What do we see when we read? Designer Peter Mendelsund, who's behind a few iconic covers you might've seen on bookshelves, poses the question in his new book, and, fittingly, answers it in an aesthetically pleasing way, alternating text-only pages with visualizations of his argument. Although we imagine the experience of reading as similar to watching a film, the goings-on in our brains are entirely more nebulous when we sit down with a book than when we sit back to watch a movie.
He begins by describing Lily Briscoe, a principle character in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, who is painting the scene that Woolf's book describes with words. We as readers are asked to visually perceive both Woolf's words and Briscoe's painting -- two related, but separate images.