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Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions
by Neil Gaiman

and

Disco Bloodbath : A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland
by James St. James

What can be said about Neil Gaiman that hasn't been said again and again by better people than i? In the post holiday rush i needed something to read that the resulting ADD could swallow in delicious bite-sized morsels. Along came my copy of Smoke and Mirrors! "Remember buying me and leaving me sit? I'm still here!" It beckoned. Oh so perfect. Neil weaves a world that is so very REAL that his stories become TRUE in the telling. He could scribble a shopping list on a napkin and i'd read it with wide-eyed wonder.


Disco Bloodbath is the book that my most recent favourite movie PARTY MONSTER was based on, and it is, in a word, fabulous! The odd thing is that it is catalogued as TRUE CRIME, which it is, but in NO way does it read like the stuffy old banal recreation of a serial killer type BORE you'd expect to find in the True Crime section. If you've seen the movie you know the general story (and darling if you HAVEN'T then what ARE you waiting for?) but what shines here is the lives of the characters the movie didn't let you see. The movie focused on Michael Alig, but the book leaves him be for chapters to tell us about Freeze and Mavis and a whole array of glittery characters. As a writer, James St. James leaves his brilliant and outrageous personality dripping from every page. This is a fun read, not to be missed!

-Saint
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OK, first order of business. I don't have the time to maintain this community as I once hoped. As you can see I have not done a very good job of keeping this going. If anyone is wishing to assist the offer is open.

Next thing I would like to discuss is the book I just finished. And bear with me here, I am not very good at reviewing books. I thought about posting this on my own journal, but here I know I am talking to a bunch of people that will appreciate a good book. The book? It was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Now I don't usually read this type of book. This was more of a tearjerker with humorous bits strewn throughout. I'm more of a fantasy/thriller/horror reader. Sidenote: How would you classify Burroughs? I'm thinking experimental fiction for most of his stuff. Anywho, yes, I cried. This book is just that sad, but in a very beautiful way.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, how I came to read this book in particular. Well, one day I came upon a news story that said Peter Jackson had just purchased the rights and I was curious what the filmmaker who had brought the Rings trilogy to the theater was gonna throw at us next. I'm sorry folks, I just can't get excited about Kong. Guess what, this ain't gonna be no fantasy/action film folks. Mr. Jackson is returning to earlier days (i.e. Heavenly Creatures) and doing a more personal story that will feature more emotion and alot less CGI. This well be a huge leap for folks who only think of LOTR or Kong when they hear the name Peter Jackson. I hope this film will be given the chance I hope it deserves.

So, the book...
This is the story of a 14 year old girl, Susie Salmon, who after being raped and murdered follows the lives of those she was forced to leave behind. There isn't really a lot to give away here, as it isn't that type of story, but there are certainly some suprises along the way. Suprises like realizing just how much you can really relate to the various characters and the things they are going through. This book is deceptive. One minute you are drifting along a casual observer of lives not your own, the next minute you are flooded of memories of your own life. Some will be sad, some will be warm and comforting, and some will just take you back to your time as a child in a very haunting way. I honestly don't know what I can say to make you read this book, but if I did I would say it. This book is for everybody, I think that is what lead to its popularity when it came out. So please... go read this book... you won't regret it.
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Because I accidentally posted this in my journal instead of here:

Well, it seems House of Leaves may have been a bit ambitious for a new group's first book. With this in mind, it is time to start thinking about next month's book. I certainly don't want to give up on this community so I want to be sure that whatever book we go with is one that will be widely accepted by the group. The last thing I want to do is dictate how that book should be decided, but I do have some suggestions.

1. It shouldn't be too long. We all read at varying speeds and larger books will take some folks (i.e. me) too long to read.
2. If it is going to be a book that is part of a series, let's start with the first book.
3. Until things get going we should keep the complexity down a few notches (I think House of Leave was a bit itimidating for some people).

So here is the method I am proposing for how we pick the next book. Post your suggestions here for the book you would like to discuss next. Next week I will take the suggestions and put them in a poll and the group can vote for the winner.

If anyone has any other suggestions for the book picking process post them here.
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Why do you think M.Z.D. put House in blue and put the struck passages in red?

For the blue passages I believe it has something to do with blueprints for houses. A blueprint is the design for a house. Letters are the design for a word.

For the red struck through passages I don't have anything deep and insightful. When you were in school and made a mistake the teacher would typically use a red pen. I suppose if that was the case here the strike would be red, but the letters still in black. However, maybe the red was meant to call attention to the passages and the fact that they were struck out. Almost as if the author was giving us some sort of warning: "Here I strayed the course and if you are not careful you will realize my mistakes." And what of these mistakes? Well, see the previous posts made by dreaming_fey or roninsaint.
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Do you have a link to a great House of Leaves website? Post it here and I will collect them into a section of the profile page dedicated to each book we discuss.
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I still get nightmares. In fact I get them so often I should be used to them by now. I'm not. No one ever really gets used to nightmares.
...
Sleep's been stalking me for too long to remember. Inevitable I suppose. Sadly though, I'm not looking forward to the prospect. I say "sadly" because there was a time when I actually enjoyed sleeping. In fact I slept all the time.
- Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves



To draw an obvious parallel, this book is the masterpiece H.P. Lovecraft would have written, were he alive today. If you look at the first line of his most well known work, the connection can be made almost immediately....

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."
The Call of Cthulhu
H.P. Lovecraft, 1890 - 1937

Lovecrafts work, much akin to the world MZD crafted, is frightening not for such easy outs as blood, monsters, and murder (although these things do rear their heads), but for the confrontation of the unknowable and the impossible.
Perhaps we have been given all we need to comprehend the House of Leaves and we should count ourselves lucky that we do not. Perhaps the closer we get to full understanding of this story, the closer we are to pinning tape measures to the walls, fighting to stay awake, and constantly choking back the urge to look over our shoulder for the beast that is about to pounce.

-Saint
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okay, i guess i will get it started.
my simplest theory about house of leaves is that it is a complex way of basically saying that the more you know, the less you actually know. in my theory, if they wouldn't have questioned the size of the closet, it would have never grew.
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Welcome one and all to Tome Raiders. This is a community for discussing well, books. Every so often we will pick a new book for discussion. As this is my first community the format will be fairly loose to begin with. Once we have decided on a format that works for everyone we will make the appropriate changes. We are very open to suggestions, so please make them as you see fit. We will begin our first discussion shortly so hurry up and join!


Our first book will be Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves.

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