Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hey Man, Do You Have a Time?

One of my many addictions is magazines. They are glossy, portable and organized in easily readable bites of information – the article. Now, I’m not talking Women’s Day-five-paragraphs-and-out size - I do mean 3 or 4 pages long, but meaty and succinct. They are for when I want to read but don’t have the patience to start digging into a book. Magazines also provide a bit of a pulse into what’s going on in certain segments of the world.

At the Random household, we get an amazing number of magazines: National Geographic, Communication Arts, Metropolis, Dwell, American Prospect, Rolling Stone, In Style, Cooking Light, Sunset, The New Yorker. I used to get Atlantic Monthly for the longest time, until they started turning into another Economist and said they were dropping fiction. Used to get The Economist, but that was way expensive. Used to get Vanity Fair, but I let that lapse, but may get it again since some of the Atlantic Monthly’s previous editors have come on board.

I used to get a couple of literary magazines, Tin House and The Sun, but as of late I’ve let them lapse too. I sometimes get Rosebud when I see it on the magazine stand, but I’m not much around magazine stands these days.

My guilty pleasure is the British women’s magazine, Red, which is like Cosmo but for adult women and with much better writing. That I have to seek out each month and buy at the bookstore, because it would be incredibly expensive to get a subscription.

The problem with magazines is that for some reason the subscriptions all come due in clumps, which makes it double hard to renew. They also send out notices 6 months before the subscription runs out, and then send you a new notice about every other week until forever. That is beyond annoying . . .

Another problem is that sometimes I get so busy in the evenings that the magazines stack up, and they call to me, taunting “Read me! Read me!” So much pressure, so much guilt! It is especially true for Metropolis, Dwell, and Communication Arts since I do like to sit down with those and really dig into them, because those are subjects I am quite interested in learning more about.

I used to have a hard time getting rid of magazines . . . and I still do a bit. They are so expensive and so nice, you hate to be wasteful and throw them away! Some – like Metropolis and Communication Arts – are like reference materials, the sorts of things you want to keep around and reread again. Same for Tin House and The Sun. But then you have these stacks of clutter sitting around, so recently – but only occasionally – I’ve been starting to throw them out. I would like to give them to a library or something, but we never get quite that organized.

I wonder if anyone else is a magazine junkie like me? Or have any other irrational addictions that they’d like to share?

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