As I mentioned last month, my latest quest is to explore the latest types of ready-made journals and find those that offer a little more for the user than the usual blank pages. Last time Diana Gillette recommended in comments the terrific journals published by Chronicle Books, and now that I've hunted down some of their offerings I'll definitely second her opinion.
Here are my latest finds:
Chronicle Books' Treetop Journal. Colored and decorated pages in ten different repeating theme designs. I like the quality of the paper and the size, and the playful design of the pages has universal appeal. $9.95 list; I got mine for $8.96 at BAM.
Liberty Art Fabrics Journal Set from Chronicle Books. Three slender notebooks, each with covers depicting various patterns from Liberty Arts Fabrics. One is ruled, one is blank colored pages, and the third has graph paper. I thought these would be handy for research trips; a writer could jot down notes in the ruled book, make sketches in the unlined book, and chart or map locations in the graph book. $14.95 for the set of three; I bought this set for $13.45 at BAM.
(From here click on the links to see photos of the journals and their pages.)
My Listography Journal, published by Chronicle Books' Kid division. I've seen variations of these guided journals everywhere; they offer prompts on every page for making lists. This one is personally themed, so you'd use it to list all the stuff about you in response to the prompts (what you dislike, places you've vacationed, your favorite bands, etc.) This one would be excellent for first-time journalers as well as writers (the journal would be a fun way to get to know one of your characters better by filling it out for them instead of yourself) $12.95; I bought mine for $11.65 at BAM.
I Heart Every Thing journal, also from Chronicle Books. This one has unruled white pages with lightly decorated borders; a great journal for writers who sketch or want to use visuals. Discounted at BAM for $5.00; I got it for $4.50.
Mental Floss journals with ruled white pages and elastic corner closure bands. Every couple of pages you'll find a bit of oddball trivia to inspire you. BAM has these discounted at $5.00 each (originally $12.99) and my discount card brought them down to $4.50 each. Note on the condition of these two: because they were in the discount bin and not covered with protective cello they were a bit dinged on the covers and had some light soiling on the page edges. To deal with wear and tear like this I remove the soiling with a kneaded eraser and hide the worst of the dings with a book cover or added embellishments.
Next up: Like journals, notebooks are also evolving, and I'm in the process of collecting some very unusual examples. Stay tuned for part three of my quest report, and you'll have a chance to win your own not-so-blank book.