Notebook Addict of the Week: Carol

A reader named Carol sent me a really nice email a couple of months ago and I’m finally getting around to making her an Addict of the Week. Here’s some of what she had to say (I’m blushing as I write this!):

I love you, I love your website, and I love all the other people out there who love notebooks.  I used to think I was the only one!  No more….

First a shot of my lifetime in notebooks, kept on and off since I was twelve (I’m 48).

Then my current stash.  The top three are in use, the others are lying in wait.  Their number is smaller than usual because I just gave a pile of rejects to a thrift store.

Currently coveting: another Miquelrius, Rhodia ePure, Bob’s Your Uncle Do-Doodle.

I asked Carol about the small green notebook in the lower left corner of the second photo, as I really liked the look of it and hadn’t seen anything quite like it:

The little green notebook is old, though I have no idea how old. Someone gave it to me, it’s made by a company called Warwick, and it’s actually called “Album of Snapshots” with heavy paper for mounting pictures (the pages are perforated, and the instructions say to remove every other one, I guess so the book will keep it’s shape once the photos are in), but I figured it would work for collage, drawing, etc. too.

Finally, here’s a question Carol was pondering. I’ve often wondered the same thing, and I’ll bet many other readers have too:

Has anyone ever put forward a psychological theory as to WHY we love notebooks so much? I mean, I understand the need to be creative and remember things and make lists and whatnot, but loving the actual physical notebooks, keeping empty ones around and still buying more, always looking for a better one?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments…but it may just be one of those mysteries of the world that we’ll never understand!

A big thanks again to Carol for sharing her notebook addiction!

14 thoughts on “Notebook Addict of the Week: Carol”

  1. Yes, I think the need to write, to express oneself, is intrinsic with many human beings. Maybe the notebook or journal, being the object through which we often satisfy that need, is so intimately connected to it that whenever we see a notebook its pure potential evokes a response of comfort and anticipation in us we find irresistible. It can become a compulsion, as I’ve discovered. I could stop buying notebooks today and I would have enough in my stash to last for years at my current rate of consumption. My wife is very tolerant of this, since there are worse and more expensive compulsions one could have, which I appreciate.

  2. I wish I knew why I loved notebooks so much. But I’m pleasantly surprised to know that I’m not alone. I have more unused notebooks than I could possibly fill, but whenever I go to Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc. I’m tempted to buy another one (I’m getting better at resisting though). What’s stranger is I’ll often buy more of a journal I already own (ie: another large ruled moleskine).

    Maybe it’s not so different from collecting music boxes, dolls, figurines or other trinkets. Maybe collecting journals could be viewed as a hobby like any other. People collect all sorts of things right? Or maybe I’m just trying to justify my nerdy little obsession. 🙂


  3. So exciting to see my notebooks on this blog! And I loved reading the comments. I particularly liked Victoria D.’s—lately I’ve stopped thinking of notebooks as something I have to DO (i.e. fill them with perfect brilliance), and more as something I collect, and I definitely feel less guilty when I buy a new one that way.

  4. Ooh, I like the perspective of just collecting notebooks for the sake of collecting them. The unsullied objects do have their own aesthetic appeal, don’t they? And when I’m long gone, someone disposing of my personal effects will inherit a nice batch of unused, vintage notebooks and journals! I like it.

  5. What a great collection of notebooks. I have five or six dozen myself, so I definitely like to see others’ hoards. And that’s why I think I love buying notebooks and journals of all types, I”m hoarding them for all my thoughts the way squirrels gather nuts for the winter.

  6. As I have 35 years of journals filled with writing and drawing stored in my closet, I know I buy them to use. But yes, I also have about 3 years of blank ones, of all kinds, waiting.

    I buy them because of the potential they offer–for recording the life, ideas, and art that I have yet to create.

  7. Yes, I do like the thought of collecting them just for the sake of collecting them but I must admit that I have this weird guilt about NOT filling them and just having them sitting on my shelves. That guilt and the preference for acid-free/acid neutral pages limit my obsession since so many journals out there are acidic.

  8. The one in the middle row, far right — my God. That’s an “Anything Book”. I must have had a dozen of those in the late 70s. I bought most of them at the university bookstore. I still have two, one brown and one red, and a large dark blue one with a kind of mosaic-mandala cover. Their books had beautiful covers – I remember one in particular that was dark grey with a type alphabet on it in silver. The company still exists, but only makes books with a “classic executive” cover now.

    As to why we do this. For me, it is literally lifelong. I kept all sorts of notebooks and still do. A blank book is its own joy. I do not know what this attraction is, or even if it has a name. For a long time, I thought I was the only one, or that it was rare. This blog and the ones like it are some of the first sources of cultural “permission” I have found, although nothing (other than money) has ever stopped me.

  9. Yes Jay, it is an Anything Book! I found it at a thrift shop, in perfect condition. And well-said, exactly how I felt when I found this blog. My motto is now “buy ’em if you like ’em (and worry about filling ’em later).”

  10. I just recently got two journals and I’m already half way through the first one. (I got them at the end of May) I’m going to hae to talk my family into gettign me more for Christmas. Wonder if I can get away with asking for a Halloween or Thanksgiving gift…you think?

  11. I just recently got two journals and I’m already half way through the first one. (I got them at the end of May) I’m going to have to talk my family into getting me more for Christmas. Wonder if I can get away with asking for a Halloween or Thanksgiving gift…you think?

  12. I can say why I love notebooks so much: it’s a psychological thing about fearing scarcity. Whenever I read stories about Depression and wartime, it always seemed like paper was the first thing to go. You remember Jo and all her sisters using the same piece of paper to write a letter to their mom?
    And I thought to myself: “…Well, I’M not going to be without any paper!!!” And even though I know that’s not realistic NOW, what w/ how paper’s so mass-produced and plentiful, I always, ALWAYS have lots hangin’ around; Moleskine, Ciak, Mead, composition books (composition books are GREAT)…just in case you know?

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