Friday, June 25, 2010

Magazines I actually read: Smithsonian Magazine

Those who are regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I've been referencing Smithsonian magazine in recent posts. The reason is simple—my in-laws give us a membership to the Smithsonian every year, and the magazine comes free with the membership. But only in recent months have I become a steady and appreciative reader.

Unlike the New Yorker, the Smithsonian arrives in my mailbox once a month—perhaps it's most important characteristic for this harried reader. But the magazine also features gorgeous photographs (which, yes, means less text to burn through in one sitting) and, even better, frequent articles on literature and/or authors.

One of its regular features, "My Kind of Town," invites prominent authors to write about their hometowns or adopted cities. (You can access the feature from this link, and search past articles both geographically and alphabetically, by author. From this site you can also upload your own "My Kind of Town" submission, both text and photos.)

Recent articles written by and about well-known writers have included:

Going Home Again (March 2010) - Joyce Carol Oates writes about the upstate New York town that influences much of her work;

Mark Twain in Love (May 2010) The woman who, for Twain, was like Dante's Beatrice;

Harper Lee's Novel Achievement (June 2010) [This was referenced in my June 21st post]

You can search its online archive for articles on:
A full electronic archive of the magazine is available, from 2007 to the present.

However, despite my promotion of the magazine's web site, for me it's still a publication that is best approached tactilely, letting the pages fall open to a beautiful photograph or an unexpected revelation.

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