Some might say I have a magazine addiction. It’s not an addiction, though, because I don’t have a problem or anything. It’s not like I need to quit. I just really like magazines. They’re full of digestible little nuggets, beautiful images, tips, reviews, and meaty articles that satisfy without being academic. I love Dwell for its focus on modern design and pictures of funky houses (they did a whole spread evaluating the form vs. function of flatware collections one year…be still my heart!), Coastal Living for allowing me to pretend I live at the ocean in San Diego where I surf at lunch, Bust for its commitment to women’s issues addressed in a snarky voice, Cottage Living for its eclectic mix of home ideas, travel bits, and spreads on things I love like bungalows, Cook’s Illustrated for its passion for food, cooking, and special sections like The Best Hot Dogs, and Budget Travel for its resources and articles presented with a sense of humor that makes me think, Yeah, I do want to go to Slovenia.
I’ve always liked paging through every new issue, savoring each bit. I don’t understand the flipper—the casual reader that flips through absentmindedly or the person who reads out of order. No, no, no. I approach a magazine like a book: I start at the beginning and don’t skip anything. Unless it’s The New Yorker in which case, I skip like half the issue.
It started as a teenager with Sassy, the holy grail of girls’ magazines; the writers did something novel: they talked to girls like they were smart. None of this Cosmo Girl crap. I had enough issues to start a library. My tastes evolved and broadened as I got older, until the ultimate opportunity arose; I took a Column Writing class in grad school and we were required (oh, the horror) to read and research magazines to better target our columns. For me, it was a license to camp out in Borders and systematically read through every publication—from the popular stuff (People knows a disturbing amount about celebrities) to the obscure (In-Fisherman).
Though I read magazines all year long, I have two reading “seasons”: Christmas and summer. A long winter break allows me to pore over a stack of glossies while lounging around eating cookies and luxuriating in the excess. Summer brings beach weather and there’s no better reading material for the beach than magazines. The only drawback is the pileup. Come July, I find myself reading about how to stuff the perfect turkey and the best looks for winter. So now, as Christmas approaches, I’m eager to read about the best summer music festivals and discover which sunscreen is best for my sensitive skin. Magazines know everything.