Paraphernalia: The Curious Lives of Magical Things, By Steven Connor

Paperback review

Sat, Oct 12, 2013, 01:00

   
 

Book Title:
Paraphernalia The Curious Lives of Magical Things

ISBN-13:
Paraphernalia The Curious Lives of Magical Things

Author:
Steven Connor

Publisher:
Profile Books

Guideline Price:
Sterling8.99

If you have ever found yourself searching for a paperclip when only a paperclip will do the job, or an elusive pin when no other item will hold something together, you may have realised just how much we take essential, everyday things for granted. Steven Connor calls these overlooked objects “magical” in this thoughtful and wonderful treatise on how we use, and then forget, the things around us. Bags, batteries, keys and combs, pipes, wires and sticky tape are all invited into the spotlight for a brief assessment of their place in culture, everyday life and personal memories of family and childhood. From the role of hat pins in Hamlet’s observation that a man “might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin” to the symbolic role of knots in magic and marriage, Connor’s philosophising is entertaining and enlightening. Just as Grandmother told us that there is a “place for everything and everything in its place”, Connor here reminds us not to forget what we have to hand.