On the newsstand…

Sometimes – as often as not, actually – magazine reading is as fun and engrossing as book reading. So here are some articles (in no particular order) I read and enjoyed recently, and which you may, too…

I really enjoyed TV Guide, April 2-8 issue,  which is weird, since I never buy or read it. That’s a thing of the past for me, when it was as small as a tiny trade paperback and only cost 60 cents. Yes, it was a long time ago.

But the Game of Thrones cover caught my eye and my fancy, and I decided to read. Sometime you just know, you just sense what’s going to help launch you in the direction of a new novel. I sensed the article might be a good read, and it was. It’s TV-guide-feature short, entitled “All the Kings Men” and is written by Kate Hahn. It doesn’t seem to be on their website yet, but maybe if we wait…

Then, there was The New Yorker, April 9 issue which you know has marathon-length articles. This is fabulous because they’re meaty and fun and well-written. This issue had a very satisfying read called “Wild West Germany” by Rivka Galchen about a German writer of American western literature. (Unfortunately, you need to subscribe to access the full online version of the article.) His life was a bit of an adventure, so I guess it’s not surprising then that he had quite the imagination when it came to writing about cowboys and Indians. The relationship of German readers with his books is delightful to read about. This is one of those articles you read and feel, afterwards, that you invested time well for your mind’s happiness and edification. It’s fun.

Also, in the same New Yorker, Adam Gopnik has an interesting article on Albert Camus, which makes me think I should try his L’Etranger again. “Facing History, Why we love Camus”  (same deal – subscription needed) made me rather impressed with the man, after having been put way, way off by my college French class’s reading of that depressing book. The book, even for an English speaker struggling to read it in the original French, was effective, I can at least say. He got his message across. Perhaps, I’ll appreciate it in a new way now.

Finally, Elizabeth Kolbert’s ” The Case Against Kids, Is procreation immoral?” (this one you can read without a subscription, I think) does that thing where they ask a preposterous question at the beginning (you’ve seen the title…) and then get sane. There’s interesting and – even to one who doesn’t blind herself to the reality of over-population –  startling stuff in it. In any case, it’s a comforting balm to anyone who maybe never had kids and can now see that their decision (or lot) might be nourishing to a world that’s going to strain at the seams someday.

The last magazine I’ll mention, Newsweek, April 9 issue, had an article called, “The Forgotten Jesus” which is Andrew Sullivan’s take on how politicians and evangelists, and others have distorted Jesus’s message and story. You may or may not agree with him, but an intelligent and respectful discussion of religion can only help religious literacy when combined with other such discussions.

“The Voyage of the Damned” by Simon Schama talks about the Titanic tragedy and seems to go completely off-topic at the last ‘graph. But the sub-head ties the story to betrayal of the trusting masses by those in charge, and this explains the appropriateness of that last paragraph which reaches out in empathy to those betrayed today – and through history – by powerful people. Perhaps the article was a needed metaphor to make that point. Maybe the article wasn’t really so much about the Titanic as much as it was about humanity and human weaknesses that seem to plague us in every era.

The idea here is that these articles were good reads, not that I agree with everything in them. If you read them, let me know what you thought. Were they worth the read, do you think?

And, remember, this is National Library Week, so don’t forget libraries are great repositories of all sorts of written (and audio and visual) stuff. If you don’t want to buy mags – and who can blame you considering the prices – there’s always the reading room, or Lexis-Nexis at university libraries.


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