This was supposed to be published yesterday, but I was having WordPress technical difficulties…

Book Blogger Hop is a weekend meme hosted by Crazy for Books in an effort to spur on connections between book bloggers. This week’s prompt asks:

“What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?”

As usual, I could espouse the greatness that is Stephen King’s IT, and while that is my favorite scary story, if I write about it one more time, I should just change my blog’s title to The IT Fanclub. So, instead, I’m going to share my love for my most recent favorite spooky read. It’s called House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

I love horror and having read most of the best, I have pretty high standards. I read House of Leaves almost two years ago, and yet it is the most recent fright that I have had. And I have never experienced this kind of fright before. Did you ever feel that a book might be insane? Not a character, not the author, but the book. I believe House of Leaves  is insane–it parallels the madness that lies in the house that the story is based around, and the madness of the man who is transcribing his readings on a documentary on the house and the family which lived within it.

Goodreads begins its synopsis of the book with

Can a book be a labyrinth? Or, to follow the premise of Mark Z. Danielewski’s genre-bending debut, can a book about a book about a film be anything else? House of Leaves is both vast and claustrophobic, crammed with minutiae (footnotes, appendices, poems and letters, and layout trickery) yet cored by a deep, absorbing emptiness, a deliberate void that accommodates, even incorporates, each character’s—perhaps even each reader’s—expectations, quirks, and fears.

This is a perfect summation of everything that makes it creepy. To better illustrate, let me share with you an image of one of the pages of the book:

This book is strange and creepy and hard to forget…sort of like a David Lynch movie. It’s not conventional at all and I could see how some might not be as impressed with the results as I am. But, it definitely was the last good chiller I read. In fact, I’m kind of creeped out from just flipping through the pages again. I’ll have to re-read it soon…

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted at A Few More Pages every Friday. Bloggers are to copy the first lines from the current book that they are reading and reflect upon it.

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Wow! What an awesome characterization created by our narrator in the first paragraph. I have decided to include the entire paragraph as it illustrates well the tension of this story. I have not yet started reading this story by one of our masters of horror, Shirley Jackson, but surely I will have started it by Sunday! I can’t wait. Already, this sounds completely different from the previous stories I have read by Jackson- “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House. The likes and dislikes the narrator shares show some interesting characteristics: likes deadly mushrooms and Richard Plantagenet, who (according to Wikipedia) governed England as Lord Protector during Henry VI’s madness and was a major proponent in England’s political upheaval in the 15th century.  What makes our protagonist like a mid-fifteenth-century political leader in a short list of “likes” intrigues me. Her dislikes are bathing and dogs. I can’t wait to know this character and find out how her family died. Fantastic opening!

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