This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mourning the absence of a good pop-lit magazine

Someone should start a glossy magazine about popular literature. There are heaps of blogs about books and, indeed, a few magazines; the independent booksellers' Book Page and the review magazine Bookmarks come to mind. But I'm looking for something along the lines of Conde Nast Traveller or Premiere for the book-minded, something that has lovely author-at-home-or-on-vacation photos and profiles; tiny, little front of the book snippets that tell us who and what is up-and-coming or which gadgets companies are trying to convince us we need; editorials on why all you really need is a good book, a quiet space and an attentive mind; reader's letters on everything bookish under the sun; man-on-the-street Q&A's on what's popular on the streets of, say, New York or Cleveland or Little Rock; celebrations of the classics. I'd like to hold in my hand a portable, visually attractive conversation starter or conduit for information-sharing with other booklovers. I don't want to have to be near a computer to point out bits of news. E-mailed links to articles in the Guardian or Times are great but you can only do that when you're separated from the person with whom you wish to converse about that particular topic. Then what are you supposed to do - survive on e-mail conversations or schedule a lunch date so you and your book-loving buddy can finally get together with a print-out of the article to refer to? Wouldn't it be more fun and much easier to grab a glossy and share?

Perhaps the really literary only want serious mags. But I can't imagine that no one would be interested in Haruki Murakami's favorite brand of running shoe or if Joanne Harris prefers Russell Stover or Godiva chocolates. Now, wouldn't that be fun?

France seems to have Lire magazine. The United Kingdom has Waterstone's Books Quarterly. Where's the US version? Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was Pages magazine but that seems to have gone defunct. Cannot a glossy pop-lit magazine grace the coffee tables of the United States?

I say yes.

Funding, anyone?

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