Notebook Collection Part 3

This is my third post on my extensive collection of notebooks. You can find part one here and part two here.

Japanese Notebooks

I have a lot of notebooks that are manufactured in Japan. Shown here are several of these from Kinokuniya Bookstore near Bryant park and from Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey. I also have a few of the Japanese-style Molskine notebooks, which are not really from Japan, but pay hommage to a very useful binding method. (I wish Molskine made extra large versions of these notebooks.)

The quality of pens and paper goods from Japan tends to be quite high, they seem to have a better selection of pens that write with a very fine lines. The notebooks often have english phrases on the cover, mostly as decoration, the words don't make much sense. So that seems to suggest that in Japan some western things can be desirable or fashionable. In the US Japanese things are fashionable. And I find Japanese things that go for a western "feel" fascinating. Take "campus" notebooks, they try to evoke the classic leafy green American (or maybe British) college campus with their name and designs. I, in turn, buy notebooks that evoke a Japanese paper company evoking an idyllic campus. Soon in Japan, no doubt, it will be fashionable to get American things that are trying to be like Japanese things that are trying to be like American things. This will create an infinite loop and collapse into a notebook perfection cross-Pacific cultural black hole.

What was I saying? Notebooks. From Japan. (Mostly) Let's look inside!

Pure, white pages.

The pages are smooth and "fountain pen friendly" as they say over at The Fountain Pen Network a great online community with it's own collection of notebook lovers! One of the last courses I took for my masters degree was Topology. It was a lovely course and I used one of these as my "final" notebook. (I always reorganize my notes from class in to a neater, more comprehensive format in my own words and a means of studying. I call this the "final" notebook, since to study for the final I only need to sit down and read it.) At any rate the notebook I kept for that course was one of my best ever. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back to take more classes!

Giant mother of a molskine

Would you look at the size of this thing? "The Folio Sketchbook - A3" is just like a regular Molskine (it even has the elastic strap and back pocket!) but it's the size of a movie poster. I saw it and fell in love instantly. I can't quite make up my mind what to put in it yet, but I know something will come to me. What would you use it for?

The vast expanse of pure, white, paper waiting for creation.

Opening this thing is almost emotional. It's like opening the door to a special room that's just waiting for you to shape it in to a wonderful place. There is something about having a book so big that you must turn your head to look around the page that just makes the whole experience more immersive. This is why I love books with big pages so much. Most of my collection is on the larger side, I find I can do more with more space to write.

And speaking of big books. Look at this beast. It's the "The World's Largest Italian Leather Journal" -- due to the leather cover and other fine materials (leather increases in cost rapidly the larger a piece you require) this book costs $2,000. It's mostly used by big hotels and universities as a kind of guest book. At least they don't have to worry about someone wandering off with it!

The World's Largest Italian Leather Journal, I secretly want one.

Wouldn't you love to sit down in front of this with a nice inky pen? What would you create?

This brings to a close post on the collection. But I will continue to review new additions to the collection from time to time. In my next post I'll share what's INSIDE of some of my full notebooks.

  • Hannah

    Wow! That is one big notebook collection. You have quite a few blank notebooks. What do you write in them?

    • Cassie

      I like the notebook collection. It can be fun and inspiring. However, I think it would be a little intimidating as well.

      I bet you will fill them with wonderful creative ideas and mathematical wisdom!

  • John Robinhūdas

    Amazing,this article is awesome.But there is some blank notebooks.What do you think to do with them ? :)

  • Anonymous

    Actually a lot of these blank notebooks are pretty inspiring.  The one with the cats up there on it makes you sort of want to draw - or me at least.

    Even when there's a good pattern on the front of one, or maybe the pages are different, in terms of maybe another shade of white rather than typical notebook paper.  I guess it all depends what triggers your creativity, because I will tell you right now, if I get a notebook thats bland - I don't really do too much with it.  Especially when it comes to drawing.

    I guess thats why all the retail outlets like to charge for a good looking notebook!  Must be a conspiracy because any good looking notebook with a great design on it that you love carrying around with you is always more expensive than the economical versions.

  • Helen marlowe

    secretly want that World’s Largest Italian Leather Journal, too! I can
    imagine having that on the wall beside my bed, then, I would write and
    draw my dreams in it when I wake up in the morning. That would really be
    awesome to have at in my bedroom!

    • Cassie

      I too am admiring the world's Largest Italian leather journal. It would be fun to play with it. This journal appears to be awaiting a masterpiece novel or something of historocal or great significance!

  • J.D. Montague

    I wandered to your blog from a Notebook Stories comment that you left and I have to say...I'm so glad I did. :) It's nice to find someone who 1) has as many *blank* notebooks as I do (now I feel less freakish); and 2) who is as persnickety about the notebooks in which she writes. (And now I'm secretly wanting that huge leather journal, too. What I'd put in there? Not sure yet, but wouldn't mind having it around while I thought of something.)

  • another mathematician

    e^{ipi}+1=0. beautiful.

  • Mandy Allen

    Wow, that is one big book!  Here in the UK we have great tomes like that available for comments and memories when someone important dies, like when Princess Diana died.  They were all over the country, in every village, town and city, and recorded the words of everyone who wrote in them.  I might use such a splendid book for a similar purpose - when I go to an important event for a special person, like a wedding or birthday, I always buy a notebook and pass it around the room asking everyone to write in it, then give it to the host as a gift at the end.  A nice momento or their special occassion.  Morbid as it sounds it's great for funerals too as people get some comfort from writing their memories about someone.