Magazine Overload

In college I majored in consumer studies and family resource management. Rather than a textbook, many of my professors compiled packets of articles from academic journals and weekly news magazines that we had to purchase from Kinko’s. Nowadays they make this kind of information available to students online.

All the weekly news magazines were represented in these packets. But for some reason, the articles in U.S. News & World Report appealed to me more than articles from Time or Newsweek. Within a semester or two, I paid for a subscription to U.S. News & World Report which I continued until last year when they stopped printing magazines and switched to an online format.

Staying up on current event is important to me. In addition to my weekly news magazine (which I routinely read from cover to cover), I watched the local and national news on television every day and read at least the headlines on every page of the newspaper seven days a week. The articles in the news magazine went into more detail and provided  more context than television news or newspapers.

In lieu of my weekly issue, U.S. News transferred the rest of my subscription to Money Magazine. Considering I teach money management, you’d think I’d welcome the in-depth coverage of current issues in personal finance. Not so much. I’ll admit the articles are interesting, but I miss the broader coverage of my weekly news magazine.

Several months ago I got an offer in the mail for The New Yorker. While I’m not especially interested in what’s happening in the Big Apple, as a writer I figured exposure to this literary magazine would be good for me.  Besides, the cost was only $27 a year. I signed up for two years.

Have you ever picked up a copy of The New Yorker? I hadn’t. Other than advertising, there are almost no pictures. Instead of news articles, the magazine features essays written by people who appear to be a hell of a lot smarter than I am.  The writing is dense and I hate to admit it, often more than a little pretentious.

I didn’t have any trouble reading my weekly news magazine from cover to cover. I attempted to read every page of the first issue of The New Yorker. Before I could finish, two more issues had arrived in my mailbox. I quickly figured out I needed to change my strategy or I’d spend all eternity trying to get caught up.

Now I read the first three paragraphs of every essay. If the topic interests me, I’ll keep plowing through. Some are extremely in-depth stories  about current events with a decidedly liberal bias. Others are detailed accounts of trivial stories of interest to few outside of New York. I scan through the book and movie reviews. So far, I haven’t read any of the fiction included in the magazine–one of the main reasons I wanted a subscription.

The New Yorker doesn’t exactly fill the void left by the disappearance of U.S. News & World Report. But it will have to do. Until my subscription runs out two years from now, we won’t be getting any more weekly magazines here at…

My Glass House

2 responses to “Magazine Overload”

  1. And now I’m inheriting your backlog. I haven’t finished reading one whole issue, either. That magazine is like a dwarf star: looks small enough, but is denser than 100 magazines combined.