Monday, April 14, 2014

Things I Like: General interest magazines

In recent years I have cooled to the idea of special interest media. That's not to say I don't ever seek out an all-music radio station, an all-news TV channel, or magazines geared to a narrow topic - it's just that I've become more open-ended in how I approach my media consumption.

The biggest reason for this shift from special to general interest is a desire to be caught off guard by unexpected topics or perspectives, to be pulled in a direction I didn't know existed. A good example of this is demonstrated by a change in how I buy and read magazines.

There was a time when I would hunt down whatever magazine scratched a very specific itch, be it guitars, cameras or poetry, to name a few. And prior to making a purchase decision, I would accumulate a shortlist and then pour through the contents of each until I determined which one would give me maximum reading pleasure for my money.

This seemed to work for a number of years, even though it meant I usually knew exactly what was coming next, and, ironically, often found myself skipping over entire articles.

Fast-forward to the present, where my tendency now is to simply grab a title I know and love (such as Harper's, The New Yorker, or the Saturday Evening Post), and do my utmost to not glance at the table of contents or even study the cover too closely before sitting down to read it from cover-to-cover.

In this way, I now make a much heavier demand on a magazine - whereas before it only had to satisfy whatever nich whim I was following at the time, now I expect it to do nothing less than open up whole new worlds to me.

That's a pretty tall order, but when it is met, reading becomes the thrilling adventure it was always meant to be.

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NEXT -  Things I  Can Live Without: The culture of anti-smoking