Category Archives: writing

Denik Notebook Review & Giveaway

Today I’m finally doing a long overdue review of a Denik notebook. I’d first noticed this brand quite a while ago, due to their colorful point of purchase display, which I saw first at a booth at either the BookExpo convention or the NY NOW Gift Show at the Javits Center, or perhaps in a store in Brooklyn, I forget which. But wherever it was, the display was hard to miss due to the broad array of vibrant cover designs. I was thrilled to receive a free sample to review from Denik.

The Denik brand is all about creativity and activism. Their ever changing assortment of designs come from artists of all types. A portion of the proceeds from each notebook purchased goes to either the artist who designed the cover or to building schools around the world. Learn more here.

Denik Notebook - 1Denik Notebook - 2

The sample I received is one of their softcover notebooks, with a cover design by Katrina Houskeeper. The size is 5.25 x 8.25″, with 75 sheets/150 pages. It comes shrink-wrapped, and underneath, has an attractive grey-shaded cover with gold-stamped “Crazy Ideas” logo. The cover material is a soft feel to it and is said to be water resistant. The design continues on the inside front and back covers, which I love.

Denik Notebook - 3Denik Notebook - 4Denik Notebook - 5Denik Notebook - 9

The notebook is perfect-bound, so it does not lie flat– but I got this sample a while ago and Denik has since changed their construction to smyth-sewn and describe their softcovers as “lay-flat” so they have addressed that issue– yay! (They still say the page count is 150, which I’m trying to figure out, since I thought sewn signature notebooks always had page counts in multiples of 4. Maybe they glue in one extra page??)

Denik Notebook - 10Denik Notebook - 6

Inside, there is lined paper, which feels pretty average to the touch, not overly smooth, but gives a really nice gliding feel with most pens. Show-through is about average, and bleed-through slightly better than average. Some fountain pens feather a bit. Unlined paper is also available, and they also offer leather bound sketchbooks, and spiral bound notebooks and sketchbooks.

Denik Notebook - 7Denik Notebook - 8

 

At $11.95, the softcover notebook is maybe a teensy bit on the high end of reasonably priced, but I think that is OK given that it is made in the USA and benefits good causes. If you love collecting notebooks with colorful, unique covers, you’ll want to give these a try. You can find them at many retailers, or order online at the Denik webstore, or you can enter the giveaway for some prizes provided by Denik! We are giving away 5 Notebooks, one each to 5 different winners!

For this giveaway, the entry rules are a little different, so please read the instructions below carefully. I have just launched a Notebook Stories account on Instagram, so this will be my first Instagram giveaway!
To enter:

  • Follow @shopdenik on Instragram
  • Follow @notebook.stories on Instagram (make sure you have the “.” in there, as “@notebookstories” without the “.” is someone else!)
  • Tag a friend in the comments on my Instagram post about Denik. You can better your chances of winning by tagging more of your friends. Please keep it to one tag per comment.
  • You can also enter by posting a comment on this blog post with your Instagram account name, but you must be following @shopdenik and @notebook.stories in order to be eligible to win.
  • The deadline to enter is Friday October 20, 2017
  • You must be in the US to enter.

Winners will be announced within two weeks after the end of the entry period. Thanks and good luck everyone!

 

Save

Save

Save

Bradford Morrow’s Boorum & Pease Ledger

An excellent article at LitHub by Bradford Morrow, author of the just-published Prague Sonata, among other books. Really interesting look at a writer’s process and why he prefers physical note-taking to digital methods. Big thanks to reader Raymond for sending me the tip!

“My memory is good, but capricious at times. My scraps of paper get misplaced or wind up in the laundry. I don’t want to figure out dictation software. And my thumbs are hopeless, which is only part of the reason I hate texting. In an era of smart phones, palm-sized digital cameras, and featherweight laptops—also known as “notebooks”—the very idea of lugging around a heavy, folio-sized, hardcover Boorum & Pease record-ruled 9-300-R ledger or oversized black spiral-bound artist sketchbook, would seem at once masochistic and medieval. Yet, these behemoths, straight out of some Dickensian accountant’s office or landscape architect’s atelier, have served as my notebooks of choice for well over 20 years.”

Read more (and see lots more notebook images) at: Why Digital Note-Taking Will Never Replace the Physical Journal | Literary Hub

Save

Queen Victoria’s Urdu Notebook

You may have heard about the movie Victoria and Abdul, which stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, and Ali Fazal as a young Indian servant named Abdul Karim, whom she became close to. He taught her to speak and write in Urdu, which she practiced in notebooks such as the one below.

Karim kept his own diary, and his journals were used as a source for the story told in the movie.

Source: Queen Victoria’s rare notebook when she learned Urdu under the tutelage of Abdul Karim goes on display | The Indian Express

Writers on Keeping Diaries and Journals

Some great quotes about journal-keeping, from a variety of writers, including the ones below:

“People who keep journals have life twice.”

– Jessamyn West

 

“The diary taught me that it is in the moments of emotional crisis that human beings reveal themselves most accurately. I learned to choose the heightened moments because they are the moments of revelation.”

 – Anaïs Nin

The image is James Eike’s Field Book, 1960 from the Smithsonian Institution

Read more at: Why Writers Keep Journals | Writing on the Pages of Life

Notebook Addict of the Week: Abigoliah Schamaun

British comedian Abigoliah Schamaun has done 2000 comedy gigs, and filled lots of notebooks with her material. She talks about them below, accompanied by photographs by her boyfriend Tom Watts:

“…I’ve written jokes and setlists into vast numbers of notebooks. I have a notebook on me at all times. They are my security blanket. It doesn’t matter where I’m going or whether I plan on doing some writing once I get there, there is always a notebook in my bag. Gym, vacation, coffee shop; doesn’t matter. If there’s an afterlife I’ll carry one into that. I always have a notebook.

Abigoliah Schamaun's notebooks. Copyright: Tom Watts.

And I’ve always used a notebook, I’ve never switched to using some sort of spreadsheet or phone app. It’s just easier for me. Besides, if I drop my notebook in a puddle on the way to a gig it’ll be soggy but it still works. Notebooks are reliable, sturdy creatures. Writing a premise on a tangible object somehow makes the premise itself more tangible. It’s no longer just a thought in my head; I can now see it on white unlined paper and black ink. It’s real.

I LOVE new notebook day. It’s my favourite day. I usually buy moleskins, but sometimes I use notebooks that have been gifted to me. Every time I buy a notebook, there’s so much excitement and hope for that new notebook. I always think “This is the one! This is the one my first Live At The Apollo set will go into! This is the notebook my defining ‘bit’ will go into. Eddie Izzard has Cake vs Death, George Carlin has 7 Dirty Words, John Mulaney has The Salt and Pepper Diner. And I’m about to write mine.”

Abigoliah Schamaun's notebooks. Copyright: Tom Watts.

This level of glee and hope might be seen as childish and unrealistic. But no one goes into show-business because they have realistic expectations. Comics are dreamers who say funny things, it’s as simple as that.

When I’m done with them, they get tucked up on a shelf behind my whisky collection. I’ll be honest, I don’t look at them much once they’re put away.

To commemorate gig number 2,000 my boyfriend, Tom Watts, loaned me his photography skills and we did a photoshoot. And, for the first time in years, I pulled the notebooks down and looked through them…

My notebooks are multi-functional. I use them not just for sets but for everything. In there amongst the one-liners and story ideas are shopping lists, to-do lists, lists of lists. I taped my airline ticket into the beginning of one notebook from when I moved to London. In another is my father’s eulogy. Not a set, and not counted as one, but written out exactly how I write sets – because that’s how my brain works now.”

 

Read more at: Abigoliah Schamaun: 22 notebooks and 2,000 gigs – British Comedy Guide

“My Favorite Thing is Monsters,” a Graphic Novel by Emil Ferris

This book looks great– an entire graphic novel in facsimile notebook form:

My Favorite Thing is Monsters

“Set in the same 1960s Chicago where Ferris spent her youth, the book’s main character is Karen Reyes, a 10-year-old obsessed with movie monsters…. The central gimmick of the comic is that Karen is the cartoonist behind its creation. Accordingly, the tome mirrors the spiral notebook that provides the canvas to so many children’s first forays into sequential narrative. The spine looks like a stack of notebooks, full of blue-lined, white paper. The back cover is the deep mustard yellow of a cheap notebook’s back cover, and a two-dimensional rendering of a spiral coil threading through holes sits close to the spine. This innovation in packaging enhances the feeling of peering into a gifted youngster’s work.”

Source: A Graphic Novel in the Form of a Monster-Obsessed Child’s Notebook

David Sedaris’ Diaries

David Sedaris has a new book out called Theft By Finding, which contains entries from diaries he’s kept from 40 years, including while he was a student at the Art Institute of Chicago. The diaries themselves are quite interesting– he made many of them himself and decorated the covers:

Read more at: David Sedaris: The IHOP Years – The New Yorker

 

Save

Explorers’ Sketchbooks

This looks like a lovely book, full of travel sketches and notes on flora and fauna found in uncharted places: Explorers’ Sketchbooks.

“This remarkable book showcases 70 such sketchbooks, kept by intrepid men and women as they journeyed perilous and unknown environments—frozen wastelands, high mountains, barren deserts, and dense rainforests—with their senses wide open.”

Available at Amazon.

Save

Paula Wolfert’s Notebook

Another nice example of a cook’s notebook, this time from the renowned cookbook author Paula Wolfert:

 

Read more at: Her Memory Fading, Paula Wolfert Fights Back With Food – The New York Times

Lanford Wilson’s Notebooks

I had never heard of this Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, but I like the looks of his notebooks!

[Playwright Lanford Wilson] passed away in 2011 and left his papers to the University of Missouri Libraries. The collection includes correspondence, working notebooks, drafts and proof copies, and well as work related to Wilson’s personal interests, such as gardening and art collecting.

Source: Monday Manuscript: Notebooks from a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright – Library News Hub

Save

Save