Al Tafar, Iraq and the aftermath. What have you been reading this month and what did you enjoy? I would love to hear about your reading life in the comments below.

  • Soulless by Gail Carriger 
  • The Geneva Trap by Stella Rimington 
  • Live by Night by Dennis Lehane 
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King 
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner 
  • The Transport Accident by Ned Beauman 
  • One Night Stands and Lost Weekends by Lawrence Block 
  • Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann 
  • The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco 
  • The Twelve by Justin Cronin 
  • He Died with His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond 
  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott 
  • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers