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on January 9, 2006
Are these journals a Five, or a Three?

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.
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on April 17, 2006
I can't decide whether I bought this notebook despite the hype or because of it. But I do know that when I have a Moleskine notebook with me, I actually write. That is reason enough for me to be a loyal customer. No more journals started, then abandoned, and no more ideas forgotten because I didn't write them down right away.
I suspect that it really is despite the hype that I love it. Here's why:
* As I said, I actually use it.
* Delightfully smooth paper.
* Nice thin lines.
* A variety of styles.
* Pocket in back keeps little things; in my case, it's often fortune cookie fortunes.
* Elastic keeps the paper clean.
* Holds up well in my pocket or bag.
* Did I mention the delightfully smooth paper, with the nice thin lines?
This is the first notebook that I've really been able to carry with me, and that makes all the difference as far as writing is concerned.
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on December 9, 2004
The designer of these notebooks got them exactly right. The two original sizes, roughly 3x5 and 5x8, fit perfectly in pockets and bags. The cover material is durable yet develops nice character after extended use. The notebook features both a fabric place-keeper and elastic band to keep the book shut. There's also a pocket in the back cover to keep scraps.

Try one out - you'll be hooked.
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on April 5, 2006
While the history is cool, the extent to which everyone drinks the Kool-Aid and gobbles it up is a bit startling to me. I suppose that those people who still care enough about the physical writing experience of pen to paper might be more inclined to romanticize it (in other words, not only great notebooks, see below, but also smart marketing, and more power to them). I also enjoy writing, but with respect to the little 3.5" x 5" books, on a purely practical level, I like these simply because there are very few notebooks out there that provide such a high quality writing experience in such a small volume of space. The little (3.5" x 5") softcover is almost ideal for shoving in your back pocket and carrying everywhere, with nice, high quality paper. The covers are durable and smooth enough to still work well even after acquiring some "character" in your back pocket (ie they actually mold to your [...] a bit!). I haven't tried a fountain pen in it; although I enjoy writing with them, I wouldn't use one in this application anyway. These little books are not really for writing the Great American Novel (or the Great Novel of Your Country of Origin), they're more for jotting notes or to-do lists, and they work extremely well in this role. The only reason I withhold one star is the lack of a feature that would make them completely perfect for me; a pen attachment/enclosure provision. My ideal book would be able to accomodate a thin pen in the spine, so that the book could be slid into my pocket easily with no fear of snagging or worry about whether I remembered to "click" the pen to retract it. I realize this would make it a bit bulkier, though. As it is, my leading pen choices for this are the Fisher Space pen or the Zebra G-301 medium point gel retractable, the former being very, very short (but a bit thicker) when capped, and the latter being very nice and skinny, but longer. Anyway, these notebooks are a pleasure to use, and though a bit costly, for how long they last me and the pleasure (and utter utility) I get from using them, they seem like a "reasonable extravagance" to me. I'll go through many, many of these before I spend what I would on the cheapest PDA.
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on January 22, 2007
Moleskine makes great, sturdy, compact notebooks. It has a convenient pocket in the back for sticking scraps of paper, a photo, whatever.

I have a small ruled Moleskine I've used for years as a general purpose notebook. It's taken quite a beating, but still looks to last until it's full.

Since I purchased that first book at the Smithsonian in 2002, I've purchased, used and abused several different styles of Moleskines. Each exhibits the same high level of quality, from the sturdy cover, strong, durable elastic 'clasp', and tough, heavy paper.
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on January 4, 2006
I use large ruled one as notebook for my arab language classes, large ruled one for work, small ruled one as vade mecum (always have it with me and use it to jot down EVERYTHING that comes to mind, addresses, phone numbers, PINs, moonphases, webpages to check, you name it), large blank paged one as BOS. I just LOVE it, its durable, elegant, compact.. and widely available in Croatia, thank God :)
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on January 17, 2007
I go through three or four of these a year as journals, and I give them as gifts to other people quite regularly. They are the perfect journal-- sturdy covers, archival quality paper, secure binding, a built-in bookmark and a pocket to hold mementos like ticket stubs.
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I am a late but passionate convert to the Moleskine notebooks. I had seen them around, of course, but unlike many users was completely unaware of Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin's use of them. In fact, I was unaware that they had any reputation at all. To me they were merely one brand of notebook among others. But while in Cleveland this past January I visited the bookstore of Case Western University trying to find something to read (I had blown through all the novels I had brought with me) and noticed a display featuring Moleskine notebooks on sale. I needed something to write in so I picked up a three-pak of the extra large cahier notebooks. I instantly fell in love with them. Over time I became impressed with how durable they were, but in the short-term I fell in love with the quality of the paper and the height of the lines.

I've tried a lot of notebooks over the years but I've never really been happy with the paper quality of most. I absolutely love the line height of each ruled line. Too many notebooks have lines that are the right height for my taste. Most are too high with the result that you don't get as many words on a page. But with the Moleskine you can get far more words to the page than with most notebooks. The paper is also wonderfully opaque. What you write on one page does not bleed across to the other. This is a fault with many notebooks that have paper that is so absorbent that it seeps onto the other side of the page. I've had a couple of notebooks that I have used that bleed so badly that I can only use the right hand page. On the other hand, I have also written on pages that failed to absorb the ink (I prefer to use a fountain pen) and as a result you can get a lot of smeared ink. When I say the paper in these Moleskine books are perfect I mean precisely that: there is no bleeding into the other side of the page but neither do you get smearing. Also, all of the notebooks, whether regular notebooks or cahiers, lay down perfectly flat.

Although my original experience with Moleskines was with the extra large cahier notebooks, I have come to prefer the large line notebooks and the large lined cahiers. I have multiple writing projects going on at once. For smaller projects, such as piece for a magazine, website article, or essay, I prefer the large cahiers. I prefer to keep one project to one notebook. I can write an article or essay in a large cahier and have a few pages left over. For book-sized projects I prefer to use the large lined notebook. The main thing with Moleskine is they make so many versions that just about anyone can find what they want or need. The only thing I would like to try but is not made is an extra large lined notebook (not a cahier but a regular notebook). But I'm delighted with the notebooks that I have gotten. And I'll be surprised if I ever give another make of notebook a try.
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on May 3, 2005
These notebooks seem like a pricey investment but they're well worth it. I use mine for meetings, journaling, and sketching out ideas. Not only is it sturdy enough to take a beating, but it has a touch of class that a legal pad can't match.
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VINE VOICEon January 6, 2008
Moleskines are useful for everything and are used for just that. Most of the reported uses seem to be more in the artsy nature, like "jotting down dreams," "sketching my cats," or "looking moody in coffeehouses." All of those are legitimate, but my particular use is a bit more left brain. I am a business executive, and I use Moleskines for all my meetings, notes, phone calls, etc. That way, I have all of my projects in my hand, all of the time (yes, my assistant does photocopy this from time to time for back-up). I have found it to be very effective. The little pocket in the back is great for business cards and boarding passes, and the look of the whole thing is sophisticated with just a touch of mystery.
I started out using the graph version, but found that the vertical lines messed up my penmanship - now, I am a standard ruled line guy. Overall, these are durable little books if not abused. I had one that started to come apart after too many spread-eagle photocopyings, and another that loosened up a bit after a fall - but generally, you shouldn't have a problem. Go ahead - join the Moleskine movement.
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