Throwback Thursday- Don't Buy Moleskine Notebooks, Instead Try

by - Thursday, August 18, 2016

moleskine architecture notebooks
Oh Moleskine notebooks, accessory for doushey guys all the way back to Ernest Hemmingway. When I was in grad school, I could not avoid some haughty Stanford guy writing notes in his little notebook. Hipsters only love this kind of thing, because they aren't really paying any more attention than anybody else.

Of course, at the time, I thought they were pretty cool.

You could totally imagine something brilliant being scribbled in, and they seemed to promise a kind of tough but lasting American thought. They seem like the kind of notebook you put your notes and ideas into if your thoughts are worth keeping forever, and I kept a tiny one in my purse all the time in case I had a brilliant dissertation-related thought.

I still keep notebooks, but I will happily skip the Moleskine.

Moleskine, it turns out, is not about quality and American intellectual masculinity (why did I think they were cool? Poor 23 year old Barbara), These notebooks are about as special and lovingly made as any Composition Book. This brand is all about surface and self-perception. Shorter version of this? All of these notebooks are imported from China, just like every piece of junk at Walmart those same guys would turn their noses up at. They are just another piece of junk- their low quality is not a fluke or a sign of their heavy use.

Any prestige is totally fake, and we can put our American brains down on much more ethical and American paper.

So, Moleskine, I am done with you. I will buy notebooks that are actually made in America. Even better, I can find ones that use recycled materials and safe inks too. Check out my favorites:

decomposition book with plant design
Decomposition Book on Amazon
1. Decomposition Books- I am absolutely committed to these notebooks, made in the US out of recycled paper and soy ink. I love them so much that they made my list of top ten finds for 2015. They come in great designs and a bunch of sizes. I carry a little one in my bag now, and I have no interest in buying anything else when an option this good exists. Be sure to check to see if you local bookstores have them; I have seen them out a couple times now, which I am psyched about.
TOPS Second nature notebook with green cover
TOPS Second Nature on Amazon
2 TOPS Second Nature Notesbooks- Recycled, Made in the USA, and shockingly affordable. Coming in around the price of your regular basic notebook, this might be the perfect notebook to send to school with your kids or to scribble notes into.

rustico leather bound little black notebook
Rustico from Amazon
3. Rustico- If you are really missing that leather-bound, Moleskine feeling (and who can blame you), Rustico makes leather-bound and closeable notebooks here in the US that remind me of a Moleskine, but nicer. They also look rugged enough for Indiana Jones, and I like the ties on the front. Great choice!
night owl paper goods cute little otter pocket notebook
Night Owl Paper Goods from Amazon
4. Night Owl Paper Goods- Made in Alabama, these cute little pocket notebooks (out of recycled paper) look great and might help you shake off your Hemmingway desires. If you are a recovering academic like I am (or a kindergartener, either way), these may do the trick for shaking off some pretension.
field notes notebook
from Field Notes
5. Field Notes- These books give you lots of options for paper and have a similar association with America and creativity. Luckily, they are also made in the United States.  I love them too, because I know people use Moleskines as small art journals, and I think these Field Notes books would serve that same purpose perfectly.

More Options (there are so many! Good day to write this blog)- Vela, Northbooks, and DIY Indispensables- All of these look like they could be the perfect fit for someone, so if you haven't seen what you like, check these.

american flag cupcakes and the made in america shopping challenge

Want more shopping inspiration? Awesome! Let's use this time between Memorial Day and 4th of July to take better care of the companies that still work, sell, and manufacture in America. Shop American! We can take better care of our workforce, minimize the waste of international travel, and send the message to companies that it is worth their money to move manufacturing back to the States. Check out the Giant List of Shopping Lists for more ideas!

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