Colorful Black and White | What We See When We Read

What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund; Read: February 2015
What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund; Read: February 2015

Dear Mr. Peter Mendelsund:

What We See When We Read is quite an experience!

Every time I open it, it’s like I am transported to one of my English classes in college. Your words on paper are what my professors and teachers were. Granted, you don’t sound exactly like them but your tone and manner hit quite close to home. I became comfortable with your pace quickly and was strangely familiar with your approach.

For a black and white book, it’s colorful. Even without the illustrations, I could still see the images from your words. And your depictions are odd and entertaining, even distracting.

Since I finished it, I have been wondering what it would be like to turn this book into a one-time class, like a crash course or something. I’ve seen a few friends and strangers give me and the book curious looks. Some even did ask what it is. Sadly, I failed summarizing the book, despite understanding it.

There were others who asked where I bought your book (from one of the big bookstore chains that participated in a book fair). Though I did tell them where, I have yet to know if they bought a copy, much less read it.

Your book is a serendipitous piece to me. It wasn’t on my list. I never heard of it until the second I laid eyes on it—and at one of the sections that I do not frequent! It took me a while to decide if I should purchase it or not. I am glad that I did.


Mati Serraño


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Mati! I really enjoyed reading your post because it is one of the questions I keep asking my students now that we are reading The Alchemist: What are you seeing as you read? What picture is Paulo Coelho painting with his words? I plan to get this book as soon as I can… do you think it would help me in guiding my students in the exercise of turning words into mental/graphic images? Read you soon Mati, take care and keep reading, alexandra


    1. Mati Serrano says:

      Most definitely! And not just your students but you as well. The book gave me new perspectives and refreshed whatever I knew–like it wiped my spectacles and I was able to see clearer.
      When you get the book, you may be able to use the images and questions there as exercises for your class. Mendelsund knows his stuff.
      And – just so you know – he repeatedly refers to other books, like Anna Karenina and Moby Dick.


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