Recommend 5 periodicals

I’m going to go on a subscription blitz of periodicals but would like to keep the number to 4 or 5. I’m looking for a bit of everything that would be accessible to an intelligent dilletante. I remember getting a kick out of the Utne reader. Maybe one magazine focusing on intelligent analyses of politics, and another on mainstream and pop trends in culture. Is “Wired” accessible to someone who hasn’t kept up in the high tech race? I will not be subscribing to either The Economist or Foreign Affairs, I’m done with them… I know Atlantic Monthly is respected but I don’t know their slant. Throw in some alternative press stuff by all means.

Tired of Atlantic monthly, getting tired of Utne.

One magazine I will never, ever be without a subscription to: The New Yorker. Still the best of the best, the eclectickest of the eclectic. More than any other magazine I know of, they let their writers do whatever the hell they want. Great writers writing at length on a literally infinite range of subjects. Fiction less staid than it used to be, movie reviews not too good nowadays, but for profiles and indepth examinations of things you’d never imagined could be so damn fascinating, it simply has no peer.

Also, Harper’s. Backed mostly by a foundation so not as subject to corporate filtering as most big media. Always great articles and vastly entertaining little bits.

I won’t dilute my recommendations by suggesting any others, cuz those two are so far above the other offerings that third place is a mile and a half behind. (Oh all right, I also subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, Horticulture, and Knitters.)

  1. New Yorker (humor, prose, and poetry)
  2. US News and World Report (news and analysis)
  3. Southern Living (a must have here in the South, your region probably has an equivalent)
  4. Vanity Fair (glossy trash, but great for laying by the pool)
  5. Playboy (call me a Neanderthal if you must, and I know that the articles are getting a bit weak, but the Playboy Interview is still a terrific feature. And, one more thing, naked women).

[ul][li] Science News[/li]
[li] The Industrial Phycisist[/li]
[li] NASA Tech Briefs[/li]
[li] National Geographic[/li]
The National Barbecue News[/ul]

Well, lissener might be tired of it, but I think the Atlantic Monthly is the bee’s knees. Slanted? Yes. Always interesting? Yes. Plus, William Langewiesche does a couple of pieces a year, and his pieces are always outstanding. The one I’m getting tired of is Vanity Fair.

I’ll back up the recommendation The New Yorker, though. Good stuff, always.

If you’re interested in pop culture, Entertainment Weekly is worth your while. It’s not at its peak – it was better a couple of years ago – but they do keep up with the trends while not ignoring cult attractions. (They regularly devote space to comics and graphic novels, for example.) It is, of course, kind of shallow, but it’s about pop culture.

Also recommended: The Believer, the latest product of Dave Eggers’ perfervid imagination. No ads, long articles, eclectic subjects, and a point of view that’ll either charm you or drive you up a tree. Worth a shot.

I really really enjoy my subscription to Discover. I got it on a whim from a door to door salesman last year. The kid was energetic enough that I let him make the pitch and I decided “what the hell, it’s cheap enough” and got two years to the magazine.

Every issue I read almost cover to cover. The articles range from archeology to space to genetics to zoology. Each one is very well written and I, with almost no scientific background whatsoever, have no trouble following them.
I just signed up for an additional year, even though I’m just now starting year two. I would definitely recommend this one.

My favorite is no more. I search used book stores for back copies of National Lampoon. Now I’m stuck with Maxim.

I second The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The New Yorker. Newsweek is the best of the three newsweeklies (hm…), and I like what I’ve seen in The Believer.

National Geographic

Scientific American

Any magazine I’m running.

lissener writes:

> Also, Harper’s. Backed mostly by a foundation so not as subject
> to corporate filtering as most big media.

I’m told by a friend who works as an editor and writer for various magazines that every single political magazine in the U.S. is either supported by a foundation or by a rich person with money to burn. Every single one - liberal, conservative, libertarian, whatever. It’s not possible for a magazine to survive without financial backing in the U.S. if it concentrates just on politics. Even magazines which are general cultural commentary with only occasional articles on political issues, like The New Yorker, can only barely survive financially.

The one magazine not mentioned so far that I might recommend is The New York Review of Books.