Peter will be in conversation with Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, followed by a brief Q&A. Both his books (Cover, and What We See When We Read) will be on sale at the event. Please join us!

August 5th, 7:00-9:00 PM. PowerHouse Arena. 37 Main St, Brooklyn.



"What We See When We Read is brilliant. Peter Mendelsund has peered into our messy heads and produced an illuminating, kaleidoscopic meditation on reading. Also on seeing. And understanding.” 

—James Gleick, Best selling author of Chaos, and The Information

“Peter Mendelsund has changed the way I think about reading. Like the Wizard of Oz tornado, Mendelsund's lucid, questing prose and his surprising, joyful visuals collide to create a similar weather system inside the reader. Not only are you carried off to Oz, but you're aware at every moment of the cyclonic action of your reader's mind and your reader's imagination. It's so smart, so totally original, so beautiful, so good. I want to order copies to give to all of my friends.” 

—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove

“Amazing. . . Sparkling with verbal as well as visual wit and the personable exhilaration of one of the best conversations you've ever had, What We See When We Read opens one's eyes to that special brand of blindness which makes the vividness of fiction possible. It reads as if the ghost of Italo Calvino audited Vladimir Nabokov's literature class and wrote his final paper with the help of Alvin Lustig and the Radiolab guys. Peter Mendelsund should get double extra credit for trying to describe things that I'm pretty sure there aren't words for (at least not yet.)" 

—Chris Ware, Eisner award-winning author of Building Stories and Jimmy Corrigan

"What We See When We Read is not a book, this is a sacred text. It inspires, it expands the mind, it proves that Mendelsund is a total freaking genius. Through his images and his words, he speaks the gospel of our now.” 

—Heidi Julavits, author of The Vanishers and editor of The Believer

“In this brilliant amalgam of philosophy, psychology, literary theory and visual art, Knopf associate art director and cover designer Mendelsund inquires about the complex process of reading. . . . The book exemplifies the idea that reading is not a linear process. Even if readers follow consecutive words, they incorporate into reading memories, distractions, predispositions, desires and expectations. . . . In 19 brief, zesty chapters, the author considers such topics as the relationship of reading to time, skill, visual acuity, fantasy, synesthesia and belief. . . . Mendelsund amply attains his goal to produce a quirky, fresh and altogether delightful meditation on the miraculous act of reading. 

Kirkus Review (starred)

“Offhandedly brilliant, witty, and fluent in the works of Tolstoy, Melville, Joyce, and Woolf, Mendelsund guides us through an intricate and enlivening analysis of why literature and reading are essential to our understanding of ourselves, each other, and the spinning world.”Booklist


“Peter Mendelsund is to the art of book design what Walter Murch is to the art of film-editing. That, of course, is the highest praise imaginable.” 
—Geoff Dyer, author of Out of Sheer Rage, and Another Great Day at Sea

“Peter Mendelsund pushes the visual and the verbal into unforeseen alliances. Once we’ve seen these alliances, they feel inevitable. He establishes exactly the right balance between the timely and the timeless. He engages with all the fashionable tropes, trills, and frills of our on-the-go culture, while remaining grounded in a rigorous formal logic.” 

—Jed Perl, The New Republic

“Once in a while I'm presented with covers that cross the barriers of cultural reference and visual language. That feel universal. That feel like perfect starts to stories. Covers that I don't want the reader to forget, but to carry with them throughout my books. Those covers are Peters Mendelsund's covers."

—Jo Nesbø, author of The Snowman and The Son

“Upbeat and thrilling to look at, his designs are works of art, and at the same time they encapsulate the writer’s truest goal.”

—Nicholas Fox Weber, author of Le Corbusier, and The Bauhaus Group

“Peter Mendelsund is a true artist.” 

—Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet and Leaving the Sea

“Peter Mendelsund has the ability to visually and conceptually distill a narrative in such a way that it seems effortlessly inventive, striking, smart, fresh and yet classic. And he does it again and again and again. How I hate him.” 

—Chip Kidd, author of The Cheese Monkeys and The Learners

“He’s the exact visual correlative of what I think contemporary literature should be, but usually isn’t doing.”

—Tom McCarthy, Booker prize shortlisted author of Remainder and Satin Island