If you’re a pen, paper or ink person, you’ll want to get your hands on a copy of a book called Adventures in Stationery . It would also make a great present for someone you know who is addicted to stationery.
It’s author James Ward’s humorous exploration of the origins of pens, pencils, Blu-Tack and an assortment of other items you probably have in your desk right now. The book has been getting great reviews, with a special mention for the author’s ability to inject levity into a potentially dry subject.
(Tessa at All Things Stationery has written one of the best reviews of Adventures in Stationery that I’ve seen.)
For some reason, the US title is The Perfection of the Paperclip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession. According to Amazon, it becomes available in hardcover and Kindle on April 21 for about US$18.
I haven’t yet found an explanation of the change in title, but Ward has hinted that it won’t be the only thing different about the American edition.
Besides writing about his obsession with stationery, Ward is a blogger, social media humorist and creator of the UK’s annual Boring Conference, which is a sort of celebration of the mundane. Over the last few years, 33-year-old Ward has become a one-man force determined to make boring the new cool.
And yes, he is absolutely serious about loving stationery. He told the Independent:
“There are people who are football obsessives who can name teams going back years and remember what minute such-and-such a goal was scored. They’re considered normal guys who like their football. And there are people who memorise endless Beatles facts, you know, who played what instrument on which album and so on, and that’s also deemed cool. But if you apply that same interest to something like stationery, you’re mocked, despite the motivation and impulse being exactly the same. We’re only supposed to be interested in the big things that most people like, while the things we all deal with on a day-to-day basis are, for some reason, not meant to be given any thought. But someone, somewhere, has to know about that stuff. Otherwise nothing would ever get done.”
He’s also apparently a fan of the Pentel Sign Pen, recommending it as the best pen for autographing books.