The book House of Leaves follows Zampanò; Johnny Truant; and Will Navidson and his family who all are affected by this house that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Since the book itself is meant to mimic the story, I was wondering if there was a suggested way to read the book to basically maximize the 'effect' of the story, as it were.

I don't want to end up skipping parts of the book that I need to read first, or end up reading parts I shouldn't read yet.

Some of the reasons why I ask this:

  • The book is told in 3-4 separate layers. The outermost is the tale of Johnny Truant who then finds the works of Zampanò who is critiquing Will Navidson's documentary.

  • The book is written and told through footnotes often compounding onto each other.

  • There are mentions of appendices that are in and of themselves confusing to follow.

  • The story of Johnny often doesn't really go with what was being referenced in the footnotes.

  • The format of the book (after a while) becomes erratic and confusing. There are parts meant to make you feel claustrophobic and also agoraphobic.

  • 2
    Man, I remember at one point flipping backwards 4-5 pages because the footnotes just kept on going... – Izkata May 17 '16 at 2:57

Read it front to back. The "spoilers" you may encounter in the errata are there to provide foreshadowing, or even red herrings for the rest of the book. Erratic, confusing and hard to follow are all part of the experience.

  • 4
    I'd add to this that I recommend reading footnotes as they're presented, or at the end of a page, depending on whether the page ends mid-sentence or not, just to avoid missing anything. – Liesmith Dec 25 '14 at 5:17

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