Adventures In Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case

James Ward
Profile Books, £12.99 ebook 9.09
Review: Alex Sarll

James Ward is the founder of the Boring conference, and a man who loves unearthing fascination in the apparently mundane.

Accordingly, after reading this you will sometimes find yourself looking anew at a pen or stapler you’ve been using, unconsidered, for ages.

The term ‘Bic biro’, for instance, camouflages an acrimonious history, a story of dogged research interwoven with the happy accident that created the highlighter’s flattened shape, and even the apparently stable paperclip has had a more tumultuous evolution than you might expect.

Some enthusiasts love their favourite stationery even more than Ward does, paying steep sums for surviving examples of a discontinued pencil.

Such fanatics would doubtless enjoy Adventures In Stationery, but this chatty, witty treasure-trove of desk-related facts, figures and stories deserves a wider audience, and should find favour with any fan of QI, Bill Bryson, or Post-its.

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