Synopses & Reviews
Paper by Ian Sansom, author of The Bad Book Affair
, is a witty, personal, and entertaining meditation on the history and significance of paper.
From the bathroom to the boardroom, paper is essential. Birth certificates, money, books, cigarettes, passports, tea bags, shoeboxes, toilet tissue, prescriptions, menus—all are made from paper. Humans have been using paper and its products for nearly 2,000 years, from its invention in China to modern America, where the average citizen consumes approximately 750 pounds a year.
In his brilliant and original voice, ian Sansom curates a history of paper, in all its forms and functions. Both an international cultural study and a series of personal reflections on the meaning of this essential product, Paper takes us through the panoply of human history.
This beautifully designed work, printed on high-gloss stock and beautifully packaged interweaves cultural facts, the author's own insights, anecdotes and black-and-white illustrations from around the world, from the ruminations of French Intellectuals to the Japanese art of Origami.
“With a playfulness that begins with the title, this “elegy” to paper is instead a celebration of its essential, ubiquitous role in society, culture and life itself....[PAPER is] An enjoyable argument that speaks to the paper lover in all of us.” Kirkus Reviews
Let us suppose for a moment that paper were to disappear.
Would anything be lost?
Everything would be lost.
aper surrounds us. Not only as books, letters and diaries, but as beer mats and birth certificates, board games and business cards, fireworks and flypaper, photographs and playing cards, tickets and tea bags. We are paper people.
But the age of paper is coming to an end. E-books regularly outsell physical books. E-tickets replace the paper variety. Archives are digitized. The world we know was made from paper, and yet everywhere we look, paper is beginning to disappear. As we enter a world beyond paper, Ian Sansom explores the paradoxes of the greatest of man-made materials and shows how some kinds of paper, and the ghosts and shadows of paper, will always be with us.
Paper: An Elegy is a history of paper in all its forms and functions. Both a cultural study and a series of personal reflections on the meaning of paper, this book is a timely meditation on the very paper it is printed on.
About the Author
Ian Sansom is a frequent contributor and critic for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books, and The Spectator and a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. He is the author of nine books, including Paper: An Elegy and the Mobile Library series.