In a now infamous interview, Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin which news magazines she reads (her equally infamous response was, “All of 'em”). The question is in fact a poignant one, because in today's world, the websites that you check and the magazines that you subscribe to do indicate what interests you.
Many times, I too have been asked what websites and magazines I would recommend. Unlike Sarah Palin, I do not claim to be able to read the over twenty-thousand magazines that are printed monthly on every topic imaginable (there's even a subscription magazine dedicated to raising sheep!). However, I do subscribe to half a dozen or so publications in print, and try my best to read them at all odd times of the day (always take a few during plane rides; I also catch a few articles while brushing my teeth; sometimes even get one or two down while I'm supposed to be talking on the phone!).
Here's my current selection of websites that I regularly check, and magazines that I subscribe to. Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments below.
Check on average ten times a day.
- Huffington Post
I'm not as regular a reader as most of the other people in my circle of friends (I typically check it once a day and scan the latest headlines). I find the website an overload of information and realize that if I did spend too much time there, I wouldn't get much else done. Nonetheless, a great resource.
Simply the best media outlet for events in the Arab and Muslim world.
- Arab News
When I lived in Madīnah I would read this Saudi newspaper almost daily. I still like to keep up with the latest events and get a pulse of what's happening there.
I have to check my own blog!
- The Economist
Amazing. Just amazing. Words fail me here. There is simply no other news publication (to the best of my knowledge) that is as thorough and global. I look forward to receiving this magazine and typically devour it the same day I receive it. It is usually over one hundred pages of solid news from around the world (with an obvious and forgivable emphasis on the Western world). It is unabashedly leftist in its outlook and unapologetic in its frank analysis.
Bottom line: Did I mention 'amazing'?
- The Atlantic
This is one of my favorite magazines. There are always analytical articles on current social trends, political issues, and foreign affairs. One article in arecent edition discussed the rise of 'alternative medicine' clinics that offer patients treatments in homeopathy, acupuncture, and other forms of medicine. The article interviewed both practitioners and opponents of such clinics and discussed the pros and cons of their existence. It was interesting to note, for example, that while many of these 'alternative medicines' (including homeopathy, which I personally think is just a lot of sugar tablets!) have never been clinically proven to cure diseases, they do have an 'advanced placebo' effect on many patients.
Bottom line: Very relevant and always thought provoking!
- Mother Jones
An excellent publication that never fails to show the excesses of corporate greed and the failures of governmental policies and political incompetence. It also discusses human rights issues, politics, and culture. One of the leading liberal magazines in America.
Bottom line: Plenty of reading and ruminating material in each issue.
- Scientific American
This magazine is a jewel – it keeps me abreast of the latest theories and discoveries in science. It covers chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy and anything else remotely related. It is written for an audience that is non-specialists, yet have a basic knowledge of all of these fields.
I admit I don't read each article, but there are always a few that catch my eye. One article in a recent issue discussed how technologically feasible it was to 'grow' meat in a Petri dish from a few molecules of protein. Soon, they predicted, there would be no need to actually breed animals and then kill them for the sake of their meat! (Personally, the thought of eating 'meat' grown in a Petri dish repulses me; additionally we'll need some cutting-edge ijtihad to figure out how such meat would be considered zabiha for the guys who follow the correct opinion of only eating zabiha meat!)
Bottom line: Keeps you in the loop about the latest scientific developments.
I had to see what all the hype was about, so this is my first year subscribing. I don't know if I'll continue subscribing next year. While every issue typically has a news article that salvages the magazine for me (one recent edition discussed the rise of the English Defense League and the increase of Islamophobia in England), and its fiction story is a breath of fresh air, there is simply too much emphasis on the arts, movies and theater for my personal liking.
Bottom line: If all the articles fail, the magazine's notoriously sarcastic cartoons are off the hook.
For the geek in me. Really nifty gadgets reviewed, totally cool apps introduced, nerdy facts presented in colorful poster-like formats – what's not to like?!
Bottom line: Nerdiness isn't just cool, its respectable!
- Saudi Aramco's World
Very upbeat magazine about the historical and scientific legacies of Muslims, current accomplishments in the Islamic world, and events taking place related to arts and culture.
It is a bit simplistic, and sometimes (naively) innocent, but there's a lot of good facts to gain, and historical anecdotes to benefit from.
Bottom line: It's free and entertaining. Great reading material for kids as well.
- Harper's Magazine
I just subscribed to this one, and haven't received my first issue yet, so can't really comment. However from the stories that were forwarded to me from their website, I am looking forward to seeing what the subscription will bring. Will keep you updated…
What magazines and websites do you read? Leave your comments below…