What We See When We Read- a review


*Throwback Thursday post*

Peter Mendelsund is a book cover designer and a reader. I knew he was “kindred spirit” as Anne with an e would say after just the first few pages.

I got this book in a book riot box months ago and had set it aside for another time. By the way, the book riot boxes are excellent if you are willing to gamble your book budget on someone else’s taste. I loved the idea and the book swag in the box, but in the end, I need the money freed up to buy the books I know I want to read. I have to say that they knocked it out of the park with this book. I never would have found it on my own. Of course, if someone ever wants to gift me a box I’d happily accept. 🙂

I loved this book. Graphically it is unique. First off,  it comes pre-post it noted, often with the specific note, I would have written.



Mendelsund treats us to an exploration of what we see when we read. This book doesn’t force feed you any answers, the questions are more important than the answers, which you must furnish for yourself in any case. The author doesn’t tell you what you see when you read, he hopes you’ll figure that out for yourself.

So, it occurs to me that perhaps memory- being the fodder of imagination, and being intermingled with imagination- feels like imagination; and imagination feels like memory, being constructed of it as well. –page 298

Also from the book-

 “if books were roads, some would be made for driving quickly”

Yes, that is true, and this is one of those books. I don’t think it makes it less worthwhile. My best description is that this a graphic novel about the process of reading and how the reader perceives what the author has described.

I think this book is a must read for English majors, Art majors, and indeed any avid readers high school age and up. Note: this is not a good book to read on a Kindle. Try your library for a paper. It is a quick read. My first read through took an hour, then I went back and read it section by section making notes in my commonplace book.

What We See When We Read, Peter Mendelsund