The Sunday Salon: The Perfect Notebook

I’m left-handed and picky. The left-handedness is more an interesting side note than anything else, as I’m ambidextrous enough to do tasks with both hands, although I can only write with my left. The pickiness is more debilitating but good for my wallet. Both are major factors in my search for the perfect notebook. As a woman of letters, notebooks and journals are important. While I tried to coast with notes on my phone for a while, there’s no real substitute for a pen and paper, especially when you’re out and about. Let’s talk about what makes the perfect notebook—for me, anyway.


If you’re right-handed, let me introduce you to the main problem of writing left to right for left-handed people: smearing. This is actually why I used to prefer ring bound notebooks; I found it easier to avoid smearing. I also preferred ring bound notebooks because of the page situation (trying to keep pages flat while writing, harder to do left-handed), but I did eventually find regularly bound notebooks and journals that worked. It just took a long, long time.

Over the course of several years of exploration (and giving Moleskine more shots than it deserved), I’ve ended up with two notebooks that work perfectly for me.

The first is the notebook I keep in my messenger bag at all times, usually (but, frustratingly, not always) accompanied by a pen. (My perfect pen is the Signo Uniball Gel 207. Especially when the pen is pink but the ink is black.) It’s a tiny spiral-bound notebook that, most importantly, has hard covers, so it doesn’t get torn up in my bag or weigh it down. It’s made by a Australian company called Spank Stationary that deals in flirty stationary—check ’em out online if you want! 


The second is my personal journal, which is actually a pretty recent purchase; I started on volume two a few months ago. While I did vow not to buy books from national chains this year, I cheated—kind of—and bought this notebook, because I couldn’t find anything else I liked and wanted to record the birth of my nephew in. So I now record my life in a scarlet journal declaring “Keep calm and carry on”, if only because I couldn’t find a journal declaring “DON’T PANIC” on short notice. This is from Peter Pauper Press (awesome name) and is the first regularly bound journal I’ve written in. It’s also the nicest journal I’ve written in; the paper is lovely, the binding actually lies flat, and there’s embossing on the cover. Given the popularity of Keep Calm and Carry On, I’m sure you’ve seen this floating around, and I’m happy to say it’s actually quite a good journal.

I finished rereading Jane Eyre for my senior seminar this week, as well as The Brontë Myth and The Gods of Mars. Nothing else much happened, I’m afraid, although I’m off to see Rock of Ages a second time today. I’ve got it bad, cats.

 The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) Small Beer Press offers several of their books as free downloads, including Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners. If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!

What’s your perfect notebook? Have you found it yet?

5 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: The Perfect Notebook

  1. I’m also a lefty, and I feel your pain when it comes to smearing. I remember all through high school, when I used the cheap ball-point pens my parents bought, I had a blue stain on my left hand (and forget using erasable ink!) I like Pilot roller-ball pens now.

    I don’t write large amounts in journals anymore, so I’m less choosy than I used to be, but when I wrote more, I did find spiral bound notebooks to be a particularly good choice.

  2. Ha, Sorcery & Cecelia. Awesome.

    I’m right handed and I tend to prefer spiral bound, though I haven’t used a notebook since I finished my BA. Any short story/novel/article notes end up on yellow notepads that I could only buy at one particular dollar store in Edmonton that has since closed (but fortunately, I bought 12 of them the last time I had the opportunity), and then I spread the resulting loose sheets all over my desk when I’m working.

    For sketchbooks, I also like spiral bound for quick sketches, but the regularly-bound ones tend to have better quality paper.

  3. My biggest issue with journals is the majority are wide-ruled. I’m a college lined girl to the nth degree. If it’s not skinny-ed line, I can’t write on it.

  4. I also have that same journal – except for me, I have had a problem writing in it because it’s too nice. (Probably more about me than the journal, issue-wise!)… 🙂 And yes, in agreement with Christina in the above comment – college rule the whole way, please!

    Obviously, great people think alike. 🙂

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