Book Review: In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World by Simon Garfield

Book Review: In Miniature by Simon Garfield

Are you fascinated and delighted by small things? Then I’ve found the ultimate book for you. In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World by Simon Garfield. Each chapter delves into a miniature world of its own and there is only a tenuous connection between them, but no matter. All is forgiven because learning all about tiny replicas of Eames chairs, tiny models created by the late and great architect Zaha Hadid, and exquisite replicas of Windsor Castle and tiny towns all have their own peculiar and quirky way of drawing you in.

You will also learn about how tiny models of crime scenes were the CSI in the analogue era of crime investigation about 100 years ago.

This eclectic assortment of tiny stories about tiny things that changed the world in big ways is a true delight. Also, quite interestingly you will learn about how big things, such as the Eiffel Tower changed the way people saw themselves in relation to the world.

Netsuke & Gashapon toys Ancient Japanese treasures and modern collectibles
Tiny pussy cat has a rest inside of a tiny library shelf – Netsuke & Gashapon toys I collected from Japan. Copyright 2019 Content Catnip

Tiny things can be powerful treasures and help people to comprehend the world and to educate others about topics that on a large scale can seem incomprehensible and complex.

On a more serious note, there’s a chapter on how a model of slave ship included heart-wrenching tiny figures laying down top-to-toe. This was shown in the English parliament, and demonstrated in a powerful and realistic way how cruel the practice was, resulting the end of slavery in England.  

A video I made about a very intricate miniature village in Poland

There’s also a chapter on miniscule books, which readers of this blog know that I love. Garfield asks whether there is any point of creating a book with microscopic pages that can be fit inside of the eye of a needle. I would contend that there is a purpose for these kinds of things. That is – enjoyment.

The Most Exquisite Tiny Books in the World
The most exquisite tiny books in the world. Copyright Content Catnip 2012

Fans of tiny food, tiny books, tiny towns and owners of strange miscellaneous historical items will love this book.


Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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