Book Review – March 2015 – Sallie Eden

Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case by James Ward – Published by Profile Books, Sep 2014

AdventuresinStationeryIn times of crisis, some people turn to drugs or maybe a gin and tonic. Me? I turn to stationery items. As far as I’m concerned, the purchase of a new notebook opens up a world of magical possibilities. no surprise then that I loved this book, a Christmas gift from a friend who obviously knows me very well. 

Ah yes, I hear you say, but it’s of limited interest to the rest of the human race, i.e. people who aren’t excited by what are termed “interesting facts” in my house. But wait, did you know that envelopes can kill? Luckily, the author has done his homework and advises the reader that “…these things don’t happen often”. 

Most us know that lead pencils don’t actually contain any lead, which is, of course, toxic. Again the author is on hand with some calming words to reassure anyone with lingering doubts about their suitability for primary schoolchildren.

Are there such things as “stunt pencils”? Do you know the origin of the name of Sharp Electronics? Is it really an exaggeration to say that the history of stationery is the history of civilisation? And what about the psychological damage that can be caused by poorly thought out labelling?

Given how much I loved James Ward’s original, well researched and quirky book, this might have been a longer review, but I’m dashing off to plan a trip to the Cumberland Pencil Museum. Meanwhile, I urge you to be careful out there, after all, it’s possible to be killed by an ink eraser.

Just brilliant.

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