On respecting magazines

At home, I read books. I enjoy their heft. They’re created out of time, like a sculpture, and their solidity makes me feel like I’m doing something filled with honor; something worthwhile.

MagazinesOr course, I also read magazines, but with a much slighter frequency. I find that I don’t give magazines any respect. They’re too easy to throw away, filled with short snippets of information. I enjoy them, yet, I don’t trust them. I refuse to let myself get caught up in them, regardless of my personal desires.

Why the difference?

I’ve always convinced myself that it’s a matter of time. Magazines come too often. I don’t have time to read everything. And being a completist, I’m the kind of person who feels the need to page through every article – whether or not I read them – in order to feel as if I’ve gotten everything I can get out of a magazine.

They’re also time sensitive, for the most part. A book I can set aside for months – years even – but a magazine begs to be read immediately.

So I don’t subscribe to magazines, even though that’s exactly what I should be reading in my much busier, post-delivery life. Instead, I cling to books, which are more difficult to read and ostensibly solid. They’re permanent, while magazines are flighty. They’re serious, while magazines are jaunty.

And here’s the irony. I cling to books, yet I haven’t completed one in over a month. In fact, I haven’t read one since May.

But magazines? I devour the trade pubs at work. I read Paste at home. I would probably get a lot of use out of a subscription to The New Yorker, or The Believer.

At home, I read books – but really I don’t. Instead, I pretend to read books, while actually scouring the house for magazines. Which, as I said before, I don’t trust.

When it comes to reading, I’ve got a lot of things to sort out.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 16th, 2008