Dumb Notebook Questions

It amazes me what people will ask on the internet:

Why is European notebook paper in a grid format (i.e. horizontal and vertical lines) instead of simply horizontal lines?

Someone’s helpful answer: It’s not.

I live in Europe (Netherlands), and we have both. There are notebooks with vertical lines, and there are notebooks with grids.
For normal day-to-day usage we a simple vertical lines notebook, but for some occasions the grid is simply handier, like when there are lots of graphs to draw. So, we also use each notebook when applicable, and the vertical lines one is used in most occasions, just like in the US.

I’m glad to learn this interesting information about the strange notebook-use habits of that exotic species known as Europeans!

Moleskine Monday: How Many Signatures

I noticed that the Moleskine I’m currently using seemed not to open quite as flat as my previous one. Closer inspection led me to discover that this notebook has only 8 signatures of pages, and the old one had 12. When I looked through various other Moleskines in my collection, I found a mix– most had 8, but a few had 12, with no seeming rhyme or reason to it. Some of the 8s were old Kikkerland-distributed Moleskines, and some were more recent ones without the Modo & Modo name on them.

How many signatures do your Moleskines have?

The Blue Notebook, by James Levine

I like the look of this forthcoming book! What a beautiful cover.
The Blue Notebook is not available until July 2009, but here’s a teaser:

An unforgettable, deeply affecting tribute to the powers of imagination and the resilience of childhood, The Blue Notebook tells the story of Batuk, a precocious 15-year-old girl from rural India who was sold into sexual slavery by her father when she was nine. As she navigates the grim realities of the Common Street—a street of prostitution in Mumbai where children are kept in cages as they wait for customers to pay for sex—Batuk manages to put pen to paper, recording her private thoughts and stories in a diary. The novel is powerfully told in Batuk’s voice, through the words she writes in her journal, where she finds hope and beauty in the bleakest circumstances.

Beautifully crafted and deeply human, The Blue Notebook explores how people, in the most difficult of situations, can use storytelling to make sense of and give meaning to their lives. All of the U.S. proceeds from this novel will be donated to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children (http://www.icmec.org).

Handmade Notebook by The Vespiary

Courtesy of Dave’s Mechanical Pencils:

The Vespiaries products are all handmade. My notebook is a small hardcover notebook, 140mm tall x 95mm wide x 14mm thick. It oozes sturdiness. The pages are plain unlined white paper. I’m no expert on paper, but this paper feels a little thicker, and has a rougher surface finish than standard copier type papers. More sketch paper than writing or copy paper. I would suspect the paper might have some bleed through issues with fountain pen ink, but that’s outside my line of interest!

The Vespiary has some beautiful stuff for sale on Etsy.

New Moleskine Diaries for 2010

Ooh, can’t wait for these! According to a press release on Moleskine.com, there are some neat new planners coming for next year:

Moleskine Color a Month Daily Diary Box Set: 12-months: one color per month
Packed in an elegant black case with elastic strap, each of the notebooks in this series of twelve is a different color–one color for each month of the year. The interior of each notebook features lined pages that delineate hours so that appointments, meetings, and notes are easy to decipher. Lightweight and easy to carry, the rich, deep reds, vibrant greens, and cool blues of the notebooks make them instantly distinguishable. Packed in an elegant black case with an elastic strap that can easily transform into an archive of the year’s thoughts, this set also includes transparent label stickers with month numbers and names for easy customization.

Moleskine’s new Project Planner is the perfect tool for planning, organizing, and keeping track of both longterm and short-term projects. The diary features a soft black cover and 52 accordion-style pages with lined and graphed pages — creating the ideal forum for tracking the progress of professional, business, and artistic projects over the course of a year.

The Panoramic Diary offers a fresh way to look at the workweek. Unlike other daily and weekly planners, the Panoramic Diary is used vertically instead of horizontally and graphically represents one week on two pages, with each week’s view, a full month “snapshot” is also shown in the lower right hand corner. Space on the right-hand side of the book also includes room for “to do” lists, notes, and more.

Moleskine’s first-ever Desk Calendar artfully re-imagines the notebook’s iconic and well-loved details in an entirely new format. The calendar’s hard black cover folds back to turn into a stand and features an elastic strap for secure closure. The daily detachable pages count down the days of the year and include lines for writing down thoughts, ideas, inspirations, daily events, appointments, and more. An inner pocket neatly stores the “days” to remember.

Moleskine “Artist’s cover” Diaries – Martí Guixé – Limited Edition 12-months MartÍ Guixé, the provocative Barcelona and Berlin-based designer, whom had participated in the Detour Moleskine Project in Paris in 2008, was selected to create the inaugural Moleskine Artist Collection Diaries. Guixé’s first project for Moleskine is a series of weekly and daily planners for 2010 in both large and pocket sizes. The notebooks’ playful, hand-drawn graphic is carried over from the front to the back of each notebook, bringing the designer’s distinctive aesthetic to the iconic Moleskine notebook. Each planner features a leather cover and is available in either basic black or vibrant red.

I am excited about the color-a-month set, and the project planner is intriguing. I’m not so sure about that desk calendar, though!

(Thanks to Moleskinerie for pointing out the relaunch of the Moleskine website.)

Notebook Addict of the Week

Check out all these wonderfully collaged journals from Ugly is the New Cute:

The owner stumbled across these notebooks after she had to empty out a filing cabinet in order to move it:

However what called to me more were the 10+ notebooks & journals from sophomore year in high school through college. I skimmed college years, laughing at how much I liked to use the big words and concepts from Freshman philosophy courses and such. It was fun to read forgotten funny quotes from the ongoing “quote book” of my life. Then I got back into the proper journals of mine from High School. It’s weird, looking at the dates and thinking, hmmm, what was going on in the life of Mir a decade ago? Apparently drama was what was going on. A lot of it. Drama written with the greatest weight and importance attached to it. Some scenes still hold a firm place in my memory, others I had completely forgotten about until this day.

I know the feeling– there’s nothing like an old journal to make you realize that your memory isn’t as good as you thought!

Whitelines Notebooks at Kate’s Paperie

According to New York Magazine:

Arriving April 1 from Stockholm, Whitelines notebooks have gray-tone pages that are cool on the eyes ($3 at Kate’s Paperie, 72 Spring St. nr. Crosby St.; 212-941-9816

See more products at the Whitelines web page.

The concept is that the white lines on grey paper is not only easy on the eyes, but will interfere less with the look of whatever you’re writing or drawing, and won’t show up on a photocopy.

An Engineer’s Notebook, c.1830

Here’s another wonderful notebook from the past. It belonged to James Haden (1790 – 1871), a member of a family engineering firm in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England.

James was “the partner in the firm who travelled the country erecting, supervising and taking orders for the installation of warm air heating & ventilating stoves and expanding the firms business. His travels took him the length and breadth of the British Isles and his notebook shows visits to counties as far apart as Kent and Invernesshire.”

From the company history:

One of James’ notebooks has survived, which covers the years 1829 – 1832. It gives an interesting insight into his travels and varied engineering interests. This notebook accompanied him on his various site visits to take details about the buildings he was to survey.

The notebook has a strange mixture of information in it ranging from firstly, quite detailed dimensioned survey sketches that he drew, complete with the calculations necessary to establish the size and number of warm air stoves required to heat the premises. Other pages give various scientific technical notes on,

* how to make a thermometer;
* the theory of latent heat and how this can explain the cooling of champagne;
* the theory of the hydraulic ram;
* how to make a spirit level;
* the composition of air;
* an explanation about stuttering and stammering;
* article copied from Gardening Magazine about Perkins HPHW heating system.

He also mentions items relating to botany.

I would love to see more pages from this notebook!

Piccadilly Squared Notebooks Coming in April

One of the frequent comments on Piccadilly’s Moleskine-like notebooks has been that people wish there was a version with graph/ squared paper. Well, wish no more! According to the Piccadilly website, they’ll have them in April! The question, though, is whether any retailers will have them. Black Cover’s review mentioned that a gridded version was available, but I’ve never heard of them being in stores. The Borders stores I’ve been to have only sold the lined and plain versions…

A Victorian Journal Full of Dark Thoughts

From Affinity, by Sarah Waters, a dark and moody novel of psychological suspense set in the Victorian era:

I saw her looking at the pictures I have pinned at the side of my desk, and then at this book. I had closed the covers, but had my pen between the pages to keep the place. “What’s that?” she said. “What are you writing there?” She said it was unhealthy to sit at a journal so long; that it would throw me back upon my own dark thoughts and weary me.

Nowadays I suppose most people see journaling as therapeutic, rather than something unhealthy that throws them back upon their dark thoughts!