Tag Archives: monologue

Review and Giveaway: New Monologue Notebooks

I’ve reviewed Monologue notebooks from Grandluxe a couple of times on this site, and I’m always happy to receive samples of their new products. These arrived recently, and while they are not at first glance drastically different from other Monologue products, they offer some neat new features.
These first two journals are pretty close to others that I’ve reviewed before, but they add an elastic pen loop. The cover overhang on the side is a little bigger than usual to help keep your pen or pencil neatly tucked in. They also have 100 gsm blank pages, instead of the 80 gsm lined pages that most Monologue notebooks have.

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Then there is the Contrast Ruled Notebook. I think the “contrast” just refers to the color of the elastic closure and the ribbon marker vs. the cover– in this case you get a bright orange and a rich brown. The cover is not real leather but almost has the look of a smooth leather. Inside, it has ruled pages, and is basically just like a lot of other journals except for this one brilliant detail: the elastic closure wraps around horizontally!

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I’ve tested out a couple of other notebooks where the elastic diverged from the usual vertical approach– there’s the Piccadilly Primo journal where it is a loop that attaches to the spine, and the Art Alternatives Sketch & Draw sketchbook, where it wraps diagonally around the top corner. Then there’s the Makr notebook, which has two diagonal elastics. All of these look nice, but seem a bit awkward. But the Monologue method of wrapping it around from a mid-point on the two covers works perfectly! You can tuck a pen in under in, but more importantly to me, you can wrap it around the spine of the notebook and it stays completely out of the way.

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It’s just the right length so it doesn’t flop around. It probably even helps the notebook lie flat and stay open. And the off-center placement looks quite nice, I think. 4 sizes and 8 color combinations are available.

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It is so clever and practical, I’m amazed that all notebooks aren’t made this way, and that I’ve never seen one like it before. I love it, love it, love it.

The rest of the notebook is nicely made too– my only beef with it is that the cover overhang is quite pronounced, and I always prefer the pages to come right up to the edges of the cover. But that is my personal quirk that I know a lot of people don’t share.

This is just a quick review so I haven’t done full pen tests on these notebooks. The paper in the Contrast Ruled notebook seems similar to that used in the other Grandluxe products I’ve reviewed. So all 3 of these notebooks are in pristine condition and ripe for a giveaway!

I’ll select 3 winners, chosen randomly from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Monologue Notebooks @ilovemonologue @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @ilovemonologue.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Monologue page and post something containing the words “Monologue Notebooks” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Monologue Notebooks” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday July 24, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Ryman Notebook

Yet another proprietary brand notebooks, this time from UK office supply store Ryman’s. I keep thinking there must be just a few factories in China that churn out identical notebooks and people just slap their own branding on them! This one looks like it has a soft, smooth cover similar to the Monologue notebook I reviewed. But here it’s in a nice brown color.

Anyway, I’m not complaining– the more brands of notebooks, the better, even if some of them are the same underneath the wrapper!

More details here: Ryman Notebook A6 Ruled Soft Feel 192 Pages 96 Sheets.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Review: Monologue and Dialogue Notebooks by Grandluxe

Here’s a couple of nice notebooks made in Singapore: the Monologue and Dialogue notebooks by Grandluxe. I first heard of the brand when I stumbled across this post, and was quite intrigued. Though they aren’t sold in the United States, the company was kind enough to send me some free samples for review.

The Monologue notebook is something that at first would be thought of by most people as a “Moleskine clone.” But on closer inspection, it turns out that it’s more similar to another major notebook brand.

Here’s the front, with the typical elastic closure and paper band wrapping around:
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The cover is smooth and slightly soft, and you can see the imprint of the elastic. The Monologue branding is stamped at the bottom of the back cover. It’s hard to see in photos, but the cover material has a subtle leather-texture look, printed in tiny dots of darker and lighter tones. To the touch, it is completely smooth.

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The notebook is slightly larger than a pocket size Piccadilly notebook, shown below for comparison. The Monologue covers are slightly thicker and stick out a bit more from the pages.

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The inside front cover is totally blank, no predetermined space for writing your name.

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Inside the back cover, the usual expanding pocket, with cloth sides.

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The notebook is a bit stiff at first, but it does lie quite flat:

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The lined pages have a fairly broad margin at each side:

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How’s the paper? Nice and smooth, but there is a bit of show-through with many of my usual pens, and my Pilot Varsity fountain pen seemed to feather a wee bit. The paper weight is 80gsm.

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So, did this notebook remind you of anything? How about the Rhodia Webnotebook? They are uncannily similar in the size and exterior appearance, and even the page layout is the same but for the lack of the Rhodia logo in the corner. When you actually put them side by side, you notice other differences: the Rhodia has colored endpapers and a logo stamped on the front, and is slightly thicker, due to its 90gsm paper. But the 80gsm Webnotebook has pretty much the same dimensions as the Monologue notebook– and pretty similar paper, it seemed to me. Below are some comparison shots to the 90gsm Webnotebook:

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From what I’ve been able to determine from other blog reviews, the Monologue is less than half the price of a Moleskine, so I’d expect that it is also quite a bit cheaper than a Rhodia Webnotebook in the Asian markets where it is available. (Grandluxe’s suggested retail price is US$7.10.) The paper isn’t as nice as the 90 gsm Rhodia paper, but it’s pretty comparable to the 80gsm earlier Webnotebook– I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference, but I can’t vouch for what heavy duty fountain pen users might experience.

Grandluxe also sent me samples of their Dialogue brand. With their horizontal elastic, these might remind you of Ciak’s notebooks, or Piccadilly’s Primo Journals.

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Both the small Dialogue notebook and the Monologue notebook say on their labels that they are A6 size, but their measurements are actually quite different! Below is the Dialogue vs. the pocket size Piccadilly notebook. It measures about 4 3/8 x 5 7/8″. The photo below also shows how round the spine of the Dialogue is– it sticks out quite a bit to accomodate the elastic

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The elastic is rounded, and fits into a small groove in the side of the cover.

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The Dialogue notebook is pretty springy, and doesn’t easily open flat.

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The cover itself is thin and quite flexible.

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The line spacing and margins are wider than the Monologue notebook, and there’s a small PaperLuxe logo at the bottom right corner of the lined pages. The front of each page is lined, and the back is unlined, which I rather like– two paper styles in one!

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This seems to have the same 80 gsm paper as the Monologue notebook, and performed similarly with pens.

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I personally am not crazy about sideways elastics so this isn’t a notebook I’d consider for everyday use, but it seems like a good value for the suggested retail price, which is US$6.80.

United States readers might have a hard time buying these notebooks, but the Monologue and Dialogue brands are sold in 30 countries, including:

  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Brunei
  • Romania
  • Thailand
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Philippines
  • The Netherlands
  • China

Some of the major retailers stocking them include Magrudy’s, Tokyu Hands, Eslite, Metro Books, Paragon Departmental Stores, Loft, Times Bookstore, Chater House, One-Hua Ho Department Store, Urban Write, Harris Bookstores, Kinokuniya, and Takashimaya Department Store.

If you aren’t traveling any time soon and don’t mind paying for international shipping, you can also try ordering from Grandluxe’s webstore. Other colors, sizes and styles are available.

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…