Phil’s Stationery is a gem– assuming you like messy, dusty, old-school office supply stores, that is! I’d never heard of it until a few weeks ago when I happened to meet someone for lunch nearby and saw this amazing sign:
There are so few stores like this left in NYC, especially in what must be a pretty expensive location on 47th St. not far from 5th Avenue. I didn’t take any photos inside the store, but as you walk in, there are large displays of Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks, as well as a counter with pens. As you go further back into the store, there are also racks of Moleskines and Filofax, and shelves with a wide variety of other notebooks, ledgers, pads, pens, etc. The further back you go, the messier it gets– there are shelves with all sorts of random products jumbled around. It has some of the same time-warp quality as the Montclair Stationery store I wrote about in this post.
I only bought one thing:
I haven’t bought a spiral bound notebook like this in years, but I couldn’t resist! What brand is it? Where is it made? It’s a mystery, as there are no markings on it other than what you see on the front cover. Some other colors were also available. And the price was right: $1.09, including tax!
This week’s addict is a Frenchman who is crazy about notebooks! Il est fou de carnets, I guess you’d say! He also has a lot of fun documenting his notebook addiction in videos.
Take a look on some of my links on the Wiiiiild Wide Web:
I have between 100 & 200 notebooks.., from 7cm until A4 size and more… ; ) from different brands, styles, material etc.
BUT… BUT, and this is… a bit.. « strange »… They are totally empty. Not used. Never used. All blank. White. Lol.
I love the « object » as it is, more than the tool to use…
Hoping to be in the Notebook Insane of the Week!
Merci á Didier for sharing his insane addiction!
This week’s addict could be thought of as a professional notebook addict, as she is the VP of marketing for Exaclair, whose brands include Quo Vadis, Rhodia, and Clairefontaine. On the Quo Vadis blog, she asks “Are Notebook Users Monogamous?” Based on this photo, I’d say not!
Of course, any self-respecting notebook addict could not be truly monogamous in the sense of mating with one notebook for life. Aside from it being against our nature, we’d run out of pages! (Even a refillable notebook might fall apart with that much use.) Though monogamy could be defined as just sticking with one brand or type of notebook for life. Then there would be serial monogamy– using one notebook at a time, then switching to another one when you’re done. Bigamy would be using two notebooks at a time. Polygamy would be spreading the love amongst many notebooks at once. Then there’s the utter promiscuity that most readers of this site would probably confess to! Might as well face it, we’re addicted to love… loving notebooks, that is!
Read more about Karen’s notebooks at Are Notebook Users Monogamous? | Quo Vadis Blog.
This week’s addict displays an orderly and attractive collection of notebooks in a blog post that begins as follows:
“There are so many notebooks out there, good ones, that I started to become a little paralyzed at the idea of trying to say anything useful. I would leave so many out! I would fail to talk about all the variations! How could I possibly do them justice?
So let’s take as a given that this is barely a snapshot into the world of Things To Write In With Pens And Pencils. I decided to start with the notebooks I had lying around. These are not all the notebooks I own, but they are more or less the range I’ve worked with, with two exceptions, Miquelrius and Rhodia, and they were the ones nearest to hand, since they’re all on the shelf in my writing cubbyhole at home. Behold:”
Lots more description, comparison and photos at Notebooks | VacuousMinx.
This week’s addict contacted me by email to share this photo:
I love this collection– the almost architectural way they’re stacked and shelved, the consistency of notebook types and date/subject labeling. And many of them have a nice worn in look– not totally beat up, but that slightly dingy and soft look that comes from frequent use. And the sheer massiveness of the collection! I think I counted 136 notebooks! I’d love to know more about what’s inside…
I’m guessing most of these (aside from the composition books) are Moleskines, but some also look like they could be Markings, Piccadilly or softcover Miquelrius notebooks. There are some two-packs in the still-wrapped pile at top left that I think could be Clairefontaine, or perhaps Fabriano. It’s fun trying to detect the subtle differences in a collection like this! Thank you D Murphy for sharing your addiction!
Here’s a couple of notebooks I bought at Jet Pens about a year ago.
First, the adorable little Metaphys notepad, shown next to a pocket Moleskine so you can see how small it is. I love the orange cloth-covered flexi cover. Inside there are blank pages made of a fairly thin, smooth paper. They are glued in and can be torn out, but the notebook opens quite flat. It’s just a neat little jotter that will slip in any pocket.
Then there’s the Clairefontaine 1951 notebook. I have always loved Clairefontaine’s pocket notebooks and would have tons more of them if only they had blank or gridded pages instead of lined! Their larger notebooks have some other paper options, but I don’t know why they never seem to offer them in my favorite size. Anyway, the 1951 notebooks are meant to have a retro look, quite different from the usual Clairefontaine covers. This one came in a two-pack along with a lime green one. I love the design and the size, which is slightly smaller than a pocket Moleskine. The notebook is staple-bound, but quite thick and substantial, with a slightly squared-off spine. It’s much sturdier than a Field Notes or Moleskine Cahier. And of course, as always, the Clairefontaine paper is a pleasure to write on with pretty much any pen.
I’m not sure either of these will make it into daily use, but they’re nice to have in the collection nonetheless!
Aside from notebooks, one of my other great loves is books. So I completely identified with this week’s addict’s linking of the two :
Bookish people tend to like books with words already in them as well as books that are blank and waiting to be filled by their own hands. I know I do. You should see the shelf of notebooks I have collected over the years, oh wait! You can, sort of:
I couldn’t get all of them in the photo, the shelf stretches off to the left out of the frame for almost the same length that is in the photo. The vertical pile on the right are unused notebooks waiting their turn. You are looking up at them because they are on a high shelf in a closet. They are in a closet not because I don’t want them to be seen, but because I don’t have enough shelf space outside of the closet on which they might reside.
You can read the rest of the post, which includes a video of someone comparing Moleskine and Leuchtturm, and a lot of comments discussing notebook brands and usage, at A Ramble on Notebooks | So Many Books. Check out the rest of her posts about books, too!
I came across a blog post by this week’s addict, who has an explanation for her problem:
I blame my mother — and not just because Freud told me to. When I was little, there was a small chain of paper good/office supply stores in our city, and my mother used to take my brother and me there for a treat when we were out shopping. They had boxes and boxes of all sorts of fancy paper and row upon row of notebooks, pens, pencils… Well, you get the idea. In early August (school shopping time!), my mother would take us to the big flagship store at the other end of town to get our supplies, and I always had the coolest of anybody in school. I remember notebooks with fuzzy covers, textured covers that I could do pencil rubbings on, colored paper, scented paper, the sorts of things that my own child’s school now won’t allow anywhere near the premises.
Read more at FunkyPeanut World: My Paper Addiction.
I have a big to-do list for this blog. Here’s some of the notebooks and things I’ve got waiting in the wings for future coverage, some of which I’ve been meaning to get to for ages:
Miquelrius Boarding notebook
0.00 Night and Young Guns Moleskine books
Piccadilly Softcover Notebook
Assorted Japanese notebooks from Kinokuniya Bookstore
Elan Pocket-Size Field Book
Canson XL Mix Media Journal from Blick Art Materials
Assorted goodies from Jet Pens: pens, notebooks and backpacks
Clairefontaine 1951 notebook
Field Notes Traveling Salesman Edition
Palomino Luxury Hardcover Notebook
Several books about/featuring notebooks and sketchbooks
Whew, I’ve got my work cut out for me!
I was very pleased to come across this passage in a book I was reading for my French class: Quartier Perdu, by Patrick Modiano. It’s about a man who returns to Paris after an absence of many years and how he revisits the memories he’d left behind there.
…j’ai tendu le bras vers la table de nuit en direction de mon vieux cahier. Je l’ai posé près de l’oreiller. Je n’avais pas vraiment envie de le consulter. Couverture verte, bords usés, spirales, triangle dans le coin gauche, au sommet duquel était écrit «Clairefontaine». Un simple cahier d’écolier que j’avais acheté un jour dans une papeterie de l’avenue de Wagram et sur lequel j’avais noté des adresses, des numéros de téléphone, quelquefois des rendez-vous: l’un des seuls vestiges de ma vie antérieure a Paris…
I stretched my arm towards the night table in the direction of my old notebook. I put it near the pillow. I didn’t really want to look at it. Green cover, worn edges, spiralbound, triangle in the left corner, at the top of which was written “Clairefontaine.” A simple student’s notebook that I’d bought one day in a stationery store on Wagram Avenue and in which I’d noted addresses, telephone numbers, sometimes meetings: one of the only vestiges of my previous life in Paris…
He goes on to say that he could just tear up the notebook, though it would hardly be worthwhile since it’s so old that none of the telephone numbers would be valid anymore, but folded inside the notebook, he finds a letter from an old friend… and from there a mysterious and melancholy story unfolds.
I loved that the notebook was described so vividly, and the way it was a link to a whole other life for the character.