The Reading Life: Magazines

I know, I know: last week, coffee table books, this week, magazines? What’s gotten into me?

Here’s the deal, loyal readers: I want to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve been saying for years now that I don’t care what people read, as long as they are reading, and then I only write about actual books. Those hypocritical days are done.

I love magazines. They are shiny packages of information and entertainment. They are good for either intensive reading or light skimming. You can just look at the pictures or just read the words or both. You can learn things, like how to roast a chicken properly and how to wear the newest strappy sandal. Magazines are wonderful because they are like the Internet in print form: (fairly) up-to-date, colorful, and layered.

I subscribe to three magazines currently: Bon Appetit, Wired, and mental_floss. I am a trivia geek who likes to cook.

Anyway, here’s a list of some magazines I think are worth picking, at least from a newsstand.


This magazine covers topics like social media, cool gadgets, medical technology, and general nerd stuff. It’s one of the coolest magazines out there right now, because it makes being a geek kind of cool. I think my favorite feature is “What’s Inside:” they dissect everyday products and explain the ingredients. In the May 2010 issue, they took a look at Triple Paste Diaper Cream. The headline? “Waterproof your baby.”

Bon Appetit

I like looking at pictures of food. A well-plated dish, professionally litand photographed, can set my stomach a-grumbling and my grocery list a-growing. Bon Appetit is like Gourmet‘s little, hipper sister. She’s more fun and less fussy. She wears blue jeans while she whips up some chipotle cherry ribs and plums with panna cotta. My favorite feature in this one is probably “Fast Easy Fresh,” which contains recipes you can make right now, if you have the ingredients. The July 2010 issue features Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Chipotle-Peach Dressing. Yum.


I especially like mental_floss‘s packaging. There are so many words! I love words. That’s my problem with fashion magazines: too many pictures. mental_floss is a trivia magazine geared towards the nerds of the world. Every month they devote a portion of the issue to a topic like medicine or high school, and then write short, clever articles relating to that topic. My favorite feature is “Spinning the Globe,” in which they explore one country or area of the world in depth. In May/June 2010, it was Yemen. (Did you know that lots of Yemeni men wear huge daggers on their belts? It was part of traditional dress even before Islam existed.)


I used to get this fantastic magazine, and then my subscription ran out and I didn’t have money to renew. Story of my life. Anyway,

Bust is a magazine that shows life from a female-positive perspective. There are articles about feminist icons, patterns for sewing your own aprons, vintage hair-dos to try out, interviews with Cyndi Lauper, and reviews of independently published books. My favorite Bust column was “Call of Duty,” a parenting/life/motherhood column in which Ayun Halliday discusses being a modern parent and a modern woman at the same time.

Vegetarian Times

I’m no longer a vegetarian, but when I was, I made my mom get me a subscription to Vegetarian Times. It is a great resource for recipes, health tips, and snack suggestions for the meatlessly-inclined. My favorite features is “1 Food, 5 Ways.” Every month, they pick one food, like this month’s cabbage, and prepare it five different ways. For a vegetarian, variety is key.
What do you subscribe to? What magazines do you buy on the newsstand? Let us know in the comments!


About Amanda K

Amanda K holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies. She's a housewife, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a sewist, and an aspiring gourmet home cook. View all posts by Amanda K

2 responses to “The Reading Life: Magazines

  • ruhama

    Cook’s Illustrated! Part of me wishes it were every month, but that would be a lot of recipes…

    Each issue has tips, answers cooking and food questions, outlines a variety of recipes and reviews products.

  • how to get over a ex

    My son was entertained when reading this line on your post “… a chicken properly and how to wear the newest strappy sandal. Magazines are wonderful because they are like …” this is it, you just crushed it down pal.

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