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Made by Moleskine

Moleskine, renown premium notebook, has released a set of notebooks inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” (and also by Peter Jackson’s new film as well). Yes, I’m reviewing an empty notebook. No actual plot or content inside, simply blank pages. But follow me for a bit, because this is a cool notebook.

First off, the book looks good from the start. The dark brown cardboard-bound cover is silkscreened in black with the Wilderland map – showing the world of Tolkien’s The Hobbit – creating a neat and subtle pattern with the stand-out decoration of the ruby red dragon Smaug on the front cover. Smaug looks better than he’s likely to in Peter Jackson’s film, and serves as an attractive stamp that this book may be full of fantasy and adventure if you so wish.

The front and back interiors of the book have a small Smaug stamp, with the front having space for contact information with a playful fantasy tone about returning it if lost for reward and honour.

The interior pages are what you’d expect: blank pages for writing and drawing. All together, there are 240 pages of acid-free paper. I appreciate that the pages are in a faded off-white color of parchment, instead of simply bright white paper. It fits the book better.

I noticed a tiny mark or scuff on one single page, but it’s nothing to write home about. It would be less of an issue in a ruled book meant more for writing, but such marks may annoy those with plain-page books who wish to draw.

As for the extras (yes, it has extra material), these Hobbit-themed books come with a copy of the Wilderland map and Thorin’s map from the books and film. They’re reversible on the same sheet of paper. It’s kept in a surprising expandable pocket on the inside back cover, along with the Moleskine multi-language pamphlet on the brand and its quality control.

The book also included an attached brown ribbon bookmark and a brown elastic band on the cover to keep shut.

There are four versions of this notebook. For review, we were sent the brown plain-page, full-sized 5×8.25-inch book. This same book also comes in a 3.5×5.5-inch pocket size. A differently adorned burgundy version with ruled pages comes in the same two sizes. I would prefer the pocket-sized version in personal use, but for a quality review, this one still holds up nicely. I appreciate the choice between ruled and plain too.

The price breaks down on moleskine’s website as $21.95 for the full-sized books and $16.95 for the pocket-sized. That price may sound steep for a simple notebook. Moleskine provides quality service, guaranteeing that each book has been checked for flaws, giving each one its own production identification number, and even offering a replacement book if a book has been proven to be defective (but you do have to prove it).

Overall, it’s a nice-looking notebook fit for you to fill with whatever fantasies you wish. And that’s ultimately the hardest part. I like the look of the book so much, but I don’t know what to write inside!