A book about itself?

A friend of mine was telling me today about a book which, for the first 20 pages or so is a rather normal novel, but then takes a turn in which it starts talking about itself. Several of the characters in the book have read it and start to go mad for it. Apparently there’s a part you have to hold up to a mirror to read and several blank pages in a row as well as some other weird things.

Anyone heard of or read it who can tell me what it’s called?

Could it possibly be House of Leaves? There is a fictional book inside the book also called House of Leaves. I can’t recall if there are any pages printed backwards, but there is certainly a lot of wacky stuff with the type, like the words going in spirals toward the center, and the word house always being blue.

Don’t have a direct answer, but the concept is strikingly similar to the plot of the movie In the Mouth of Madness.

House of Leaves is my guess too. People who’ve read the (fictional) book do go mad, as well.

Edit: Flipping through it, I do see at least one small passage that is mirror-reversed. Plus blank pages - or pages that are blank except for the footnotes along the bottom.

Is it Italo Calvino’s If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler?

It’s not a book.

It’s a message board thread on the internet.

You’ve read it.

While that is a great book, I don’t think it quite fits the OP since nobody actually goes crazy from reading it. There’s also none of the weird blank pages or reverse writing. House of Leaves sounds like it might be it.

I remember reading a book that may have been like that. Unfortunately, as I recall, its name was “***Book ***”- how the heck do you search for that??

Thismay be it but I am not sure…

Robert Anton Wilson put himself into one of his novels as a minor character. The other characters considered him to be crazy because he kept insisted that they were just characters in a book he had written.

I heard the audiobook is a guy talking to himself.

I remember that book, and it’s fairly weird but I don’t think what the OP is looking for. My copy seems to have disappeared, though. :frowning:

Checked with her, and she says that House of Leaves is the most likely suggestion thus far. I’ll have to order it and read it to know for sure. Much obliged for the quick responses, everyone.

This thread has gotten me curious about House of Leaves.

Is it any good?

It’s a book that polarizes its readers. Many people hate the stylistic “tricks,” like including one word on a page for an extended sequence, or writing backward - stuff like that.

I loved it, though. I’ve already read it more than once and will certainly read it again at some point. I also consider it a (mildly) life-changing book, because it gave me a new perspective on the nature of fear. That sounds corny, I know, but since I read it, little things that used to make me a little nervous, like being out in the woods at night, for example, no longer bother me at all.

Yeah, I bet it’s House of Leaves. I still can’t decide whether I liked it or not. I hated the young man story (forget his name) - it’s one of those books where they make me sit through somebody’s story that mostly isn’t interesting to me to get to what I’m waiting for, which is the stuff with the house and the film. (Well, except for the minotaur bits. They can stay.)

It’s weird, it’s honestly scary in places, it’s interesting. It tells at least two stories at once, often more, and they intersect in ways that can really screw with your concept of what is “reality” in this work.

If you hate tricks with text layout like text that runs into a spiral on a page, or puts fewer and fewer words per page to literally turn it into a page-turner for a short time, or footnotes that become their own tale running along with the text and maybe no longer having much to do with the story on the top of the page (or sometimes taking over the entire page), you’re probably going to find it annoying as hell. But if you can get past that, and give yourself permission to skip little bits that really drag on and on, I think it’s a good read.

It sounds like the correct book has been identified, so I’ll mention another book that uses a similar concept: The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers. It’s in the public domain so you can read it online at Project Gutenberg and probably elsewhere. The book is a collection of short stories, several of which refer to a book also titled The King in Yellow that drives its readers mad.

It sounds like Tristram Shandy, only a horror version.

Funny side note; my Professor in college had a 1st edition of Tristram Shandy, each volume signed by Lawrence Stern. Pretty neat.

I think I might check out House of Leaves.

Flan O’Brien did this kind of literary showing off in 1939, way before the current crop of MFA grads. *At Swim-Two-Birds *is one of the strangest (and funniest) books ever written. The only thing remotely like it is Tristram Shandy, mentioned above by Mahaloth.