8 Best Journals | March 2017

We spent 25 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Even in today's technology driven age there are some things that are best committed to paper rather than a computer. These journals provide the perfect portable repository for writing of any kind, from your daily diary, to poems and song lyrics, to shopping lists, or even a record of your goals and bucket list items to keep you motivated. Skip to the best journal on Amazon.
8 Best Journals | March 2017

Overall Rank: 6
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 2
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 1
Best Inexpensive
This The SELF Journal: "The Day Planner, Goal Setting System, & Journal for Doers" is meant to help you set and meet goals for every day, week, month, and year of your life. Properly utilized, it can greatly improve your productivity and time management skills.
Some people will find the Samsill Antique Look Journal charming and attractive, while others will think it a bit dated and perhaps on the geeky side. But everyone will agree that its 100 sheets of tan, parchment style paper are robust and durable.
When you order a SamutNote Handmade NoteBook, you will in fact get a three pack of these slender, handy volumes. They are just 5.6" by 3.6", a perfect size for the average pocket, yet each notebook has 200 pages ready for your shopping list or invention idea.
This LEUCHTTURM1917 Medium Notebook should be the go-to journal for the engineer or industrial designer who prizes order and structure. It has a table of contents page, stickers for labeling and archiving purposes, and eight perforated, removable pages.
  • durable ink proof paper
  • thread-bound design opens flat
  • some inks smear on page
Model LBL12
Weight 12 ounces
This Handmade Medium Vintage Leather Journal from RusticTown has old world charm the poet will love and timeless simplicity the professional will appreciate. You could use it to record lines of verse or to keep your meeting schedule, or to do both.
  • features crisp unlined paper
  • certified fair trade product
  • paper too thin for some uses
Brand RusticTown
Model LJ00055MH
Weight 1.3 pounds
This Red Co. Journal has a charming embossed panda logo on its front corner that will help you identify your journal and may inspire a bit of mental wanderlust, too. The slender journal comes with 120 sheets, thus offering you 240 pages waiting for your thoughts.
  • polyurethane-treated leather cover
  • good price for good quality
  • lightly lined ivory pages
Brand Red Co.
Model BC-10196
Weight 10.4 ounces
This handsome Leather Journal Travel Diary from Moonster is the perfect place to jot down song lyrics or poetry or to record your thoughts and reflections on the day each night. It's made from supple Indian water buffalo leather and eco-friendly recycled cotton rag paper.
  • hand cut asymmetric flap and cover
  • stitched coptic leather binding
  • style may be too whimsical for some
Brand Moonster
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
It's hard to match a Moleskine Classic Notebook in terms of durability, functionality, and simplicity of elegance. These trusted notebooks are designed to last for years whether they usually rest in a drawer or always come along in your backpack or pocket.
  • sturdy elastic closure
  • expandable inner pocket
  • favorite choice of thousands
Brand Moleskine
Model S01127
Weight 11.2 ounces

The Great Miracle Of A Book

A journal is an intensely personal thing. I know I spent the bulk of my youth scribbling into my journal poems and song lyrics that would have been embarrassing to reveal at the time, and that could probably end my career as a writer if they surfaced today. Sure, if you have old journals with sensitive information in them you could just recycle them and be done with it, but this gets us back to the personal nature of the books. They contain more than just words, and ink, and information; they're like time capsules, like living things by the time they're full of our spirit.

In a purely physical sense, they're pretty simple. Bound books have become a part of the quotidian landscape, something that I hesitate to say we take for granted because that even seems like it gives our regard for their novelty too much credit. We barely see books for what they are anymore.

In truth, their construction is nothing short of miraculous: paper manufactured from felled trees that were ground to a pulp and refined to smoothly receive and hold ink, bindings of string or glue masterfully worked into the edges of the pages and the cover, and the cover itself, hewn and processed from the flesh of animals or the pulp of the same trees torn down for the pages within.

For all their perfection, even after the long journey of their manufacturing, a journal lies incomplete on the shelf until you put your pen to it. For those purposes, different journals offer you different layout options like ruled or unlined, refined or raw pages, and more.

Put Yourself In The Pages

My father was a bridge engineer for most of his professional life, so even though I pursued writing and the arts as opposed to mathematics, I inherited his affinity for graph paper, and I can barely write in any journal or notebook without it. My handwriting's bad enough that if I decided I wanted to go back to regular, ruled journals, it'd likely be illegible even to myself.

Your writing style will go far in determining the style of journal that suits you. Some of the journals on our list contain features for the more right-brained writers among us, like tables of contents that you can fill out yourself for better organization or entire systems of goal-setting and achievement guidelines.

I've always romanticized poets and writers of the romantic and early transcendentalist movements, writers whose works felt raw and unencumbered by the trappings of their society's bourgeois ideals. These were artists who wrote in fields, in the rain, and probably naked. Well, in my hyperbolic mind they did.

As such, I was also always drawn to leather-bound journals with loose leather and string ties. There's a rustic quality to this kind of notebook that's irresistible to the romantic writer. The pages in these kinds of journals are usually unrefined, however, so they can make sloppy handwriting even worse. Their bindings are also usually a little less secure than the more mechanically-produced journals on our list, so their long-term durability might be questionable.

The more refined journals on our list offer you a much more professional appearance, which can be vital if you want to keep your journal with you in an office setting or some other professional sphere. These also tend to have much more secure elastic closures to them, so you can tote small papers in your journals without fear of them slipping out somewhere along the way.

The End Of The World Made Text

If you surveyed baby boomers and members of Generation X about the generations coming up after theirs, you'd hear a lot about the dehumanization of mankind, about the internet and cell phones spelling the inevitable demise of the species, as we slowly but surely cordon ourselves off into smaller and smaller worlds until there's nothing left but divided individuals communicating electronically through avatars.

It turns out that this kind of doomsday thinking is nothing new, and that it reaches back at least as far as the development of the written language. When the written word began to gain popularity in Greece, Socrates was out and about, philosophizing against it among so many other things. He warned that the written word would isolate us, and that it would vastly reduce the human capacity for memory recall and logical thought. Sound familiar?

Fortunately, Plato had a handful of journals at his disposal that he used to record all of the great thinker's works and thoughts, creating an entire branch of philosophy that might not have survived through to today without being written down.

The earliest bound books appeared in the first century CE, and could have been considered journals of sorts in that they were all hand-written. For the next 1,400 years, book binding took place mainly at monasteries among monks transcribing religious texts. It wasn't until the printing press arrived in 1447 that bound books contained printed pages, which eventually led to more refined techniques for book binding and the higher quality journals we are free to enjoy.

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Last updated: 03/28/2017 | Authorship Information