I have another good book to share with you, dear readers. It is titled The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax. The book chronicles the comeback of various analog mediums, including vinyl records, paper books, film photography, and board games, etc.
“The choice we face isn’t between digital and analog,” suggests Sax. “That simplistic duality is actually the language that digital has conditioned us to: a false binary choice between 1 and 0, black and white...The real world isn’t black or white. It is not even gray. Reality is multicolored, infinitely textured, and emotionally layered.”
As a writer the parts of the book that most interested me were the ones dealing with the renaissance of print, whether books, magazines, notebooks, etc. One analog item that stood out to me is the line of notebooks by Moleskine, an Italian company that resurrected iconic black notebooks in 1997 originally made in France and used by such literary greats as Ernest Hemingway.
Sax notes that paper is the first and oldest analog technology to be seriously challenged by digital. Yet Moleskine has succeeded to create a niche for itself through its (tangential) association with creative geniuses. “It is the defining paper object and brand of the Internet age, growing parallel to the digital technology that was supposed to supplant notebooks,” writes Sax.
I bought my first Moleskine at the Strand Bookstore, famous for its eight miles of bookshelves, in New York City about eight years ago. I had heard of the brand and even seen it in select stores but was moved to get my own after observing an artist sketching in one at the Morgan Library, also in New York (and it didn’t hurt that they were on sale).
There are cheaper notebooks on the market but Moleskine has managed to make the notebook “a symbol of aspirational creativity…a product that not only worked well as a functional tool, but that told a story about you,” adds Sax. So what do I write in my notebook, you ask? I jot notes, sketches, quotes, statistics, anecdotes, outlines, and other miscellanea that I think of recording to help me remember stuff. Long live analog!