Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What We see When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

First Impressions

This book is so pretty! I got it with my BookRiot Quarterly box this September and I was dying to read, just because it is soooo pretty. Mendelsund nailed it with this book. From what we see to how we see it when we are reading a book, with gorgeous pages and amazing aesthetics, this book put into words what I haven't been able to when I try to explain my reading experiences to non readers.

Final thoughts

As a cover (or jacket) designer, Mendelsund has to put into images what a book might be about and boy he does a great job. If you check his profile at The Book Cover Archive for example, you will see what I mean. Gorgeous and interesting covers are his signature, and the one for his own book is not exception, being very simple and yet so full of meaning. This continues all over the book, where ideas are not only written by put into images, giving a whole new dimension.

The book is constructed in small chapters that all address the different parts that reading might have: Fictions, Vividness, Synesthesia, just to name a few of them, and then they all flow merging into the experience that is reading.

I was very lucky, as the copy that everyone received through Quarterly had post-its by the author with extra comments. But even without this, I can tell I would've loved the book just the same. I felt like a kid reading a picture book, except that this one was making me understand better what my brain did with books without pictures. At a times it even felt like someone else was reading the book to me and I was just there for the ride. This was actually nice, to get so immersed in a nonfiction book. 

Words made into pictures and pictures made into words and all of this weaved in a beautiful package to try to explain how our imagination fills the blanks that sometimes are there and how it utilizes the (sometimes) little information about imagery given by an specific author. 

I keep going back to it, sometimes just to look at it, sometimes to re read phrases or whole paragraphs that marked me in particular; those "aha" moments that your brain goes: "Yes, that's what it is like!"

This was a great read for me as a reader, but I think it would be great for designers as it is so rich visually. 

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