Review: Appointed Notebook

Appointed is a brand of notebooks and accessories that I’ve seen cropping up in a few stylish boutiques here and there in NYC. The company is based in Washington DC, and the products are made in the USA, with a minimalist aesthetic. Let’s take a look at the sample they sent me:

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This is the backbone of their product line– a 7.5 x 9.5″ wire-bound notebook. It’s not a typical size for wire-bound notebooks– it’s more the size of a composition book. The first impression is one of solid, understated quality– the wire is a darker bronze color, not overly shiny. The cover is a textured bookcloth over a plain white cardboard. It has a bit of flex to it but isn’t flimsy. The appointed name and logo are stamped on the front, and with the address and website on the back.

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The corners of the cover are tightly rounded, which I like, though it’s a bit odd that the pages inside have square corners. The covers are made to be slightly wider than the pages, but only slightly, so the squared page corners end up sticking out beyond the rounded cover.

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Inside the notebook, you get cool bright white paper. Every sheet is perforated, with grid lines on the front, and plain on the back. At the left edge, the grid lines end, leaving a blank space with a place to write the date. One thing that really impressed me about this notebook was how carefully aligned the grid is to the page– there are almost no partial squares cut off at the edges. Almost every page is perfectly lined up, and the few that miss are only by a hair. Most squared notebooks have much more variation so you see zigzaggy lines when you look at the page edges– on the Appointed notebook, they are sharp and straight. I love that kind of attention to detail! Lined and blank versions of the notebook are also available.

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The paper feels smooth and somewhat hard when you write on it. Fine gel ink pens work beautifully but wetter pens and fountain pens tend to feather out a bit. Show-through and bleed-through were about average.

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At $24 for a 75-sheet (150 pages) notebook, this is not super cheap, but it’s not way over-priced in comparison to other upscale notebooks. For a USA-made product with such attention to quality construction and attractive design, it doesn’t seem like a bad value. Look for them in higher end retailers near you!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Josh

This week’s addict has a lovely shelf full of Field Notes.

You’ll also notice what looks like a couple of antique diaries in the middle there, but they’re actually iPhone cases! (A very nice iPhone wallet case called BookBook.)

Josh is actually reviewing the iPhone cases in the post linked below, so you won’t learn much about his notebook usage, other than that he sometimes keeps a leather Field Notes cover in his pocket. But I do like seeing his tidily shelved collection of used notebooks and spares!
Read more at The BookBook Case for iPhone 6 Plus — Tools and Toys

Kim Jong Un Visits Dandelion Notebook Factory

Notebooks make everyone happy, even Kim Jong Un!

SEOUL, April 18 (UPI) — Kim Jong Un visited a North Korean stationery factory, his first field guidance visit to a civilian site in three weeks, according to state news agency KCNA. The plant was newly constructed and manufactures mostly notebooks for school use.

Read more at: Kim Jong Un visits Dandelion Notebook Factory – UPI.com

Nanami Paper’s Value Comparison

A commenter named Sara reminded me to check out what might be new at Nanami Paper. If you like the Tomoe River paper found in certain Japanese notebooks, such as those made by Design.Y, Nanami Paper offers its own brand of notebooks called Seven Seas, which feature this lovely paper in a softcover lay-flat binding. They have also expanded their offerings to other Japanese notebooks, as well as pens and accessories.

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The other nice thing about Nanami Paper’s website is the thorough information they provide. I loved this comparison chart analyzing the value of popular notebook brands by how many square inches of writing space you get per dollar. It’s quite illuminating!

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Notebook Addict of the Week: Luisa

This week’s addict is an illustrator and web developer who blogs at Je Suis Éclectique. The images below are from a wonderful post about how to develop a good sketchbook habit.

“If you’ve ever wandered into an office supplies, art or craft store and walked down the aisles of lovely notebooks, a mysterious pull might get hold of you: either you want to write or you want to draw. You want to create.

I have piles of notebooks for both purposes but I want to focus on the sketchbook….”

Read more and see more of Luisa’s artwork at: Why Keep a Sketchbook? – Je Suis Éclectique

The Mystery of 148 Lost Notebooks

This is an extraordinary story. But I hope it doesn’t happen to me someday!

The 148 diaries below were found in a dumpster. Many years later, a biographer named Alexander Masters tries to decipher the writer’s identity from their contents… to say any more would be a spoiler. It’s a must read!
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Read more at: Diary of a somebody: could I solve the mystery of 148 lost notebooks? | Books | The Guardian

The full story will be available in book form in the US later this year: A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in the Trash

Student Writers and their Notebooks

I always love seeing kids with notebooks:

 

“Standing in line to go back to class Thursday, Oct. 20, Ekole Azah jotted a few more lines of a ghostly encounter in her notebook. Her Halloween tale was one of many stories written by students at Bethany School as they joined in the National Day of Writing with a “flash mob” of writers on the school playground.

“I liked writing — it just felt so good,” Kayleigh Savage said after the project. “I told people I was a writer.”

Students in Devon Jurcso’s third-grade class have been honing their writing skills all year, penning short stories daily during class. Jurcso attended a four-week long Great Valley Writing Project course over the summer and took their ideas into her classroom, where she works to instill a passion for writing in her students.

The class gathers thoughts and ideas in small pocket notebooks, and at the end of each writing session, girls and boys take turns in an author’s chair to share their creations.”

Read more at Tracy Press – Students let the ink out.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Mark

This week’s addict is an architect with a shelf full of sketchbooks and a recent preference for Field Notes:

“…I am quite pleased to have recently found a series of small, flexible notebooks by Field Notes Brand…

They are not quite large enough to replace the classic 5×8 landscape-bound black sketchbooks that I have been using for 20 years, but they are much more likely to make it to and from the jobsites…

On top of a bookcase in my office is a collection of about 30 or so sketchbooks, large and small, that I have employed since undergrad.  These include the aforementioned 5x8s (the landscape-bound version can not be purchased here in Boulder and has to be ordered), as well as Moleskins, innumerable spiral notebooks and some very nice Japanese sketchbooks.  Chock full of drawings, sketches, ideas and the occasional grocery list, it is a growing company with the Field Notes soon to be added.”

 

Field Notes brand notebooks and 20 years of other sketchbooks, by Mark Gerwing, architect

Read more at: Field Notes Brand | m gerwing architects, architecture, house design, multi-family design, Boulder, Colorado

Review: Dream Atlas

Recording one’s dreams is a common use for a journal. It’s easy to just take any blank page and write down a dream you’ve remembered. But the Dream Atlas is a specialized journal that has been created for people who really want to delve deeply into their dreaming. The creators are aiming to help people remember their dreams better, take advantage of insights from dreams, and even control lucid dreams.

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The Dream Atlas, which I received as a free sample, comes from the makers of DreamLeaf herbal supplement pills that claim to change your sleep cycle to enhance your dreaming. I can’t vouch for any of that, but the Dream Atlas should work whether you are taking pills to dream or just doing it the old-fashioned way!

 

The Dream Atlas notebook is at first glance quite similar to the larger size Moleskine. 5.5 x 8.5″, hardcover, with a ribbon marker and elastic closure. There is no back pocket, but you do get a pen loop. The actual feel of the cover reminds me of the Pen & Ink journals– the black cover material has a somewhat softer texture and slightly rounded spine. The whole notebook is less stiff than a Moleskine– you can bend it slightly, though it is not as flexible as a softcover. The front cover has an embossed Dream Atlas logo, and a smaller embossed logo and brand name appear in the  usual spot on the lower back cover.

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The distinguishing characteristics of this notebook are less in the outer form than in the inner content. At the beginning there are a few pages with advice on how to improve your dreaming and how to have lucid dreams.

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Then the body of the journal contains page spreads for recording each dream, with a section for describing what happened in the dream, recording symbols and their meanings, drawing an image from the dream, and making notes about your interpretation of the dream’s meaning.There’s also a checkbox for recording whether the dream was a lucid one, and each spread has a quote about sleeping or dreams, from authors such as James Baldwin, Erich Fromm, Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, and many others.

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At the end of the notebook are a few pages for recapping common dream themes and signs and other notes.

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I didn’t do a full range of pen tests in this notebook, but I did happen to have a very appropriate dream to record in my sample notebook! I used a Uniball Signo RT 0.38 pen, and found the paper to be pleasantly smooth, with an average amount of show-through.

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I often jot down notes about dreams in my regular notebooks, so I found it quite fun to record this dream in more detail, and be prompted to look into its meanings. If you are really committed to recording your dreams, the prompts in this journal should be quite helpful, and it would make a great gift for any dreamer. You can buy the Dream Atlas on Amazon, or at the DreamLeaf website.

Christine Lagarde’s Notebook

Christine Lagarde is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, which makes her one of the most powerful women in the world of finance and politics. I was happy to see the photo below– looks she uses a pocket notebook to help keep track of things!

Detail:
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Looks like a softcover Moleskine, probably…

Source: How IMF head Christine Lagarde convinces powerful men to make gender equality a priority – Women in the World in Association with The New York Times – WITW

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