Mapping out a definite way to read House of Leaves has become a seemingly impossible task, and I’ve begun to think that Danielewski meant for it to be this way. For the first hundred or so pages I was find my way around the book just fine, reading from left to right, page to page, stopping at footnotes and flipping back to appendices whenever I was referred to them. However, many of the footnotes run on for whole pages, forcing you to go back and reread/relocate the place in the text where you left out. This going back and forth between footnotes and text, especially between appendices and text, where we are forced to flip all the way to the back of the book and sometimes stay there for near a hundred pages before going back to the text, seems to be a simulation of the constant back and forth, incongruous Explorations in the Navidson Records.
Danielewski creates a way for readers to physically feel disoriented along with the men on the Explorations, swanning our way through the book House of Leaves as they swan their way through the labyrinths in the house of the title. He also creates for readers a sort of spacial perception as we are many times forced to flip the book all the way around itself to read upside-down passages, and for many pages, there are only a couple of words per page amongst a white backdrop, undefined and empty.
I hate to make this comparison, since I hated the movie when it came out and I wouldn’t put myself through watching it again today to confirm my hatred of it, but House of Leaves seems sort of Blair Witch-esque to me. I don’t know it anyone else got that. It is a pretty unsavory piece of cinematic crap, but my comparison is only insofar as both achieving to make their audiences feel as lost and disoriented, probably among other feelings as well, as the characters in their plots.