In the past ten years I have had 2 magazine subscriptions. One to Newsweek, which I have had since I was in college. And one to Real Simple, which I have had for probably 7 years now.
Newsweek gives me a sense of what is going on in the world around me and helps me feel not completely out of touch with the news. I know most people in the modern era get their news from the Internet, but I am not really one of them. I get my news from Newsweek and NPR.
Real Simple on the other hand is a lifestyle magazine. It has beautiful photographs and home and food ideas. The day it arrived in the mail was always like getting an unexpected gift. I would immediately flip through it and then spend another few days actually reading the articles and examining the recipes. Its still a great magazine. However, I’ve apparently reached the 7 year itch with the magazine. I just don’t feel the excitement when it arrives.
I do want to get a magazine other than Newsweek. Despite one of my friend’s suggestions to “read the entire Internet every month,” I’m old school. I like to disconnect from the hive mind on occasion without digging into the stack books I’ve been ignoring since my son was born.
First, I posed the question to The Collective (Facebook & Twitter) to see what they were reading. The suggestions I received were: Self, Cook’s Illustrated, GQ, and Dwell.
Second, I went to my local Barnes & Noble and wandered their magazine section. I picked up some of the suggestions (I forgot about GQ and couldn’t find Cook’s Illustrated) and then a few others that looked interesting.
I got Gastronomica, Self, Dwell, Whole Living, Saveur & Cleaning Eating.
Gastronomica looks really interesting and smart. The most interesting looking article (which I have gotten half way through) is about the selling of lion meat. But I have to be honest, when I am in a magazine mood, I am not in a long article mood. And Gastronomica is wordy. Its New Yorker wordy. That is just not going to suit my purposes. Other strikes against it are that its foodcentric. Though I love food I want a magazine subscription with a little wider range. Lastly, a subscription for FOUR issues is $42.50.
Self is closer to what I want in a magazine. It covers lots of different areas like fitness, food, and fashion. The most interesting section was about the importance of breakfast and the best ratios of carbs/fat/protein to have for breakfast. But its a little too far in the other direction from Gastronomica. A little too glossy and fluffy. I can see myself picking up other issues, especially on vacation but I think I’d get bored with it pretty quick. Plus the issue I picked up had Bethenny from reality television fame on the cover, deducted points before I even opened it.
Dwell is interesting but I feel like I am not hip enough to have a subscription to it. Even the ads make me feel uncool. The most interesting article was about co-working loft spaces. But again let’s face it, I am not cool enough to need to worry about co-working lofts. The pictures are beautiful and it would be a great magazine to pick up if I was decorating a house (and had an unlimited budget). Again the subject matter is a bit limited. I think after an issue or two I would feel bored of looking at design.
Clean Eating, I picked up this magazine because my husband and I have been trying to get more into clean eating. My version of clean eating is eating more whole foods versus processed and knowing what I am eating. The cover has tacos on it. Who doesn’t want healthy tacos? Answer: No One! My husband seems more enthusiastic about a subscription to Cleaning Eating than I am. Again, its a very limited subject matter and so I think I’d be bored with it after an issue or two. The recipes look awesome though. It’ll probably be better for an occasional bookstore pick up, rather than subscription worthy.
Saveur, is another food magazine. I love food and cooking ,so that’s probably why I ended up with a couple food focused magazines but in the end its food. How much can I stand to read about it every month. The cover article on artisan breads caught my eye, since my husband has become an amateur bread baker. Saveur is a fancy version of Bon Appetit. Both are good magazines but I only need to know so much about food on a monthly basis.
Whole Living, is the winner. It’s a Martha Stewart publication and hits on a lot of different topics. As I described it to my husband, its like a more hippy version of Real Simple. Articles in this months issue include: 3-Day Detox, Spring-Clean Your Life, and Walk it Off! Our Favorite Outdoor Workout. This sounds like my pace, with enough variety to at least keep me interested through a subscription run. Who knows if I’ll keep it for years and years like Real Simple but we’ll give it a try.
End Note: My last Real Simple came and it didn’t seem as repetitive as prior issues. It had some great articles like How to Be More Confident and a recipe for Kale Pesto. It almost made me regret my lapsed subscription.