A deluge of paper

One of the single greatest pleasures of my adulthood has to be the means to give in and embrace wholeheartedly my love of the printed word. My addiction doesn’t stop, though, with books. I am also an unreptentant lover of magazines and the last few years have seen an exponential increase in the number of subscriptions that make their way into our house. Some days I feel as though my household alone is keeping the magazine industry alive and well. Lest you think I exaggerate, shall I confess to the subscriptions that flood this house?

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for our news fix:
Macleans
Time

to keep us in the know locally:
Toronto Life

for all things food:
Canadian Living

for our entertainment updates:
Entertainment Weekly

for long form journalism:
Vanity Fair (incidentally, this is also my longest subscription, as I’ve had this consistently since my last year of high school)
The Walrus
The Atlantic
The New Yorker

for Little Girl:
Chirp
American Girl Magazine

I think the tipping point from solid subscriber into extreme paper fanatic may have come with The New Yorker subscription, a recent addition to the stable of subscriptions that march their way into the house, and which I previously had in digital-only form. I just couldn’t stop myself when the offer came in for the paper version and the digital version. The New Yorker was always the magazine I longed for but could never justify financially and I must say it’s been pretty exciting opening my mailbox and finding it waiting for me each week.

Until very recently I was incredibly uptight about reading a magazine from beginning to end. I was never one of those people who would flip through wildly, jumping from article to article. Instead, I would read diligently from cover to cover – every article, every blurb. As you can guess, this led to a certain degree of stress as more issues arrived. Yes, this meant I would end up reading on topics that I might not have ever come across, but inevitably I would find myself slogging through an article just to finish it. Hardly a good reason to finish something and a waste of valuable reading time. Recently though I’ve finally come to an epiphany that I don’t have to read every single article. If something doesn’t appeal to me and isn’t engaging I can indeed skip to the next article. A revelation! I’m sure you’re laughing, but for me (a rather uptight, obsessive compulsive individual when it comes to things like this) this has been life altering. As long as I’m reading the majority of the magazine, most of the time, and I’m enjoying what I read, then I’m getting the value out of it.

This revelation has actually extended to other parts of my reading life. Lately, I’ve been freer in giving myself permission to drop a book – to not merely put it aside and then slog through it later, but to put aside forever. As I get older I am realizing that there are just too many books, and too many good books to waste time on those that don’t hold my interest.

That’s my confession. A staggering amount of paper that works it’s way into my house weekly and monthly in addition to books (oh, and those pesky one-off magazines I also read). (I do want to note that most of my magazines do see a second life elsewhere as I pass them along before they are recycled. I did try to move to a digital-only existence, and that is how we read The Economist, but while I love magazines on the iPad there are times when the paper version is just better.) So what magazines do you read? Are you a subscription addict? How many is too many?

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