I have, for a long time, had a fixation on the literary magazine. In specific, The Paris Review. There was a time when I’d grab one when I could and page through it, snatching up stories and interviews from the authors I knew. Maybe reading a bit from someone I didn’t. Sometimes, I’d grab an issue from the book store and devour the whole thing.
But a subscription wasn’t happening. Literary magazines, pretty much all of them, tend to come out quarterly and tend to cost a lot. One year of the Paris review will run you $40. That’s a steep price. Of course, I understood. I wasn’t complaining. I get that literary magazines have to compensate for low circulation and a low number of ads by charging more for a subscription. The Paris Review is probably the most well-known literary magazine in the world, but it has a circulation of only 10,000. Most local newspapers will absolutely dwarf that. Anyway, I understood the price, but that didn’t mean I could justify it. And so, for several years after college, my love for The Paris Review languished.
Which was silly, because every issue is roughly 250 pages of text. That’s a book. $40 a year for four books containing totally unique content is not ridiculous, especially since I was buying them for news stand prices form time-to-time anyway. I have never claimed to be totally rational.
Recently, however, I found myself with a chunk of money, and I could think of nothing better than to start subscribing. I love this magazine. Love it. I love that there are interviews with authors. I love that there is fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I love that all that matters is the that the writing is good. Do the editors and I always agree on what is good? No, of course not. I don’t always agree with anyone about anything, but in general the writing is fantastic. And they publish content from both the best known authors in the world and from others who are completely unknown.
I won’t pretend that it’s a mainstream publication. It isn’t. The Paris Review is for a particular kind of pretentious nerd, and I am that kind. If I should happen to be published by them at some point, I’ll probably do back-flips down the hall, but even if I’m not, I’ll keep reading a magazine that provides some of the very best literary content around.