Postmark Paris


When I was young, it drove my parents crazy that all their letter envelopes had ragged rectangular tears around the top right corner. I was the likely culprit, as I was the only one in the house who collected stamps. I didn’t get a lot of mail as a kid so of course I was always into the family mail, tearing into my mom and dad’s letters, their business correspondence, and holiday greetings from relatives all over the world. I also enjoyed going to the bookstore during weekends to buy sets of stamps (I don’t think bookstores have them anymore today) with my weekly savings.

I forgot about stamps until recently, when I was reorganizing my displaced stuff that survived the flood and found my old stamp albums with my old collecting still safely intact. Best of all, I had a thick wad of stamps to add to my collection, as for the past year that I’ve been on BookMooch, I’d been mindlessly clipping out stamps from the inordinate amount of packages I’d been receiving and I now had a whole ziplock bag filled with stamps!

post1All this talk about stamps is because I recently read a delightful book on stamp collecting, Postmark Paris: A Story in Stamps by Leslie Jonath.

I mooched the book from moochfan4life in California, a Filipina moocher who was happy to send it to me. My copy has a crease right down the middle as it got bent during transit (boo to careless mail handling!) but for some reason, I think it adds character to the book.

Postmark Paris is an illustrated memoirs about the author’s experience in Paris when she was young. I just love the idea behind this book — half of each spread is devoted to exuberant storytelling while the other half uses stamps as illustrations to match the narration!

The author  recalls living in Paris  for a year at age 9, and how she started a lifelong hobby of stamp collecting, thanks to her dad, who brought home a bunch of timbres (French for stamps) for her from work, as well as an orange stamp album  to start her collection with.

The book is rich with memories of moving to a new country — adjusting to a new language, settling into a new school, and making friends. It also details adventures at the usual Parisian spots — the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Montparnasse, the Louvre — and the not so usual spots, like a flea market for stamps!

Here’s a look inside the book:




It’s a pretty little travelogue filled with beautiful memories, and I think it’s a wonderful idea to preserve them this way! I think I shall try putting together something like this someday…

Meanwhile I am on a mission to hunt down a nice new stamp album (I don’t know if anyone still sells them in Manila — does anyone know?) because my two albums are filled (and one has rust down the metal rings) and I am mentally kicking myself for not buying one I saw at  the Popular book store branch in Johor Bahru! Argh!

If anyone has any stamps they don’t want, please feel free to send them my way! :)


My copy: hardcover

My rating: 5/5 stars

6 thoughts on “Postmark Paris”

  1. Oh Blooey, i didn’t know you are a philatelist also. Im still an active stamp collector, started out at age 9 but ive never outgrown this hobby. Would love to read this book, i’ve visited Paris in 2006, would love to visit again. We will talk more about it when we meet.

  2. lovely book! oh, and stamps! i’m just like you … ripping of corners of envelopes! i had a huge box of stamps collected since i was HS … but i never did organize them.

  3. Hi Aloi :D I’ve found that sorting them is very relaxing! Still no luck with the stamp albums so far, maybe I’ll just get my sister to buy me one in Singapore.

  4. Pingback: Bookish Stamps

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