Your notebook can make or break commonplacing for you, so it’s important to pick a quality one. I’m going to help find the one for you by reviewing various notebooks. I figured I would start with a classic: the Moleskine Cahier Journal.
I will be reviewing the large, ruled version of the notebook (5″ x 8 1/4″).
You buy the Moleskine Cahier Journals in sets of three: advertised at 80 “pages” each. However, it’s actually only 40 individual pages. That’s not much. But it makes for a thin journal, which I’ve appreciated. Here’s a picture:
The Cahier set costs $13.95 USD and comes in three styles: plain, ruled, and squared. As I said, I’m reviewing the ruled style, as that’s what I prefer for commonplacing. If you’re a fan of the “dot” style, you’re out of luck: Moleskine doesn’t offer it.
The paper quality is the biggest thing going for the Cahier journal. I’ve been writing on it using a Pilot G2 07 (I’ll be doing a review of it in the future) and it feels great. There has been no bleed-through to the next page, even when I accidentally used the more inky G2 10. That being said, you can see the writing through the back of the page. This is to be expected of most notebooks, but I’ll include a picture so you can decide for yourself if it’s an issue. Oh, and all bets are off if you’re using a fountain pen, I didn’t test anything with that much ink.
I have mixed feelings about the cover of the Cahier. It’s described as “cardboard,” but it’s really just cardstock paper. It doesn’t withstand creases or indentations well. I’ve been carrying the Moleskine in my backpack for a couple days, and it’s already suffered a couple marks and creases. On the plus side, the cover allows the journal to remain open easily and maintains the slim profile of the journal.
Some features worth noting: the journal has a pocket on the back cover to slip loose papers in, and the last 16 pages of the notebook can be removed.
Another thing: the Cahier doesn’t scream “quality.” Moleskine’s other notebooks (like the Classic) have a more dignified look, and this one comes across as a cheap journal. It doesn’t feel that way writing in it, but if you care about looks, it’s not the most eye-catching.
Personally, that doesn’t matter to me. The Cahier has checked most of my boxes: it’s thin, it handles my favorite pen, it’s a good size, and it’s relatively cheap. I prefer the practical look of it; I get scared to write in the fancier notebooks. I need to feel no hesitation when I go to write in it.
Conclusion? As far as cheaper notebooks go, it’s not bad. It meets my expectations, but it doesn’t blow them away. In the future I hope to compare it to its biggest rival, the Leuchtturm 1917 Jottbook. We’ll see how it holds up.
If you have question or a notebook/journal you want reviewed, please tell me in the comments section below!