18 December 2015

Book review: Adventures in Stationery

I always knew I was a stationery geek, but hadn’t realised quite how geeky I was on this topic until I read this book, Adventures in Stationery by James Ward. If, like me, the names Staedtler, Faber Castell, Hardtmuth, Derwent, Conté, Sakura, etc, are old friends to you, and the terms HB, foolscap, A4 and gsm fill you with joy, then this is the book for you!

I had started reading this book almost a year ago, downloading the sample from Amazon. But the price had put me off buying it. Eventually, last month, I felt the need for a light non-fiction read. A recent episode of one of my favourite podcasts, The Allusionist, had brought the book back to mind, so I finally coughed up the cash, and I’m glad I did!

Stationery is something that’s always fascinated me. I’ve always loved writing and creating art and crafts, so all the items mentioned in the book have become a huge part of my life. I also worked for a couple of summers in a paper mill.

The book begins with the author going into the stationery shop that had so fascinated him as a child, and I could picture this perfectly as it sounded just like Allen Litho in Kirkcaldy which I loved to visit as a child.
The book has a bit of everything – innovation, engineering, chemistry, rival manufacturers, etymology, humorous asides, and covers such topics as paper clips, pens, pencils, paper and post-its.

In some ways I wish I’d read it a year ago, in my Christmas hols, because it’s exactly the sort of thing I like to read then – something you can dip in and out of, that is full of little interesting titbits you’d read out to other people. I’ll have to look for some similar reads to keep me going through the festive season this year.

This is probably my favourite book I have read all year!

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