Friday, January 9, 2009

Quick Reads

January is always a great month to catch up on magazines. As I've mentioned before, my favorites change as I change, but I have always had a weak spot for magazines. I can't stand to be caught with nothing to read, and at times, magazines best suit my attention span or available time. Over Christmas, when the new issues arrive, I put them back--a habit I picked up from Mama--and save them for the slower (ha!) January days. I may sneak a peak, but I postpone the savoring until the holidays have past and the tree is out of the house.

Right now I have a veritable cornucopia! My all-time favorite magazine is Oxford American magazine, "the Southern magazine of good writing." Right now the best issue of all, the Southern Music issue, is on the news stand. This year it came with not one but two CD's, with companion articles. Oxford American has had a tough go of it. Begun in Oxford, Mississippi, not England, it has nearly folded a couple of times, eventually moving to Conway, Arkansas, and falling under the auspices of Central Arkansas University. The writing is clever and eclectic. They publish issues on movies, food, travel, just about anything that is identified with the South--or America--or being human.

Another recent discovery and new favorite is Garden and Gun. No, there is not affiliation with the NRA or the FFA. It's a clever, eye-pleasing, smart publication with great writing and photography. I'm planning this weekend to try out the duck and oyster gumbo recipe in the most recent issue. The most memorable piece so far was a great article on sweet tea, that Southern nectar of the gods.

I'm still a New Yorker fan. I let my subscription slide from time to time, but even though they tend to drop regular features I like (the acrostic puzzle awhile back, "Shouts and Murmurs," before that), they keep plenty of good ones. I'll admit that I flip through first and read the poetry and the cartoons. Even more than "The Far Side," you either get the New Yorker's cartoons or you don't. I do. I find some great poems too. What I've notice, though, is that because they are so well-written, I find myself reading about topics that normally would never interest me at all. I have yet to win (or even place in) the caption contest.

On my Washington trip, I joined the Smithsonian just for the magazine (and the discount in the gift shop.) It's just started arriving, so the stack rises!

The one journal I read regularly is English Journal, the professional publication of the National Council of Teachers of English that focuses on secondary educators. Even though I'm teaching at the community college now, I still love EJ. I have been spied reading my latest issue at the pool. Nerdy, eh?

The bulk of my other magazines are home and food related. I read them for pictures the way men may read Playboy (at least the ones who don't claim to buy it for the articles.) Even if I don't get around to preparing all the enticing recipes, I have a hard time throwing them away. When I do try to thin out my stacks, I get out my pretty kitchen file folders, clear plastic sleeves, and scissors. Our Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners featured some of my new culinary ventures. Right now I also have Southern Living (a must), Traditional Home, Cottage Living, Prevention, and Food and Wine.

Magazines couldn't replace books, but they are a perfect supplement--semi-disposable, easily recyclable (i.e., shared), and portable. How could we survive in doctors' waiting rooms without them?

1 comment:

Glenda Council Beall said...

I, too, love magazines. My house is too full of magazines at this time and I have to recycle them soon.
I subscribe to several writing magazines, Southern Living, of course, and I've been on again and off again with the Oxford American. It is a terrific magazine, I think.