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  • reading strategy

    some of you may recall my first thread here-- i asked for suggestions on how to go about reading HoL. i have posted here and there, but not really all that much.

    reading this forum presents a lot of very interesting ideas and theories and comparisons to other works of literature. some of the folks here are really digging deep.

    but i can't manage to do that. i can not manage to see past the story, to take it for more than face value. when i read i was absorbed in navi's and johnny's and zampano's lives. i was thinking about the oddity of the as a thing and a place to live, and the experiences of the people in it. i read the book for the story, neglecting to make connections to anything else. it was purely a work of scary intriguing fiction.

    my question to you is this: do you think my viewing of the story as a story--rather than ideas-- has impeded my ability to analyze what is in the book, other than the obvious content? in general, do you think this is a stumbling block for all readers of all genres?

    what i'm saying is... while i read it i failed to look at it as a potential topic for a literary essay or any kind of analysis. it was purely entertainment to me. had i approached it a different way, i think my understanding of the work as a whole would be much different. i'm wondering if you all think this is a possibility for this particular book, and if you think this is a general experience in all reading.

    discuss. if you can even understand what i'm saying because i feel like i'm making no sense.

  • #2
    I read it as a book. About 7 months later, I found this site. Now I'd like to say I understand it differently.

    The fact is, no matter how much symbolism there is, it is still a story. There is no big puzzle we are going to solve (no matter how big) that will do anything but make the story better and more intriguiing.

    I keep thinking about this while reading this site. It's like I want to find the answer the solves the book... but it is done so perfectly that you don't need to solve the book to enjoy it. It is likely there is no soultion. Even if there is... what could it be? Unles it proves that the story is true, it is still just a novel... albeit possible the best one written in the last (insert measure of time here).

    Don't worry. If all you got out of it was a great read, that's more than a lot of people.

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    • #3
      I'm not doing well in finding connections and solving riddles in the book either.
      I mean, there are more than 6000 ppl registered on this forum and only few come with very interesting theories.
      Most of the other ppl on the boards including me just enjoy reading about them and I think it's great the story isn't lost in it's mystification.

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      • #4
        Re: reading strategy

        Originally posted by jenamoured
        my question to you is this: do you think my viewing of the story as a story--rather than ideas-- has impeded my ability to analyze what is in the book, other than the obvious content? in general, do you think this is a stumbling block for all readers of all genres?
        i was aware before i began reading HoL that it contained hidden messages, yet i chose not to pursue any leads that presented themselves to me when i read the story. reading some of the more in depth postings here opened my eyes to the extent to which HoL does offer itself up for analysis, but i didn’t at any point become disillusioned with my own reading. what this forum illustrates is how HoL is accessible on many different levels, and further, this gives rise to the art of opinion.

        many of the postings, particularly the postings which are indeed 'digging deep' give as much insight into the reader than the pages he or she holds under scrutiny. take for example pelafina’s letter and fearful syzygy’s hyperlink thread. fearful has taken an approach where he has opened doors in the text, whilst my own reading of the same piece was of a disturbed, beatnik-style train of thought. my own thought processes tend to form coherence between the most disparate of elements, and so the text held, for me personally, some weird, disjointed narrative reflective of the rest of the book, whereas for fearful the very same words appeared as a wil o' the wisp inviting him into the text to solve the puzzle.

        i can not manage to see past the story, to take it for more than face value. [ ] i read the book for the story, neglecting to make connections to anything else.
        some find the reading total, some find the text just surface. maybe the reason i am content with my own reading is that i believe a good book is a very intimate experience, but then again, this is only my opinion.

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        • #5
          Re: reading strategy

          Originally posted by papersails
          maybe the reason i am content with my own reading is that i believe a good book is a very intimate experience, but then again, this is only my opinion.
          You are absolutely right. Reading — whether alone or to someone else — is a very intimate experience. And, as has already been said in this very thread, but I'll reiterate (I'm so good at that), the reason of Leaves succeeds where other supposedly 'deep' or 'esoteric' books fail is precisely that at its heart there lies a gripping story.
          When I first read of Leaves I paid little or no attention to the codes apart than the ones I had to decipher in order to keep on reading, i.e. the coded letter. I freely admit to having skipped the lists in favour of getting on with the story.
          It was really only by coming to this site that I realised that there were all these hidden codes and coincidences. So whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with reading this book for the story, indeed that should be the main reason for reading it, and I don't think it is in any way mandatory to spend hours poring over the text, or for your book to look like this, I'd nevertheless say it was important at least to know that there's more below the surface, whether or not you decide to explore it.

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          • #6
            Bravo.


            Personally, I would like to explore but I just can't find a direction. When reading the threads on this forum I am so overwhelmed by the volume of information and thought that I just give up, a lot of times because it seems the points people are making are so miniscule.

            Then again, a million miniscule points could probably create on general idea.

            I think it would be interesting to take a class or be involved in a reading group where discussion centers around this book. That way, it would be lead discussion, and we could all start from the very beginning with eachother.

            That very well may be my problem here: that I can not figure where to start and continue from, and that I feel like I'm always jumping into the middle somewhere when I'd really rather be starting at the beginning.

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