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Paper: An Elegy Hardcover – 25 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007480261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007480265
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.9 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Essex, England, Ian Sansom is the author of the popular Mobile Library Mystery Series. He is also a frequent contributor and critic for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books, and The Spectator. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.
He studied at both Oxford and Cambridge and is a former Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Currently, he teaches at Warwick University.

Product Description

Review

Praise for ‘Paper’:

‘Engaging and dynamic’ Andrew Martin, Financial Times

‘Wonderfully diverting…Splendidly dense with fact and thought’ Steven Poole, Times Literary Supplement

‘Sansom’s scholarship is prodigious; his enthusiasm inexhaustible…He can make one laugh out loud by his placing of a single word’ Daily Telegraph

‘A collection of ever so erudite, witty, chucklesome essays, rich with digressions and asides, on paper, in many of its guises, that seeks to refute – and does refute – the idea that we are moving towards a paperless world’ Bookmunch

About the Author

Born in Essex, England, Ian Sansom is the author of the popular Mobile Library Mystery Series. He is also a frequent contributor and critic for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books, and The Spectator. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.
He studied at both Oxford and Cambridge and is a former Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Currently, he teaches at Warwick University.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a totally fascinating exploration of paper and the ways it is woven into the fabric of our lives in ways we may not even realise. It isn't a chronological history of paper though there are plenty of historical asides in the book. Throughout the book the author's love of paper in all its forms shines through and it seems to have been a labour of love to write it. I found it an interesting and well written book and I came across a great many snippets of information of which I was not previously aware.

Books - both printed and hand written are discussed as is paper money, which has been around a lot longer than you might think. Labels and packaging are explored by way of Charles Dickens and his job in a blacking factory and Nick Drake provides the title for the final chapter `Five Leaves Left'. Origami merits a chapter to itself - anyone remember Robert Harbin and his fascinating children's programmes? Paper's use in art is explored not just as the surface to which paint is applied but also to make three dimensional models.

The book is beautifully produced and designed. It has a comprehensive bibliography for those who would like to see the sources of the information contained in the book and there is an index.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Wilson on 4 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Extraordinarily interesting read. My second and favourite Ian Sansom book. References to Paper Mario surprised and delighted me. It almost makes me bad that I'm typing this review online, though...
Great book. Great writer. Extremely entertaining man. Do yourself a favour and procure some papery knowledge! Mammocks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dianne vinson on 20 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Sansom is intelligent and has obviously done much research about endless
uses for paper. But he is funny too! The perfect book to read to learn something
or to be entertained. A gift for all teachers of English lit or readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Helix VINE VOICE on 21 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I work in the creative industry so this book appealed to me straight off. Its always a risk with a book such as this though, that it ends up being awful. But it really surprised me how interesting and sometimes insightful it can be. And I think it has come about at a time when the paper industry is falling faster than it ever has, when a large percentage of media today is digital. This book is a nice reminder to a newer generation of how revolutionary paper was.

First of all the cover is quite nice with its embossed text, its somewhat dated but who cares, it fits! The stock the book is printed on though is standard recycled paper so don't expect any antique laid, even though its a book celebrating paper!

As for the content, forget the vague diagrams and focus on the approachable way Sansom writes what could, in other hands come across laboured and boring. Its a nice book to have lying around, and I've noticed people who see it pick it up, so the simple title and cover works. Its not a revolutionary book by any means but worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Navigator on 21 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I rather thought this book was going to be one of those slightly worthy plodding accounts of the history of paper since ancient times. Not a bit of it: it's a gushily enthusiastic and very learned eulogy for all things paper. Not just the books but their covers and wrappings and going into areas like Japanese paper clothes and the further reaches of paper technology.

It is happily eccentric, choosing its focus on myriad different areas. But within each of those areas it is admirably learned with wonderful references to any number of disparate other writings - a real tour de force. Occasionally the author forgets his subject is paper and spends his time instead on the object the paper was used for - but who's to quibble over the odd rivulet from a maniac in full flood.

All of these are very minor gripes, it is, in all a tremendous, eccentric, learned miscellany of all things paper and the author deserves congratulation for the way such a mass of material is brought together and on the whole so successfully
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book has the potential to be hilarious as well as very informative - it doesn't really manage the hilarious bit. The author tries hard to be funny but lacks a lightness of touch. I found this surprisingly dry to read (I'm sure there are going to be lots of unintentional puns ...) but also interesting enough to keep me reading.
The author starts with an overview of all the things we use paper for and what's happening to paper now that we are in an electronic age. He reviews the origins of paper, its spread across the world and the various inventions that it gave rise to once the process of making paper became mechanised.
There are plenty of examples, which I like and a lot of strange and wonderful facts and characters emerge from behind the sheet (of paper) to take their proper place in paper's history.
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes a lot of facts and a lot of information and doesn't mind that it's not actually very funny.
I acknowledge that a book like this is under no obligation to be funny at all, but the style of writing indicates that the author does intend to be amusing. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite manage it, like a slightly crabby teacher who cracks the odd joke that no-one finds funny ... which is quite endearing really!
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