A fascinating little book, this. But,
perhaps fittingly, one that’s very hard to capture the experience of reading at
a remove. Easy to read, hard to say what reading it is like.
Mendelsund is a designer at a major
publishing house, and this book takes us on an illustrated journey of, well,
what we see when we read, or how words work to form pictures in our minds. It
flirts with profundity without ever really diving in fully in, and that shouldn’t
be seen as a negative. ‘Accessible’ has unfortunately become a word with all
sorts of negative connotations, but it certainly applies here, and it’s
entirely fitting that it does. The central thesis is that (good) authors only
give us the barest of bones when constructing images, or skeletons of images,
and a great deal of the pleasure of reading comes from fleshing them out
ourselves. As such, this works as an excellent primer in itself, giving you
enough to get going but then leaving the rest up to you. Recommended.