then it's not in vogue.
This catchy slogan is from the pages of Vogue Magazine, and is simply a catchy way for me to grab your attention for this fairly frivolous blog post about my guilty reading pleasure. (Though, remember, friends, there are no longer any guilty pleasures...)
Here's the thing: I read A LOT of magazines. It's a mild addiction. I try to break the habit from time to time because it feels like I'm throwing money away on throwaway reading. But it makes me happy and so after a month or two of looking firmly away in the grocery line or regretfully putting an issue that appeals back on the newsstand shelves, I get straight back into the habit again and come home with a pile of glossy pages to peruse in pleasure.
I am a sucker for celebrity gossip, despite wishing it didn't interest me so much, and therefore, I am a frequent reader of People. And then there are the happy days when my friend Christa passes over a pile of Star magazines, her own guilty pleasure. I take some solace in a long-ago-read article that stated that super smart people enjoy reading gossip. I have no memory of why this is said to be true, and I can't find the article to prove it ever existed -- but that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
I subscribe to two magazines: Glamour and O, The Oprah Magazine. The former has been a favorite since I was in college. While I do get irritated with the never-ending emphasis on too skinny models -- as with every women's magazine out there -- I enjoy the regular features like Jake, Dos and Don'ts, and cartoons / op-ed pieces by Rashida Jones (here's an example and another). And like a man explaining why he reads Playboy, I truly enjoy the articles.
The latter magazine, O, has become a favorite since my days in England, harking back to my first encounter with Oprah's book club. Again, there are irritants to reading this magazine -- for instance, it all gets a bit too new-agey for me with continous and repetitive articles about how to transform your life (easier with money and therefore access to the necessary gurus, I expect). But it has wonderful book reviews, pages of them, in fact, and I wait every year to try my chance at winning Oprah's favorite things at Christmas-time. Plus, I quite like the fact that every cover bears Oprah's fabulous images rather than this month's ingenue or pop star.
But my magazine interest doesn't stop there. When I am feeling more flush with pocket money, I love love love The New Yorker, and one day I will subscribe to that one too. I periodically look out for interesting popular science magazines like Discover; dip into the southern lifestyles of Southern Living and Garden & Gun at times; dream of faraway journeys while flipping through the pages of National Geographic; read terrifying true stories in Reader's Digest; digest the news in The Week or Newsweek; get a few laughs from the online pages of The Onion; and many, many more as the fancy takes me.
I think that my magazine-reading habit is partly fueled by my job. When I worked at English Heritage, and also since I've been freelance editing and now working for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, my reading habits have changed. I still love books, and have at least one on the go most of the time, but some days my brain is so fried from the academic nature of my job and the reading / writing / editing I do all day at work, that all I can cope with in the 20 minutes before bed are short but sweet illustrated articles, easily dip-in-and-outable.
And there are just so many magazines out there to tempt me! After a conversation with colleagues over a glass of wine last week, I was tempted to pick up More magazine, apparently the women's magazine for women over 40. I am ignoring that selling point and just concentrating on the fact that the one I bought has a Friend on it.
And then there are the weird speciality magazines. After hearing about The Cross and the Clown from another colleague (don't ask), all about evangelical clowning (yes, really), I am fascinated that there are so many oddities out there. And also horrified (clowns are scary). And there are others, though this is only scratching the surface: Fashion Doll (also creepy in a horror movie kind of way); Cranes Today (for that special crane operator in your life); Miniature Donkey Talk; Fencepost (yes, it is about fences); Girls and Corpses (who are these people?!); Sheep! (the exclamation point makes all the difference); and OMFG (not what you think but actually Official Meeting Facilities Guide).
All too bizarrely odd and nerdily specialized and downright frightening for me.
And so at 10:30pm I head back to the pages of the latest People magazine to learn all there is to know about the Bachelorette and her new fiance and how their "love is worth all the drama..."
A confession: Back in the days when I was OBSESSED with horses, I too subscribed to an incredibly specialist magazine, Arabian Horse World. This was a high end magazine, for breeders and rich owners of Arabian horses, proving that my youth was one spent in an almost continual delusion.
I was hesitant at first to include Girls and Corpses in the list above, because frankly I can't think of anything much more disturbing than a magazine with that focus. However, when I went Googling for "weird magazine titles," this one came up in EVERY single list I read and so really it had to be included.
Photo 1: This is the real problem with my magazine habit -- the piles that form all over my room as demand exceeds time and reading capability. (http://organizeyourstuffnow.com/wordpress/conquer-magazine-clutter)
Photo 2: The New Yorker: full of wonderfully intelligent articles and the funniest damn cartoons. I feel smarter just looking at the cover.
Photo 3: My horse-obsessed days brought many a horse magazine to my door...