Using a Life A5 notebook

by Amanda Fleet

As Stu says on the site:

Life notebooks are coveted by anybody who values quality paper. The Noble line of Life notebooks in particular are beautiful, featuring Life's superb fountain pen ink friendly Japanese paper, which is cream in colour and finely laid. As you would expect, the paper in the Life Noble notebook is acid-free and archival quality. This A5 sized notebook comes in plain, ruled and graph paper (5mm grid paper and 8mm ruling) and features the LIFE logo, embossed in gold. 

I've been using a ruled Life notebook for making notes on the gazillion things I need to think about/do/investigate ready to self-publish my fantasy trilogy later this year. I'd been umming a ah-ing over which notebook to use (something I suspect only stationery nerds like me do, because we have so many notebooks to choose from...), so let me share my reasoning for why I plumped for the Life notebook over the other million I have in my stash.

Cover of Life notebookWell, first up, the paper is fountain pen friendly. I realise that many people won't care about that, but if you do care about that, you generally really do care about that. A paper that feathers or ghosts or lets the ink bleed through to the other side drives you insane. But, even if you don't give two hoots about this kind of thing, if a paper is good for fountain pens, it's generally amazing for any pen. Or pencil. But I'll leave that for Scribble Monboddo to decide, he being a pencil chap more than me.

The paper is thick enough that there's minimal show-through and there is no feathering at all. Dry time is a little on the long side, so lefties may want to think about that, and you may want a sheet of blotting paper handy too.

My only niggle with the paper is that it's a yellowish cream and I prefer off-white or a light ivory, but that's just a personal preference.

There are 100 pages (sides) in the book. This is a happy medium between the slimmer notebooks available (68 or 72 etc.) and the chunkier 168+ page books. I'll have a lot of notes to make, and a slimmer book will probably be too small, but I hate waste and it would annoy me if I only used half of the pages in a larger notebook.

But one of the things I love the most about these notebooks is this:

Close-up of the pageThe little dots at the top and bottom lines. These are perfect for if you want to add a table, because you don't have to faff about measuring it out. Fear not, the marks are small enough that if you're not needing to draw out a table, they won't distract. They're spaced at 10 mm (which a bit of my brain sometimes squeaks at because line spacing is 8 mm, so drawing vertical lines leads to rectangles, not squares).

Since I'll be making notes on a variety of sub-topics in the book, I'll be putting a table of contents at the front (and may even put an index at the back!), and there may be a number of topics where being able to quickly draw a table is a bonus, for example when I'm comparing different editors or cover-designers.

I also like the top margin with a slightly darker top line. The top margin is 15 mm and I use the space to put a few-word summary of the page contents (like 'print on demand' or 'keywords') so that when I flick through the book I can see what's on each page.

There are no fancy frills like ready-printed page numbers (I've just hand-written them in) or a ribbon-marker or a pocket in the back, but this is a good, solid notebook at a very decent price. Why don't you give it a whirl?