Monday, 6 July 2015

Things I like reading when I need a break from books

As much as it pains me to say it, sometimes I need a break from reading books. I wish I had more stamina to read as many books as I'd like to all of the time, but alas this is not the case. For instance when I'm in the middle of a uni semester I feel much less inclined to commit to an entire novel-sized book given that most of my time is spent reading textbooks and articles. Otherwise I'll feel like my brain will explode if I engage in much more new information. 

But do not fear because I have good news. In my pursuit to quench my thirst for reading I've come across the following publications that fulfil this goal because they are stimulating and somewhat literary without being too onerous, namely because they can be chewed off in small bites. I can also attest that I have successfully read them during my uni semester without my brain exploding. So in no particular order, I present them to you here.

1. Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings is a quarterly released journal with a number of authors contributing to each issue. The contributions are in the forms of mini-essays covering a variety of topics from the declining relationship between Australia and Indonesia to a critique of how bisexuality was portrayed in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Each issue features a commentary section that covers topical issues of the day, a short story fiction section, an interview with an author, and reviews on films and books. It's been one of my favourite non-book discoveries of recent times and each issue is a genuinely fantastic read.  

2. The Canary Press

The Canary Press mainly publishes fiction stories, some of which are more abstract than others. The contributions range in length from super short poems to stories that are a few pages long, so you can knock off stories reasonably quickly. The artwork accompanying the stories in The Canary Press is terrific and a treat in itself as well. If you're a fan of quirky, short stories, then this is the magazine for you. 

3. Quarterly Essays

If you're after a publication that does explore topics more in-depth, then the Quarterly Essay might just be what you're after. Published on a quarterly basis, each issue features a long-form essay (about 25,000 words) exploring a particular topic from some of Australia's most prominent thinkers and authors. Past issues include Anna Krien's essay on the importance of animals, Waleed Ali's essay on the future of conservatism in Australia, Noel Pearson's essay on race and recognition in Australia and David Malouf's essay of the search for contentment in the modern world. 

4. New Philosopher

The New Philospher is an independent, ad-free quarterly magazine. Each issue focuses on a particular theme, ranging from Narcissism to Progress to Online Identity to Travel. A variety of writers contribute to the magazine, so it's a fantastic publication to gain different perspectives about the themes in focus. As it's a magazine it's also a very visual publication, so it includes artwork, photographs and comic strips relating to the theme being explored. The New Philospher also has an excellent website with links and further articles to follow up on if you haven't got enough from the magazine - check it out here.

5. Womankind

Womankind is a beautifully compiled magazine predominantly aimed at women. However unlike many women's magazines, Womankind is ad-free, and instead of focusing on subjects such as fashion, beauty and gossip, it offers refreshing and thoughtful articles, stories and submissions by women on a variety of topics. Similarly to The New Philosopher (the two magazines are related), each issue focuses on a particular theme, but in Womankind the theme is much looser with not all contributions centring around it. The Womankind website also has links to some terrific resources which you can view here.

What are some of your go-to publications when you need a break from reading books?

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