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Evie

Literary magazines and journals

I am sure we have had conversations about this in the past, but thought I'd start a thread.  Thanks to new board member Claire, I have just renewed my long-lapsed subscription to Slightly Foxed (which was originally brought to my attention by another board member, the lovely Melanie D).  It's a wonderful quarterly magazine, beautifully produced, that includes articles often about out of print books and other neglected gems, as well as better known things - a real delight, with all sorts of interesting contributors - the articles often have a personal slant but with a backbone of erudition and detail and serious love of good literature.  Highly recommended - website here (still haven't worked out how to embed URLs into words in the text!):  http://www.foxedquarterly.com/

Does anyone else subscribe to a bookish journal?  I would love to read the New York and London Reviews more often, may try the local university library...
Chibiabos83

I always mean to buy the LRB around this time of year, because of Alan Bennett's diaries, but I've never got around to it. I'll have a look for it at some point this week.
TheRejectAmidHair

I have subscriptions to the Times Literary Supplement and to the London Review of Books. I prefer the TLS, as the LRB tends to be very politically slanted, and politics aren’t really my primary interest.

The political slant of the LRB is to the Left, and, although my own politics are to the Left also, I actually prefer to read political commentators (that is, when I read political commentators at all) from the Right: this is because I am not expected to agree with them – if that makes sense! When I read stuff from the Right that I disagree with – well, I didn’t expect to agree in the first place: but I find it more difficult to come to terms with things I strongly disagree with coming from what is ostensibly my own side. The TLS tends not be as politically oriented as the LRB, although when it does deal with political matters, its reviewers do tend to be from the Right.

But leaving politics aside, there are often very interesting articles in both journals. I like it that the reviewers and columnists are given space to discuss serious matters seriously; and I like also the fact that both journals eschew the sort of vapid celebrity gossip that passes for “arts coverage” in broadsheet papers.
Green Jay

It's not really a journal - more a catalogue - but I do enjoy the Persephone Biannually which they send free if you've bought a book directly from them.
Billy the Fish

I get the LRB too and keep meaning to cancel it; fewer tracts and more actual reviewing would suit me far better, but I find it at least suits me for identifying books I wouldn't mind getting - it's rare that the review will actually sway me that much.

I do wish that some of the more academic journals were less expensive, as I'd happily substitute some of those for my current subscriptions, but as the LRB is currently under £16 (though it's going up soon, I think) they'd have to drop quite substantially, I fear.
Chibiabos83

I don't suppose anyone here subscribes to the Paris Review, but its interviews with authors are legendary and have been published in some enticing anthologies fairly recently. I've just been browsing their website, where you can read lots of the interviews free of charge, and have spent what seems like ages reading a fascinating one with Anthony Burgess from the 1970s. Well worth a look: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews
TheRejectAmidHair

I'll save that one up for when I'm a little less tired.

Back in the 70s & 80s, when I was still developing my literary tastes, Anthony Burgess was quite an influence on me. I saw him lecture in Glasgow (and he was hilarious - almost like a stand-up act), and I used keenly to read his regular columns in the Observer. his book on Shakespeare is excellent, and his book on the works of joyce - Here Comes Everybody - introduced me to that writer. Indeed, I'm pretty sure i still see Joyce through Anthony Burgess' lenses.

No relation of yours, is he, Gareth?
Chibiabos83

Not as far as I am aware, though I can still dream...
Evie

When I worked at Waterstone's in the late 80s, we used to call him Rent-a-Quote Burgess (Anthony, that is, not Gareth), because every single novel seemed to have an enthusiastic quotation from him on the back.
TheRejectAmidHair

Oh, he used to churn out reviews all over the place, and I do wonder if he read all the books he reviewed. he calimed that in his younger days, he had been asked to review a novel he had written himself, and published under a pseudonym. But I do remember his reviews & columns from the Observer back in the 70s and 80s being bery good, and I'd live to see them collected into one volume.
Green Jay

TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
and I'd live to see them collected into one volume.


Is that you'd live or you'd like?? (A genuine question)

Considering what tosh is collected into volumes i.e. all the weekly journalists' columns that the papers try and sell at the year end for stocking-fillers. If they were fluff at the time, how much more irrelevant when read later? But I must have read Burgess's reviews and would like to look at them again. He was also a regular TV pundit, too, with that familiar comb-over, appalling teeth even by contemporary standards  - and the twirl of cigarette smoke rising, in the days when that was de rigeur on the intellectual  comment shows.
editor

Burgess wrote a book surveying what he claimed were the 99 best* novels since 1939 (published in the mid 1980s). I'm sure this is the source of much of the dustjacket puff.

*Qualified by the subtitle: "a personal choice"
Chibiabos83

It's a good book too - well worth browsing if you're ever short of reading ideas. I can't remember the provenance of the little (mostly page-long) articles, but I suspect some of them started out as book reviews in newspapers.
TheRejectAmidHair

Green Jay wrote:
TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
and I'd live to see them collected into one volume.


Is that you'd live or you'd like?? (A genuine question)


I'd intended a "k" rather than a "v", but given (or giken) how far apart they are on the keyboard, I can only assume my Freudian slip was showing yet again.
TheRejectAmidHair

Chibiabos83 wrote:
It's a good book too - well worth browsing if you're ever short of reading ideas. I can't remember the provenance of the little (mostly page-long) articles, but I suspect some of them started out as book reviews in newspapers.


It was Burgess' response to some list that came out (back in those days when lists weren't so ubiquitous) claiing to be the best postwar fiction in the English language. Burgess was dismissive of the list, as I remember, claiming that whoever had compiled the list had no understanding of literature (or something similar). And he spent a whole afternoon (I'd guess) writing up his own list.

The book is very entertaining, but Burgess' Observer columns & reviews were more detailed. I generally like is somewhat dyspeptic tone.

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