In the Break Room: What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

How’s it going, readers?

Today is Wednesday and, while I’ve made my pick for Canada, I felt like going a bit off path and picking up this short volume before settling into my second book. Mendelsund, who designs book covers for a living, has taken that process of trying to visualize the text in order to create a cover and he’s turned it into this neat little book called What We See When We Read.

The book is a work of art, Mendelsund took everything he knew and poured it in. You can see the attention to detail, every single aspect of the book has been thought out and it all works. But beyond that, what he says is so true. For example, he says we will all imagine Anna Karenina differently, but that those versions of her will all be related and similar in some way because they are tied to the description in the text. He speaks of reading as “co-creating”, according to him we have a say in what the character looks like even if the author has provided a description. 

The book is full of musings about reading and imagination. Mendelsund manages to present complex ideas in a way that’s easy to understand without dumbing it down. It’s a book by a man who reads for people who love the process of reading. If you’re one of those people, this book is definitely a must! I really can’t recommend it enough. Don’t download it. Buy the physical copy, not because I’m a purist, but because it’s the only way to get the full experience.

If you like podcasts check out Reading Lives #4: Peter Mendelsund over at Book Riot. If you’ve never heard of Book Riot go check out the site! They’re AMAZING and they always have good book recommendations. Do it. Now. Seriously.

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