Beyond the Veil

Q: I wonder if the wish to see a book made into a movie speaks to an anxiety people feel about reading and internal perception.

A: Reading is a very particular case, if you think about the arts. With music you have a direct sensory input, the sound of the notes. And with the visual arts or dance or architecture you have a direct visual apprehension of the thing that you’re looking at. With books the sensory information you’re getting is very limited. You can become aware, while you’re reading, of the white page and the black marks on it, but that’s presumably a neutral experience. You’re supposed to see beyond that veil. And I think it’s that extra step that people find anxiety-provoking. But that extra step is what makes reading reading.

from Portrait of a Cover Artist: An Interview with Peter Mendelsund, by Peter Terzian