Capitol Hill Books Has DC’s Most Curmudgeonly Store Owner | Washingtonian

Capitol Hill Books Has DC’s Most Curmudgeonly Store Owner | Washingtonian

Last weekend, I stepped into the store to hunt for a particular title, and realized that Capitol Hill Books is not like most cozy, quiet bookstores where one can browse unbothered, and that’s because Toole is not like most bookstore owners. His idiosyncrasies are present throughout the entire store, from the haphazard organization system—there’s a “Tower of Tolkien” that’s an actual teetering stack of books by the author, and an entire section of books is lodged in the store’s bathroom—to the excessive handwritten signage to the front door, which is covered in rules for would-be customers.

And now I have something at the top of my “Must Visits in D.C.” list.

A 100-year-old Japanese stationery store lets customers design the perfect, custom notebook — Quartz

A 100-year-old Japanese stationery store lets customers design the perfect, custom notebook — Quartz

For about $9 per 60-page notebook, you can mix-and-match ruled, lined, and blank pages in various hues; debate the spectrum of notebook cover choices; and obsess over the right spiral binding color.

On my list for when I visit Japan.

(via Matt Lang)

Agendio Customizable Planners – Build your 2016-2017 Planner

Agendio Customizable Planners – Build your 2016-2017 Planner

Most planners have similar layouts, so you must adapt to your planner.Thats backwards.At, you can customize your layout and personalize your content beforewe print and assemble your individual planner.

This looks amazing! The number of customization options alone are impressive. If you’re looking for a truly personal paper planner this looks like your ticket.

(via Garrick)

The Daily Plan Bar – Rohdesign – Medium

The Daily Plan Bar – Rohdesign – Medium

This past year I’ve started using a modified form of the Bullet Journal approach, using a dot grid notebook, thanks to a gift of an official Bullet Journal Notebook from creator, Ryder Carroll… After using and tweaking The Daily Plan Bar idea for almost a year, It seemed time to document it and share the idea in more detail.

Speaking of Mike Rohde, here’s something neat for all you Bullet Journalers out there. Would even work well as a time tracking tool in any notebook/diary/log.


The Last Bookbinder on the Lower East Side | Literary Hub

The Last Bookbinder on the Lower East Side | Literary Hub

Henry’s workshop is five steps below street level, in the basement of the Congregation Sons of Moses synagogue. There are no windows and yet it’s a cheerful place, primarily because of Henry, but also because of the instruments he uses—the oversewing machine with its web of thread, the presses that are tightened by wheel crank, the hand guillotine and the foot guillotine. Some are wickedly efficient, others possessed of a Rube Goldberg charm. Grease is needed to keep these machines in working order, and there’s a sweetness in the air, from the lubricant oils, the leather polish and Elmer’s glue, all of it underlined by the nutty scent of paper recently cut.

Lovely story about a Jewish bookbinder. Part of a dying but still needed art.

(via The Hammock Papers)


Finding Poetry in a Note-Taking App – The New Yorker

Finding Poetry in a Note-Taking App – The New Yorker

As I assessed my choices, I discovered that I had certain requirements. I had to be able to draw badly in a note-taking app; I had to be able to incorporate audio recordings of myself saying “Fnaffle” at 3 a.m. so that I could spend the next day trying to figure out its significance; I needed to be able, in the middle of a meditation about nineteenth-century German aphorists, to insert a jpeg image of a large gelid octopus going down on a man with a twelve-pack which I found God knows where in my Internet travels. I settled on OneNote, which seemed the closest to my ideal.

Really interesting and well written essay on how one writer uses her note taking app. It’s a good reminder that it isn’t about analog versus digital or paper versus bits. It’s about what works best for you and how you use those things.

Today is Journal Day


Today, December 9th, is a day I designated a few years back as Journal Day. There are many ways to celebrate, or traditions one could keep, to mark the day. Here are some ideas…

  • This might be the day to take out previous journals and reflect on where you were then versus where you are today.
  • This is a great day to open a new journal and begin to plan for the coming year — for instance, what things you’d like to accomplish or places you’d like to travel to.
  • You might let someone you trust read one you have kept and get to know the “real” you.
  • Perhaps gift a journal to another person in your life who practices or you feel could benefit from doing so.
  • Or, maybe, be so bold as to spend a year keeping a journal for someone else in your life whom you love and spend your days with — write down their day as you saw it or the things you were thinking about them at that time. How wonderful a gift would it be to allow someone close to “see” themselves and their year through your eyes?
  • Like the above, start a journal for your kids that are too young to keep their own. We forget so much of those early years. This is a way to remember those special times. This is the sort of thing that would make a meaning high-school graduation gift when they get older.

These are just a few of the ways you can celebrate. If you come up with others, I would love to hear about them. Shoot me a message on Twitter or use the hashtag #journalday and I will try to add them here.

The invention that helped me write again – BBC News

The invention that helped me write again – BBC News

When Emma Lawton was 29 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.As a graphic designer, drawing is a huge part of her life but over the past three years the tremor in her hands has grown more pronounced stopping her from writing and drawing straight lines.Enter Haiyan Zhang and her invention that is changing Emma’s life.

Via my friend Matt Lang, who reminds us that there is much digital technology that is great. Life changing, even.

Paper is not broken.

My friend Steve Best recently sent me a link to yet another tablet like device promising to replace paper to get my take. It seems interesting enough at first glance, with a typically stylish video attempting to make the case. But, my take on all of these things is that, in order to be relevant, they must start from a premise that rings false for me and most others I know who love and use paper. That being, that paper is somehow broken or inferior. Or, even worse, they make the assumption that you are using your paper based products poorly and that you are too incompetent to solve it in any way other than their digital “solution”.

I’m going to rip this false premise apart by using the very words they do in their introductory video. Here it is:

They start with this line…

“Paper is the ultimate tool for thinking. It lets your mind roam freely, without restrictions. Lets you focus, without distractions. ”

So, were off to a good start. They lay out three out of a few dozen ways I could easily enumerate why paper is better than any digital tool I can think of. Then…

“But if you love paper, you probably struggle to keep track of your notebooks,”

False premise #1. No, I don’t, actually. Neither does anyone I know. Now, maybe I live in my own little paper bubble and this is a real problem, but I suspect not. And, I would suggest to those people for whom this is a problem that perhaps they should find a way to only use one large bright colored notebook that is not easily lost.

“…Print a lot of documents,”

False premise #2. I can copy and easily print and/or share anything I write in under a minute by scanning it as a PDF document with my smartphone.

“…Or have a desk that looks like this”.

This is where they show a shot of a desk strewn with paper and pens. Once again, making the assumption that there’s something wrong with that. Some people may see a cluttered mess. Those of us who know the truth, see a creative mind at work.

But, it’s the “solution” — their product — that really gets me. Take a good look at that video. Is there a single thing they are showing — the writing, the reading, the multiple notebooks, etc. that you can’t do right now with what you have? One that is worth $379.00 (their pre-order price the final is promising to be almost $800) to “fix”. It’s trying so hard to be “just like paper” that I’m left back at the question of why I would want to spend almost $400 to do everything I can do today with real paper for under $40. If paper and notebooks are such a burden then why are you trying so hard to be just like it?

But, that’s the rub. These tools have to convince you that what you are using and/or how you are using these things are broken in order to sell you a solution to fix it. It’s a classic straw man argument.

But I’m here to tell you that paper is not broken. I refuse to accept that premise because it can’t be proven. In fact, the opposite is far more likely. I don’t have to back it up, charge it’s battery, change it’s format to be opened by something else once the app maker goes out of business, or let it co-exist on a device with a hundred other things competing for my time and attention. It’s a technology that’s a couple of thousand years old and has worked reliably, virtually unchanged, in that time. It’s better than any digital solution in fundamental ways. Not the least of which is the fact that it has been proven to last for a thousand or more years given the right care.

So, don’t let anyone tell you paper is broken. It’s digital, that has yet to be proven.