When I heard of Moleskin City Notebooks, I thought it was a brilliant idea. Your regular moleskine with maps! After leaving behind my moleskine on a plane, I bought the Moleskine San Francisco notebook (as we were going to the move to the city soon). The first disappointment was that the city notebook was not available in square paper, and I had to buy the plain paper. But everything since has been a disappointment as well.
My previous Moleskin notebook was standard pocket size. Almost all of its 192 pages are for writing. There is an accordion pocket and a plastic band to hold it together. Simple, unipurpose – for writing down thoughts and notes.
With the city notebooks, seems like the designers got much more ambitious:
Its 228 pages (a fair bit thicker and much harder to fit into my purse! I often have to choose between the moleskine and the sunglasses)
There are 36 pages of maps! Why should you need 36 pages? Ah! It includes an alphabetical list of streets. This is just badly thought design – the Moleskin maps are not a replacement for a detailed street map. It should simply be a quick guide – 8-10 pages would suffice.
There are only 76 blank pages – which are the real reason I bought the Moleskins. From 192, I now have only 76! Moreover, since city notebooks are note available in square paper and I tend to write fewer lines in plain paper. So I am running out of space in only 3 months.
And, what happened to the rest of the pages? Good question. There are 32 removable sheets – Their website says its “for loose notes and exchanging messages“. Why on earth would I use the Moleskin for messages? I have stickies for that. Or I can tear part of a page if I am desperate. But to devote 32 pages to that. (And lets not forget the 12 translucent sticky sheets, just in case I want to “draw over routes“).
Yes, there are still 96 pages to do. There is a “96 page archive with tabs, and adhesive labels to personalize the tabs“. What were they smoking? Why should I need a personal, labeled archive. Moleskins are about the chronologically organized notes and thoughts. Its power is that you can open up and begin writing. If I had to begin searching through my labels to decide where to put it in, it takes away from the beauty of the experience.
If you were considering the city notebook, then consider yourself warned. I am going back to the regular old moleskine (in square paper of course!)