Nightmares Make the Best Books: Annihilation and House of Leaves

I've always believed that House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski was a great book.  (Not to be confused with House of Pancakes.) My esteem for it has only increased with time- because I still have nightmares about it, still, eight years after reading it. I have a recurring dream that I go into my basement, and there's somehow a whole other house down there, and it's full of scary people or things unknown. The other one is that I go up into the attic, but then the house keeps going on, up, up, up into the sky, and when I try to go back downstairs, I've lost my way, and I'm teetering over a ledge, hanging over an abyss, with the wind whipping at me. If you've read House of Leaves, you understand how these dreams are about that book. If you have not read House of Leaves, what have you been doing with your life?

House of Leaves

Now I've recently read another one that has been haunting my dreams. Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer, is apparently the first book in a trilogy- though I have only read the first, thus far. It's a quick, easy read- totally the opposite of House of Leaves, actually- but thrilling and terrifying, never the less. It definitely has a Lovecraftian feel to it, with the same sorts of themes and strange happenings- nature turning rotten, suspected alien influences, human like creatures that- well, I don't want to give it away.


The dream I had was that my husband drove up to me in my old 1982 Ford EXP- the one I wrecked in the Mojave desert years ago. I opened the door to get inside, and he was smiling and beckoning for me to get into the passenger seat, but I couldn't bring my self to do it because the entire interior of the car was made of flesh. Muscles and tendons and stuff. He had his hand on the gear shift, which was a muscle. He seemed completely oblivious that anything was amiss with the car.

So... if you read Annihilation, you'll understand why that is a related dream. But it's not what you think. 


  1. Remind me not to ever read your mind.

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  3. Interesting! Oh, and FYI, Shoshanah, l'm reading Neal Stephenson's latest (Seveneves) and recommend it, 'tho it's a bit nerdy with alot of BIG ideas.

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