When I was younger I never read magazines. The Sig-O and I invested in US News and World Report for one year. Maybe I read it twice (and it’s a weekly). Now that I’m older, and either a) busier; or b) have a shorter attention span, I read some.
I get three magazines; The Economist, Entertainment Weekly, and The Harvard Business Review. If I could time-travel and journey back in time to my, say, 27-year-old self, and told her I read the HBR, she would laugh uproariously and pronounce this as proof positive that future-me was an imposter.
Entertainment Weekly comes on Thursdays or Fridays. I love getting it; it’s a reminder that a weekend is arriving. After dinner I sit down and read it, or most of it, in one sitting. I don’t usually read music reviews. Music reviews baffle me. I read the movie and book reviews. Their book reviews are the weakest part of the ‘zine, but they often let me know about a book I want to get before I would heard about it otherwise. I agree with their movie reviews slightly more than half the time. Stephen King does an occasional column for them, and I always enjoy it even when I don’t agree with it. Their capsule TV guide descriptions make me laugh.
The Economist is a weekly and it takes me all week to read it. It’s like homework. Based in England, it lacks an America-centric focus. I think that’s refreshing. In their mission to cover world news, they spend more time on Africa and Asia than the American newsmagazines do. Very often I don’t understand The Economist and I have to go look things up after I read it. It helped me, better than anything else, begin to understand just what happened to our economy last year, but I disagree with their writers most of the time on health care.
HBR. . . I get HBR at work. It’s a monthly. I never read the whole thing. An example of an article I didn’t read, “How to keep your customers during the economic downturn.” I work for the welfare department. Business is booming, thank you. Articles about shares and dividends and blah-blah-blah—please, who cares? However, at the back of the book, every month, is a series of articles about management, leadership, process improvement, promoting a vision; stuff that sounds silly but that I really do need, especially if I’m trying to prepare other people to promote in an environment that now expects them to know all the latest management buzz-words. I usually read about two articles per month, and get reprints of at least one of them for my managers.
I also get a wonderful magazine called Parabola. Parabola is a journal of spiritual exploration. It is either bimonthly or quarterly, I forget which. Like the Economist, it is work to read. . . work in a good way. I never read it all at once; I don’t think I could. I read an article here or there, something that leaps out at me or catches my imagination. Parabola isn’t a magazine to me; it’s a deep, dark basket with different things inside. I may reach in and pull out a river-smoothed stone, or an apple, or a puzzle. Every issue is a surprise, and in every surprise there is at least one gift.