One of my favourite magazines, that I rarely have time to read, is BBC History. April’s issue (Vol 12 No 4, April 2011) deals with Britain’s stand on the America Civil war. Now, I had always thought, and this is going back to my own history lessons at school, that Britain was pro the Union, upholding its ethical stance on the abolition of slavery. But the magazine tells a slightly different tale: The prevailing British attitude was, let slavery in the South die its own death. Do not shed blood to end it If you get a chance I urge you to read it.
While we are here I may as well tell you about my other favourite magazines. They are: Marie Claire – I remember the very first issue coming out. It was truly radical in the world of women’s magazines, dealing with problems that other magazines either pretended didn’t exist or refused to discuss as being either too lewd or too rude.
I also adore the New Scientist. More often than not though this magazine leaves me with more questions which can be frustrating especially if I’m not in a position to do some research. Brilliant with it. On days when my self-confidence is at an all-time low I read the more accessible BBC Focus. Fun and funky and with lovely pictures.
Then, there’s the National Geographic. I have to admit I read this less for information and more as a source of wonder. The photographs, the write-ups of parts of the earth I will probably never see – I treat it more as a traveller’s journal.
Finally there is Eureka – the magazine published by The Times, full of weird and wonderful things going on around the world.
Just recently I have been buying writing magazines but I consider that to be a work resource rather than pleasure and I think that’s an important point. For me magazines have always been about pleasure, hobbies, pasttimes.
I come across lots of other magazines and flick through them in waiting rooms and friends’ houses. It’s interesting reading most of the time, but I would probably never go out and buy them. I suppose one could consider magazines to be a snapshot of a person’s tastes just as their bookshelf is supposed to offer an insight to their thoughts.
I hope no-one ever leaves a copy of Woman’s Weekly or Playgirl behind. Although…