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 by Simon Garfield X
The Error World by Simon Garfield
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2009
    256 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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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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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).

This information about The Error World shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. 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 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.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Simon Garfield Author Biography

Simon Garfield is the author or editor of 17 works of nonfiction, united in content solely by the love of a compelling story. His diverse and unpredictable subject matter ranges from the austere post-war Britain of Our Hidden Lives to the devastating effects of Aids in The End of Innocence, and from the colourful micro-history Mauve to the sad/hilarious annals of the peculiar British entertainment The Wrestling.

His biggest hits include Just My Type, an exploration of the meaning of fonts, On The Map, a meditation on cartography and our place in the world, and The Nation's Favourite, about John Peel's desire to beat up Simon Bates.

Simon was born in London in 1960. At University College School he brutally edited the alternative school magazine Compass, and at the London ...

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