Aristeer support suggested future versions might have magazine style presentation options. Of course they need to sort our their messed-up and embarrassing categories limitations in the menu bar (they must be red-faced over that, I'd reckon).
For now now, you can use notebook to create a page called home.php and it will become your homepage as soon as you upload it. Format it any way you desire. If you just had one word in home.php and no code, your home page would show up as that one word. Usually, people just copy the contents in index.php, paste it into home.php then change it. How to change it? That's a little more involved. Google it to find tutorials. I did it with www.Bird-Center.net which needs work, so probably isn't the effect you'd want (sort of imitated the Arthemia theme).
Hey, Adam, you are talking about Google notebook, correct? What would you recommend be used instead since Google is no longer supporting that product? I'm curious because I want a magazine style layout for my theme too.