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I was delighted to see Waterstones stock Moleskine books and I recently purchased a pocket sized (roughly A6 size) hardbacked notebook which has squared paper inside.
Moleskine books are quite pricey- I paid £10 for my notebook, the A5 sized books cost £15-18 each. I find you can buy these for less online but have not yet found any for much less than the RRP- even Ebay has these on Buy It Now for almost the same as the RRP so if you do fancy one of these books- do expect to pay some money for one! A work colleague of mine also has a penchant for Moleskine notebooks and he searches for offers on Amazon for his collection.
My squared notebook has a hardback black cover and a strip of elastic down the right side which keeps the book closed. This prevents the bok coming open and the edges of the pages getting bent. Inside, there is a card front sheet with a space for your name and address and a "reward $______" for you to write in if you lose the book if you will pay a reward for it's safe return! Then the squared sheets of paper begin. The paper is a cream colour and the squares are done in faint grey ink. The paper is lovely and smooth and feels really high quality. The smoothness of the pages and their rounded edges makes this feel like a quality product.
Inside the back of the notebook, there is a little pouch for you to slip bits of paper or receipts or loose notes into. Inside this pouch, you will also find a little leaflet which tells you all about the History of Moleskine notebooks. To give you an insight into why these books have an almost legendary status- Van Gogh and Ernest Hemmingway used to religiously use Moleskine notebooks and carried these around with them for notes and ideas/ sketches etc., The history is fascinating and I think it is a lovely touch to give you this insight on a little bit of paper inside the pouch of the book.
On the back cover at the very bottom, there is the word "Moleskine" printed into the cover. There is also a ribbon built into the book for you to use as a bookmark. Each book is hand made and the notebook I got has 192 pages. The book is bound using threads which gives it a traditional feel and I have had moleskine books before and they are bound together in such a way even if you tear some pages out, the rest of the pages will stay in the book- unlike some notepads where you tear one page out and another page falls out of the back of the book.
This was a costly purchase, but I just love the history of the brand and how these books feel. The paper is smooth and the off white/ cream pages reduce glare on your eyes if you were to write in this in the outdoors on a sunny day. I use my notebook for random notes and ideas and plans of things I want to do.
I would highly recommend these books to anyone who writes a journal or who likes writing or to anyone who needs a good quality notebook or even a gift for someone. They are high quality, but it is so worth it. Moleskine now also have limited edition issues featuring Snoopy/ Peanuts; PacMan; Star Wars and some of these are for sale for over £50 on Amazon so this would lead me to believe these are not only lovely notebooks to use or buy as a gift, but can be considered as collectors items too.
I don't know if I've told you this, but I am a massive stationery geek! One of the ways I try to cheer myself up when I'm in a rubbish mood is to immerse myself in a stationery shop, first choice would be paperchase, or staples, but providing there is a decent size stationery area I'm happy.
My new objects of lust are my moleskine diary, my moleskine notebook and my squared moleskine notebook. (The other weird obsession I have is with squared paper!) The thing that strikes me first about the moleskine range is the quality.
The paper is a good thickness, a creamy colour and feels luxurious. Every notebook comes with a ribbon bookmark and elastic to keep it closed and the cover, whether you choose to have a hardback or softback book, feels strong, and looks great.
The range of choice with a moleskine is amazing, you can choose various types of diary, squared notebooks, plain, lined, storyboard books, the list goes on, and each has colour coded packaging. I can't remember them all, but the yellow is definitely squares! Each book also has a pocket at the back, for notes, or receipts or photos.
There is a lot of history and legend around moleskine notebooks, Hemmingway was reported to use one, and many other artists and writers. I think this contributes greatly to their popularity.
Now, let's talk price. These are not cheap notebooks. They are not prohibitively expensive, and I think the quality is reflected in the price, but a pocket notebook will set you back somewhere around the £5-6 mark.
Rather than giving a history of 'moleskin' notebooks and their famous users, I intend to review the product from a totally practical perspective. This is because when I first purchased one of these moleskin notebooks I wasn't aware of any 'history' attached, and bought it because I was looking for a product that did what I wanted it to do.
First and foremost, these notebooks are attractive little things. People speak about 'little black books', but to actually have one and be able to pull it out and use it is another thing altogether. Given the size of a moleskin notebook they are incredibly portable, fitting into pockets easily. The jacket is soft to the touch, but it is made of sturdy material. To bend the covers is a difficult task, meaning your notebook is going to remain intact after all but the heaviest use. Further to this, the cover is slightly larger than the pages within meaning that they aren't likely to get dog-eared and tattered. It is held shut by an elastic strap further ensuring the book is less likely to suffer damage, and perhaps most importantly, the contents are unlikely to fall out. I mention the contents because there is the very nice extra of an 'envelope' at the back. I have stored everything from money to business cards in here and knew it was going to be safe. Finally, there is a useful ribbon to mark your place in the notebook.
With regards to this specific squared book, it's handy for drawing graphs, doing sums or playing games of noughts and crosses when bored in lectures.
The only problem I would have is that they can be quite expensive to buy in shops, and are not worth buying online unless as part of a larger order to ensure free delivery.
A must for everybody.
I am a big fan of the Moleskine series note books. They are really good quality and, with plenty of pages in them, they last a long time.
It's worth pointing out there are a couple of different sizes of Moleskine book, so if you're buying on the internet, best be sure just which one you're buying.
The 'pocket' ones are just that; pocket size - 9 x 14 cm (or 3.5 x 5.5" in old money) whereas the 'normal' ones (sometimes called 'large') are the ones I prefer - 13 x 21 cm (or 5.25 x 8.25")
There are lots of other styles and sizes, including 'special editions', but these are by far the most common sizes.
They all come with the elastic closer, which is a great feature, as it keeps it closed in transit, even with other things stuffed in between the pages. The hard cover keeps it all tidy and stops the pages from curling up with use. And the paper quality is high too, so you don't get your ink bleeding on the page or visible through on the other side.
I particularly like the squared paper one, as it allows me to layout my notes the way I like them and add 'to do' checkboxes. The squares also give you a guide for sketching diagrams and the like. However you can also get lined and plain paper Moleskine too, with the option to get higher quality plain sketchpaper too for you artist-types out there.
Almost everyone has probably heard about Moleskine's by now. They're famous for being used by Hemingway and Picasso, amongst others - and as such are sold at a rather premium price! Doing some research for this review though I found out that in fact this claim is false! The original moleskine has nothing to do with the modern manufacturer of the moleskin notebooks. In fact the modern day firm was only established in the 1990s! The notebooks available for sale these days though are based on the design of the old notebooks, so I guess it's more a case of stretching the truth than actually lying.
Either way the notebooks are great. They have a very classy appearance, mostly being available in a slightly glossy black finish although there are no versions available in red, green, and other colours. The books mostly have hard-covers, with a finish that looks like leather. If you're ethically aware though you needn't worry as the covers are made from cardboard wrapped in oiled canvas and no leather is used.
The inside covers are a luxurious buttery cream colour and the quality of the paper is excellent. The pages of the notebook themselves are also slightly off-white, which is a refreshing change after all the over-bleached, blinding white pages that we usually get faced with in cheap notebooks.
Obviously within the Moleskine range there are blank, lined, and squared page options. I personally prefer either the blank or the squared notebooks. The squared one is perfect for just about anything as it has the horizontal lines to help you write straight if you want to make notes, but I find that the vertical lines help to break the dominance of the horizontal lines so that the pages can also be used for sketching or non-linear notations, like blank pages.
These small notebook versions are made to be handbag-sized, being 9 x 14cm. They contain 192 pages, and also have a ribbon for marking the page that you're using. The notebook then has an elastic strap that fits around the outer edge to keep the pages together.. In this way the books are very hardy and even after a few years of use (ok, not every day, but I use mine in conjunction with my normal diary and keep it with me to write in when inspiration strikes) it still looks unscathed. The hard cover does not scratch easily and only has a few slight indentations to show for the years of knocking around in various bags etc.
The pages open easily and are quite sturdy. Having a hard cover also means they're easier to write in on the go - on the train, or somewhere you don't have a table. The only thing to remember is that the books are bound together in the traditional book style with pages interlocking, so if you rip out one page the partner page will also fall out eventually. Better not to rip pages out - if you want to do that you're better off getting a cheap spiral notebook. At around 10 pounds, these books are not for ripping up. Do keep in mind though that these are often available cheaper on mainland Europe, so if you go on holiday you might want to pick one up while you're away.
These books are for recording your moments of inspiration on the go and keeping them together for re-reading later. Some models now also have a little pocket at the back for you to slip loose papers or cards into. These are great too but they do make the book bulkier. I like to keep mine purely for writing, scribbling, and drawing in. Perfect!
The Moleskine Pocket Squared Notebook is bound in cardboard, with a 'moleskine' cover having rounded corners and an elastic enclosure. The 192 squared acid-free pages are thread bound, and the notebook includes an expandable inner note holder made of cardboard and cloth. Each Moleskine journal has a ribbon placeholder and removable card with the history of Moleskines.