The Error World: Book summary and reviews of The Error World by Simon Garfield

The Error World

An Affair with Stamps

By Simon Garfield

The Error World
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2009,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

From the author of Mauve, an obsessively readable memoir that brings the mania for stamp collecting to life From the Penny Red to the Blue Mauritius, generations of collectors have been drawn to the mystique of rare stamps.

Once a widespread pastime of schoolboys, philately has increasingly become the province of older men obsessed with the shrewd investment, the once-in-a-lifetime find, the one elusive beauty that will complete a collection and satisfy an unquenchable thirst.

As a boy, Simon Garfield collected errors—rare pigment misprints that create ghostly absences in certain stamps.

When this passion reignited in his mid-forties, it consumed him. In the span of a couple of years he amassed a collection of errors worth upwards of forty thousand pounds, pursuing not only this secret passion, but a romantic one as his marriage disintegrated.

In this unique memoir, Simon Garfield twines the story of his philatelic obsession with an honest and engrossing exploration of the rarities and absences that both limit and define us.The end result is a thoughtful, funny, and enticing meditation on the impulse to possess.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Since Fever Pitch ... readers have become accustomed to the Hornby-gauge male confessional. These wistfully funny and sad books splice the fan's or hobbyist's arcana, and a rueful encounter with grown-up emotional truths. The Error World excels in this now-familiar genre, and stretches its boundaries, too ... But yearning for completeness is a giveaway collector's vice. Non-sufferers can simply relish a book that so engagingly evokes the bittersweet allure of a "hobby of enduring sadness." - The Independent (UK).

"If there's anyone who can convince of the obsession-inducing delights of the stamp, it's Simon Garfield, who perceptively traces how his schoolboy enthusiasm exploded into a huge, secret passion ... " - The Guardian (UK).

"This fascinating and original memoir of how a hobby swallowed up a marriage and a life leaves the reader amused, baffled and thoughtful." - The Sunday Tribune (Ireland).

The information about The Error World shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Simon Garfield Author Biography

Simon Garfield was born in London in 1960. He won the Guardian/National Union of Students "Student Journalist of the Year" award In 1981, and the same year became a sub-editor at the Radio Times (a UK guide to what's on TV and radio).

He wrote scripts for BBC radio documentaries in the early 1980s, and wrote for Time Out magazine (where he was acting editor from 1988-1989).

He has written for newspapers such as The Independent on Sunday and The Observer. He was named Mind Journalist of the Year in 2005. The award celebrates exceptional writing on mental health issues in the local, national, trade and consumer press.

He is the author of a dozen books of nonfiction including Just My Type, published in 2010 in the UK and 2011 in the USA.

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