Unventions: The coffee table book to cure gadget fatigue

Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes our old, much-beloved friend, the coffee table book. Whilst I’ll happily trade most paperbacks for a Kindle version in a heart beat (I read all of John Schwartzwelder’s amazing Frank Burley detective series on e-screens and loved the experience) coffee table books are still very much a thing of paper beauty, although I’m sure lots of iPad apps will be heading my way soon, all trying to convince me the exact opposite. But what’s a great coffee table book for the gadget lover?


Unventions, a new coffee table book from Cléon Daniel (who as you will have guess from his wonderful name is from Dorset) seems to fit the bill exactly. Subtitled “alternative uses for everyday objects”, Unventions is a clever use of lampoon, spoof and satire when looking at modern technology. If like me you spend hours of each day on gadget blogs, it’s a welcome respite from the Sisyphean pursuit of the latest and greatest. And almost every invention has an equal and opposite unvention.

Possibly the best thing ever conceived on a train from Cheltenham to London Paddington, Unventions features page after page of charming low-tech sketches re-examining a number of everyday objects with what can only be described as a quirky eye. Like any good observational comic, Daniel has the ability to view the mundane and reimagine it from fresh and exciting angles. Images of checkerboards as places to store penguins, first drafts of cats eyes with candles or the sandwich mark (useful for marking your place in a sandwich to pick up where you left off) are all fun creations. If they manage to crack the smallest of smiles then I’d recommend getting a hold of the book.

Unventions is launched on Friday 11 November and if you are the sort of person that loiters around the Gower Street Waterstones with all the bright young things of the University of London, you’ll be pleased to know Cléon Daniel will be there in the flesh signing copies.

Want to see more? Check out his blog at www.unventions.co.uk