Tag Archives: notebooks

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

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Phil’s Stationery, NYC

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:

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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:

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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!

Random Giveaway Winners!

So many great responses to this post! I loved hearing from you all. I decided to increase the number of winners from 5 to 7! Here are the winning comments:

# 8 Judy H:

First, being in Helena, MT there is not much ‘shopping’ for notebooks here. So I read to find out what I am missing and need to go online for. Second, it’s genetic. I’m a notebook junkie, so are my daughters and now my 4 year old grand daughter is joining in. Third, I use them for everything from a diary, scrapbook, idea and wish books, keep lists. You name it, I’ll put it in a notebook!

#23 Shelley:

I love your blog because of your reviews. I love to write, i.e., I just love the feel of a good pen on good paper and your reviews have helped me select notebooks to buy that I know will work with the pens I own. I use notebooks for everything-a collection of quotations, a collection of hand-lettering samples, a pocket notebook that I use as a doodle and zentangle pattern library, two mini notebooks that I carry in my purse to work on when I am stuck in a waiting room (one for 6 Word Stores and one for Haiku), a notebook with samples from all the pens I own, a journal for daily entries, a journal used as a Commonplace book, and a Kickstarter journal that will arrive soon that I will use as a bullet journal (a new project for me).

#34 Michael Buttry:

I read your online journal for various reasons, but mostly because like notebooks. As a former small press operator and before that, a Navy brat, paper was the way to record data, draw pictures, and make notes of what’s going. Now at 63ish, I find them more reliable than smart phones and just easier to operate; pencil, pen, notebook and done. Now if I could just find a candle that smells like a stationary store, I’d be happy.

#29 Tamra:

I read your site because I like to know I’m not the only one out there with this obsession. I also enjoy seeing what others use their notebooks for.

A new notebook: it stimulates all the senses… I’m not a snob, although I love a high-end tooled leather notebook, a marbled composition book will do nicely. I love them all, the slip-slide of the cover as I slide my hand across it’s surface, shiny perfection or tooled leather perfection, I love them both. The crack the spine makes the first time the notebook is opened, the creak of the pages as that new notebook smell wafts out – to me, better than new car smell! The pages, lines, graphed, dotted or plain waiting for my words, lists, sketches and doodles beckon me… What will this book be? What does it’s future hold?

I have books of lists of trips and places I dream of, destinations to go and see. Books of memories past, present and what is to be. Books of authors and books and music that inspire me. Poems and phrases that flit through my mind that haven’t yet found their permanent home. Books of sketches and doodles of my dreams and thoughts. Sketches and doodles of, well, nothing at all. But all these notebooks are important to me.

#26 Amber Marie:

I’ve been following this blog for a few years now, a regular website I frequent. I’ve been a longtime journaller/journalist, starting at the age of 13. I’m 25 now and my writing has yet to slow down.

I love the physical aspect of flipping to a new page in a fresh journal, figuring out which pen would work best for which entry, lining up spare pens and maybe an extra notebook for a particularly juicy entry, and letting it all flow. I feel naked leaving the house with anything less than 3 notebooks and 6 pens. I’m always observing and watching my surroundings, jotting down anything relevant I see. The freedom of being able to express myself without being embarrassed of my thoughts is a great feeling.

One of my favorite aspects of this site is the Notebook Addict of the Week. I think it’s fascinating to see other peoples uses for their notebooks, and the different brands that work best for different people. No two notebooks are a like, just as the people who use them. I’ve been meaning for a long while to post my own collection to the site, and it’s all about baby steps. First a comment, then a collection, then more and more.

Notebook collecting is a beautiful addiction and I am proud to belong to a great community of like minded individuals. Thank you so much for this website!

#22 Van H.:

I love notebooks and always have. I still remember the first one I bought for something other than school. I was 10, and it had a stylized, colorful soccer ball on the front. I planned to write a ninja story inside – wrote three words, and became irreparably intimidated. I switched to plain notebooks after that, which I filled with abandon. By 8th grade I carried a stack of 10 notebooks (each with its own pencil jammed in the spiral) on top of my trapper keeper, each one for a different purpose (none for school), and the stack constantly slid off my desk and fell all over the floor. By 9th grade I cut back to a couple 3-subject notebooks at a time. In 10th grade I stole two notebooks from a friend. One was blank, and one was full of her writing, which I returned after reading it, but kept the blank one (she never mentioned it). I am haunted by this to this day, but I still have the same impulse whenever I see someone with a notebook. I want to know what’s inside. I love this blog because it simultaneously satisfies and feeds my curiosity about blank notebooks and filled notebooks alike. I’ve read this blog for years and have never found anything else like it, that tells me exactly what I want to know about the notebooks featured here. I was even once featured on this blog for my trunk containing nearly 100 spiral notebooks filled during high school (none with schoolwork) – a number of years ago. Sadly, over time I have cut back on my accumulations of both blank and used notebooks–I give away what I can’t use and discard what I no longer want to save–but I love notebooks no less for my now-relaxed stance on hoarding. There’s no point in trying to analyze it; there’s nothing like a good notebook.

#7 Dan:

When my Mom died and we were cleaning out the house, we found dozens of notebooks, often just fragments, of poems, daily events, medical records and notes and sometimes pictures that we didn’t know about and events in her life she never talked to us about. I had started keeping travel journals many years ago, and didn’t know that my Mom had kept these notebooks. When Dad found that I was keeping a journal and travel notebooks, he told me I was just like Mom. Maybe no one will read my journals or see my notebooks. Maybe they are just messages in bottles thrown into the stream of time for some unknowable future.

If you are a winner, check your email inbox for a message from me to arrange shipping of your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered!

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

Notebook Addict of the Week: Ambelies

This week’s addict posted a photo of her collection on Instagram:

I love seeing the themes that emerge in people’s collections. This one has lots of strong, bold solid colors, Field Notes, Moleskine, Rhodia, Miquelrius, and more! Great collection!

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Glowing Circle Made of Notebooks

I’d love to see this in person– this art installation is a glowing flat circle that turns out to be made of thousands of recycled notebooks!

“Commissioned by Azkuna Zentroa, Luzinterruptus crafted Denboran Zehar for the 10th anniversary of Gutun Zuria (Bilbao Internacional Literature Festival) in April 2017. In light of the anniversary, the designers wanted to pay homage to the themes of creation and time.”

Read more at: Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbao’s book festival | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

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A Grandfather’s Notebooks

What an amazing story. Lauren Blank received a wonderful gift when she turned 16 recently:

Her grandfather decided the time was right to share a special gift with her: three notebooks filled with her grandfather’s writing, documenting all the time they spent together from the time Blank was 2 until she was 5.

He documented every encounter the two had together.

“(Each) notebook is just filled with daily things that we did,” Blank told Buzzfeed. “We went to the zoo a lot, and flew kites, and throughout the notebooks he gave me advice.”

I wish I had something like this from my own grandparents, though I do have a notebook with things my father jotted down about me. I’ve also written a lot of memories about my niece and nephew as they’ve grown up, and I sometimes think they might like to read them, but they’d have to wade through a lot of other crap in my notebooks!

Read more at: Man gives granddaughter notebooks filled with years of written memories | Boston 25 News

Long Time No Blog!

Life has gotten a little crazy lately and I haven’t had much time to spend on this website. But I have been trying to spend a few minutes each day filling a page of a sketchbook, at least. I can also report that I broke from my recent habit of only keeping one daily notebook and one sketchbook, and started a new single-subject notebook with a pretty big theme: life changes! I am about to change jobs and move, and after the dust settles, I’m hoping to have more time for more writing about other notebooks.

So far the life change notebook has a lot of to-do lists about purging belongings, moving furniture, possible renovations, sketches of floorplans and assorted other envisionings of a different lifestyle. We’ll see if they all pan out! As for the purging of belongings, I’ll be needing to thin out my collection of notebooks, so stay tuned for some random giveaways!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Michael

This week’s addict tweeted this photo of a nicely stuffed box of notebooks! Looks like over 30 notebooks in about 4 or 5 years? I’d say yes: he’s an addict!

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Thanks for sharing, Michael!

Notebook Stories on Pinterest

I’ve been posting less frequently here lately, due to some time constraints, but I’m still always searching for interesting notebooks! If you are hungry for notebook eye candy in between blog posts, please make sure you also follow me on Pinterest. Lots of beautiful notebook pages and other good stuff.

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