27 November 2011

55. Unread Magazines

Dear unread magazines cluttering my apartment,

I'm trying to get through you as fast as I can, I really am. When I started this letter, more than a year ago, most of you were less than a month old, with the exception of nearly a year's supply of The New York Review of Books. Now I'm just getting through this past April's New Yorkers, May's New Yorks, and I still haven't started in on that stack of NYRBs, sigh.

Last fall I wanted to apologize to you even when I was almost caught up on reading you before I went away that summer. Little did I know how far I could fall behind when I came home to a new 9-to-5-ish job and graduate school classes in the fall, all of which contributed to readings which competed for my attention on the subway between these various destinations... oof. Today I am less pressed for time but I'm sorry to say you now have to compete for attention with a shiny electronic device which sometimes offers me the whole fricken internet by way of distraction.

Still, reading you has its rewards, even six or more months late. Over the summer, this year's annual February "anniversary" issue of The New Yorker inspired me to read Middlemarch, which was pretty fricken great! More recently, the April 18 issue of that magazine presented me with Jonathan Franzen's essay on Robinson Crusoe, isolation, and the late David Foster Wallace. Flawed or not, that was a tough read, but one that nonetheless has helped me keep building up the courage to tackle The Pale King and Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, both of which are still daunting, to put it mildly.

Anyway, unread magazines, I think I'm catching up on you, reading one or more of the oldest issues around a week, sometimes on top of the week's issue (was I supposed to resist the annual New Yorker food spectacular? Because I didn't.) Next month I'm thinking of turning my attention to the Cook's Illustrateds among you — none of which are truly unread, mind, but too many of which are not yet cooked-from.

For now, however, I'm going to stop letting you guilt me and go to bed early. You'll be good company during this post-holidays head cold, when it's probably best if I don't spend too much time staring at screens...


Started and published on 27 November 2011, last updated 6 June 2014.