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Discuss: Read 'Em, If You Got 'Em

Earlier this week, Corporette published a lovely piece on her favorite magazines.  And as an avid magazine reader, I thought that I might do the same.  Sometimes, I think Miss M only visits my apartment so that she can flip through the pile of glossies on the counter.

Current Events: The Economist has been my Bible since I was 14 years old.  It has the best reporting on international affairs and world economics.  It’s a weekly, which is good since it takes me about five sittings to finish each one.  

If you work in an office that gets CQ Weekly, grab one.  It’s a wrap up of America’s political events that will summarize all of the news that you missed while you were busy following your Boss hither and yon.

Long Form: I subscribe to Smithsonian Magazine because I have a long standing love for history, geography and archaeology.  Each issue is filled with wonderful pieces about everything from the art pillaged by the Nazis, to the dwindling lynx population in the West, to a photo essay on the ruins of Route 66.  It’s great reading if you’re a commuter, and I always learn something new when I read it.

Vanity Fair is one of those magazines that you’ll forget about for awhile.  You might not read it for a few months and then you’ll think, “I can live without it.”  That is until the next month when there’s an article that your desperate to read.  I horde the issues on my bookcase and then pack them up when I travel.  It makes great plane reading.

I also read National Geographic, The Atlantic and Esquire when I travel.  I often find the career and money advice in Esquire to be much more helpful than the garbage they post in most women’s mags.  Also, they have the best cocktail recipes.

Health. I read Shape for the workout tips and health recommendations.  However, I wish that they would stop putting the Kardashians on every fourth cover.  

Fashion: Oh so many magazines, so little time.  I actually have a research day after my magazines arrive.  I grab my iPad and my glossies and sit in the chair by the window and read every magazine in one sitting.  Then, I use those notes to inspire blog posts, tweets and purchases for the next month.

Lucky is still my favorite fashion magazine.  I think the content is a bit fresher, and unlike some magazines they seem to understand that there is a recession on and that most women cannot afford to drop five bills on a blouse anymore.  Not that most Hill Staffers could afford that before.

I also receive Glamour, Allure, Elle, InStyle and Marie Claire, but I read Lucky first.  

I refuse to buy Vogue.  There’s no great moral reason why, I just find it to be undigestible and unaccessible most of the time.  Instead, I subscribe to W, and have since I was 19 when a professor who attended Parsons told me that “real fashionistas read W.” Yes, it’s equally haughty, but I don’t find it as overwhelming as Vogue.

And if you ever catch me reading a copy of Cosmopolitan, feel free to call the men in the white coats.  I find the magazine trashy, and once reprimanded a Staff Assistant for reading it at work.  I didn’t think the visitors to the office needed to know that she was interested in “Seven Secrets to Making Him Scream Your Name.” 

Lifestyle: My absolute favorite magazine on the market is Real Simple.  The recipes are the best.  The housekeeping tips are so helpful.  And the fashion commentary is relatable and useful.  I love that the lifestyle Real Simple promotes is attainable for working women and designed to be useful not just pretty to look it.

Other sporatic reads include: Martha Stewart Living, Entertainment, Rolling Stone, Gourmet (via iPad App) and Guns & Ammo.  No, that wasn’t a joke.

So ladies and gentlemen, which magazine are your absolute favorites?  And which ones do you steer clear of?



  1. VA says:

    I subscribe to the print issues of Real Simple (absolute favorite), Bon Appetit (food porn), Cooking Light (great Christmas gift from Mom), and NatGeo (ongoing gift from Grandma). My boyfriend gets the iPad issues of The Economist, Bloomberg, and The New Yorker, so I'll usually browse those when he's done. If I have a trip coming up, I'll get some combo of InStyle, Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler, Wired, Dwell, Southern Living – just depends on which covers pique my interest.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  2. Rory says:

    For fashion, I subscribe to W and WWD. WWD costs a fortune but I use my tax refunds to purchase the next year's subscription. I'll flip through Glamour, Lucky, and Vogue on occasion.

    I also subscribe to Southern Living, WV Living, This Old House, The Atlantic, and Monocle. I also read a ton of woodworking/landscaping & gardening/sewing magazines.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  3. DallasSkirtEnvy says:

    The magazines I cannot live without are:
    Business Week
    Runners World
    Bon Appetite

    The magazines I can live without but love:
    The Economist
    Real Simple
    Fast Company
    Southern Living
    Cooking Light
    Mad Magazine
    Mental Floss

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  4. Nina says:

    I can't imagine getting this much paper in the mail! Do you read a lot of them on your ipad? I love Smithsonian and Real Simple, but I rarely buy them. In the age of the internet paying for fashion magazines also seems like a waste of money to me. But I also read Entertainment Weekly, People, and occasionally Star because my roommate gets them so I'm no paragon of virtue.

    If you are interested in Russia/Eastern Europe/Central Asia I would absolutely NOT recommend The Economist. Their reporters for those regions are all Sovietologists who continue to assume that Russia acts only ideologically. Pet peeve because it is my area of interest, but my friends who work with Russia at agencies or NGOs, from socialists to neo-cons all LOL at their coverage. They don't even use decent data.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  5. e-liz says:

    cool kid mags = kinfolk, anthology and uppercase. and how can we forget to mention matchbook and rue ?

    three cheers for digital.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  6. j says:

    I've been subscribing to TIME for at least 10 years…it's a great way to quickly catch up on current events every week. For 5 or 6 years I've subscribed to WIRED to keep up with the ever evolving world of science and technology. The articles are always fascinating. For women's magazines i'll occasionally pick up MORE but I haven't subscribed to it yet. It usually contains great stories about successful woman. I subscribed to Women's Health for 2 years but found the topics covered to be repetitive.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  7. j says:

    I've been subscribing to TIME for at least 10 years…it's a great way to quickly catch up on current events every week. For 5 or 6 years I've subscribed to WIRED to keep up with the ever evolving world of science and technology. The articles are always fascinating. For women's magazines i'll occasionally pick up MORE but I haven't subscribed to it yet. It usually contains great stories about successful woman. I subscribed to Women's Health for 2 years but found the topics covered to be repetitive.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  8. LawLala says:

    Love Lucky, Marie Claire and Glamour for fashion. I usually read them in the bath tub.
    Popular Science for brain food, INC for inspiration. I have to admit I have to get something politics and economy related… off to Coke Rewards for Esquire and GQ.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  9. Amelia says:

    I LOVE love love paper magazines, Nina. I know it is not the best for the environment, but something about flipping pages and turning down corners for interesting ones and ripping out pages, etc. you get the point. I just cannot get the same enjoyment from an IPad.
    wow. I feel so old.
    And I am the same way with books. will NOT use a kindle because I love love love actual books.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  10. Ash says:

    I live for Southern Living. The recipes are always spot on and it's like a little piece of home in my mailbox every month.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  11. sew says:

    The Economist
    National Geographic (Gorgeous photos!)
    Smithsonian Magazine
    Martha Stewart Wedding

    Receive, but will probably cancel:
    Newsweek (I can get the same content on Daily Beast, so why bother?)

    Probably will subscribe to soon:
    Real Simple

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  12. Reese says:

    I laughed so hard when I read this post. Your glossy collection looks much like mine – like its a mishmash of something read by teenage girls, suburban housewives, midaged Wall Street brokers, and redneck teenage boys, all rolled into one.

    Real Simple, Bon Appetit, Glamour, InStyle, Vogue Paris, Economist, Guns & Ammo, and formerly Domino, now satisfied by Rue and Matchbook.

    Because girls really enjoy looking at pictures of Glocks and Louboutins and souffles.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  13. KLo says:

    I feel like I don't spend enough money for news! I'm an avid listener (and member!) of NPR, but I don't buy news magazines. I subscribe to Cooking Light – amazing recipes (I know an editor there now, the food is amazing), Better Homes & Gardens and Country Living. I let Southern Living run out when I moved away from Virginia – it's not as much fun when the local section isn't full of stories about home.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  14. LawLala says:

    I forgot

    Dog Fancy!

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  15. Meredith says:

    I absolutely love Real Simple and Instyle. I read them both digitally on my tablet and the physical version. Since both Belle and Corprette raved about Esquire, I”ll have to check it out. It has honestly never been on my radar, but now I think it will have to be on my “to read” list.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  16. Suzanne says:

    I recently unsubscribed to everything but Real Simple. I used to read a bunch of health and fitness mags, but after a years worth of magazines you notice that the content is recycled every year. The only one I think I'll still buy occasionally is Runners World. They can be repetitive, too, but surprisingly enough they have good human interest pieces and I trust their reviews of gear and workout clothes. Plus, their healthy diet tips aren't as extreme as a lot of other magazines.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  17. Katie says:

    I only subscribe to Women's Health and Self, but I read The Economist and Real Simple if I can find a copy floating around

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  18. R says:

    People. Its my incredibly guilty pleasure.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  19. CynthiaW says:

    Several of my subscriptions are free because I drink way too much Diet Coke or I probably wouldn't get them.

    Currently I get Lucky, Glamour, Harper's Bizarre, Allure, and Cosmo because of this – but I cancelled Cosmo because I'd forgotten how trashy it was and it's embarrassing to read. I also get Entertainment Weekly and actually read the whole thing to keep up on what's going on in pop culture.

    For stuff that I'll actually pay for: Whole Living, Yoga Journal, Wired, Scientific American, and Sports Illustrated. I also get a couple of industry mags with my membership to various organizations – techedge and Educational Leadership.

    Things that I'll pick up and think about getting a subscription to on occassion: Atlantic Monthly, Smithsonian (have had a membership off and on), National Geographic, Runners World, and Time. I've subscribed to all of them at times, but end up feeling guilty about the piles of unread magazines sitting around my house. Maybe I should pony up for iPad subscriptions to them and the New York Times – but then I'd probably never get any book reading done and I'd be back to feeling bad about that. I need more time in the day!

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  20. ano says:

    I'm a subscriber to GQ, InStyle, the New Yorker, and US Weekly (in my defense i had a livingsocial deal and it was practically free..a girl needs beach reads). I also make a point to pick up Esquire and Whole Living every month so I should probably just subscribe to those as well. Had a subscription to Garden & Gun for awhile and it had some great pieces on “southern living” and was always beautifully shot. Love the idea about reading everything all in one sitting.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  21. Francine says:

    I got a free subscription to Real Simple and I love it. It's a great mag.

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  22. Capitol Hill Barbie says:

    My subscription list has dwindled significantly since having a baby and getting an iPad. I was getting tons during law school, when I couldn't concentrate on a book but needed to read SOMETHING that wasn't footnoted at the end of the day. Ive probably read or subscribed to every women's mag out there at some point. I swear, getting married and getting pregnant were just excuses to read different magazines.

    Currently, I get Lucky and Vogue. I think I still have a subscription to Women's Health, but I usually try to scrounge fitness and entertainment mags at the gym newsstand racks. Also, I always always always read New York Magazine. No joke, I haven't missed an issue since junior year of college when I got back from my semester abroad. I love it.

    I'll echo the call for the best paper mags to read on iPad…Anyone recommend any?

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  23. Ali says:

    Wired, Dwell and Harpers!

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  24. R says:

    Jesus, I don't subscribe to anything. Does that make me some out of the loop crazy?

    February 10, 2012/Reply
  25. blueline says:

    Southern Living, Garden and Gun and Washingtonian are my fun ones. I get Real Simple, but all that sensible organization just makes me feel guilty about my untidy apartment and the fact that I buy lunch every day. That said, always fantasize about being the type of person who organizes a casserole cooperative or turn my socks into flower pots or whatever smart ideas they have each week.

    I love Lucky and Instyle, and also love weekly mags in newspapers like Washiington Post and NYT.

    February 11, 2012/Reply
  26. aileen says:

    I'm surprised you don't read GQ, given your writing style. I hate women's magazines and love my husbands GQ issues because of the intelligent and snarky sophistication. I will read Real Simple bc of my OCD, Instyle and lucky for fashion and US weekly for pure trash.

    February 11, 2012/Reply
  27. Maharani says:

    I have subscriptions to:

    New Scientist
    Scientific American

    I pick up odd mags at the dentist or beauty salon but dont much care for them-I think they are a waste of money.

    February 11, 2012/Reply
  28. Kasey says:

    Oh Time is definitely my favorite for current events and Town & Country is easily my favorite magazine for lifestyle and fashion tips. I definitely can't afford the lifestyle right now as a student, but it is what I aspire to be someday!! Lucky is great also, though, for more accessible tips! I actually have been using blogs and tumblrs more and more for fashion advice, and magazines less. I'll never stop looking at T&C though!!

    February 12, 2012/Reply
  29. Shannon says:

    I read a LOT of magazines. Cosmo for the trashiness of it all. House Beautiful and Elle Decor so I can pretend to be more elegant than I truly am. And for fashion, I get Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Glamour, and Elle. And I'll join the chorus of people in love with Real Simple, but I also adore Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day and Redbook.

    Yes, I'm insane – but I received the magazines at heavy discounts, and I always pass them on instead of just chucking them into the recycling bin. Currently I swap magazines with a neighbor, and anything she doesn't want gets dropped off in the lunchroom at work for my coworkers to enjoy.

    February 13, 2012/Reply
  30. Emily says:

    Real Simple and Bon Appetit are two standard go-to's in my life. Martha Stewart is the first magazine I remember my mom getting and the first magazine that ever made me think about decorating and aesthetics.

    February 13, 2012/Reply
  31. Amy says:

    I think we're magazine twins. Down to the Guns & Ammo!!!!! I completely agree about Cosmo and Esquire as well…

    April 19, 2012/Reply