The greatest little notebook you never knew you needed.

Essentially, a small (9 x 14 cm.) black notebook with an elastic band around it to keep it closed and a reinforced pocket inside the back cover. The cover material is a thin faux leather that covers boards just thick enough to provide some support. Various types of pages are available, including blank, lined, and gridded. Whatever the configuration, the binding is sewn, not glued. There is a ribbon, so that you may mark your spot. Inside the back cover is a pocket, reinforce with cloth, that opens toward the spine, so that the contents will not easiy fall out. Attached to the back cover is an elastic band that wraps around the notebook vertically to keep it closed. A larger version, 13.5 x 21 cm., is also available.

One current manufacture of these notebooks, Modo & Modo, states that moleskine have been around for more than 200 years. They add that Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin, among others, used these notebooks regularly.

The attraction of the moleskine is that it just seems to work. The proportions are right, it fits comfortably in any pocket. The cover feels nice, and the pocket in the back is so handy, and sturdy enough to hold plenty of stuff. The sewn binding means that the travel journal or sketchbook that you make won't be falling apart when the glue dries out. They are not cheap, at about US$10, but they are also not so expensive that one feels guilty about using them - does anyone ever actually use those fancy leatherbound journals?

The following types of pages are available from Modo & Modo in the 9 x 14 cm. size.

  • ruled - 96 leaves (192 pages)
  • gridded - 96 leaves (192 pages)
  • plain - 96 leaves (192 pages)
  • plain, but with heavy paper, for drawing and sketching - 40 leaves (80 pages)
  • address book, with plastic covered character tabs - 96 leaves (192 pages)
  • "info-book" lined pages divided into the categories: bed; food; people; sights; facilities.
  • pocket diary - a page a day - 190 leaves (380 pages)
  • pocket diary - the week on two pages (one spread) - 70 leaves (140 pages)
  • "memo-pockets" - six cardboard pockes with cloth hinges
  • "Japanese Pocket Album" - 30 zigzag pleated sheets
And in the large size, 13.5 x 21 cm.,
  • ruled - 120 leaves (240 pages)
  • gridded - 120 leaves (240 pages)
  • plain - 120 leaves (240 pages)
  • plain, but with heavy paper, for sketching - 60 leaves (120 pages)