The Paper Series: Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks
As a general rule, I tend to steer clear of notebooks that are built for specific purposes. Planners stress me out (it's all those confining little boxes) and "subject" notebooks make me break out in a cold sweat of remembering college classes and deadlines. So, by all accounts, I shouldn't have liked Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks as much as I do. But sometimes a product is so good it overshadows my dislikes, and that's what has happened here.
Another one of my purchases from my trip out to Maido in San Francisco, I was looking for a solid "desk notebook" for jotting down quick thoughts and notes for work, as well as notes for the podcast. For that, I tend to lean towards either notebooks that lay totally flat or are spiral-bound. I had heard good things about the Mnemosyne notebooks, so I picked up one in A5 size and one in B6 just to play around with the different sizes.
From the moment you pick one of these notebooks up, you can immediately tell that you're holding a quality product. They simply feel solid in the hand, and the front cover is a very business friendly black plastic with the name and model number printed in gold. Inside, you're greeted by tons of high quality, thick, perforated paper. I thought that was a nice touch; Maruman could have gotten away with not perforating the pages since the notebook was already spiral-bound, but I appreciate the extra effort.
I've been using the A5 notebook as my daily work notebook ever since I picked it up, and out of the two sizes, I think I prefer it more. The B6 notebook is top-bound, which feels odd compared to all of my other notebooks, so I tend to just test inks and pens in that notebook, and the paper in the notebooks is perfectly suited for that task. The paper in these notebooks shows shading exceptionally well, and even will help draw out sheen here and there without any feathering, bleeding, or any noticeable show through. I also love that the lines on the notebooks aren't actually solid, but are made up of lines of dots, except for the lines that divide the page into thirds. If you were looking for a notebook to diagram things out while sitting in a meeting, these notebooks were designed for you.
The other thing that blows me away is just how cheap these notebooks are compared to some of their other Japanese competitors here in the U.S. Finding spiral-bound anything with quality paper can be a challenge (I'll have another post on that soon), and if you do find something, you can expect to pay top dollar for it. You can find the A5 Mnemosyne notebooks for under $7 USD on Amazon. For that price, these notebooks should be a no brainer if you're looking for a great notebook.
...Except that I don't know that I'll personally buy another one. For all the great qualities that these notebooks have, I find them lacking charisma. They're fantastic notebooks for sure, but for some reason, using one feels like I'm sitting in a meeting every time. But that's just a personal hang-up of my own. I highly recommend that you pick one of these up and try one out for yourself.