Moleskine Ruled Notebook In the course of my working life I spent several years as a computer tech, and have consequently learned a healthy caution regarding the frailty of electronic devices. The Pocket Moleskine has been the most reliable PDA I've tried. Compact enough to fit in any pants pocket, the covers are stiff enough to provide a firm, stable writing surface even when standing and yet still pliable enough to be comfortable even in a back pocket. A previous reviewer said he expected a notebook "the size of a DVD case". Two points in response: how many DVD-case-sized pockets do you have, and why didn't you order the larger Moleskine? He also complained that he could only get one sentence on a page in his Moleskine. my own handwriting is of a normal size, and a quick check of my most-recently filled Moleskine shows an average of 130 words to the page. The Moleskine is filled with good, smooth acid-free paper that can take a wide variety of inks without smearing, discoloring, or bleeding through. The expanding pocket is well-secured and can hold a surprising quantity of loose notes, receipts, business cards, etc. The books themselves are well constructed and durable; mine are exposed to hot, humid conditions and hold up to daily carry and use. The other reviewer pointed out the price: certainly these are not 79-cent Office Max specials, but for the serious writer, or a person who must record important information through the course of a day and retain it legibly for more than a week, the price is worth it. One hint to extend the capacity of your Moleskine: use the bound pages for things you want to permanently record, and keep Post-It notes inside the covers to jot down quick memoranda. I use the Post-Its for such things as the titles of books or movies I want to research. (Think of the Post-Its as expandable memory for your PDA!)
I've been journaling ever since I was a pimply-faced teenager, and now I'm 31. In that time, I've used all varieties of notebooks, and filled them all. I came across the Moleskine brand a few years ago, and now I won't use anything else. The large ruled notebook is sturdy, of excellent construction, holds I think 265 pages, and the pages will not fall out. This notebook is best for writers and diarists.
I wouldn't use this book for school because, first of all, it is expensive. Second of all, it's a bit of overkill. I doubt you'll take a class in which you'll have time to fill up this notebook. You'll be more organized in a class if you buy a simple lab book or composition book to take notes in for each class.
I know a lot of people who try to write in jounals. They buy them with the best intentions, write a couple of pages, and then seem to forget about them and eventually buy ANOTHER journal, in which they will write a few pages and forget about. The key is just to keep the SAME journal, to keep in it in the same safe place, and to write in it whenever you feel like it, even if months go by without you touching it. If someone buys you another journal, fill up the first one first, and then move on to the new one. You can learn from my experience and start with the best, which is Moleskine. Otherwise . . . do whatever you want. The main thing is just to have something to write in.
I've also used all variety of pens. My choice is the Pilot Precise V5. Every now and then you'll get a bum one, that you've just got to throw away because it's not writing smoothly or properly. But, for the most part, these are the best choice for journaling and writing. They are fine point. They last longer than gel ink. They require no pressure whatsoever to be placed on the tip, as ball-point pens do, and they don't smear.
These journals are truly something special. With the nice, firm cover; lots of pages; a pocket; and elastic to keep them shut, they offer a ton of function for compulsive scribblers.
But...they demand a little flexibility from the journalist in return. They don't handle all inks well, and in particular they handle very few fountain pen inks without significant bleed-through.
So if one commits to a Moleskine journal, one commits to a pen/ink combination that won't bleed--opening up both sides of the paper--or one resigns oneself to wasting the back half of each page.
For those willing to do a little research, though, the pen/ink combinations are out there (fountain pen users should look up Noodler's Black; for Gel roller users, Pilot's G2 refills also work splendidly with Moleskine).
If you want a solid, utilitarian journal, it's tough to beat these, especially at a reasonable price--but the bleeding pages will require adjustments. It's up to you.
Love Moleskines. I prefer the soft cover for more of a broken-in feel, easier to stick a pen in between the pages and carry it around. The hardcover's good for adventure-writing durability, but come on - you know you're just using it in a coffee shop anyway.
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I've heard these books are wonderful. I take a lot of notes at my job. Having struggled with wire bound books (the bindings getting bent or snagging clothing) and being teased about being too old to use composition books, these notebooks are a joy to use. The attached ribbon bookmark and elastic band close have come in handy to use. The paper is smooth and a heavier weight than other notebooks. The paper is also a cream colored so there is no glare when writing in bright sunlight. The book is tough enough to be out on the job but professional looking enough for meetings. Love this book! I'm planning to buy more and have the covers laser-etched to give out as gifts.