Last week was the annual American Magazine Conference, where the titans of the industry get together and commiserate about whatever crises face us--which are perpetual and ongoing. And with the incessant tribal drumbeat of the online/digital world, it's hard to remember sometimes that magazines are still loved. By people, at least. And it got me thinking about my own magazine habits and which ones I still subscribe to and love. And I love them not just for the stories and the pictures, but for the ads, too. Even the little ads in the back. The sign of a good magazine to me is often how many pages I rip out, turn down the corner of, or place next to my home computer so I can look up sites.
I don't want to read a magazine on a tablet or a computer because I'm on a computer all day. Magazines are my break. My relaxation. My rest from high-speed vibrating pixels.So, here is my list of top 10 favorite magazines that are NOT Rodale magazines (because of course, I love them all the most and can't pick between them, so Men"s Health, Women"s Health, Prevention, Runner"s World, Bicycling and Organic Gardening are not on this list).
- Garden and Gun. Oh, I sigh with pleasure when it comes in the mail. It's so gorgeous to look at and delicious to read. I've learned so much (including the fact that I can never truly be a Southern Woman, since I often leave the house with wet hair). I've tried recipes. I've downloaded songs. I've written fan letters to the editors! I've bought men's shirts from Billy Reid (because their ladies' shirts suck!). I've taken vacations based on the magazine's recommendations and I will never, ever, let my subscription lapse.
- Garden"s Illustrated. It's British. It's beautiful. It makes me want to design and grow things. I've bought things from the little ads in the back where the shipping from the UK costs more than the product itself...but it's worth it.
- People. I don't know, it's just better than The Economist for keeping up with the news of the world, if you ask me. And it's such a relaxing break from life. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Members of my family know better than to interrupt me while I'm reading it.
- Islands. I can dream, can't I? Looking at pictures of beaches, turquoise water, and people living the Kenny Chesney island life significantly lowers my blood pressure. I'm an island girl.
- Travel and Leisure. This is an American Express magazine, and I know I keep getting it because they are charging my credit card a fortune every year on "automatic renewal," as we industry insiders call it. But I don't care. I like the pictures. And I get ideas for where I want to go in the world. I have a little basket labeled "travel" that is filled with ripped-out pages from this magazine. Oh, and I like its best lists; they help me figure out new places to stay.
- Savuer. It's the only real food magazine left, if you ask me. It's unpretentious, authentic, beautiful, yummy, and serious. Saveur goes deep into a topic (without being overly fussy like other food magazines). It makes me want to cook, eat, and learn. But I still think the name is silly.
- RT Book Reviews. This has got to be one of the ugliest magazines on Earth (sorry, ladies), but I love it and appreciate it deeply. It is a serious book review magazine for the readers of romance. It takes the thousands of books published every month and breaks them down into genres, then rates them on a star system PLUS--my favorite--the sexuality level, from Mild to Hot to Scorcher. I won't tell you my favorite, but you can probably guess.
- Land Lust. Speaking of sexuality, this magazine has nothing to do with it! It's a German magazine I picked up this year in Germany, and it has taken the country by STORM. I can't read a word of it, but from the pictures it looks like a wholesome, country living, self-sufficiency, living-off-the-land-in-a-romantic-sort-of-way feast. I wish I could read it because, based on the pictures, I want that life.
- Vogue Living Australia. It's hard to find. But of all the lifestyle, home, and shelter magazines, this is the one that makes me feel at home. There is something about the creative, bright, eclectic, organic but totally casual vibe of Australia that speaks to me (although I've never been there). Vogue does an amazing job of making me feel it and want it even more.
- Yoga Journal. It can be a little weird. And I'm not a vegetarian or a Hindu. But it does really inspire me to keep learning about yoga, and it has an occasional article on philosophy that really rocks my boat in a good way.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.