Opening the pages of…

Welcome to a new column/new page many asked for, and I apologize for the delay, but here it is. This page gives you a peek onto what particular magazines are popular for, what they entail, and what is inside. With so many periodicals available (hence, they come out PERIODICALLY, so sometimes referred to as periodicals!) – this will serve as a brief guide about why you should be interested… so without further ado. Let’s take a look at the first onto kick this column off, Opening the pages of…


The London Review of Books        April 17, 2014

In looking at the periodical The London Review of Books, the same large size, fold in half size periodical follows the ooh of The New York Review of Books. Even when you turn inside, the Table of Contents follows the same pattern, with contributors detailed below the actual pages the articles appear on. I like that the preview for the contents of the next issue is also listed on this page. No apparent online access version is listed, yet there is one and can be found here.

The very first article delves you into the UK directly, the controversy of Hs2. I had no idea that Hs2 meant the High Speed two, the plan for a 330 mile railway that will link parts of traveling north and south in the U.K. and controversial due to the fact that individuals are being asked to move since the rail itself will be taking over particular parts where homes are located. Obviously, one of the largest concerns is that of the ability to bring the U.K. even more to the modern era. All sorts of issues that involve the environment an the land, as well as dispossessing homes are contained, as well as the overall plan and justification for such a mammoth project, and as you can see, there is alot of opposition as well. There is much attention to the mammoth issue since this article actually goes on for about 4- pages.

The Letters section of course has correspondence that relates to articles of the past from within UK, yet, also writers from Virginia, Toronto, and Bolivia add to the diversity of writers that respond to past articles. It’s nice to see the variety of readers and issues being represented.

It’s ironic how we discussed the books in The New York Review of Books that have to do with China, as the next article chooses Pamela Crossley’s Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China. The biggest takeaway her was that Cixi rose up through the ranks of a surviving wife of the Xianfeng emperor, and when the emperor passed away, continued to influence many factors that China has implemented today in the modern era of China. It is hinted that that Cixi was referred to as more honorable and heroic than she was in real life, yet the contributions she left behind as a woman in a strict China dynasty seem to be very apparent. This further emphasize the power of a woman in a time where women did not have the chance to be influential when it came to men being the main object of ruling and contributions to a country to the public eye.

I was intrigued with the new article which focused on the artist Kate Bush. I never truly listened to anything by Kate Bush, but always knew in the 80’s -90’s she stood on the verge of being different and being able to stand apart from the mainstream music stream. Ian Penman makes the point that due to the fact that Kate Bush always managed to be quite popular from choosing to not be in the public light alot, and the fact that she works exclusively with her family and a studio at her home, the risks in music she seemed to take before are behind her. The urge to want Kate Bush to go back and be challenged and take risks in her music is apparent in this author’s writing and he ends hoping this is a sue for Kate Bush to reemerge with the same style she appeared with in the 90s full of daring, challenge, and breaking from the standard mold of artists out there now. Listening to her song Hounds of Love and Waking the Witch, (a little freaky to say the least) one hears a Cyndi Lauper style voice only much more mature, which takes risks, experiments and performs outside of the parameters of the standard music that was in the 80’s.

In the next article, you could tell this was very hard core politics in the UK, and Colin Kidd goes head on into the strategies to repair the House of Commons, but was way above my ability to follow due to the various names and conventions I am quite unfamiliar with in the govern of the U.K.. Yet, it is important to see how relevant The London Review of Books keeps with the current concerns of the country.

The first in detailed article on a book would be that one examining Lydia Davis’ Can’t and Won’t. The author Adams Mars-Jones dissects the sections of this novel and interprets the various sections as they appear to the reader. While most seem autobiographical, they do appeal to the author due to the quirkiness and creativity she brings to observing events she goes on to describe.

I went on to read the next article focusing on artists Ben Nicholson and Winifred Roberts (Nicholson), as well as Alfred Wallis, who both artists came across and seemed to help promote. What I found amazing was learning that Alfred Wallis really had just painted on cardboard and pieces of whatever he could find in his fishing shack, using paint he had on hand from the boats. I think it is quite amazing to read about individuals I never kew existed, and have them brought forefront through The London Review of Books, showing the diversity of topics that are revealed in this periodical. The gallery Kettle’s Yard is references constantly where many of these works were displayed, which in itself looks amazing.

In looking at Marina Warner’s Story-Bearers, the Moroccan author Abdelfattah Kilito is focused on, with the focus on how he saw languages, (Arabic and French) as well as how he worked through them and how his works are being translated currently. and a video demonstrates his ability as an author comes through however this is not in English, but Arabic, so might be difficult for some.

Another political article follows that examines the role of the United States with Syria and potential attacks, and Obama’s decision to follow through or not in she of the cases. The tone of the article is somewhat critical or more puzzles by why certain moments were not followed through to attack Syria when that seemed to be the intention, and the scary aspect of chemical weapon use, and which country is supplying to which country, and then the involvement of Turkey among this as well. The additional scary aspect is the level that the U.S. has been providing arms to groups that actually might be more a threat than beneficial to the fighting occurring in Syria.

In the heading titled Short Cuts, a brief look at the conflict is brought to the reader’s attention, that involves Crimea, Romania, Germany, Russia, and the Ukraine, a back and forth struggle involving aspects of religion, the Tartars, and the risk of freed that now exists.

In an article that focuses on Francois Mitterand, it is interesting to found out the loves of foreign dignitaries and how their lives are as scandalous as those we heard about in the United States. From affair to the critical moves made toward various decisions, in reading the views of European views, this periodical is able to delve you into a different vocabulary of lives instantly from the variety of European-centered articles. I had not idea how involved in the resistance Mitterand was and was unaware of the timeframe of his live and involvement, so this article also became a history lesson to me of his influence and involvement after being a Prisoner of War.

I was intrigued with an article that focused on how little was know about Jonathan Swift, due to his elusive references which often were coded to mean something else. The emphasis on Jonathan Swift is in fact interesting. The while article talks about how the word “Coffee” standing for sexual relations with a woman. Yet this encrypting occurred frequently in his life, which adds the mystery to finding out details and information about his life. The phrase “patterns of contradiction” appear everywhere in relation to studying Jonathan Swift.

Richard Hoggart is examined next as a prominent representative of cultural and media literature. Additionally, he is discussed serving on a trial as a witness to determine if the novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover was obscene. Ironically, the fit that someone of Puritan character was behind this story also comes up in this discussion hat involved him as a key witness. One of his most influential works was The Uses of Literacy of what he is best known for.

Under the Diary column, a particularly interesting article dealt with the feelings of the areas of Odessa, Crimea, and the Ukraine. The conflicts that interact with Russia helped bring some sense of the various feelings among factions in this area, and this column seems to allow writers to in fact write in a personal/diary format to bring out meaning of issues a little more clearly, especially issues that seems to be confusing due to the multitude of sides involved. After reading this I realized the individuals in these areas that due feel change is about to happen, changes a million worlds away, and those that do not want to be involved.

The three pages of the Classifieds section covers everything from announcements for Write-Ins, Universities of Study, to many offers to travel to European destinations for accredited writing sessions and writing retreats.

In between the diverse articles that cover so many ranges of topics, publishing companies like Princeton University Press, films by Film Forever, Cambridge University Press, Harvard, Uniform Books, and Authorhouse (self publishing) just to name a few, are represented.
I was interested in the London Review Bookshop’s coverage of 10 texts that covered the breadth of Samuel Beckett, and the chance to visit the bookshop that focuses on so many contributions Beckett made.
I walked away exhausted working my way through so many political, social, and other articles from so many topics – I had NO IDEA the London Book Review of Books would take me there, and it will take you too, but be ready, this is the BBC, NPR, and more wrapped up in each periodical, and you will walk away more than informed!



The New York Review of Books      May 22, 2014

I just assume we have periodicals that contain pages and pages and pages, and…well you get the idea, of reviews. Period. WRONG! I realized how much more content is in The New York Review of Books than I ever imagined as you will see too.

It is nice as you open the page to see the contributors and bios of the right underneath the table of contents. Also, the blog for The New York Review of Books is listed and is here as well. The sidebar on this initial and many consequent pages are used just as I thought the whole periodical was devoted to reviews but this is shared with…

…a book titled, A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren. What I like is here, you are not just given a few short paragraphs on the book, but a comprehensive write up, over 4-5 pages, on the specific topics surround the book being suggested is written. Simply through this article I found out Elizabeth Warren’s stance on the economy as well as her position among many male leaders in the government under Obama’s administration. This was in-depth and well, once I started, VERY interesting!

I love, LOVE this next article focuses on a library world where digital journal prices are soaring and normal subscribers are eliminating their subscriptions, therefore putting a demand on more and more resource driving the cost down, or alternatives for making them free for the public. Several sources exist for individuals to find free online sources, one being the PubMed Central list of Medical Journals online. This menu gives you a directory of possibilities for research as well for various medically-PubMed articles.

Also, the FASTR act was a motion to allow more documents to be available to the public for free. One example is the site, if you scroll down to the bottom of the Congress site, you see a link for House and Senate activity that is useful for research in those areas of the government.

One of the least known resources, I feel, is the Digital Public Library of America. You will see. Thousands of contributing libraries and books and periodicals, all available, a crazy crazy voluminated source (my new word). I love how this article made many beneficial links to information being more free and accessible than costly to the public.

The next article dealt with architecture, wow. I learned so much about architecture through the books being featured ON architecture, architects and women in architecture such as the below:

Linda Bo Bardi San Paulo Museum of Art, The Glass House and the SESC Pompeii and I walked away NEVER realizing how much women architects can be overshadowed by male architects. Also, her ability to take structures that are to be torn down, and renovate them to be exciting centers of community – I LOVE. She was a genius I never even knew before this article.

Sergei Dovlatov – and although I never really studied Russian literature, I was pulled in by this focus on his writing release titled Pushkin Hills. You discover a history of Russian through the existence of Dovlatov, as well as the people he wrote, associated, and was influenced by. I was beginning to realize how little I know of other countries’ histories just from reading these articles found in The New York Review!

Which leads us to the many conflicts between Japan and China, with an extensive look at the leaders Xi Jinping, Chiang Kai-shek, Prince Konoe Fumimaro, Matsuoka Yosuke, Shinzo Abe, (don’t worry, if it seems overwhelming, Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta gets into this. I was just amazed at how much I did learn from the outset from the articles presented here by Hotta.

These articles that are reviews yes, are of specific texts, yes, but the information I was informed on in this next article, and the extensive information you are given, lets you forget this periodical is just about books, and I delved into the information I did not know about, Memory, learning about Elizabeth Spencer and her newest book, discovering the latest controversies through books and films on the occupation of Palestine and Israel, the Sahara terror due to border conflicts, what seems to be a phony standoff in the Ukraine and Russia and now escalating, and to be honest, I am not including all the other reviews and articles, (one of new historical fictions involving women protagonists and the other about French Society examination based compared to American contrasts, crammed between the many many sidebars and inserts of new books that have come out, and this is in MAY!)

In the Classified section you find the random ads for hideaways to rent to write, as well as offers from publishing houses, and then the occasional classifieds for a call for papers, but nice that the classified section exists to grab an overview of what is available and opportunities available.

Literally, you would not need to pull up any newspaper to see what is happening in the world, AND you are getting reviews of books that coincide with the events through this periodical. The New York Review of Books will reshape how you see reviews as well as how you see the world, not a bad thing to consider in one sit-down of one periodical.


The New Yorker             May 5, 2014

I never actually opened a New Yorker. I have been aware of the cover illustrations and the cartoons being of political and social interest and popularity, but there is much more than I was aware of. In simply looking at this issues’ Table of contents, you see writers from various ethnicities and background just in the names, Stuart, Shattacharjee, Lipsyte, Bersberian contributing the cover, then you also notice many of the advertisements on the first page are guides to the latest Broadway show, sometimes off broadway, as well as the recommended books. It seems you do not have to stray outside of these pages to see what is happening in New York at the time.

Despite being a guide to the heartbeat of the New York streets, you see a bio on the contributing writers, as you delve deeper, information on the electronic version of The New Yorker, containing podcasts, slideshows, videos, infographics, and more.

Also a section titled Goings on About Town, provides a handy text version of the app you can download, this in the magazine in the form of a calendar, letting you know what is happening yes, About the town…

I think the letters to the magazine, a section titled The Mail, are really more interesting than most, the first in this issue actually being from Cesar Chavez’s son and addressing the reality of his life based on an article that have been written previously to The New Yorker. Whoa. I think that is pretty powerful in itself. These can be submitted via

I like the directories that give you what is happening in New York, from Classical Music, to Art, dance, movies, theatre, food & Drink, Night life, (in this case Nigerian figure/artist William Onyeabor) it is detailed and informative.

The Talk of the Town heads and directs your attention to specific issues of the time, in this case religious freedom, and discussing the controversial topics of same-sex marriage. It’s funny for the next several pages, topics of discussion that stemmed from what the people are looking for in food around town (the latest craze and trends) to films, to style that has been seen and heard around New York.

I have to tell you, this copy sat around for a few weeks, seeing the copy (the word copy in magazines and yearbooks usually refers to the actual print in the magazine) is intimidating because there is so much of it. Yet – once I finally sat down and delved in, WHOA. These are the topics I came across that I honestly never knew, Details on the capture and escapades of El Chapo, (Hey! That relates to the area I am in now!), discovering a musician by the name of Sharon Van Etten, realizing what a revolutionary designer, rebel, and tragic designer artist Charles James was, discovering new biographies of John Quincy Adams and finding out what a oxymoron his life was, and this is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

The reviews of more bestsellers coming on, shows, humorous stories that are similar to yes, what you’d see in Reader’s Digest, and even info on new apps are represented.

Eclectic, busy and diverse, sinceI dived in, I realized how involved you feel when you put The New Yorker down, and all this time…I got the feel of high society without ever stepping out into the streets that make up Broadway and more like I have done before. I always said I wanted that feel when I walked into a “good” movie, and you feel this New York spirit between the very pages of The New Yorker.


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