MOLESKINE -- Antoin O Lachtnain plumped up €14 for a Moleskine journal on the day I spent €52 in Reads of Nassau Street for 30 "Thread Sown Supreme Elegance Notebooks." I have to limit my Moleskines--bought once a year when in the States--to the unlined sketchbooks because I burn through 120 pages of A5 notes every fortnight. I cannot justify spending $50 a month on journals when that's about what I spend a year on my A5 journals. Even if they are the Macs of the journaling world.
We're doing the same thing with our notebooks as true Moleskiners--recording thoughts and events. There's a certain elite status to carrying around moleskine notebooks. As Antoin observes, the moleskine notebooks are "nicely assembled and packaged. There's a little flap in the back for safely storing clippings and small items. The elastic is just the right length and is very useful. The size is just right. It lies fairly flat, and the spine won't break or get crushed." Until this year, I used A5 Tiger Brand elastic-strapped journals but Reads has stopped carrying the Tiger brand option and my alternatives are black ratty knock-offs made in China. They cannot survive a fall to the pavement under a bus and won't stand up to an attack of spilt Guinness so they are not viable alternatives. I need an A5 alternative because anything larger than A5 gets left behind on the fat barge.
Antoin explains why the Moleskine notebook rocks.
These are supposed to be the notebooks that the writers Hemingway and Céline used, as well as the great 20th century explorer and archeologist Indiana Jones. According to a report published on BBC's H2G2, the documented facts around these stories are pretty hazy. In fact, all we know is that some notebooks of this type were made for a somewhat obscure author by a stationer in Tours who is now dead, in a different country many years. No doubt the new notebooks resemble the old ones, but that's about the size of it.
However dubious the story, it lives on, and many people are happy to continue it. The story may be greater than the reality, and that's OK. My friend Joi Ito writes about his notebook in his weblog. Armand Frasco has started a weblog dedicated to his favorite notebook.
Bonus Tip: The name (officially pronounced mol-a-skeen-a, although it can vary) comes from the French spelling of 'moleskin', which the oilcloth covering resembles, and is a trademark of Modo and Modo.
Moleskine -- notebooks in history
BBC -- "Moleskine notebooks"
Antoin O Lachtnain -- "The moleskine notebook of the web"
Joi Ito -- "Note taking in the Google Age"
R. Emory Lundberg -- "How I learned to stop worrying and ditched the PDA"
Diane Patterson -- "The secret diary:A little about the history and practice of journaling"
Christian Salazar -- "Modo and Modo"
Steve Rubel -- "Blog buzz builds for little black books"
Moleskine nearly-A5 plain pages ISBN 88-8370-114-3 available through Barnes and Noble.