Review: What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund We See When We Read (2014) by Peter Mendelsund

All you have to do, first, is flip through What We See to understand that this is no ordinary book. Its title tells you what to expect, and Mendelsund delivers. This is a visual treatise on that which is invisible- the process of picturing in our "mind's eye" what we're reading on the page.

Perhaps, like me, you start to feel a little dizzy thinking about this reading-about-thinking-about-reading thing, but it's fascinating, right? And Mendelsund has had to think a lot about how to visualize that which words evoke, since he's responsible for some of the most beautiful contemporary covers.

Mendelsund puts our eyes and brains to work, offering a different text-and-image combination on each page. Some pages contain a single word, others are swamped with images and text, while still others offer us lines from a novel that are curved like ocean waves. In this way, Mendelsund calls our attention to how we read and how we imagine the characters and descriptions in our mind's eye.

Quoting from famous authors, philosophers, theorists, and others, Mendelsund encourages us to be more aware of how authors introduce and describe characters, and how we deduce things about them based not on physical details but on personality traits.

A beautifully-written and -illustrated book, What We See When We Read is a must for book-lovers.

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