[Orange notebook art. Click for a larger, orange-ier view.]
4" x 6 7/8", 96 sheets, 27 lines per page
6 1/4" x 9 1/4", 80 sheets, 25 lines per page
When Quo Vadis offered interested parties the chance to evaluate its Habana notebooks, I promptly raised my hand. As a regular reader of Orange Crate Art already knows, I love "supplies," a primal love that goes back to my childhood interest in my dad's art materials.
My acquaintance with Quo Vadis products goes back to my grad school days, when a Quo Vadis page-a-day planner became my tool of choice in the neverending battle to stay organized. ("That's what all the yuppies use," a saleswoman in a Boston stationery store told me when I looked at a Quo Vadis. I bought one anyway.) Quo Vadis planners have always been well made, with superior paper sewn in signatures and flexible but sturdy covers. So it's not surprising that these Habana notebooks are beautifully designed and made (in the U.S.). Their soft, leather-like, scuff-resistant covers (black, orange, red) are a wonder. (Any further description will have to sound like adspeak: buttery, rich, sumptuous.) The Habana's paper is by Clairefontaine, what Quo Vadis confidently calls "the best paper in the world for writing." Writing on Clairefontaine with a fountain pen is a pleasure: the paper takes ink without feathering or bleeding through. The Habana stays flat when open, so that one can write and ponder and ponder and write. The elastic band that keeps the notebook closed leaves no bumps beneath the back cover — a very nice trick. And there's a secret compartment — well, an envelope — on the inside back cover, to hold a spare bill, receipts, tickets, and a sentimental paper item or two. My review notebooks are without placemarking ribbons, though online descriptions of the Habana mention a ribbon.
Anyone who cares enough about notebooks to be reading this post is likely wondering how the Habana compares to the "legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, and Chatwin" (none of whom used the notebooks made by Moleskine Srl). The Habana is not a Moleskine knockoff. The notebooks differ in size from Moleskines; the covers extend beyond the paper's edges; and there's that unmistakable Quo Vadis insignia (front cover, bottom right). Anyone who buys a notebook for its mythology ("Here I am, in a café, just like Hemingway") will be disappointed. (Imagine buying a typewriter to be like Kerouac, or a pencil to be like Nabokov!) But anyone who regards a notebook as a handy tool of thought will be delighted by the Habana. It's built for thinking and writing.
Monday, August 25, 2008
By Michael Leddy at 7:08 AM