This post is inspired by Book Riot’s “The Podcast” episode #292, “Our Favorite Non-Bookish Things of 2018.” What’s charming about this podcast is the chatter between Jeff and Rebecca, usually about books and the publishing and book worlds in general, but this time about Things.
My fave things of 2018? It has been fun to think back and decide.
My Wet Brush Pro! No more tangles. Yay! These brushes are great, but be sure to opt for the “pro.”
Four-wheeler luggage, in general. Finger light travel. No more shoulder pull!
Fountain pens! I’ve converted to writing with fountain pens this year — unless I’m writing on computer, that is. For a dependable, but guilt-inducing disposable, I have favoured Pilot Varsity.
Then I graduated to the cartridge Pelikano Up, which has a very comfortable grip, but a lid that doesn’t stick on when you’re writing and a sometimes scratchy nib. (I’ve bought several, so it’s simply hit and miss.) Too, it sometimes dries out on me. I do very much like how light it is, how comfortable it is to grasp, and how bold the line (my preference).
Inspired by an article in New York Magazine rating all sorts of pens (100!), I ordered the Pelikan Stola III, which I like very much — even though it, too, doesn’t have a lid that stays on when writing. It was rated 4.6 out of 5.0 in the article, a high rating indeed.
Then, for Christmas, I got a lovely Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, which uses cartridges or ink, which I will likely convert to in time. (Less plastic, and the pen itself is metal.) It has a nice weight, reliable ink flow, smooth nib, and writes a pleasing not-too-fine, not-too-bold script. Plus, its lid stays on when I’m writing. It came in a classy box and is, all-in-all, a beautiful pen. From the review in the New York Magazine article and online, I gather that the newer models are less pleasing, so I’m going to treasure this one.
By the way, none of these pens are expensive.
The new Microsoft Word online picture search feature. (I never thought I’d have a rave thing to say about Word.) You may already have it and don’t know: go to Insert … Pictures … Online Pictures. It’s a great feature, especially if you’re writing a blog with illustrations.
Speaking of which, I adore the Mammoth doc.x converter plug-in for WordPress.org. I’m not fond of writing a blog post online. With Mammoth, I write a post in Word, and then easily upload the file to my blog and presto: there it is.
MasterClass on-line courses. These are extremely well done. I indulged in an all-access pass for one year: James Patterson, Judy Blume, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood. The only drawback? Now I’m caught up in my one subject of interest: writing. Although … that new Dan Brown course looks tempting. :-)
Staples (Canada) ARC line of notebooks and accessories. I’ve long been a fan of Levenger CIRCA notebooks and accessories, but they are expensive to have shipped to Canada. I was euphoric to see that Staples in Canada has brought out a similar product that’s very reasonable in price. It’s not nearly as extensive, but what they offer is of exceptional quality. Consequently, I went just a little ARC crazy this year.
What are your fave Things of 2018?
Hi Sandra: I’ve been using Blueline notebooks, which look a lot like the Staples ARC. I like the way they open flat, have pages that you can date and number, a plastic sleeve at the back for things, labels, and they fit nicely into a shoulder bag. Not sure I would call them “non-bookish,” though. I’ve been heartbroken too often by dried-out fountain pens, and have embraced gel and rollerball pens; I have a Cross, two Waterfords, and something called a Retro which I bought at Paper-Ya, on Granville Island, in Vancouver, years ago. The shop still carries refills, which I buy three or four at a time when I’m in Vancouver. Thanks for sharing, Wayne
Thanks for the tips, Wayne. Blueline notebooks look quite tempting. (https://www.blueline.com/index.php/note-taking/notebooks.html) I’ll check them out once back in Canada.
On the frustrating fountain pen front, I’ve just this morning decided to toss my Pelikano Up, the fountain pen that used to be my fav: dried out, scratchy. My new Pilot Metropolitan continues to surprise me by NOT drying out. We shall see.
I should have mentioned in my list an old and enduring pencil fav: the Pentel Twist-Erase III mechanical pencil. I love a bold, soft lead, so I very much appreciate that I can order one that takes a .9 lead. I love the soft grip. Plus, the eraser actually erases. What a concept! (https://www.amazon.com/Pentel-Twist-Erase-Automatic-Assorted-QE519BP2-K6/dp/B0047CP6SI/)