This week I want to share a great book I read last month, The Perfection of the Paper Clip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession by James Ward (published as Adventures in Stationery in the UK). I originally took it out of the library but loved it so much I had to buy a copy. I knew it would be a great reference for my blog and is quite lovely as a book with creamy paper and fun endpapers.
There are chapters on paperclips, pens, paper, erasers, highlighters, sticky notes, and so much more. It reminded me of Just My Type: A Book about Fonts, another book that tackles a seemingly dull topic and transforms it through dry British humour and a refreshing curiosity about the history of things we take for granted. It is definitely part of the genre of books that take a mundane item and use it to tell a larger story. Human inventiveness and globalization are just a couple of the themes that come up. There are chapters on paperclips, pens, paper, erasers, highlighters, sticky notes and so much more.
Here is a sample excerpt: “although the shape of the pushpin means the head doesn’t lie flat against the surface it has been pinned to and so makes it unsuitable for, say, a notice board in a narrow corridor, where a careless shoulder could bring a sheet of paper fluttering to the floor with potential trial consequences”.
If you love stationery and history you will love this book.
If this book was a person, it would be James Ward.