Midori: Santina

Midori, well known for their Traveler’s notebook, has the seemingly discontinued but awesome notebook colection, The Santina / World Mesiter notebook. The notebook “celebrates the best of Japanese and Dutch design and craftmanship” with the cover made of Dutch “leather paper,” named Santina. And the paper is the much-famous Japanese MD paper. This series only comes in an A6 size, and makes for a great pocket notebook.

Midori Santina

The notebook is able to lay completely flat, with only slight pressure when first using the notebook. Inside, is a 5mm grid on the lovely Japanese MD paper.

 

Midori Santina

This notebook line features a gilt-edge, with the color matching the cover. The book block is flush with the cover, creating a monolithic look.

Midori Santina

Specifications:

  • A6
  • Grid
  • Softcover
  • Black gilt-edged
  • 192 pages

Where to buy:

Review: Choosing Keeping Notebook

Choosing Keeping is a stationary store located in London, with a well-stocked online shop with familiar and unique notebook offerings. And such beautiful product photos! They also create their own line great line of notebooks.

Choosing Keeping
Choosing Keeping

These two featured here are the Blue and Black Spanish Ripple Marbled and Black Hand Decorated notebooks. The cover is a stiff but thin cardboard, I would put in the softcover category. Textured vinyl tape is wrapped around the spine. It reminds me of the tape on the spine of composition notebooks.

Choosing Keeping

The paper is smooth, and advertised as fountain pen friendly, which is important to a lot of notebook and stationary lovers. I, however, use pigment pens. The paper is lined, with wider ruling (7.5mm).

Choosing Keeping

Above is the comparison of the two notebooks with an A5 Moleskine. This notebook line has black gilt edged, which I have a particular penchant for in the notebooks I pursue. The appeal for me is creating the look of a monolith (if the notebook cover is black). Gilt edged notebooks have a bit of aesthetic flair without adding some unnecessary function.

Choosing Keeping

Specifications:

  • 160 pages
  • 7.5mm line spacing
  • Fountain pen friendly

Where to buy:

Review: Handle Note 01 Grey & Brass

Handle is a new notebook company, and I had been waiting in anticipation for these to be released. The price point is somewhat steep (€25.00 + €7.50 for shipping). Currently they have a 20% off coupon (NOTE01LAUNCH), so my total was about $30.95. While on the higher end for notebook costs, I think it’s worth it. This notebook is my favorite, my new #1, and the next I’ll be using.

The notebook comes in a sweet box, much like Baron Fig products. It served its purpose, and protected my notebook in the post.

Handle Note01

The cover is advertised as gray leather. I’m unsure if that means genuine leather, bonded leather, etc. Nonetheless, It’s beautiful.

Handle Note01

The back cover has “Handle” embossed on the bottom.

Handle Note01

The notebook has gray leather cover, with brass gilt-edging. I find the color combination very pleasing. I have a thing for gilt-edge notebooks. You can see the Handle Note 01 above a Moleskine notebook (for reference)

Handle Note01

The promo pictures on the Handleware website include no pictures of inside the notebook and the paper. So I was in for a surprise. And it was a pleasant one! The paper feels a lot like Moleskine paper, but slightly thicker. They don’t specify anything about the paper, so I can’t say what the weight is. The line spacings are 6mm, and bronze.

Handle Note01

The biggest pleasant surprise was the amount of stitchings per signature: 20 stitchings! Basically, the more stitchings the sturdier the notebook. To see how many stitchings a (smyth-sewn) notebook has, open to the middle of any signature, and count the number of holes, which is where the thread goes through. Most notebooks have about 4-10 stitchings. (a Moleskine has 10 stitchings). My current Nanami Seven Seas Writer has 8.

In the below picture you can see the plentiful stitchings, the bronze lines. You can also see that when the notebook lays open in the middle, the leather bunches together and creates a little divot. That is my only complaint, and very minor.

Handle Note01

Specifications

  • 200 pages
  • lined
  • 6mm lines
  • gilt edge

Where to buy:

Review: Miro Notebooks

The Miro Notebooks, made by Franklin Mill, are a nice contribution to the black cover notebook market, with a great price point ($13.99).

Miro
The cover is vinyl and feels very similar to moleskine, with more grip. Mine already has a few gouges and a small tear, but I don’t mind.

Miro

The paper is advertised as Mohawk Paper. It feels and writes very well. The paper is the best part of the notebook, which is ideal. If you look closely at the above picture, the line layout is unique: the line has a slight break about an inch into the paper, along the spine (so it alternates). This would be useful for checklists, and is not intrusive and easy to ignore.

Miro

There is a small pocket in the back, but it is not gusseted like a Moleskine notebook. It is large enough to fit a few small pieces of paper.

Miro

Moleskine A5 notebook on top for reference, Miro notebook on bottom. I really love gilt-edged notebooks, which started with the Nuuna notebook, and I’m out to collect them all. The Miro Notebooks are a nice offering in this niche-aesthetic. There are 6 colors available, in both a black and white cover. The one I’m reviewing is A5 (6 x 8), but they also have pocket and large sizes available.

Miro

One complaint is that the text block is not set evenly in the cover. In the above picture, you’ll notice the overhang is noticeable on the side, and flush on the top. Even more of a concern is that on the top it’s slightly more flush by the side than by the spine. I don’t mind an overhang, but being variation from side to side, and unevenness on the top makes the notebook look sloppy.

Specifications:

  • A5 (6″ x 8″)
  • $13.99
  • 160 pages
  • lined, 6mm line spacing
  • gilt-edged

Where to buy:

 

Review: Nuuna Punk Notebooks

Nuuna notebooks are made by Brandbook in Germany, which specializes in making customized large-batch notebooks. They’re available in both dot grid and blank page layout. The paper is advertised as 90g Munken polar paper and is bright white in color, as compared to the creamy off-white paper Moleskine uses. The paper is smooth, yet the ink sinks into it. The covers have a nice matte feel, and the edges are colored to match the band. This specific notebook spurred my interest in notebooks with colored edgings — I find the aesthetic of black cover with black colored edgings a very pleasing look.

It appears that this collection, the Punk Collection, of notebooks has been discontinued which is seriously disappointing. There are a few places you can find the remaining notebooks left. Nuuna’s new collections of notebooks look interesting, and worth investigating, but the punk collection is so great that I’d encourage Nuuna to keep offering them.

Technical Specifications:

  • $18.00
  • Hardcover
  • 90g paper Munken
  • Size: A5 slim (8.25 x 4.5in)
  • Dot Grid and Blank
  • Dot grid spacing: 4mm
  • 192 Pages
  • colored/gilt edged

Nuuna

These notebooks are very durable. The black notebook on the left is 100% filled on every line (er, dot grid line) and page, while the white notebook on the right is brand new. After being completely filled, the notebook has not structurally deteriorated at all, and looks nicely worn and aesthetic. With other notebooks, it’s been such a bummer to find them fall apart as I’m filling them.

Nuuna2

Top to bottom: Nuuna Punk Black/Black, Nuuna White/Yellow Punk, and Moleskine A5 for reference.

Where to buy: Nuuna Website