Oversubscribed


So many magazines, not enough time. This is my version of the old saying about books. It’s still reading matter so I feel justified in adapting it to a stressful situation in my reading life. Do you ever feel you have too many magazine subscriptions? Do you feel you belong to too many societies producing too many journals? The photo above shows all the magazines & journals I have sitting on the coffee table, unread. Sometimes the arrival of the next issue prompts me to read the issue before that has been sitting on the table for a month – or, even more shamefully, two months. It’s not that I don’t want to read them but they have to find a moment in my reading time to attract my attention.

They’re all on subjects I love, mostly literature or history, & I couldn’t do without them but they have to compete with the current book I’m reading at home as well as the lunchtime book which might become the home book if I’m at an especially interesting spot & the book I might be reading for one of my book groups. The book group choice tends to take precedence at the beginning of the week when I try to read the week’s instalment so I don’t fall behind. Then, when I’m nearing the end of the book group book, I usually can’t wait & rush onwards to the end, forsaking all other books so everything is shoved aside at that point. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book entirely in instalments. I’ve always finished early. I’ve just finished The Bride of Lammermoor two weeks early because I was enjoying it so much I just kept reading. I couldn’t have survived in the 19th century when so many books were published in weekly or monthly instalments. What torture!

So, the magazines themselves.

Good Reading – this is an excellent Australian magazine on new books. I’ve been a subscriber since the beginning. Lots of reviews & interviews.

Literary Review – more serious UK equivalent. Reviews mostly non-fiction, some literary & crime fiction.

BBC History – Focuses on British history, my great love. Often has feature articles on just published books.

Current Archaeology & British Archaeology – Blame the seductive charms of Phil Harding & Mick Aston for my subs to these two. I love Time Team & Phil, Mick & the rest have expanded my love of history into a fascination with archaeology. Although I still have trouble seeing those grave cuts in the soil they keep pointing out, I’ve read a lot more about archaeology in recent years.

Everyday Health – an Australian magazine focusing on dietary intolerances. I have a wheat-free diet & I like reading about new wheat-free products & recipes.

Bronte Studies – The pamphlet above this is from the Australian Bronte Association that I belong to. I’ve always loved the Brontes & I’ve been a member of the Bronte Society for over 10 years.

JASA Chronicle & Sensibilities – Publications of the Jane Austen Society of Australia. Jane is another one of my passions & I joined JASA 12 years ago.

The Lady – I took up an offer for a 3 month sub to The Lady recently. Why, you may ask? It sounded like a good idea at the time. Why did I ever think I could cope with a weekly magazine as well as all these others? Well, of course, I couldn’t. I enjoyed the articles & the book reviews but found it a bit posh for the likes of me. Just as well really. I could never have kept up.

Folio magazine – This came as a freebie when I renewed my Folio Society membership.

Jane Austen’s Regency World – Combines my love of history & the divine Jane. Also often has articles on other writers of the period & book reviews.

I am up to date with the Ricardian (journal of the Richard III Society), the Dickensian (ditto of the Dickens Fellowship although I’m not a member of the Fellowship, I just subscribe to the journal), the Persephone Biannually & Slightly Foxed. As these are only published 2, 3 or 4 times a year, it would be scandalous if I couldn’t keep up with these.

I think I need a plan. Maybe one magazine or journal between books, like a sorbet course? It might be the only way I keep on top of the tottering pile on the coffee table.

2 thoughts on “Oversubscribed

  1. I notice that you have Cornflower Books on your blogroll, so perhaps you'll have read the post there about wasted time that could have been spent reading? At least one of the commenters was keen to urge us all not to get stressed about reading or not reading. It is a fair point. Our hobbies and interests are meant to help us enjoy life, not become another thing to worry about.

    Whilst I do not subscribe to as many magazines as you, I too have had that experience of finding that the last issue is still unread when the next one arrives. These days if organisations I belong to offer an online journal option I generally opt for it instead of paper. The result, I must admit, is that I tend not to read them at all!

    Perhaps committed book readers read magazines the wrong way? It could be that we are so accustomed to starting novels at the beginning and reading right through to the end that we adopt the same approach to the magazine: a medium that is actually designed to be browsed. Maybe focused on the articles you really want to read, rather than feeling obliged to plough through them all, would help reduce the backlog?

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  2. Yes, I remember the Cornflower discussion. I do sometime feel I spend time reading blogs & articles on the internet when I should be reading books. But, I try to keep it in proportion. I usually spend my weekday evenings reading books(apart from checking email) & I usually blog & read other blogs at the weekend. I enjoy all my magazines & I don't really feel compelled to read every article if it's not of interest. It's just an issue of finding time to read everything I want to read. I read an issue of the Lady & the BBC History magazine yesterday after I posted so I feel completely calm now!

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