Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Quo Vadis Notebook-first impressions

I came home this evening to find a parcel all the way from the USA in my post box. How exciting! In it was a Quo Vadis Habana Notebook from Karen Doherty at Exaclair. This company is the US distributor of Clairefontaine, Rhodia and Quo Vadis. European brands of course which makes it slightly bemusing that I was sent one from the US. It's also not that easy to get access to these brands in the UK, certainly not the whole range pf products which is even more bemusing.
Karen sent me a black, 6"x9" lined Habana notebook that contains 80 pages of 90g Clairefontaine paper. I loved my visit to Cuba so I like the name already, and surprised that it's allowed in the US with a name like that! I guess it's the Hemingway connection to notebooks being used again. Incidentally i didn't bother going into Hemingway's cocktail haunt in Habana (La Floridita) but had plenty of mojitos and Cuba Libras on my travels.

So I must admit I am writing this while the initial excitement is still with me. Once I start using it I shall review properly and this is where I come to my first problem. I already feel this is too good to use! I've raised this problem before. I have no hesitation in getting stuck in to an inexpensive notebook but often have more luxurious notebooks lying unused. So it has a luxurious feel about it. The cover is leather-like and is flexible. I like this. It is perhaps in between a hard cover and soft cover Moleskine in it's flexibility. It has an elastic closure and pocket on the back inside cover. All familiar stuff. The size makes it about 3.5cm longer and 1.5cm wider than my usual A5 sized notebook and it does feel oddly long in my hands so it remains to be seen if the size will suit me.

However it is what's inside that counts (as your mother will tell you) and I have to admit up front that I love Clairefontaine paper. What's interesting is that this journal contains extra white paper and it looks to me as if the ones I can buy here in the UK contain ivory paper. Many folk prefer ivory I know but this 90g extra white paper is a favourite of mine and is contained in Clairefontaine's stapled exercise books which I use. At £1.99 for a 48 page exercise book you can see why I might use more of them than a £16 Habana journal ($20 in the USA). However this is a notebook that I wouldn't use to scrawl down my meeting notes, more likely I will use it for journal style writing. I don't keep a regular journal as such but do write down thoughts, interesting news stories, poems etc. I can imagine myself carrying it about in my Timbuk2 messenger bag (yes I still love it) and sitting in a cafe having coffee and bringing it out to write amazing pieces of prose. I've seen another blog where the white paper was described as office type paper but I don't feel that way about it.

I was also interested to see it is made in the USA but obviously uses French paper. I thought it would have been imported.

So while I haven't yet used it I already know that the paper is a joy to write on in pencil, felt tip, fountain pen and liquid ink pens because I'm familiar with the paper. Now the only thing I need to do is work up to writing something in it...after I've picked it up and looked at it and put it down and picked it up another few dozen times.


Larry Marshall said...

Quo Vadis is Latin, not Spanish. It translates, roughly, to "Where are you going?"

Nice review. Thanks.

Cheers --- Larry

The Bear said...

That's right Larry and the Habana journal is named after the capital of Cuba and made in the USA and the paper is French. Truly a world beater!
Before I went to Cuba I read that learning Spanish from a Cuban was like learning English from a Glaswegian. As I am from Glasgow I think I coped with learning Cuban Spanish on my travels more easily!!!!!
Thanks for taking the time to comment.