Home Stretch

In the last few weeks, I haven’t heard much from my pen pal, Sarah. She’s rather busy now that it’s the last month of school for her (hurray!) and she’s trying to find a job for after graduation. In our last correspondence, she told me there is much to do in these last few weeks! Projects in every class, preparing for graduation – it all seems to be a bit much. Now, I myself never went to college so I can only partly understand the college-grad-struggle, but I hope the best for her and all of her classmates.

Meanwhile, I’ve been searching high and low to find out who sent me that mysterious letter all those weeks ago. My investigation led me to a new neighbor, a man calling himself Zampano. I was startled when he said that and asked if he had any relation to the Zampano in House of Leaves. He denied every hearing of the novel, but I have my doubts about that. He also said he hasn’t the slightest clue who could have delivered the letter. The funniest thing is that Mr. Zampano moved in the same day I received that letter. I have a sneaking suspicion that this man knows more than he is letting on…

House of Leaves and Patriarchal Poetry

Have you ever stared at a word for so long that it slowly becomes less and less of a word?

Well, I have. My dear pen-pal Sarah sent me another essay to read – at least I thought it was an essay. As it turns out, it was actually a long poem by the renowned Gertrude Stein, called Patriarchal Poetry. Sarah read it for one of her classes at college and she told me, “I kept thinking of House of Leaves as I read this! It’s funny how material from two different classes can be so connected.”

As I read it, my head swam. The word “patriarchal” repeats itself over and over and by the end, it hardly looked like a word. For those who have not yet read this poem, I encourage you to do so! Just like House of Leaves, it has to be experienced to be understood. Labyrinthine in nature, it tangles around itself and turns everything inside out. But, somehow, it makes total sense. A very interesting read, all in all.

P.S. I haven’t yet found out who sent me that mysterious letter. After I finish writing this, I am off to question the mailman!

Spring Cleaning

The last few weeks have passed in a flurry.

I’ve been to too many markets, bookstores, and vendor stalls to count, and I’ve come away with nothing. Nothing! Not a single book or manuscript to add to my measly collection. Irritating, to say the least.

To bide my time between these fruitless endeavors, I’ve been slowly reading House of Leaves, messaging back and forth with Sarah as I uncover different messages. Once I finished it, I started again, sure that I missed something or another amid the bizarre story. I even listened to the music by Danielewski’s sister. I caught too many amused glances as I sat there in the library with my ancient headphones perched on my head like some ridiculous crown. The music wasn’t my taste, but I suppose it adds to the story on some larger level.

Other than reading that difficult book, I have occupied my free time with the most dreaded event of the year – spring cleaning. I am not much in the way of a domestic woman, so the only time I clean out cabinets, dust, scrub the floorboards, and what not is this time of year.

While I was sorting out the many “junk drawers” that occupy dressers and desks throughout my house, I came across a letter I completely forgot about. I found it sitting in a drawer of rubber bands and old phone books, looking so inconspicuous I nearly tossed it in the garbage. You might remember it from one of my earlier posts. It was the strange letter I received when I found out about Sarah using my identity for her book destruction project. The letter had no return address or postage, and I do not recognize the hand writing. In my anger over having my identity stolen, I had completely forgot about how unsettling it is to have a stranger deliver their letter directly to my house.

Looking at the letter now, I am filled with unease. Who is watching my life so closely that they were aware of someone using my name as a blog alias? And why would they care about notifying me? I want to find out who sent me this letter, but how on earth would I even go about doing that? I suppose now is the time to take a brief break from my book collecting duties. I believe I have a bit of sleuthing to do.

House of Leaves and Knowledge

Finally, the week is over and I am ready to go home to visit my family for break! I got everything done, of course, because my time management skills are superb, even without a time turner. I’ve finished midterm exams, midterm papers, midterm projects, and am all packed. The only thing left I have to do is fight Crookshanks to get into his carrier and board the train.

I’m looking forward to reading some new books over the break, especially since I just finished House of Leaves which was a major headache to me. Thankfully, it allowed me to connect with new friends from all over time and space who also commiserated over it. I’m slightly exagerrating because it wasn’t all that awful, it just wasn’t formatted the way traditional books are. There was a learning curve in understanding it, and reading is second nature to me, so I struggled. But, I suppose struggling is a sign of gaining more knowledge in the end. And the more knowledge I have, the better!

Paralyzed by Stress

I’m preparing myself for another grey weekend, but this time, instead of curling up with my cat and a good book, I’ll be hard at work in the library. So much to do and so little time! I have no doubt I’ll get it done, but it’s a matter of time and stress that I must endure. I’m really not looking forward to it.

On the plus side, we’re done reading House of Leaves and now we’re looking further into it! I don’t have much to offer because as I’ve said previously, I’m incredibly lost, but I still enjoy offering my thoughts where I can!

I wish I could spend more time formulating my thoughts on House of Leaves and the intention the author had while writing it, but I am very frazzled and confused by the novel. Here’s to less confusing reads in the future!


Midterms, in my opinion, are worse than finals because they sneak up on you and before you know it, you’re overloaded with work for five different classes and feel like you’re totally drowning! That’s how I’ve felt this week and it’s only Wednesday afternoon! I have one exam, two papers, and two projects, and I’m beyond stressed! I know I’ll get through it, because I always do, but the irrational part of my brain keeps insisting that I won’t and that I should prepare for several all-nighters. At least Spring Break comes after midterms. That will allow for a nice rest! In the mean time though, I’ll likely be getting no rest and possibly going mad. Having to decipher the remaining bits of House of Leaves certainly won’t help with my madness…

Entering the House of Leaves

It is a pain in the ass.

To clarify, I am talking about that book I received, House of Leaves. I started reading – or should I say, decoding – it the other night. Almost everything in this book is layered with messages to uncover, and it is also very unsettling. I do not recommend reading this by a dark window, shades still drawn from admiring the sunset, with only the solemn ticking of a clock to keep you company. You’ll catch a glimpse of yourself in the window and think the House has come for you now.

After I picked the book up (having flung it across the parlor in terror of my own reflection), I decided I needed to stop for the night. But, of course, I could not stop thinking about it! There are a number of frustrating things about it (i.e., the bizarre layout of text, Johnny’s drug filled sex-capades, and tedious rabbit trails), but I found something eerily familiar within the ciphers and endless footnotes.

As I grow older, my mind is becoming less and less my own. Age has a funny way of moving into your mind, unpacking its belongings atop your own memories, and making itself so at home you begin to forget what was there before it moved in. It’s like a dark, endless corridor, spiraling down until you forget why you walked down that corridor to begin with, until you lose your sense of self.

I feel weirdly sympathetic for Navidson and his friends. Of course, they want to know what is behind the mysterious door, but the psychological journey that occurs is not pleasant. While my nice, little home here in Italy does not have suddenly-appearing rooms and shifting dimensions, I feel as though I can relate to their experiences in the house, only mirrored in my own deteriorating mind.

Age is a damn terrible roommate, that’s for sure.

(PS: That book collector’s First Folio was a hoax, and so crudely forged I would be ashamed to ever try and pass it off as anything more than garbage!)

Receiving the House of Leaves

This morning as I was sitting down for toast and tea, the doorbell rang. I quite dislike early morning visitors – after all, I was still in my robe and slippers! – but I peered out the window and saw the postal truck so I was relieved I wouldn’t have to be entertaining any guests. And better yet, the delivery man was holding a suspiciously book sized package. When I opened it, it was in fact a copy of House of Leaves!

My new friend Sarah had stuck a Post-It note to the front cover, saying, “This book is a pain in the ass – good luck!” Now that is not the best way to encourage someone to read a book, but I was curious to see why it was apparently so difficult. When I skimmed through the pages, I immediately understood what she meant. Mostly blank pages, strange footnotes, and bizarre amalgamations of text and shape – it is really quite odd!

I haven’t endeavored to actually read it yet because I have an appointment with a German book collector in about an hour. She claims to have a rare copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio (although I am very skeptical about its legitimacy). Once I get back from our meeting, I think I shall dive headfirst into this strange book.


House of Leaves has once again left me perplexed and with a headache. Upon finishing the assigned chapters, I had to take a quick trip to Madam Pomfrey in the infirmary for my head. I am just so beyond confused and incredibly frustrated at my confusion. This is not something that I am used to feeling, but maybe that is the point of the novel? Confusion? There is a lot happening and I know at least some of my classmates are equally as confused. That makes me feel better.

I am upset though, because these emotions make me not want to continue reading the novel. I’ve never wanted to not read a book before. Maybe something is seriously wrong with me?

House of Leaves (and a good giggle)

House of Leaves is an interesting book, to say the least. I don’t understand what’s going on most of the time, and I’m missing details that are supposed to seem obvious. It’s very frustrating because I am used to knowing what’s going on in books, but this one continuously stumps me. Luckily, I have other people who are equally confused and we can try and decipher the text together.

But, despite all the confusion, I know I can also rely on my friends for a good laugh. I got this this morning and could not help but crack up at this picture of me brewing a Polyjuice potion (that I shouldn’t have been brewing) at the age of 11: