reading the pictures

estimated 3 min read

This week there is one completed book. I’m trying to slow down and enjoy books a little more. I’m also trying to combat some sinus “fun” which makes anything beyond my pillow not so enjoyable.

It’s an odd feeling, this slowing down. I’m a “slow food” wannabe, but for reading? Once I learned how, I’ve pretty much always read at a breakneck speed and can’t wait to get to the next word.. now! For at least one of the books I’m reading, I don’t want it to end, so I’m trying to take my time and enjoy the words.

Which got me to thinking.

Then I read The Discworld Graphic Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic.

And that adaptation left me thinking more.

The type of which is rarely is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, thinking is awesome, I wholly support it, especially next Tuesday; but some of my thinking just ain’t leading to good ends. It’s not recently lead to 2am memoranda “mission statements” but well …

So, my question to you, my two readers, regardless of the tempo you read at, regardless of the genre you read (or does it matter), what do you “see and hear” in your head?

Right now this is most poignant for me, not because of the graphic novel adaptation I just read, but because I’m listening (again) to Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. My eyes aren’t happy with the apartment’s lighting and when combined with my sinuses, I just haven’t wanted to read much more than I must. This is a story I first read when I was littlerest^ and I have pictures of all the events in my head. I have voices too, based on people I knew at various parts of my life. The same is true for The Secret Garden which has been coloured by my favoured video version (which isn’t the “standard one” believe you me) and the musical. They have changed over the years as I’ve visited new places and heard new voices, but they are mine.

This is true for anything I read, fiction or not. Histories often are coloured by various teachers or professors depending on the subject manner. Fiction, well, fiction varies widely.

The Discworld Graphic Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light FantasticThe Discworld Graphic Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic
by Terry Pratchett

I enjoyed this but, to me, it left much lacking. The magic in Pratchett is in his words and as he says “There are no maps. You can’t map a sense of humor.” While I think the adaptation is a brilliant one and I’m happy I gave it a go, I’m even happier I borrowed it from the library so it only occupied a temporary place on my bookshelf. I’ll continue to prefer my own personal and unique graphic novel version in my head. It’s better that way.


^ long story but well, it was a name and a truth. I guess technically I still am, but time has eroded this name.

Reader interactions

2 Replies to “reading the pictures”

  1. Interesting question. I never really questioned what I *heard* when I read until I started to listen to audiobooks. At that point, I realized that my own inner voice is pretty flat, just words, without much (or any) dramatic emphasis or colour. Also, I never (almost) see anything as I read – I don’t visualize the landscape, for example, as landscape. This isn’t a surprise: I’m not a particularly visual person.
    Interestingly, though, if I’m listening to classical music (“The Lark Ascending,” by Vaughan Williams, for example), I do see the lark as she flies over the landscapes, the people the hunt, the dance, and as she spirals up into the sky at the end. It’s as clear an image as could be.

    melanie recently wrote Cassandra and Jane: book review

  2. This is a great question! I hear different voices for the diferent speakers, I see the landscape, feel the emotions … especially with a well-written story. The same happens for me in non-fiction as well as fiction, as much as that’s possible with non-fictions less flowery language. I am both extra-verbal and extra-visual.

    It’s educational for me to read Melanie’s response, because I get so wrapped up in what I see/hear/feel when I read and enjoy that aspect of it so much that I have a hard time understanding people when they say they hate to read — I never thought that they might be seeing/hearing something different from my experience. Yes, I am rather self-centered.

    Great discussion point!

    KathyMarie recently wrote Stash Love

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