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Moleskine overload.

This has really gone too far: When the WSJ starts writing about how cool Moleskine notebooks are, and even BoingBoing starts drooling over the things and talking about how many bloggers love them, you know something is amiss. Really, now: Moleskines are cute, black, metrosexual notebooks with off-white paper and clever-ish folders in the back where you can stuff receipts, scraps of paper, $20 bills, sticks of nicotine gum, and the like. They cost $10 and up and they come with a long, mostly bullshit story about Hemingway and Cezanne and Italy to make you feel like the cost is justified. But people, come on: You are getting excited over nothing more than a stack of yellowish paper and some cardboard, even if it does have a good story and a built-in elastic band. I mean, there’s not even a loop to hold a pencil or pen.

I’ll admit, I am heavily reliant on paper notebooks, and god knows I’ve tried dozens of different notebook styles and notetaking schemes over the years. I even own a moleskine, and had high hopes for it — for awhile. But I keep coming back to 99 cent, 3×5, top-bound spiral memo pads. Just before they fall apart, as they always do after a month or so in my back pocket, I bind them together with duct tape. Cheap, low-tech, available from any store, and eminently practical. Plus, it’s the most compact and portable notetaking mechanism I know of — even moleskines are big by comparison, and too rigid to ride comfortably in a pants pocket. Plus, the damn things are expensive and available only in select bookstores and stationery shops. No wonder the technorati love them.

1 Comment

  1. I.

    Well, I appreciate a nice notebook as much as the next journal-keeping dork, but I must say I don’t understand the current craze for using really expensive, nice notebooks to write your “to do” lists in. I mean, that’s why the office supplies at work are kept in unlocked cabinets, isn’t it? Steno pads, my friend. Steno pads.

    I got a biggish Moleskine in Rome several years ago, just because it seemed like a good deal on a blank book–lots of pages, no lines, decent binding, unusual trim size–and I bought a couple of little brightly colored silk-covered ones to give as stocking stuffers this year, but for my own dark purposes I prefer the Miqelrius notebooks, which have a _lot_ of pages and are much cheaper than Moleskines.

    During the month last year that I tried to use the “Getting Things Done” system (=Total Failure), I carried a tiny Mead looseleaf notebook that took paper probably the same size as your beloved memo pads. I liked being able to take pages out and move them around, because I’m both obsessive about and hopeless at organizing things and am always deciding that whatever sorting system I’ve just set up is totally wrong. Which is probably why GTD didn’t stick for me. That and generally not being able to prioritize anything. And spending too much time online to ever Get Anything Done.

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