Mags & blogs: my 2014 shortlist

I read the following magazines the moment they arrive:


Bookmarks:  This is a great magazine for readers. It compiles all the reviews of the most notable books by genre and makes a summary report.

MacWorld:  I’ve been a Mac Nerd since the birth of the 128K ugly little Mac. (Only 128K! It was amazing what I could do with that little machine.) I read this magazine cover to cover. You would think I would know more!


Renaissance Magazine:  This magazine gives the impression of being a bit cheesy. The cover is often of someone in historical dress—and often showing serious cleavage. It’s main readership, I gather, are people  involved in history reenactments, and this group takes historical accuracy very seriously. The articles in this magazine are wonderful, and I especially love the news of new historical discoveries.


The New Yorker:  Fine dining! Journalism at its best, IMO. I don’t read it immediately, but linger over each issue for some time.

As for blogs, I subscribe to many.  It was hard to come up with a shortlist, but here is:


Brainpickings:  This is by far my favourite blog, the New Yorker of blogs. If you’re not keen on computer-reading, it’s a great newsletter to subscribe to or follow on Flipboard. Intellectual, eclectic, and inspiring.


Cup of Jo:  This is my go-to blog for hip home magazine type fare: fashion, cooking, entertaining, travel, family. It’s all filtered through the eyes of Joanna Goddard, who is charming, smart, intimate and funny.


David Seah: It’s hard to explain why this blog fascinates me so, but I begin each day reading it. The highly personal daily posts deal with time-management, creativity and technology.

What are your favourite magazines and blogs?

Next up: books, movies and apps.

My top 5 non-fiction and memoir reads of 2013: a canvas in red, black & blue—irreverent, wise, tragic, and ultimately unforgettable

I’ve caught shortlist fever. It’s irresistible—this impulse to sum up the year.

I will begin with the books I gobbled up and which made a lasting impression. It’s a very odd mix this year of wise, irreverent, profoundly sad and profoundly lurid. (Compare it to the well-rounded list for 2012.)

Note: Not included is my very long list of sometimes eccentric research titles.

And so here, in no particular order:


Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed. I loved Strayed’s Wild last year, and so ventured onto her advice-column book, which I loved even more. My daughter loved it too. Strayed is wild and wise and calls it like it is. 

Odd type writers

Odd Type Writers: from Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors, by Celia Blue Johnson: inspiring and gossipy and fun. Every writer on your gift list would love this book … and buy one for yourself while you’re at it.


Paris, I love you but you’re Bringing Me Down, by Rosecrans Baldwin: about my favourite city, very funny. It’s not for people who are new to Paris, but for those who know it well.

Two  memoirs that will stay with me forever because of their brave, sad and striking beauty, are:


Wave, a memoir by Sonali Deraniyagala. Read this book; it will open your heart. It’s a profoundly moving book about unbearable grief. That sounds scary, but trust me: this is a beautiful book.


Nocturne: On the Life and Death of My Brother, by Helen Humphries; Humphries is one of my favourite writers, and this is a stunningly beautiful and heartfelt memoir.

Now to the fiction shortlist, followed by my essential apps… Stay tuned.