Score!

Every year around this time, our library gives away its old magazines.  For me, it’s like winning the lottery… or getting free cheese from the government.  I’m still honing my skills, but I’ve learned a few things.

Mag Giveaway2

Get there Early.  While most folk come to browse and pick up a few Highlights for the kiddies, poplar magazines go quickly.  Today I was first in line—except for the two schizophrenics who hang out at the library every day.  People behind me started muttering about “budging in line,” so I quietly explained that these guys weren’t after the magazines.  The library is a second home to a lot of us.

aldi bagBring Sturdy Bags.  My canvas Aldi bags work great.  I generally load about fifty pounds per bag, so I don’t want any spillage while I’m huffing my way back to the car.

• Snatch the High Priority Magazines First.  I have a few favorites—magazines that offer the best photos and weirdest copy.  National Geographic is my number one pick.  Aside from the gorgeous and often bizarre photographs, the copy is so delightful taken out of context.  Where else would I be able to find “People swallow eight spiders a year in their sleep” or “Poop throwing”?  The Oprah Magazine carries a columnist that is always hysterical.  And Entertainment Weekly gives me both celebrity fun and consistently outrageous copy.  I like to read The Humanist, but tend to find choice quotes there as well.

Mag Giveaway1

• Take a Second, Slow Turn to Try New Titles.  It always surprises me which magazines are complete duds as far as my needs go.  AARP, Psychology Today, Popular Photography, The New Yorker, and Natural Life were all disasters.  Boring text, boring pictures (Popular Photography is all about cameras and lighting. Zzzzzz), or self-important and snooty with no humor—even out of context.  Writer and Writer’s Digest are iffy.  A good interview can make the search worthwhile, but most articles are overwritten and so serious.

This year I’m trying American History, Harper’s, Vanity Fair (mostly for the gorgeous Hollywood portraits), and The Iowa Review (a poetry/literary collection).

Mag Haul 2016

Instead of this slap-dash method, I’m considering a more systematic approach next year.  I think I’ll start visiting the magazine section and get more acquainted with what’s stocked.  There might be a rag out there, rich in hilarity and quirkiness, hidden under an innocuous title.  Maybe Men’s Health is the Holy Grail.

Oh, it so could be…

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