Long ago I went to the eye doctor and read an excellent magazine in his waiting room. I took a subscription card, filled it out, and enjoyed reading Outside for a few years. Man, there was some good writing in there! David Quammen, Randy Wayne White, and Tim Cahill I might have never read if I hadn't taken the magazine. Jon Krakauer would have made my reading list eventually anyway, but I first encountered him in Outside. Each issue was a big treat. Then, less and less so. It turned into a fashion magazine for the titanium and microfiber crowd. Skimpy, too. And when the "Outside Canon II" came out, I was dismayed to find REPEATS on the list of great adventure/travel reading. The first list was so wonderful that I had practically memorized it. Finally, I let my subscription lapse. I mourned, but I moved on. There are a lot of magazines to be read and they just keep coming.
Today I had to go back to the dentist and I saw the September issue of Outside. I didn't have time to look it over too carefully, but it seemed pretty good. Are my standards slipping? Was it a fluke? I will have to spend some time in the library this weekend reviewing recent issues, but it's nice to think that it might have risen back up into goodness.
I have taken and let drop dozens of magazines. Only my stalwart core remains at the moment. I can't imagine my interest in these flagging:
Economist Granta National Geographic Skeptical Inquirer Smithsonian