Happy Holidays!

Seasons greetings, everyone! Notebook Stories is taking a bit of a holiday hiatus and posting will be light until 2010. But in the meantime I can report that although I did not get any new notebooks for Christmas, I gave a few to other people and they all seemed to like my choices. Also, while traveling I managed to fill up about 2/3 of a Handbook journal with sketches– a vacation can be so conducive to drawing and journaling!

I’ll be getting back to that vacation now, but more posts will be coming soon.

Forthcoming Notebook Reviews

I have quite a to-do list going with various new notebooks to review, not to mention old ones from my collection.

Here’s a few of my recent purchases and samples I’ve received that you’ll get a look at in the next couple of months:

Simple Diary

Rhodia Notepad

Kolo Essex Travel Book

Tops Designer Notebook

Monologue and Dialogue Notebooks from Grandluxe

Blackwell Notebook

Revolver Journal

Scribe Notebook

Ecosystem Journals

Miquelrius Notebook

Kiki James Leather Jotter

Maruman and Pilot Notebooks from Kinokuniya

And who knows what other new notebooks lurk over the horizon! Stay tuned…

Holiday Gift Ideas for Notebook Lovers

Only 9 more shopping days til Christmas! Notebooks can make gifts for pretty much anyone, but here’s a few ideas for when you’re trying to find something just right!

For someone crafty, how about the Stitchable Journal: Personalized Journal & Decorative Keepsake Box— it comes in a kit with yarn and needles that allow you to create a design on the cover in actual needlepoint!

For an artist: Hand Book Artist Journals are my favorite notebooks for sketching with a variety of media– pencils, pens, markers and even watercolors all work well on the 130 gsm paper. They come in beautiful colors and a few different formats, including the rather unique 5.5×5.5″ square!
Hand Book Artist Journals

For someone who loves to travel: the Nomad Travel Journal w/ Leather Case is a nice way to document every trip, with formatted pages to help you record all the important details of your trip.
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For a sports fan: How about the Moleskine City Notebook London? Even if they’re not attending the 2012 Olympics, they can at least follow along vicariously and jot down ideas for a future visit! Or you could get them a Rite in the Rain notebook– if it’s waterproof, it must also be sweat-proof! Perfect for gym workout logging, or note-taking on soccer field sidelines.
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As for everyone else on your list, if you want to give an inexpensive gift that anyone can appreciate, stop by your local Borders store and grab some Piccadilly notebooks. Happy stocking-stuffing!

My Favorite “Notebook Book:” Lynda Barry’s “What It Is”

If you’re into art journaling, this book will rock your world. Every page is stuffed with colors, words, drawings– Lynda Barry jams so much onto each page, so beautifully– it’s really inspiring.

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From the School Library Journal review: “Each page is a feast for the eyes with beautiful full-page collages of photographs, watercolors, ink drawings, and text, resulting in a gorgeous volume that explores and encourages writing in a combination of ways. The author challenges readers with philosophical questions to ponder, such as What is an image? Where are they found? Can we remember something we can’t imagine?”

Here’s a detail of one of a sample page. I love the look of the yellow lined paper peeking through.

Picture 1

Check out this wonderful book– you’ll want to stare at it for hours!
What It Is, by Lynda Barry.

In Praise of Handwriting

Do you ever look at your notebooks and wish you had better handwriting to fill them with? And do you ever notice that notebooks from the past always seem to be full of beautiful script? If so, you might be interested in this book about the history of handwriting. In this electronic age, it just isn’t what it used to be!
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Steeped in the Palmer Method of handwriting she learned in Catholic school, Kitty Burns Florey is a self-confessed “penmanship nut” who loves the act of taking pen to paper. So when she discovered that schools today forego handwriting drills in favor of teaching something called keyboarding, it gave her pause: “There is a widespread belief that, in a digital world, forming letters on paper with a pen is pointless and obsolete,” she says, “and anyone who thinks otherwise is right up there with folks who still have fallout shelters in their backyards.”

Florey tackles the importance of writing by hand and its place in our increasingly electronic society in this fascinating exploration of the history of handwriting. Weaving together the evolution of writing implements and scripts, pen collecting societies, the golden age of American penmanship, the growth in popularity of handwriting analysis, and the pockets of aficionados who still prefer scribbling on paper to tapping on keys, she poses the question: Is writing by hand really no longer necessary in today’s busy world?


Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting

Oversized Matchbook Notepads


These are a bit different from the kinds of notebooks that usually interest me, but I thought they were pretty cool when I saw them recently in a store in Brooklyn called Nova Zembla. They’re about 5 x 7″, with a metal cover. You can also buy them online at this site: UncommonGoods.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Mywormy

This week’s notebook addict has the distinction of being our first Filofax addict:

filofax addict

This is a particularly hard to justify form of notebook addiction– after all, a Filofax is a durable, refillable binder: you can’t “use it up” the way you can with other bound notebooks and journals. 10 Moleskine-type notebooks might not seem like qualification for being a true addict, but 10 Filofaxes definitely counts. Even I only own 4 Filofaxes… I think… though that doesn’t count numerous other non-Filofax-branded binders that I filled with Filofax inserts… and various other small looseleaf notebooks… but most of those were probably cheaper than buying real Filofaxes, which are also one of the most expensive notebook addictions!

Via mywormy’s photostream on Flickr. For more Filofax addicts, check out the Philofaxy pool on Flickr.

Elle Magazine’s Favorite Notebooks

The Elle website features eleven favorite notebooks (with a wee mention of a review by yours truly), including Moleskine, Smythson, the Shopsin Diary, and the oh-so-high-school Trapper Keeper– who knew it’s been revived as a trendy accessory!

Yummy Idea: Keep a Chocolate Notebook!

Talk about the ultimate indulgence: devoting a notebook entirely to one’s chocolate consumption!

Isn’t it hard to start writing in a brand new notebook? Best to write or draw something on the first page right away, so you don’t have to be intimidated by the blank pages anymore.

This is my newest one and I already love it. It’s a collection of chocolate bar wrappers and what I was doing when I ate them.

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From The Chocolate Notebook via things i love: new notebooks and journals – blog – tales of LIFE.