It’s always nice when there’s something a little different about a notebook. The name is a little unusual, so it only makes sense the Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks are a little unusual as well. Mnemosyne is the Greek goddess of memory, so I suppose these notebooks should help you to remember things. What makes these notebooks unusual? They have a number of available page layouts, none of which are your standard lined, blank or grid patterns. In this review I’ll be looking at a few of the more standard layouts, but you’ll see that they’re still not what you’ll typically find in a notebook.
My first impressions when I first looked through the variety of different Mnemosyne notebooks was that they didn’t have anything normal. All of the notebooks or notepads have some sort of header or sidebar or strange page layout. None are just lined or blank. I decided to grab the most ordinary ones I could find, the 183, which is a blank, spiral-bound notebook and the 188, a gridded notepad. Each is very attractive, with a black cover and the name and model in gold. The spiral-bound notebook has a semi-gloss black plastic cover, while the notepad has a flat black paper cover. The paper appears to be fairly white, but isn’t what I’d call a bright white. The paper feels nice and smooth, so I’m excited to see how it handles fountain pens.
Here are some of the general details for Mnemosyne notebooks:
- Pages: 70-80 (35-40 sheets)
- Paper Weight: 80gsm
- Binding: Staple, Spiral
- Page Style: Lined (7mm), Grid (5mm), Blank
- Size: A4, A5, A6, B5, B6
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Medium
- Shading: High
- Bleeding: Low
- Ghosting: Low
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Low
- Many different page layouts
- Micro-perforated sheets
- Hard backing board
Mnemosyne notebooks and notepads are simple yet functional. The spiral binding works great and does not snag, while the stapled top of the notepad allows the cover to easily fold back. Both have a fairly rigid cardboard backer, which makes writing without a surface underneath possible. Inside the front cover of each notebook there is a removable bright yellow sheet with some cute drawings and text in Japanese that describes its features. Unfortunately, the yellow sheet is not meant to function as blotter paper like in some other notepads like Life Bank Paper.The paper is very nice and scored very well in my tests, but writing on Mnemosyne paper is not extremely memorable. I think it has some sort of coating on it that allows it to handle ink very well, but at the expense of a luxurious writing experience. In fact, it almost feels a little dry to write on. Whereas other paper brands like Life, Midori and Clairefontaine have a unique feel that makes writing exciting, Mnemosyne just gets the job done without any bells or whistles. With that being said, it is an extremely well-performing paper. Ghosting is low, which means writing on both sides of a sheet shouldn’t be a problem. One thing to note… on the notepad, the grid only appears on the front of each sheet. The back is completely blank. Bleeding is also low, but a few very heavy applications of ink did bleed through a bit (but not enough to bother me). I observed no feathering in my writing tests.
Surprisingly, this paper seems to do the impossible and has good amounts of sheen and shading along with fast drying times. Normally, more sheen means longer drying times, but this paper (possibly due to the coating) doesn’t follow those rules.
Testing out the Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks and notepad was a little anticlimactic. While it is nice paper, it’s not very exciting to write on (for me, at least). It does perform very well and has the distinction of being one of only two papers I’ve ever tested that both shows good sheen and has fast drying times. There are a number of different page layouts, notebook formats and sizes available, so if you’re looking for something a little different a Mnemosyne notebook might be a good option for you.If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook Review
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Many different layouts, great all-around paper
Cons: Unexciting to write on, no “normal” page layouts
Value Rating: 3.86 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.11
Who this notebook is for: Anyone who wants both sheen and fast drying times
Upgrade to this notebook from: Black n’ Red Notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Logical Prime Notebook