BOOK REVIEW – Paraphernalia by Steven Connor

This book is incredibly interesting. There, I’ve said it, I’ve used the ‘I’ word. Interesting would also perhaps imply that it’s quite dull. However this couldn’t be further from the truth. Steven Connor, as the book informs, “is a professor of modern literature and theory at Birkbeck College” and is also “the author of many academic books (on subjects ranging from the English novel to ventriloquism, skin and flies)”. These accolades only help to improve the content of this fascinating journey through the lives of magical (and largely ‘every-day’) items.

There are so many ordinary objects that we just don’t realise the true value of, until perhaps we can’t find them or we’re stuck with a substandard alternative. Objects such as plugs, batteries and combs may seem like every day items, but when you are able to really deeply delve into their history and true purpose with the help of Mr Connor, you’ll be amazed at what they honestly mean to us.

What significance do these items have for us? How would you explain these items to an extra-terrestrial if you so had to? Until you have to sit down and think properly about these questions, you just don’t know what we take for granted. Now if you’re anything like me then you hoard things, you keep the unnecessary and the interesting items that crop up in daily life that may have a use…further down the line, maybe? If you are like me, then you’ll love this book for that very reason. Its difficult to explain why people hoard things and maybe this book will go some of the way to understanding these relationships that people form with the mundane objects that are otherwise meaningless.

This book is more than just a list of things that we pass by in our homes all the time without noticing. It’s much more than that. It’s a historical and detailed whimsical look into the magical things that we really couldn’t live without. If you watch ‘How Clean is Your House’ and feel that slight bit of sympathy for those types of people, or even if you are interested in why we have what we have, how we use these items and where they have come from, then this is the book for you.

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Profile Books
ISBN: 9781846682704

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