What happens when we read? How can we understand the specific relationship between literature and the physiological workings of the brain or mind? What does reading ‘do’ to our bodies? What do our bodies more or less spontaneously and unconsciously do when reading? Moreover, what do we as somatic agents do, often in a deliberately reflective and conscious way? These questions which have often intrigued literary theorists, linguists, psychologists and philosophers have lately been the focus of research in cognitive studies whose discoveries have reoriented reading in several important ways. This contribution will discuss reading as a performative practice of mapping since reading figures, conceptualizes and transforms texts into mental models that generate meaningful interaction between reader and text and, in turn, reader and world.