I have a notebook addiction. See here and here if you want to know more about my fascination with writing. Doing it all by hand is definitely the way to go. Since I write with fountain pens most of the time or fairly smooth inky gel pens like the Pilot G2, paper quality matters to me. I’m also a fan of the BIC Cristal medium gel pens. When I buy notebooks, I concentrate mainly on paper quality, followed by price, size, and aesthetics. Durability is also pretty important; brand – not so much. I love and stand by the brands that I trust, but I’m more than willing to try new brands and off-brands. Sometimes they work as well or better than brand names.
I’m in the market for a new notebook because I’m running low on pages in the large notebook I bought at Typo. It’s served me well, but I’m sad that it’s nearing the end of its lifecycle. It has only been about a month since my latest Rhodia purchase, but I’m looking for something different; a different type of notebook to serve a different purpose. But first, let me run through a few books I currently use or have run through already.
Rhodia DotPad vertical flip, 5 3/4” x 8 1/4”: My latest addition. I wanted to try out the bullet journal system in a different format. It’s working out great so far. Find out more here about the whole setup. The paper is smooth and the dots really help me out. So far, I haven’t come across any problems with it. A great cover and perforated single sheets.
Little green memo books, 3 3/8” x 4 3/4”: I love these little green books. As a matter of fact, I carry these things with me everywhere I go. They’re a part of my EDC. The pages are all lined and they last through almost everything you can throw at them. They fit snuggly in my front left pocket.
Moleskine, 3 5/8” x 5 1/2”: A natural-looking cardboard textured pocket-sized notebook with lined pages. I saw it over at the General Store and bought it before I noticed the Moleskine print on the back. It’s pretty tiny and doesn’t have many pages, so I don’t write in it too much. When I do, I do it in pencil. I think it fits with the cardboard. Half of the sheets are perforated and there’s a little mini folder in the back.
Off-brand white notebook, 5 3/4” x 8 1/8”: I picked this up for cheap at Daiso. The cover isn’t anything standout, but it ain’t bad either. The pages are super white and unlined, but it takes fountain pen ink very well. I use it for scratching down notes and for scrawling out diagrams of things I’m working on building.
Eccolo world traveler, 5 1/4” x 7 5/8”: I don’t remember where I picked this book up, but I write in it all the time. The paper isn’t so great with my fountain pen – it bleeds like crazy. It comes with a little bookmark, elastic band, and a folder in the back. I carry this one in my camera bag for times when I find a nice cafe to write from.
Black unruled notebook, 5 5/8” x 8 3/4”: I’m pretty sure I picked this one up at Flax in San Francisco. I found it in the section for fountain pens. It’s unlined, so it gets hard to write long prose, but it’s manageable. I’ve tested all sorts of ink in it and it doesn’t bleed, so I keep it around to do calligraphy in.
Clairefontaine notebook, 5 3/4” x 8”: I know I definitely bought this notebook from Flax. The binding is tight and it comes with an elastic tie to hold everything together. The first thing I noticed: the pages are extremely smooth; smoother than the pages of any other notebook I’ve seen. It takes fountain pen ink pretty well, provided that you let the ink dry before closing the book up. I’ve ripped pages out and stuffed them back in, even though they aren’t perforated.
Composition book: Yup, the kind that you use in high school science class as a lab notebook. I’ve filled it up, writing all sorts of thoughts in there. Sadly, it’s wide-ruled, so I couldn’t fit as much as I thought I would be able to. I’ve closed it up, so when these things go on sale again, I’m picking up a couple more.
Typo notebook: I got this one at Typo when they had a sale: two notebooks for $20. Fountain pen inks will bleed through the pages, but an ordinary pen does just fine. Most of the pages are lined and there’s a handful of blank pages for sketches in the back alongside a folder, monthly calendar, and a world map. I’m almost through with this book though. Maybe Typo will have another sale on their notebooks soon.