Book Review: Stationery Fever

Stationery Fever

Stationery Fever: From Paper Clips to Pencils and Everything in Between by John Z. Komurki is a large book reminiscent of a text book in size and format filled with articles about pencils, erasers, pens, notebooks and assorted office and stationery supplies. It is filled with beautiful photography of items, some provided by artful stationery compositionists, Present & Correct.

There are articles about great stationery shops across the globe in cities like Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, Milan, and Berlin. And some of our favorite stationery darlings like C.W. Pencil Enterprises, Erasable Podcast, David Rees and Rad + Hungry have features as well.

The book is definitely European-focused which is enlightening to read perspectives about Biros vs. Bics and Pritt Sticks vs. glue sticks and other cultural differences.

Throughout the book there are sidebar articles about distinctive items like Crayola crayons, Museo del Quaderno Italian student notebooks and many other fascinating items.

I learned that the classic 3M C-15 tape dispenser from the 70s could potentially be filled with radioactive sand as a ballast. There are several potshots at the US for being one of only three countries not to move to the ISO216 paper standard (along with Myanmar and Liberia).

The details about the inventions of highlighters, sticky notes, paper clips, envelopes, legal pads, scissors and sello/scotch tape were all fascinating and made me realize how incredibly ubiquitous they all are. So much so, that many of these items are icons, fucntions and even applications on our computers that some people may not even use in real life anymore. Weird to think about, isn’t it?

Overall, the book is a quick read but filled with information you are bound to refer back to time and again. Need to know the different types of pencil sharpeners? Who invented the paper clip? Who invented the felt tip pen or highlighter? Its all in this one volume and its beautifully presented and easy to read and reference.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I ordered this book online about a week ago after discovering that no booksellers in Canada stock it.

    Given the number of stores, etc. mentioned, I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about it online.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Another one is ‘Adventures in Stationery’ by James Ward. Not so glossy but interesting — is it available in USA?

  3. I will have to disagree with you concerning Rad + Hungry subscription service. I subscribed for one year and was deeply disappointed in the quality of the products.

    In 2016 I subscribed to the iPen box and found it to be a wonderful monthly package filled with usable and beautiful items. In an entire year I only had one item that didn’t work, iPen promptly replaced it and even sent me a paid label to return the faulty item.

    1. The Rad +Hungry subscription is definitely more suited to tourism souvenirs than high quality stationery products. Most of what Hen sources ends up being school grade but she works hard to find locally produced materials from a wide variety of countries. They are materials you are unlikely to find from any other subscription service or online shop but are not likely to be fountain pen friendly.

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