Notebook Addict of the Week: Clara

I stumbled across this week’s addict in her blog post celebrating National Stationery Day in 2012, where she lists a few of her favorite items, including, of course, notebooks!



Moleskine notebooks, great piles of them: black for Proper Writing, occasionally red for moments of wild frivolity. Sometimes, if a story is going badly, I convince myself that the notebook paper isn’t QUITE the right shade of off-white, or the right thickness, so I rush out and buy a pile more.”



“Little notebooks for my bag (getting smaller and smaller if I lack confidence in what I’m writing in them)…”

See more at I’ll show you mine… | Sunny side up!.

A Soccer Broadcaster’s Notebooks

I love notebook pages that are dense with information. These ones below, belonging to BBC Radio soccer commentator Nick Barnes, are just packed with writing, color and data– sometimes even little flags for the countries the players are from. All this information could have been captured in a less elaborate way, I’m sure, but Barnes has made each soccer match a work of art.

One of the notebooks seems to be a large size Leuchtturm.


All photographs by Henrik Knudsen for Eight by Eight.

Source: Cheat Sheets I: The Art of Commentary With BBC’s Nick Barnes | Eight by Eight

Notebook Addict of the Week: Charity

This week’s addict blogs at Imperfect Happiness. In one of her posts, she talks about the difficulty of saying “I am a writer.” So many of us have this problem– if we aren’t being paid to publish books or write articles full time, we wonder if we can really call ourselves writers– or sometimes, it’s just a question of answering other people who wonder what kind of writing we do, and whether it counts as “real.”

Charity includes the photo and comment below as proof that she is indeed a writer:

“Evidence: A pile of completed notebooks. (Not pictured: everything on my hard-drive, nearly 1,000 blog posts (and 100’s more on my other blogs, past and present), and dozens of other notebooks.)”


If you write, you are a writer! And if you write in notebooks, all the better! I like Charity’s tidy pile of spiral notebooks– they’re all very similar in style, but I don’t think any two are exactly alike!

Read more at A Writer By Any Other Name | Imperfect Happiness.

Sketches of the Surface

Did you ever wonder how someone came up with the design for the Microsoft Surface tablet? Apparently it started with these early concept sketches in Ralf Groene’s notebook:


Read more at Microsoft’s Surface tablet started off life as this doodle in a sketchbook | The Verge

1911 Catalogue of Stationery

This is extremely cool: a catalog from 1911, featuring all manner of notebooks and other stationery. The only thing that could be cooler would be if you could find some forgotten warehouse that still had all these products in stock!

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 6.00.16 PM
Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 6.00.29 PM


Flip through the whole catalog at Catalogue of stationery : section no. 1, blank …. It goes way beyond notebooks and ledgers– there are pencils, pens, writing papers, and school supplies. A real treat!


Found via  the Quo Vadis blog.


Notebook Addict of the Week: Karen

This week’s addict could be thought of as a professional notebook addict, as she is the VP of marketing for Exaclair, whose brands include Quo Vadis, Rhodia, and Clairefontaine. On the Quo Vadis blog, she asks “Are Notebook Users Monogamous?” Based on this photo, I’d say not!

Of course, any self-respecting notebook addict could not be truly monogamous in the sense of mating with one notebook for life. Aside from it being against our nature, we’d run out of pages! (Even a refillable notebook might fall apart with that much use.) Though monogamy could be defined as just sticking with one brand or type of notebook for life. Then there would be serial monogamy– using one notebook at a time, then switching to another one when you’re done. Bigamy would be using two notebooks at a time. Polygamy would be spreading the love amongst many notebooks at once. Then there’s the utter promiscuity that most readers of this site would probably confess to! Might as well face it, we’re addicted to love… loving notebooks, that is!
Read more about Karen’s notebooks at Are Notebook Users Monogamous? | Quo Vadis Blog.

Robert Smith’s Notebooks

Robert Smith is a journalist who works on NPR’s Planet Money. I love this photo of his notebooks!

Here’s part of his story on how they ended up this way:

“I started to put photos on the front of my notebooks because I kept losing track of which one I was using. I would just pick up the closest pad, and the next thing I knew I had 7 different notebooks going. It was crazy. So I started to snip photos out of magazines and review copies of books, and glue them on the front.I guess I grew sort of fond of each notebook. You know, you carry them around all day and they become symbolic of certain stories. My hurricane Katrina notebook has a fire breathing monster on it. The notebook I used during a difficult week I spent as a host has a falling tree on it…”

Read more at » Here’s what NPR ‘Planet Money’ journalist Robert Smith does with his old notebooks JIMROMENESKO.COM. Photo by @ryankailath

Notebook Addict of the Week (again): P. W.

This week’s addict was first featured in 2012 with this photo of their collection:

As of January 2015, here’s the current collection:

Annotated on Flickr as follows:

my stack of blank notebooks. from left to right:

– moleskine large weekly notebook planner 2014, le petit prince edition

– little prince diary, gift from a friend, purchased in hong kong

– hardcover notebook, souvenir, purchased at the vatican museum

– staple-bound softcover notebooks, souvenirs, purchased at vertecchi, rome

– hand-decorated softcover notebook, souvenir, purchased at il papiro, rome

– hardcover notebook, souvenir, purchased at cartoleria pantheon, rome

– moleskine large weekly notebook and small daily planners 2013, le petit prince edition

– moleskine weekly notebook planner 2012, pacman edition

– moleskine large ruled and small plain notebooks, the hobbit edition

– stone paper softcover notebook, souvenir, purchased at the royal ontario museum, toronto

– moleskine large weekly notebook planner 2011

– moleskine large ruled and small plain notebooks, star wars edition

– moleskine large ruled notebooks, indigo exclusive edition

– large hardcover twine-bound notebook, gift from brother, purchased in mexico city

– moleskine large ruled and small plain notebooks, le petit prince edition

– moleskine large weekly notebook planner 2010

– large hardcover notebook with handmade paper

– moleskine small blank notebook, peanuts edition

– moleskine large ruled notebooks, indigo exclusive edition

– moleskine small ruled notebooks, van gogh edition

– tarpaper notebook, souvenir, purchased at la feltrinelli on via di torre argentina, rome

– stifflexible notebook, souvenir, purchased at la feltrinelli on via di torre argentina, rome

– leather cover notebook, souvenir, purchased at san lorenzo market, florence

– handmade notebook, souvenir, purchased at montserrat

– softcover notebook, souvenir, purchased at park guell, barcelona

What a great idea to take regularly updated photos of the collection as it grows, with notes on where each one was purchased. A lot of these are from Rome, which I think will have to be my next major notebook shopping destination!

Diary of a WWI Soldier

A beautiful old notebook containing the recollections of Alfred Gougeon, a French stretcher-bearer in World War 1. It sounds like he kept daily notes during the war, and then returned to them in the 1960s to write more about his experiences, given the two sets of dates on the cover. His family kept 3 of his notebooks, with writings about the war and also his post-war life as a maker of surgical instruments.


See more interior images at Europeana 1914-1918

Review: Essentials Notebook

Essentials Notebook01

I first saw the Essentials Notebook brand on the Barnes & Noble website— an accidental find, while looking for the Piccadilly Essential Notebook. I don’t know if the similar naming was deliberate, but the products are from two different companies. This Essentials Notebook is made by Peter Pauper Press, and I bought it at the lovely Montclair Stationery shop in Montclair, New Jersey. (If you are in the area, please go and buy something from them! See this post for some examples of the time-warp gems they have stashed amongst their shelves.)

I bought this notebook purely for research purposes, because it was a brand I’d never tried, and at $8.99 it was relatively cheap. I was pretty sure I’d never use it, as the 4 x 5.5″ shape is a bit too wide for me– and though those are the measurements cited on the packaging, the actual size according to my ruler is about 4.25 x 5.75″– even further from the 3.5 x 5.5″ standard I prefer. (Though if I’m really going to be a stickler about it, I should admit that most supposedly 3.5 x 5.5″ notebooks aren’t quite that size either– Moleskines are actually about 3 5/8 x 5 5/8″.) I could also see that the cover overhang was big enough to get on my nerves, and not quite symmetrical, though it at least wasn’t crooked. The notebook was shrink-wrapped, so I couldn’t really get much of a feel for it otherwise, and figured it was just another cheapo Moleskine clone.

Essentials Notebook07Essentials Notebook06Essentials Notebook05

My first impressions after taking off the shrinkwrap weren’t much better– the binding is a little wonky around the spine. Worse, when I opened the back cover, there must have been some stray glue between the pages, as the inside back cover stuck to the expanding pocket and ripped. Despite all that, I felt like the notebook had a nice heft and somehow felt solid and substantial.

Essentials Notebook04Essentials Notebook11

The branding is mostly on a removable paper band tucked around the front cover. There is nothing else on the inside front, but on the next page there is copyright info– this is standard in books, but not something you usually see in notebooks. The Essentials name is stamped on the lower back cover. Inside the back cover, there is some background info on Peter Pauper Press.

Essentials Notebook08Essentials Notebook09Essentials Notebook10Essentials Notebook02

The notebook opens nice and flat, and the paper inside is smooth and bright white. The paper weight is not specified, but it feels great to write on, and I was pleasantly surprised at its performance. A little less show-through than average, and quite good on bleed-through. Fountain pens did show very slight feathering, but drying time wasn’t too bad– the Lamy smeared at 5 seconds but both were dry by 10 seconds. I think most users would be quite happy with this paper.

Essentials Notebook12Essentials Notebook13Essentials Notebook14

I ended up being a lot more charmed by this notebook than I expected to be. There’s something about it that just feels solid and good, and while it’s far from perfect for my particular preferences, there’s nothing about it that makes me want to throw it out the window. (See the Metro notebook review for an example of a notebook that DOES make me feel that way!) Although I’m usually so picky about the proportions of my notebooks, I felt like this is one I could happily draw in and be glad to have the extra width, especially with the pages opening flat so easily.

The Essentials Notebooks come in pocket and large sizes, with grid, lined, and plain formats. Black and red covers are available. Amazon has some value-priced two-packs available also.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin