The Magazines Reading List

In the past year, I started diversifying my reading scope to include a wider range of magazines. Digitally, I’m subscribing to Offline Magazine and contemplating on doing the same for The Magazine and The New Yorker.

Physical magazines wise, most have been great, and they really sucked me in through the sheer brilliance of the words, pictures and illustrations. A trend I’ve noticed among the publications I have a keen preference for, most of them are advertisement-free. 

Kinfolk and Cereal, they are all filled purely with content and not a single page of ad. For Offscreen, there are a few designated pages for sponsors. They are tastefully done and a good break from the traditional type of invasive advertisements we are used to.

With my reading list stacking up, I find myself reading Monocle lesser and lesser. Sometimes, I would flipped through and selectively skimming the ones that appealed to me most. Monocle has always been great – snippets of bite-size easily digestible columns and long-form journalism within the same magazine. The diversity of topics and the exploratory nature of its issues always bring something interesting to the table. It has been a staple read for me over the past six-seven years. Today’s scene is very different from the past though. It’s vibrant, upbeat and forward-looking, with independent niche publications leading the beat to the tune.

Will I stop reading Monocle altogether? Unlikely, but as readers, we have a lot more quality choices on publications striving to revive the much-talked about impending demise of the print trade. The success of many small-house indie publishers proved that there is demand for high-quality features and they are willing to pay for them. 

These magazines focus on having stellar content and having returning subscribers to stay sustainable,instead of rolling sales through advertisements. To supplement these revenues, some may have collaborated with brands of similar values. Rolling out its own line of notebooks, and other affordable functional products seem a viable option as well. 

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Monocle is a fine, albeit extreme example. Coffee joints and full fledged shops have been set up to establish itself, with a cult following keen to associate themselves with the brand. 

Kinfolk is a nice little surprise. I picked it up, not expecting much. It’s supposed to be a casualreading material to tide me over while having three hours on hand. I torned open the package, andthe beautiful photographs injected me with strange dose of emotions – nostlagia, longing, yearning and hope. It’s potent.

I love the laid-back approach of their content. It seems neverhurried, and always delicatedly written with just the right prose. Each edition, release every quarter,explores a theme and the articles are all built around it. It can be investigative the lesser known, educating us on things we have forgotten, reminiscing the past or simple interviews with good people. 

The texture of the paper is a delight to feel, premium to the touch and a nice contrast to the typeface. Speaking of typeface, I wish they are a little bigger for better readability. This quibble aside, Kinfolk is a definite purchase.

Offscreen explores the relationship between digital wizards and their lifestyles. A behind-the-scene articles that gives us a better understanding on the people who bring pixels and binary to life. Unlike any of the nerdy tech mag. it’s certainly very refreshing to read the articles on what inspires the creative minds and the path they have taken to get there. I like reading and knowing the stories in creating some of the best apps, digital services and products. Being a keen reader and active adopter of technology, this handy magazine makes a good read during the long commute. The terrific choice of fonts, printed on recycled paper is a thoughtful and considered approach by it’s founder. 

Cereal is illustrated with large format photography that shines the limelight on its subjects. Visually, it’s subtly comforting to look at those pictures and reflect on the world around us. The writing style and content, though decent, doesn’t really resonate with me. It does have potential, but knowing that the backlog of reading list is piling up, I would give this a miss. 

That’s it for now. I’m sure as time progresses, I will be exploring other magazines to read. Reading a totally new publication is a good feeling, all of the wonderful goodness you know, with fresh new content added. 

Like refilling a beer during the football game. It will never be enough.