Friday, December 19, 2014

What We See When We Read - Peter Mendelsund

I came down with a cold so I've been plowing through books this week.  This read is a strange sort of book.  It's pictures, drawings and designs accompanied by text discussing how our imagination creates what we "see" when we read.  The author is a well known graphic designer.  He uses examples from classic literature (Anna Karenina, Melville's Moby Dick, James Joyce's Ulysses) to show how we create in our mind the visions of the characters and settings in the books we read.

He asks, "what does the character look like" and goes on to point out we usually describe their character traits rather than their actual appearance.  He notes that we "read ahead", that is, our eyes and our minds picture something from one part of a page as we gather information from another part.

He points out that when we read what we see is personal; it's not what the author pictured, it's what our own minds imagine.  He suggests that "picturing events in fiction delivers unintentional glimpses into our own pasts".  For example, if we read about "the school hallways" we picture in our mind the schools we went to and what those hallways looked like.

It's an essay on how we imagine and understand the things we read.  A nice quirky read and thought-provoking.

Published: 2014  Genre: Non-fiction  Read: December 2014

ISBN: 3 1740 11250 0446

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments here, would love to hear what you think