Last Sunday was my day to sit down and read the print publications that I subscribe to. Mostly because I was sick and couldn’t go outside because the allergies would have, in my weakened state, killed me (though it killed me inside to miss, for the second year in a row, after having attended for eight years in a row, Shakespeare’s Birthday Bash at the Folger Shakespeare Library).
I actually subscribe to a decent number of print publications. I get the Sunday Washington Post (this was a Living Social deal, which I mostly purchased to get online access to the paper), Foreign Affairs (which is a gift from my father), Poetry (I think I saw this deal on facebook – one year of Poetry for an absurdly low price), and Brooklyn Rail (a tabloid format monthly, mostly about art and culture in Brooklyn, which I got as part of the deal with Poetry). I’m also getting the New York Review of Books (which I got for $10; let me repeat that: $10!!!!), but that hasn’t started arriving yet.
The Sun Also Rises has a scene where the narrator/protagonist is deciding which of the two bullfighting newspapers to which he subscribes to read first. They would have the same news, he acknowledged, but one tended to have slightly better writing. Notably, he did not say that he wouldn’t read them both, in the end (and I tend to think that he would read them both).
My mother once gave me a short story to read. I think it was by Saki. One of the characters was English member of the upper class who had gone bankrupt and so joined the army, which got him posted to a tropical village (Saki was born in Burma, so I’m going to guess that’s where it was). Once a year, he took his leave and went back to London and hung out with the wealthy friends of his former life and, most importantly, for my current purposes, he would purchase a year’s worth of the ‘papers,’ which he would read back in (Burma?) at the rate of one a day, one year after their initial publication.
Both of which literary references are to say that I love the ritual of reading magazines and papers.