So Many Issues, So Little Time

I love magazines.

Given my profession, I should rephrase that. I love magazines that I don’t have to write or edit in their entirety.

And although I love a good book,  I also love magazines.

Considering my attention span, that comes as no surprise. They are a very non-committal endeavor in that I don’t have to dedicate large chunks of time to enjoy them. A column here, a two-page spread there, visuals to draw me in and feed me bits and pieces of information with bright pretty colors and fun fonts. Aside from being peppered with rogue subscription cards as I flip through, what’s not to love?

Being the eternal realistic optimist, I have found something not to love.


All of these issues arrived on the same exact day.

While that might not have an effect on a less neurotic individual, we are dealing with me here. I subscribe to the four magazines above and also ESPN the Mag—it comes every two weeks instead of monthly. What that means is that a few days into a new month, I am suddenly overwhelmed with quality reading material.

It’s like I go from famine to feast and I suddenly feel the need to go on a bender and read everything, just because it’s there.

Each month I contemplate the option of rationing the issues out, but then I run the risk of rendering a timely story irrelevant.  (More with the sports magazines on this one, although it would be upsetting to be the last to know about anew use for an old thing if the old thing could be used in a new way relevant to my current situation.)

So I set them all on the table in my kitchen in no particular order and tell myself I will flip through them when I can, when the spirit moves me. This is much easier to accomplish when it’s warm out, as I can take a cup of tea and sit on my deck.

But in the winter, it’s more difficult. I will sometimes go to the gym and sit on a bike (going nowhere despite my enthusiastic pedaling) for 30 mins, driven much more by the desire to burn through the pages of the latest issue than to feel the burn.

I’ll get through one or two of the magazines within a week, but then I’ll start to feel like I should “save” the rest for a bit. What I’m saving it for I have no idea. I just don’t want to read the last one and then be without a magazine option.

What inevitably happens it that two weeks will go by and I’ll realize that I still haven’t read the latest issue of the one I was “saving.” It’s not that I didn’t have the time, but rather that I didn’t have the attention span—or the magazine got buried underneath a pile of other things thrown on the “throw all your crap here” table.


I told you I have issues.

22 responses to “So Many Issues, So Little Time

  1. This is why I just “read” tabloids. I’m not committed to articles, I just look at the purty pictures.

    My reading is saved to books (of the yoga nature most likely) and Yoga Journal.

    You are hilarious Abby!

  2. Hilarious read Abby!. You are clearly suffering from a Mad Magazine hangover!

  3. I totally get the “rationing out” and I used to do the same.

    To be honest, I’ve kinda lost interest in magazines this past year. I find they are all getting redundant. There are only so many “new ways to clean” or “new belly-flattening yoga poses” or “21 ways to eat rhubarb”. I guess I’m more into “newsy” things lately, but then again, I kind of don’t care about the rest of the world either…wow, I think I’m becoming illiterate. I have issues too.

    • That’s why I only get the magazines I get–sports are never boring to me. I have to admit I get annoyed with all the other ones, as they usually just showcase food I won’t cook or clothes I can’t afford to wear (and that are ugly most of the time anyway.)

  4. Love your magazine stash! I go from feast to famine with mags, too. nothing and then everything!

    I feel like the content is mostly recycled (have posted about that before) but what can i say, im a sucker for mags 🙂

  5. So funny. I should write my own post about my magazine issues (love the pun!) I used to get subscriptions but put the kibbosh on that. Now I just buy all 3-4 of the same mags that month after month tell me that crunches are good for abs and lunges and squats are good for legs. And how to eat clean. I could essentially WRITE these magazines, but somehow I LOVE looking at them, redundant as they are.

    AND to top it off, I get behind on those- pack them all up with me on trips figuring I’ll have OH sooooo much time to read, after all it’s ‘vacation’ and I will come back with about 12 out of the 13 that I brought. So I read one magazine- gave it to the flight attendant and schlepped the other 12 around the globe with me. Sigh. And what do I do with my time at home? Blogs. Facebook. Twitter. Email. Help me.

  6. A word of warning: my grandmother had the same habit, only she never got rid of the magazines she NEVER read (which was all of them because she wasn’t even a reader). Today she is an 85 year old woman sleeping on a half of a double bed because the other half is piled her with the magazines she NEVER read.

    • Oh, don’t worry. The OCD in me has them recycled/donated almost immediately after reading them. I can’t stand to have piles of things around that long, which might help explain why I’m single.

  7. my teenage daughter had a cheerleading fundraiser at school and I got 10 issues of Sports Illustrated for 10 bucks. The special just ran out. I like their writers and features better than ESPN the Mag.

    I’m like you. A good magazine article is perfect for my attention span.

    • I was really into SI until Steve Rushin and Rick Reilly left. Well, and until my subscription ran out and I was too cheap to renew. My mom still gets it at her house and I browse occasionally…

  8. Haha, I used to subscribe to Real Simple until earlier this year, and I love figuring out a new use for a rubber band!!

    I usually bring my magazines to work, and read them when I need some “down time”. Thankfully, this can be called “research”.

  9. Haha! I can totally relate with you on this “issue.” Unfortunately, I have problems recycling/throwing mine away. I mean, what if there’s something important in there that I’ll need to refer back to someday??? (Yeah right.)

  10. This is what I do: I read the issues in some random order I pick out when they arrive all the same day. Then, midmonth, I thumb through them again and tear out the bits I want to save. Inevitably, I’ll see something I missed the first time – its like reading them twice 🙂 Then, of course, I store the tidbits in my color coded binder and recycle the other part – ocd is fun sometimes!

  11. I have that problem too! I subscribe to WAY too many magazines…counting…3 weeklies, 3 monthlies, 2 bimonthlies, plus a couple of weekly academic journals I try to keep up with. I really wish I could get an iPad or other e-reader (the Kindle still isn’t in color, I need pictures with my magazines, and the Nook doesn’t have a great selection, hence citing the iPad first) that would allow me to go paperless on all of them, I have a lot of guilt about how many trees it costs to produce an item that I read for an hour and then throw away.

  12. I just do what my nanna taught me – read the magazines in the checkout line. That way I don’t have issues with not getting through the whole thing. Quick catchup on which celebrity is doing what to who and I’m all good 🙂
    Oh and I saw you have a Yoga magazine in that pile – would do me a favour and drop over to my place and tell me why why why????
    ta :)PJ

    • I read the crap ones in the checkout lines, but I need my Sporting News and ESPN to actually “read” instead of browse 😉 When it comes to Psychology Today though, I park my butt at the bookstore and read it front to back. And what’s with the yoga jab? Are you not a fan? They have some very cerebral and insightful articles–it’s much more than just the physical act 🙂

  13. I’ve actually been thinking about subscribing to Real Simple – do you like it?

    • I do like it. Even though it has a lot of advertising and stories about $400 rugs that I’ll never buy, there are some great essays and editorial throughout as well. I think it’s worth it, and I’m picky 😉

  14. Haha! I can totally relate. Just found you on TRDC and I love this post. You’ve inspired me to write one on my own neuroses about magazines. I have to tear out pages and scan them or find the info online and bookmark it. That way I have the info for later (even though I NEVER refer to it again), and I feel like I am getting more than a fleeting value from the mag. So it takes me forever to get through one magazine, especially Real Simple. So much good stuff in there!

    • I swear it takes me a month just to go through Real Simple for that reason. Maybe I’m getting more “mature” or more likely, more impatient, but I rarely save anything from a magazine anymore. When it comes to Psychology Today I’ll email myself an article, save it, and then forget I sent it to myself. I guess all that matters is that I read it once…

  15. Oh dear…I’m in this club. I get Vanity Fair, House Beautiful, Kiplingers, Smart Money, Vogue, More, Sunset, Cooking Light, Portland Monthly, and Mix. I add my own crazy little twist in that you are not allowed to read an issue until it is that month. When they arrive they go in a basket in the family room. The first of every month I haul them out and stack on coffee table. I am both reassured and stressed to see the pile.

    I get through them by reading while watching TV. Except for VF which has to be read and is why I like it. Then they go to the library or to friends- who really ought to be giving me a cut of the subscription price.

    • The weird thing for me is that I get excited about getting them, but then by the time I let myself read them, I end up skimming so that I can hurry up and give them away. Sigh…

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