Tag: Featured Customer

Moleskines & Fountain Pens. Customer Spotlight, Maryanne


A Passion for Writing. Our customer spotlight for this month is on Maryanne Moll. We thank her for answering our questions as well as sharing her love for Moleskines and Fountain Pens.



– How did your love of Moleskines begin? What is your favorite type?

I first heard about the Moleskine from the Philippine Macintosh Users Group. I’ve been a member of that forum since around 2003, and there was one thread there dedicated to Moleskines and fountain pens and all other sorts of papers, pens, and pencils. Of course, the thread starter was Butch Dalisay, himself a passionate collector of fountain pens, and a multi-awarded writer who takes down notes on Moleskines with fountain pens. At first it struck me as strange that a some Mac users, who have easy access to the most e?cient and best-looking technology around today, would still revert to analog regularly, and by choice. But then again when I got my own very first Moleskine, I understood why. The Moleskine is the Mac of notebooks. It’s simple and elegant, and it just works!

Moleskine Ruled Notebook
Image from the Avalon.ph website

My favorite type has got to be the Moleskine Classic Ruled Notebook. I started with the large-sized ruled — which I used to partner with the large weekly notebook planner — but then I downsized to the pocket, because I want to be able to carry smaller bags. Now I always have the pocket ruled (which I order from Avalon.ph), and the pocket daily planner.


– For many people, writing is a passion. Why should they try out a Moleskine?

Simply because if you are passionate about something, you should get the best tools for it. And if your writing is important to you, you will take care not only about the words and phrases and sentences and what they represent, but also about where these words and phrases and sentences are encased, before they become a book and eventually ?y out of your study with a life of their own. If a book is an offspring, then the published book is the adult, and the draft for that is the infant that you have nurtured with the best possible time, effort, precision, study, love, worry, sleepless nights, a lot of sacrifice, and the best available nursing bottles, toys, food, clothes, blankets.

The analogy might seem extreme to some, and I certainly don’t want to say that a book is the same as a baby, because it isn’t. But anyone who has written a book can understand that it’s not easy to get it out of you, and it’s even harder to refine it to publishable quality according to very exacting standards, so whatever helps will be welcome. I’m sure there are a lot of writers out there who have produced books out of drafts written on legal pads with cheap pencils and ballpoints, and I find that admirable. But if you’re anything like me who actually needs the physicality of things, who needs to grasp something palpable and stable, and who cannot work in a fog of virtuality, then the Moleskine becomes not just a notebook but a clear and solid anchor for when things get dark and murky.

– You are also a fountain pen collector. What do you use on your Moleskine?

My current favorite pen is the Pelikan Grand Place with the medium nib it came in. Right now it’s loaded with Montblanc British Racing Green (a dark mossy green color), and that’s what I use on my Moleskine journal. The combination lays down wet and saturated lines, and when the ink dries on the paper, the variation is really pretty. It makes me look rather intelligent, even if the statement goes something like, “I think my hair looks greasy today, so I will use the citrus shampoo.”?

I also use this pen and ink combination for writing checks, because it makes me feel rich!

Pelikan Grand Place
This is the nib of the Pelikan Grand Place, and some notes I was working on a few years back. I think the ink I used was Omas Sepia.

For my daily planner, I use the Pilot Vanishing Point with a medium nib. I have it in chrome. Since it’s my office pen, I use Noodler’s Zhivago with it. That’s a “bullet-proof” ink, for which Noodler’s has a guarantee to never fade nor disappear, even if you throw bleach on it.

Lately, though, I have taken to these fine-tipped dry-safe markers from Staedtler that come in a lot of different vibrant colors, but only because I am always so paranoid that I will either drop or lose a fountain pen. (In fact, I have dropped my Vanishing Point, nib section downwards. Thankfully, the nib was retracted, so it wasn’t damaged at all, but the opening where the nib goes out is now a little deformed.) But for now, the markers work.

I’m not such a dedicated fountain pen collector, though. I have a total of about six fountain pens, not including one Lamy Safari that I lost a few years ago. But I do make it a point to purchase a fountain pen and a few different bottles of ink every couple of years.

– What pen advice can you give to someone who is new to the synergy of the paper and pen?

I don’t think anyone is really “new” to the synergy of paper and pen. After all, that’s how we all learn how to write! But I can understand how the idea might seem new — and even alien — to people who have used the computer as their tool for so many years. Anyone who is new to using fountain pens would feel initially uncomfortable with the fact that we can’t turn the pen in our fingers while we write. It’s not like a pencil that we have to turn every few lines or so, to ensure that we wear down the graphite end evenly. But a Lamy Safari has a special shape to its section that reminds users to keep their fingers there, and when we get used to writing that way, we can use any other fountain pen with ease. This is why I consider the Lamy to be a good starter fountain pen.

And when you are past this, the search will be on for what I call the “forever” pen, the pen that you will use for the rest of your life. Find a pen that feels right in your hand, a pen that complements your handwriting without pressuring you to improve the penmanship that you already have — although there will certainly be some pens that will make you feel that that is required.

Find a pen that makes you smile each time you uncap it to write something, anything, be it a short verse of a chapter of a novel, or even if only just to write checks to cover the bills. A pen that is “you” is a pen that feels like a friend, because it assures you that no matter what you write, the lines that the pen will lay down will be true to the moment of creativity.

– Would you share a few images of your Moleskine and your fountain pen collection?


These are my Moleskine pocket-sized daily planners. The one on top is for 2010, and the new one at the bottom is for 2011.
I have attached a bead to the ribbon marker, because it tends to fray.
What a spread in my Moleskine planner looks like.
I always purchase my Moleskine planners within October.
I paste a lot of ephemera in my Moleskine journal.
I’ve numbered each page of my Moleskine journals continuously since maybe 2008. I am now gradually approaching page 2,591.
These are the pens I carry with me everyday. Top to bottom: Pelikan Grand Place, Pilot Vanishing Point (chrome), and Pelikan M205 demonstrator. The demonstrator is actually my very first Pelikan.
These are the Staedtler fine-tipped dry-safe markers I was telling you about earlier. They’re cute. And I won’t cry in case I lose one or two!


– Lastly, and I am sure a lot of new Moleskine owners have experienced this dilemma. What would be your best advice for people who are afraid to unseal, open and write on their very first Moleskine?

I understand how intimidating it could feel, but the Moleskine is your friend. It can keep your secrets, it can protect your words and your thoughts, it can coax some of the most difficult lines out of you, and it can be your most honest companion an a journey to your innermost, deepest, most hidden self.

Of course if you don’t unseal it and open it and write on it, that’s fine, too, if you want to stay within your comfort zone. Just having a sealed Moleskine there can be a source of comfort in itself. But just compare that to the world that you can open up for yourself if you do decide to write on a pristine new Moleskine. The world is too big and life is too short, and there are many more Moleskines where that sealed one came from. And you are too vibrant a human being to not write on a Moleskine. So go ahead, tear off the shrink-wrap, uncap your pen, and write to your heart’s content.


About Maryanne Moll.

Maryanne Moll is a writer, mother, graduate student, and government employee. She has written two books of essays, and has been writing fiction since 2003. Her fiction has been published in magazine and anthologized, and she has won a Palanca for her fiction in 2005. She lives in Makati.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/maryannemoll
Blog: Sensibilities – http://maryannemoll.blogspot.com

Avalon.ph Featured Customer, Aldrin

Here’s our second Featured Customer, Aldrin! He discovered Avalon.ph around 3 years ago through a radio book review show. He is also part of a book lover’s group called Filipino Book Bloggers, a directory/group of Filipino book bloggers from all over the world.

– How did you discover Avalon.ph?

I found out about the site soon after I moved to Manila in 2007. Back then I used to listen to a lot of local radio stations, and one of those stations, Jam 88.3, had this book review program called Shelve It. Avalon.ph was a regular sponsor of Shelve It, and Lana, the host of the program, featured and even gave away a number of books available from the site. I won Baudolino by Umberto Eco, the first of many books I’d get (the succeeding ones no longer for free, of course) from Avalon.ph.

– What is your best purchase/s on the website and why?

I’m hard-pressed to single out a title from all the books that I’ve purchased from Avalon.ph, which are all good, really. From the site I’ve bought quite a few books by Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem, by Philip K. Dick and William Gibson. But I choose my most recent purchase, The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, as probably my best purchase, not because it’s a far better read than, say, Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn or Gibson’s Neuromancer, nor because it sold for quite cheap, but because of the sheer thrill that came the instant I found out that it’s available from an independent bookseller’s Web site whereas the big local bookstore chains appear to not carry the title in their respective online stores nor in any of their branches. The Know-It-All is the breezy memoir of A.J. Jacobs, a magazine editor who set out to spend a year reading, from A to Z, every page of the 2002 edition of Encyclopedia Brittanica. While I am partial to literary and science fiction, I do maintain a soft spot for clever nonfiction, and The Know-It-All, like Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings’s similarly trivia- and humor-laden memoir, Brainiac, is a nonfiction work that is in many ways clever.

– Tell us about your personal evolution in reading, from how your preference changed throughout the years

The first book I read was Aesop’s Fables, back when I was too young to understand some of the words in the book and I would have my uncle explain to me their meaning. Back then I also read whatever else I could get my hands on, like my uncle’s old college textbooks, which contained, among other works of literature that I read but not necessarily understood, Guy de Maupassant’s The Necklace and William Cullen Bryant’s Thanatopsis. I read for the sake of reading. It wasn’t until high school that I would read largely for the sake of self-extension. My high school English teacher gave me her copy of The Little Prince, and that I believe was when my profound love for books started. From Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s compact and beautiful novel I instantly dived into and loved J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then in college I managed to read a number of fantasy and young adult novels before I began reading modern classics such as The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird, two of my all time favorites. Now, long after I enjoyed Don DeLillo’s White Noise, I find I’m getting along with postmodern literature rather famously.

– Which book currently in stock on the website do you highly recommend?

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Yes, it’s by Michael Chabon. Yes, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. And yes, it’s a wonderful, if challenging, read.

– Name one author that people should start reading (& why)

David Mitchell has drawn critical comparisons with Thomas Pynchon and Italo Calvino. He is that good a writer. He can write about unfamiliar worlds so vividly with his palpable powers of description as well as defamiliarize commonplace events so remarkably that the reader might be invited to look at things differently. He has written five novels, and you’ll do well to read even just one of them. Because once you read one of Mitchell’s novels, you’ll be itching to read the rest.

– Who do you collect? Give us a list of your personal must-reads.

Don DeLillo, J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, Tom McCarthy, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, Donald Antrim, Paul Auster, John Barth, Martin Amis, William Gaddis, Donald Barthelme, Italo Calvino, Ian McEwan, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, Nick Hornby, Jennifer Egan, Joshua Ferris, J.K. Rowling, books designed by Jonathan Gray.

– Lastly, share us a favorite quote from any of your favorite books.

“Books are, let’s face it, better than everything else.” – The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

Aldrin likes books. He spends more money on books and iBooks than he earns as a full-time electronics engineer and a part-time book and iPhone app reviewer. He also likes coffee and chocolates, as well as good grammar and proper punctuation in the age of memes and whateverisms. He is a non- practicing wizard.

Blog/Tumblr: http://aldr.in
Facebook: http://facebook.com/aldrin
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ldrin
Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/thepolysyllabicspree

Note: If you are interested to be an Avalon.ph featured customer, just send us an e-mail through this link. Thank you very much.

Avalon.ph Featured Customer, Louella

In what we hope will be a regular feature on the Avalon.ph blog, we are doing a series of blog post profiling some of our customers. Our very first Featured Customer is Louella Suque. She’s an Avalon.ph customer for more than a year now and is happy to share with us her thoughts about her book collection.

– What is your most memorable purchase/s on the website and why?

My most memorable purchases would have to be my acquisition of hard-to-find books such as TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Sylvia Plath’s Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams and Anne Sexton’s poetry paperback. Avalon.ph has all these great, hard-to-find titles and I’ll admit to going insane each time I browse through the books up for sale. As a matter of fact, at one point, I ended up buying 12 books in one go.

– Share with us your adventures in reading, discovery of new authors and the evolution of your interests:

My mom, from the time I could properly read, made sure that I read classics. The first novel I read from cover to cover was Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist, at age 8. My interest evolved from adventure classics such as Tom Sawyer and Dr Doolittle to Sylvia Plath’s poetry and then a bit of Irvine Welsh by the time I reached high school. It is an endless desire to learn and discover. I read not just for the sake of education but more for leisure.

– What is in your collection?

Of course, being the Sylvia Plath enthusiast that I am, I have every single Plath book in my collection. I also love JD Salinger and I have all of his books including not just one but three copies of The Catcher in the Rye, counting a vintage copy from 1951, a gift from a friend who found it in an antic shop.

I also love Jack Kerouac and am looking forward to exploring the works of other Beat Generation writers such as Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs.

– Which books currently in stock on the website do you highly recommend?

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. I always believe that picture books are also written to be enjoyed even by those pass the age of twelve. Shel Silverstein’s poetry is humorous, clever and witty. His books are a great escape from the ho-hums of a dull weekend afternoon or a pleasing way to conclude a chaotic work day.

– Name one author that people should start reading. Why?

Reading Vladimir Nabokov means intellectual orgasm. If all the other writers have only one selected word, adjective or a single cliché metaphor to describe, for instance, the experience of eating an apple or kissing a girl, Nabokov has multitudes. Reading him is not just an intellectual exercise but a pleasurable awakening of one’s mind’s eye.

– Your taste in music and books. Any connections?

I have always loved the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Tori Amos and Fiona Apple. Radiohead and Pearl Jam, I seem to personally associate with a JD Salinger piece or even a Hemingway or a Palahniuk: the bites of realism and sting of sarcasm is there. I always imagine Sylvia Plath listening to Tori Amos the whole day. Plath and Amos, female artists, tackle feministic issues in their own chosen art forms: music and poetry.

– Lastly, share with us a favorite quote from any of your favorite books.

“He is ugly and sad… but he is all love.” — Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)

– Thank you very much Louella!

Louella, a Multimedia Arts major, is a creative writer, one time independent filmmaker and an active cultural worker for cinema. She also collect coffee cups since she was in high school.

Skype: evilloulou
Twitter: evilloulou
Blog: http://evilloulou.tumblr.com

Note: If you are interested to be an Avalon.ph featured customer, just send us an e-mail through this link. Thank you very much.