Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Words Devoured: Paper

Paper, by Ian Sansom, isn't a history of paper--so he says in the beginning of the book. Rather, Paper is a look at how something as taken-for-granted as paper is, it remains one of the most important substances mankind has created on this Earth.

In the first chapter of Paper, Sansom describes creation of paper at it's beginning, then goes on to outline how paper was created then and now. It's a remarkably similar process, just...updated.

After the discussion of how paper is created, each chapter of Paper is based on one of it's myriad uses. Uses that the average person--i.e. me, the reader--mightn't know existed in the paper world. I mean, who knew that there was a paper clothing phase in the US? I knew that some Japanese wear, even through today, are sometimes made of paper. But here? Interesting.

Paper does more than just tell the reader about the uses of paper. It also stresses the importance of paper. How you, the human being is as much paper, as paper is you. If that makes sense. If not, it basically means you exist on paper--and because paper says so, as proof--and this paper is you. It contains everything about you, more or less.

Many people believe that this digital age we live in spells the death of paper, but Sansom does not. I tend to believe along the same lines as he does. Paper is as important now as it ever was, it's just... as I said before... taken for granted.

Anyone who is interested in reading about the importance of such an innocuous product as paper, should think about picking up Ian Sansom's book. Paper was an interesting read, and should not be passes by because it seems to be a "boring" subject.

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