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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Periodically Speaking

John posts about magazines -- the ones he subscribes to, the ones he reads sporadically, and the ones he used to read but not so much anymore. Ever the lemming-like* blogger, I figure, hey, why not?

Subscriptions:

Time. John likes Newsweek, but I tend to prefer Time. I'll read Newsweek if it has an interesting cover story, and my Time preference isn't super-strong. I don't think Newsweek is a bad mag, by any means. I just like my news from Time more. (Interestingly, it was a Time article on blogging, way back in February of 2002, that finally convinced me to start up my own after I'd discovered blogs a month or two before.)

Cooking Light. This magazine is just a great, great read if you like food. The recipes tend to be very well done (I've never yet made anything from it that I didn't like), and the focus is decidedly on making food healthy but still hearty and nourishing. They don't shy from ethnic or exotic foods, either; you're as likely to find a chicken soup recipe as a Moroccan lamb tagine recipe in its pages. Also good articles on food-based travel and small features on specific ingredients and the like. (The exercise articles tend to be aimed almost exclusively at women, so I skip over those.)

Realms of Fantasy. OK, I don't currently subscribe, but I buy the current issue every time it comes out. Their fiction is always strong (although they've rejected everything I've submitted, harumph!), and they also run wonderful articles on folklore and fantasy art. The book reviews tend to be uniformly positive, but it's still nice to see mention of more obscure books.

Good for the Occasional Newsstand Buy

This sums up a lot of mags in the Fantasy and SF field, like Weird Tales, Black Gate, Chronicle, and the like.

WIRED. I subscribed to WIRED for years, and I probably will again in the near future. It's frankly not as good as it used to be, but there is still always something worth reading in its pages. I do find WIRED's editorial stance of "If it's not digital, IT'S CRAP!" a bit cloying, though.

I'd also amend this category to include magazines I love to read faithfully for free at the library, like National Geographic, Skeptical Inquirer, The New Yorker, and so on.

Magazines I Used to Buy and Pretty Much Never Do Anymore

Fantasy and Science Fiction. I bought this faithfully for about two years, and I generally found that the fiction therein wasn't usually to my taste. I also tended to find Lucius Shepard's film reviews to be scathing for the sake of being scathing. Their back page feature, in which they'd write up some long-OOP SF or fantasy novel, was always neat.

Entertainment Weekly. My take on this magazine used to be that the features were OK while the reviews were pure shit. I haven't changed that opinion (Lisa Schwarzbaum is particularly irritating in her "jaded cineaste, nouveau Pauline Kael" tone -- but then, I was never a Pauline Kael fan, either). What finally led me to cancel my subscription was some snarky stuff they wrote about classical music in their "Upcoming TV shows" feature -- under a "Great Performances" concert featuring the New York Philharmonic, the writer wrote something like "Now I can spend a night the same way my grandmother does." To which I responded, "No, fuck you." I cancelled my subscription the next day. EW also once ran a "100 Greatest Soundtracks" article which was almost exclusively devoted to song-score CDs and devoid of actual film music. When this article got heavily criticized on rec.music.movies, none other than Ty Burr came onto the group to set us straight. One particular poster -- who later left Usenet for Blogistan -- treated Mr. Burr, shall we say, harshly. Anyhow, EW sucks.

Baseball Weekly. Who knows -- maybe if the Pirates ever get done rebuilding and actually field a non-shitty team, or if MLB ever comes up with NFL-style revenue sharing (not that the NFL's new edition of "revenue sharing" is any great shakes, but it's still miles better than MLB's "Every team for itself" version), I'll get interested in baseball again. I spent many an enjoyable afternoon sitting outside, in the sun, reading Baseball Weekly.

Brill's Content. I subscribed to this magazine -- and then it promptly went belly-up. Dammit. I enjoyed reading it for the, oh, four issues that I subscribed.

* Yeah, I'm well aware that lemmings don't really follow one another on a death-leap into the sea. Still, it's a useful, if false, metaphor.

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