Sunday, September 1, 2013

So I began to subscribe to the New Yorker...

Awwwwyisssss.  I have nothing smarter to say, because that is my exact
reaction whenever I get a new issue.
A perhaps little known fact for Americans: your magazine subscriptions are the envy of Finnish people. I can order one, or even two magazines and not go bankrupt. It's amazing!

After five years of just basking in this knowledge I took the leap and subscribed to the New Yorker because a) I wanted to have a magazine that I could spend time with reading articles and not just leafing through pretty images (which can be nice as well) and b) the articles I had read from it before were supremely well-written and interesting.

I'm nowadays almost exclusively a digital reader: we don't have the space for more books, buying books second-hand--which is what I used to do--will not give the authors any money anyway, and I'm too old to have my disk herniated by a Stephenson tome in my purse. Most of the time I buy digital versions, unless I'm pretty sure I'd like to lend my book to someone else.

Thus, I was disappointed with sampling a copy of the New Yorker on my Kindle.

I realized that my magazine reading habits are too set in stone: first, I want to leaf through the magazine. Then, based on how long articles look and how I'm feeling I'll start reading.

With the Kindle, I would just start reading any old article as browsing in this way was impossible, and what I thought would be a short bus-ride length of a read was actually a 5-page coverage, but there was no turning back. By the time I got to the end of it I felt I had not been mentally prepared well enough to take it in as it should have been. Had I known I was going to be reading a lengthy report I would have set it aside to read when I would have been less of a sleepy commuter.

Also, I'm a cheapskate. The digital subscription for the magazine was more expensive than the paper version, which really sealed the deal in addition to the general feeling of confusion while trying to navigate the digital version.

So, I got my paper version. And I'm glad, because already in the second issue I received I was greeted by perhaps the most glorious article I have yet read, "Operation Easter. The hunt for illegal egg collectors" and its accompanying picture of two guys in full camo in darkest of Britain's forests, looking for elusive "egg obsessives."

It's in the June 22, 2013 issue, and this article alone is worth the 99 cents a single downloaded issue costs via Amazon. Or whatever a trip to the library may cost to get your hands on this 10-page article of James Bondesque real-life intrigue and excitement, revolving around the obsession of the egg collectors.

Why is this article not a British crime series yet? You will laugh, you will cry, and you will rage reading about the thousands of eggs from protected birds, tucked away under floorboards with baby birds crudely blown out of them with a straw! And there is of course an authority figure, a bird fancier society, that condemns these acts but nevertheless keeps drawing unstable men (yes, they are all men) to their ranks. Also, a good British mystery would be nothing without a detective, whose obsession about the egg collectors gets questioned.

After reading that article I was just about ready to cancel my subscription simply because this one article had fulfilled all I was looking for when I subscribed to the magazine: superb writing and an interesting topic I had never come across before.

Since then, each issue has had at least one article that has made paying for it absolutely worth it; for that moment in a day, when I'm not focusing on or being distracted by anything else but this piece of paper in my hands, and being captivated by what the writer wants to make public.

Reading a magazine--not just this particular one--feels like a quick palate cleanser after reading Reddit for posts that are either closely or vaguely related to my daytime job or reading Twitter feeds of the same. It can take me away from a digital screen just for a second to rest my eyeballs on something else, and I get to learn stuff while resting my eyes!

No matter how much I have become a reader of digital goods, I apparently do need this small stack of papers to arrive once a week to touch and look at.

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