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What We See When We Read (2014)

by Peter Mendelsund(Favorite Author)
3.66 of 5 Votes: 1
0804171637 (ISBN13: 9780804171632)
review 1: Adam's rating: 5 starsCall #028.9 MendelsundThis is one of the best books I've ever read. Why? Because it's given me a new appreciation for reading and a fresh outlook on life. Mendelsund - book cover artist, classical pianist, and philosopher - illustrates through words and art what goes on when we're reading a book. We think we experience a book like we do a movie, with complete images of the characters and scenes. This reflects our brain's attempt to make sense of the book through synecdoche - where the part refers to the whole. We extrapolate. This is true in books as it's true in life. We only see the world through our eyes, no one else's and we're left with an incomplete and blurry picture.
review 2: I never thought of reading as also seeing. Mendelsund
... moreshows this to readers in this wonderful book. A number of examples from the Table of Contents present some of these facets...vividness, picturing, abstractions, and so on. We become aware of the color of Anna Karenina's eyes and the cartography of Woolf's Hebrides in "To The Lighthouse." Upon beginning, one needs to be certain to examine closely the illustrations as they are exemplars for what is being discussed. For example, in the topic of imagination we find the selection from a novel with a big blob on it. Upon close examination, it is a Rorschach. What better symbol to use for imagination? The text is from "Crime and Punishment" where the antagonist "imagines" the beating of his landlady. One aspect presented is that of authors as artists. Edgar Allan Poe was a "deft portraitist" and Herman Hesse was a "skilled painter." For an insight into the way we read, Mendelsund's book cannot be beat. less
Reviews (see all)
Beautifully designed book that attempts to show and describe what happens in our reading minds.
Was hoping for a bit more science, but it was still interesting, esp the graphics/design.
Format (on edge of graphic novel) more interesting than content
Great premise, boring execution.
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