A couple of weeks ago I decided to go down to my local stationery store and buy a new address book, thinking perhaps naively but the choice would be an extremely simple one. After all, all I was looking for somewhere to keep a list of names and addresses, and how difficult could that be? How wrong I was! What sort of binding did I want? A simple stapling system, ring binding, classical binding? Did I want hardcover, soft cover, or something in between? Cardboard, leather, moleskin cover? Did I want it in red, green, blue, Technicolor, psychedelic? Should it include a pen, or a pencil, or nothing at all? Should the paper be lined or plain, and what sort of paper should it be? Should this paper be tinted, heavily coloured or plain white? And finally, how much did I want to spend, did I want something cheap and cheerful or something pretty luxurious? I settled on this occasion for the most expensive address book in the store, a beautiful traditional tome with white vellum leaves and a cover of dark brown tooled leather; after all I will be keeping, within these pages, details of my family and dearest friends, who hopefully, like my wonderful new address book, will be with me for the rest of my life.