I love books.
I adore Moleskine products.
I wouldn't take a genius to spot that a Moleskine notebook specially designed to keep a record of my book collection ought to be right up my street. Kerrrrching! It was a purchase fated in the stars.
~Moleskine - A Fantastic Heritage Brand~
I can't think of a better way to express my thoughts on the Moleskine brand than the words I used LAST time I reviewed one of their products. So to save you going back to check that out (as if!) here's what I said then and stand by now:
"Moleskine is an iconic brand that associates itself with a rich and (in their words) 'legendary' heritage. The list of the great and the good who used Moleskine products is impressive - Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemmingway and Chatwin are the ones they pick out for particular attention on the little pamphlet that accompanies all the Moleskine products. The original company was French but closed down in 1986 leaving its many fans and users bereft. Twelve years later a publisher in Milan revitalised the Moleskine with a new range of products that built on the long and honoured tradition and heritage of its predecessor"
~ How the Mole Got Under My Skin~
I kept looking at little Moleskine notebooks in bookshops - walking away, shaking my head at the price - shuffling back again for another look. Then I'd ask myself how could something so small possibly be worth a tenner. Notebooks are really important to me and I don't splash out that often so I soon found myself searching for products online and buying up a bunch of different Moleskine products including the Moleskine Passions Book Journal.
~ Getting Passionate ~
The Moleskines Passions range is a group of mid-sized notebooks designed around things people really care about. The original range included books, wine, films, music, recipes, and wellness. I have the books and recipe journals and have given an hypochondriac friend the wellness journal. They've just recently expanded the range with some new ones - a baby journal to record your pregnancy and baby's early years, cat and dog journals to.......well, I'm not quite sure what I'd do with one of those, style, gardening and travel. Yes, the travel one is already on my wish-list but I can't help wishing they'd do them in different colours. All of the passions journals are black and you can only tell them apart at cover-level by the embossed designs on the cover.
~ By the Book ~
The Book Journal offers you lots of options about how you use it but ultimately it will be you who has to decide. It's not prescriptive and it won't enforce its ideas about the role it should take in your life. It's like a partnership of the best kind - it offers ideas but leaves it to you to decide whether to follow them.
It's quite a big beast - 21 cm high by 13 cm wide - so it's not a pocket book. I'd see some advantage in having something smaller (especially when I'm on the brink of rebuying books I've already got for the third time) but mostly these days I don't need to carry around something like this. In keeping with all the Moleskines it has an elasticated strap to keep it closed. You'll also find three differently coloured book marking ribbons as well as the classic Moleskine expandable pocket at the back - in this case a double pocket, one of which is filled with little sticky labels which you can use to customise the tabs inside or to highlight particular aspects of a book that you're recording.
~ Tour of the Journal ~
Once inside the cover you'll find a page to record your name and address in case it gets lost (because believe me, that'd be pretty upsetting), then you get two sides of paper marked 'Planning' - with headers saying Event, Date and Notes. Perhaps you could use it to list the dates of your book club (if you do such things), your favourite book shop's programme of author events, or if you're a writer yourself, the dates of your next book tour. Hm, well we can dream I suppose.
Next section is the largest in the book and it's an A to Z. Each page gives you space to record one book. I do mine alphabetically by author, but equally if you want to be a bit different you could do by book title. There are spaces for the title and author, quotes and your opinion with a one to 5 star rating. More detail can include the date you read it, whether it's a first edition (at this point I'm thinking they had in mind that it might be used by collectors of rare old books), the year it was published, the original language, any awards it won and who the publisher was. To be honest that's rather more fuss than I can deal with so I skip quite a lot and use some of the fields for other things - what I paid, where I got it from etc. You get six sides of paper for each letter - some of mine are already filling up.
After the A-to-Z section you get six less structured tabbed section. Each has 10 sides and you can use the labels provided to mark the tabs according to how you want to use them. I have one tab for books I've ordered and am waiting to receive, another for my wish list, and a couple for particular book review sites that I write for - for example, one section is to record the books I've received from publishers for reviewing on Curiousbookfans.co.uk
At the back after the tabbed sections are roughly 30 blank pages and finally an index you can fill in to help you find things when the book is full.
~ Recommendation ~
I bought this because I was sick of forgetting what I'd read and wanted to bring a bit of discipline to my reading. I now force myself to fill in a few thoughts on each book even if I don't want to sit down and write a proper review. I hope it'll stop me re-buying too many books. So far I'm doing pretty well - although I've only been using it for about 3 months. It's clear that each book probably won't last me more than six to nine months and at a list price of £15.99 each, I'm always on the look out for special offers. I think I paid about £10 for the one I have and they are often on offer at Bookdepository and Amazon.
I like my book journal enough that I bought the Moleskine Passions recipe journal and am on the brink of buying the travel one (holding back only because I think it's far too big to go on travels with me). You can do whatever you want to with one of these - it's really up to you to stretch your imagination. And when you've worked out what you want your Moleskine Passions Book Journal to be, it'll be there with it's book marks, sticky tabs and stretchy elastic, waiting to give you years of service.