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The Care and Keeping of Notebooks: A Reading List

Emily Perper | Longreads | October 3, 2016 | words

Six stories about notebooks and note-taking from David Sax, Belle Boggs, Joan Didion, and more.

Posted inFeatured, Nonfiction, Reading List

The Care and Keeping of Notebooks: A Reading List

Six stories about notebooks and note-taking.
Photo: Jose Camões Silva

I found my favorite notebook—a red Moleskine, narrow-ruled, hardback—at the Harvard Book Store while on vacation. I liked its bold color. Someone had bent the front cover, giving it a well-worn look and earning me a 10% discount from the kind bookseller. I felt relief. My anxious handwriting and endless to-do lists would not be the first things to mar my new notebook. Someone had already done me that courtesy. Now there was nothing to fret about; I could write in peace.

1. “Why Startups Love Moleskines.” (David Sax, The New Yorker, June 2015)

Distraction-free, tried-and-true: the notebook remains, even in the tech-saturated realm of Silicon Valley.

The notion that non-digital goods and ideas have become more valuable would seem to cut against the narrative of disruption-worshipping techno-utopianism coming out of Silicon Valley and other startup hubs, but, in fact, it simply shows that technological evolution isn’t linear. We may eagerly adopt new solutions, but, in the long run, these endure only if they truly provide us with a better experience—if they can compete with digital technology on a cold, rational level.

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