On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History

On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History - Nicholas A. Basbanes I had high hopes for this book. After all, the origins, making, uses and history of paper should be extremely interesting? Not this book. This book is disjointed and jumps around from topic to topic, most of which are only vaguely related to paper. It is a combination of travelogue, lengthy interviews, biographies, paragraphs of credentials, random facts, selective historical anecdotes, excessive (irrelevant in my opinion) historical detail about the people and places that have had something to do with the making, manufacturing, researching, storing, repairing, collecting, selling, buying, or using paper.

However, even after ploughing though all this detail, the book somehow fails to get to the core of paper - more in-depth paper making processes, the science, physical properties and technology of paper and paper making would have been nice. The author appears to be more interested in the idea of paper, not the paper itself.

All in all, I found the book to be rather tedious, with the occasional interesting bits.