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It’s Book Club Month! How to Find, Join, or Create Your Own…

9 Oct

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It’s October, finally.  The swarm of back to school has abated—and perhaps made us a little nostalgic for long ago days of reading lists—and schedules are beginning to settle back into patterns. The weather is turning cooler, and rain pelts the window. In all, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a cup of tea (or something stronger) and a favorite book.  It’s also National Reading Group Month and, we gotta say, sharing the joys of a great book with dear friends is almost enough to forgive the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Are you in a book club already?  If not, why?  Granted, sometimes book clubs get pegged as wine-sloshing gossip groups—we’ve gone to some like that, and they’re great fun—but they don’t have to be.  Book clubs come in every style, from alumni reading groups led by professors, to re-reading children and young adult fiction from an adult perspective, from avant-garde sci fi to military history or memoirs.  Just like there’s a book or genre for anyone, there’s also a book club.

Getting in to one—now, there’s the rub.  If you’re looking for low initial commitment, we recommend checking out your local independent bookstore or public library.  They often host public book clubs, providing the books in bulk (library) or even at a discount (bookstore).  There’s seldom a need to RSVP or register; just slip into a chair to learn about and discuss Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone or Barbara Kingsolver’s latest.   (See our list of some favorite indie bookstores and their reading groups below).tumblr_m9aj35gJcB1qavvdfo1_1280

Other places to try would be that clearinghouse of social groups, meetup.com, or asking around at your office, gym, place of worship or favorite coffee shop. Someone has probably had this great collective reading impulse already, and it’s fairly simple to join a book club that’s already up and functioning; however, you’ll probably have to RSVP, perhaps provide snacks or take a turn leading, and it’s sometimes more difficult to make schedules align.

And if you’ve struck out at the coffee shop and the library? We suggest starting your own book club.  It takes a little organization, but there’s also a lot more liberty in terms of location, reading specific genres, and so forth. Before you get started, take a few minutes and ponder what you want from your book club: do you want inciting commentary and scholarly contextualization or a reason to catch up over delicious desserts (or something in between)?  To read the classics you only Cliff-noted in college or the fluffy summer fiction you missed?  Do you want to read the collected works of one author? To reunite with old friends or get to know the neighbors better? Where will you meet, will you take turns leading and hosting with other members, and how large do you want the group to be (for meeting in a home or quiet cafe, 6-12 tends to be an ideal size)? Decide if you want refreshments and if they’ll be themed, homemade delectables, or simple cheese and crackers.

When you have a decent idea of what you want in terms of tone and theme, start floating it around your own social group and see who’s interested.  Ask everyone to bring 2-3 book suggestions to a first, organizational meeting.  Set some ground rules about how often (usually once a month) you’ll meet, where, and for how long. Discuss hosting and leading responsibilities as well. Ironing out a schedule can easily be the most difficult part of this process.  Finally, discuss book suggestions and see if a clear favorite emerges for the next text.  If not, take a vote, take turns or even toss them in a hat and draw the first few months’ of readings.

Next thing you know, you’ll be deep into plot points, authorial perspectives and crudités. You’ll be getting to know your books—and friends—more deeply, and what can better than that on a chilly autumnal evening?

To get off to the right start, you can shop book club tools that will keep you inspired, in-sync with your club, and organized. Try scheduling your chapters by due date in a new 2014 datebook. We’d recommend the planner+notes format - dates on the left, your thoughts of the book on the right. If you’d like to keep notes in an exclusive journal, you’ll love Paperblanks journals, with embellished manuscript covers from great authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and other muses. If you’re into more of a polished/professional notebook, we’d recommend the Rhodia Webnotebook, Moleskine Classics, or the Blackwing Luxury Notebook. Of course, to write all your notes, you’ll love the Blackwing pencils, the preferred world-famous pencil of writers for it’s all around grace, smooth lead, and replaceable erasers. When you’re all wrapped up with your book, check out the unique format of the Moleskine Book Journal, an organized way to record your thoughts for an overall book review, with step by step prompts to draw the most out of your experience. To wrap it all up, carry your book club tool kit to your hip book club meetings in this uber-cool Moleskine Messenger Bag. With the right products, every page turn will bring your well-read adventures in your book club to life!

Here are some of our favorite indie bookstores (you can tell we spend more time in the West: what are your favorite East Coast and Southern bookshops?) and the reading groups they support:

Pasadena, CA: Vroman’s Bookstore

San Francisco, CA: Books, Inc.

Boulder, CO:  Boulder Bookstore

Denver, CO: Tattered Cover

Washington, DC: Politics & Prose

Seattle, WA: Elliot Bay Books

 

Tell us: what is your book club currently reading?

Rhodia Pencils 10% Off with the Purchase of a Refillable Planner

12 Sep

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For a limited time, save 10% off Rhodia Pencils when you purchase a refillable Quo Vadis or Exacompta 2014 planner. Ends 9/17.
Shop 2014 Refillable Planners »
Shop Rhodia Pencils »

New! Soho Cover Refillable Planners from Quo Vadis and Exacompta

11 Sep

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These slick looking & smooth feeling covers are  perfect companions to the traditional grained Club Planner Covers.  Shop Soho & Club Planners here » 
Already have your Quo Vadis or Exacompta Refillable Cover? Grab your 2014 Refills here »

PLUS, for a limited time, buy a Soho or Club planner and get 10% off Rhodia Pencils! Use code TAKE10 at checkout. Ends 9/17

The Most Amazing Academic Planners for Back to School

11 Jul

 

 

Pens applaud Rhodia’s amazing paper
These academic planners have the same format, that work wonderfully for planners, architects, and other dreamers that love to draft ideas. The orange print is energizing, and we love the paper so much that we can’t wait to make plans!
SHOP RHODIA ACADEMIC PLANNERS »

 

Love, Refill, Reuse
The Club Academic Planners from Quo Vadis are exceptional. With their beautiful, clear, crisp printing, myriad formats, and the option to refill – it’s one of our best sellers year after year. Find your perfect Academic Planner format…
SHOP QUO VADIS ACADEMIC PLANNERS »

 

 

The Iconic, Classic Journal – as an Academic Planner
This Academic Planner is witty, minimalist, slick, and professional. Choose from planner + notes weekly format, or a horizontal weekly format. You’ll love the durable sewn binding and acid free paper.

SHOP MOLESKINE ACADEMIC PLANNERS »

 

 

Academic Planners = Whoosh Savers…

17 Jun

In a whirlwind time of year? If your deadlines, appointments, and to-dos are flying by it’s a perfect time to start fresh and get organized in an Academic (18-month) Planner. Most begin in July or August, have myriad formats, and last until the summer of 2014. Choose from

Shop our 2013-2014 collection here»
Or shop by brand : Rhodia, Quo Vadis, or Moleskine

 

Rhodia Academic Planners Have Arrived

13 Jun

What’s better than starting fresh in a Rhodia Academic Planner? It begins in August 2013 and wraps up in July 2014, so it’s a great idea for scholars and professionals. The amazing ink-friendly paper, along with the planner + notes format makes it a gem of datebooks for paper lovers and Rhodia fans alike. Plus, enjoy the convenient tear-off corners and elastic closure to keep your new academic planner organized. Shop Rhodia Academic Planners »

Prep Properly with Refillable Quo Vadis Academic Planners

22 May

Quo Vadis Academic Planners Available now on EuropeanPaper.com!

Planner Sale: Save Up to 45% Off 2013 Planners

18 Feb

Last Chance for up to 45% Off 2013 Planners on EuropeanPaper.com

A Handful of Tools & Tips To Help You Organize Your Office

26 Jan

Organize Your Office with the best of the best at EuropeanPaper.com

1) Moleskine Folio Professional Filers (Set of 3) (12 x 9.5)
2) Exacompta Exacard Wirebound Business Card Holder (8 x 6)
3) Blackwing Luxury Large Notebook & Folio Cover (7.5 x 10)
4) Exacompta Exaboard (9.25 x 13.25) (Rhodia pad included)
5) 2013 Planner Sale (with savings up to 35% off!)

Tip #1: Label EVERYTHING!

You know that feeling when you first get a label-maker and you just can’t put it down? Revitalize your office and give yourself an energy boost by picking it up again. Go through old folders that can be re-purposed, finally stick a label on that junk-box you threw together on the top shelf, and label the spines or covers of your notebooks for easy reference.

Tip #2: Start Nesting

Sounds odd, right? Nesting is basically the act of purging the things that distract you and clutter your office, while finding homes for the necessary items like your pens and pencils, folders and notebooks, and other office items. Putting things in their rightful place on a daily or weekly basis will keep your office tidy and you’ll finally remember where you put that darn business card of a friend you’ve been meaning to contact.

Tip #3: Add a Pop of Color

Whether it’s a nice, bright file folder, or the funky lamp in the corner of your office, remember to have a couple vivid hues surrounding you to brighten your mood. Try to keep all the colors cohesive though, as we’re not suggesting you work in an office decorated like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (unless you’re an avid fan). If you work inside the majority of the day, color will remind you to smile from time to time. (And don’t forget to actually pop out for a walk around the block a couple times a day – nothing is better than exercise and a bit of fresh air.)

Have a quick tip for office organization? Add it in the comments below!

Don’t Miss Out on Big Datebook Savings

19 Jan

We know how hectic the holidays and the New Year can become. Whether you’ve already bought a 2013 planner and aren’t happy with it, you’ve totally forgot to get your 2013 datebook yet (it’s only mid-January, right?), or you’re a planner extraordinaire and love a second or third datebook, have we got a datebook sale for you! All 2013 datebooks and refills have been discounted and prices are marked on the product page.

See the full selection here >> 2013 Datebook Sale

Save up to 35% on all 2013 Datebooks on EuropeanPaper.com - Don't miss out, shop now!

Small Business Expenses Solution: The Moleskine Daily Planner Set

11 Jan

I’m always trying to balance the digital part of my life with my penchant for low-tech, traditional paper and pen. As a freelance writer and web content marketer, that means I’ve tried just about every system coming and going – both digital and paper.

No matter what I do, I end up at the end of the year, sorting through receipts, checking all my notebooks for scribbles on mileage and lunch meetings, and scouring my email for automatic payments on business bills. It’s humbling, if not downright depressing. It also takes three or four days and I’m in such a foul mood everyone cuts me a HUGE path. For years, “I’m working on taxes” was the only thing I could say that would actually strike terror into my children and make them quiet and cautious.

For 2013, I’m taking a new path. I’m going to use the 2013 Moleskine Daily Planner Set.

Moleskine 2013 Daily Planner Box Set on EuropeanPaper.com

Moleskine 2013 Daily Planner Box Set on EuropeanPaper.com

More to Love; Less to Carry

I like keeping a notebook with me all the time to capture ideas, snippets of conversations, and general information I may need to reference later. The problem is, I usually go out without what I need because I don’t like to carry too much when I leave the house. The smaller size of a pocket planner solves that as it is small enough to fit in my purse (so I’ll always have it with me), yet big enough for my ideas to fill it up before returning it to the binder set.

Why This Will Work

The Moleskine Daily Planner Set meets my needs beautifully by giving me a new daily planner each month with a full page per day for jotting down mileage AS it’s HAPPENING in one place, automatic payments that hit my account, automatic withdrawals to pay bills, who I meet for a business lunch and what we discuss, and I can even record those little office supplies I pick up while I’m out doing personal shopping.

I only wish each month had the expandable pocket in the back to hold those pesky little receipts that are so easy to lose. Since they don’t come with one, I’ll be adding them to each volume myself.

Once the month is over, I’ll return the book to the binder and take out a new one. At the end of the year, I’ll have a complete set outlining my year in business in one convenient place. And I’ll have a written record should I ever get audited (without having to scour my computer system and pull together old files).

My income tracking is handled online (I use Cashboard and love it). I can pull a year-end report and have all the invoicing and payment information in a flash because I do all my billing through that one online system and all my clients pay online. It’s the little expenses here and there, the daily stuff, that make me crazy. I’m confident the Moleskine Daily Planner Set should solve the problem.

Why My Other Systems Didn’t Work

I like a paper version of bookkeeping records – it’s faster to jot down expenses than to power up a computer and open a program to do it – but never could remember to carry my record book with me everywhere (and didn’t want to, since it was so big). I’d also forget to log items when I returned to the office, meaning I’d lose business expenses deductions every year to my faulty system. It also means I always felt like I was playing “catch up.”

I’ve tried phone apps and tablet apps and computer apps. They were always too time-intensive to set up, too awkward to use on the run, or too focused in their application (meaning they would only track mileage and I’d have to open another app to do meals and another to do miscellaneous business expenses like office supplies, professional subscriptions and equipment). The few that showed promise invariably crashed and lost several months worth of data that cost me more time to recover and/or research all over again than they were worth. It also made my language get a little too colorful for comfort. Granted, today’s digital systems and “cloud” backups mean this happens less, but I’ve been burned too many times, now. No thank you.

What I need is a single, portable place to dump and store all my information. I love the fact that this page-a-day format will eliminate my need to write the date of each purchase. I know that’s a little thing, but it irks me. With these monthly volumes, I’ll jot down what it was, how much it was, and where I bought it – and list the project if it’s for a specific client – then slip the receipt in the (soon to be) homemade back pocket.

I Want a SIMPLE System

I can’t wait to get my set to begin my new system. It’s currently on order so I can start the year right – and of course the planner set will be the first items listed in my business expenses for January! I’m going to be so organized and efficient this year! (And I won’t have to lug around a huge book to accomplish it – just a single slender monthly volume.)

The ONLY thing that could make it better would be a built-in back pocket per notebook and access to a set that was varying shades of purple instead of rainbow colors … but that’s just me.

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Meet the Writer: Angela Allen has been creating online content for small business clients since 1999, when she had to use a painfully slow dial-up connection. Now, she specializes in real estate topics and organic content marketing for entrepreneurs on a gloriously high speed connection. When she’s not writing for WickedWriter.com clients, she enjoys the discipline of living small in her high-tech cabin deep in the woods of Kentucky, blogging on WickedBlog, and enjoying the pure tactile titillation of going “old-school” and writing with a fountain pen on luxury paper.

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Editor’s Note: Shopping for a 2013 Daily Planner? Discover all available 2013 day-per-page datebooks here. Prefer weekly or monthly formats? We’ve got those too for 2013: All Weekly 2013 Planners and All 2013 Monthly Planners.

Find Your Favorite: Shop Daily, Weekly, & Monthly Planners

9 Jan

Shop all Daily Planners and Datebooks from Moleskine and more on EuropeanPaper.com

Shop all Weekly Planners and Datebooks from Moleskine and more on EuropeanPaper.com

Shop all Monthly Planners and Datebooks from Moleskine and more on EuropeanPaper.com

Or need a planner refill? Shop all 2013 Datebook Refills here >>