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Recent Reads

September 21, 2009


Often I get into this or that, and sometimes my latest obsession sticks and I ponder its existence for an extended period of time, eventually making it a permanent fixture in my life.  A perfect example of this could be the various publications I frequently get lost in.   With the exception of the New York Times and Monocle, I’m constantly flying through different pieces of print, sometimes finishing them, but more often than not I get distracted by something else for a while.  I guess it’s never a bad thing to have multiple interests and/or a continual craving for variety.  All this being said, my latest literary obsession has been a few pieces of solid text, 1. Dispatches, 2. Lapham’s Quarterly and 3. Men’s File.  Each publication has something very different to offer, but I find myself wanting more & more, and foresee subscriptions to each in the near future.

(1.) dispatches is the byproduct of two veteran journalists, one a photographer and the other a writer, who refuse to rely on the internet for news, as in their opinion, it often lacks truth, consistency and reliability.  Mort Rosenblum and Gary Knight, the co-editors, insist on keeping alive printed media that bolsters integrity and honest / thorough reporting.  dispatches dives head first into issue(s), and digs far deeper than just the surface, getting directly in the mix, where ever that may be.  Along with its consistent, credible and un-bias reporting, dispatches’ packaging is also worth mentioning.  In a simple, yet durable card board-esc cover, the interior is filled with high quality thick paper for the text and top-notch gloss for the impeccable photography captured within.  Past issues include dispatches_on russia, dispatches_beyond iraq, dispatches_in america, and the most recent, dispatches_endgame.

(2.) Spotting Lapham’s Quarterly was pure coincidence, and thanks to the vintage compass and bold “TRAVEL” on the cover, I was immediately drawn.  Not really sure what Lapham’s encompassed, I said ‘what the hell, I like compasses, I like to travel, lets check it out’.  Similar to dispatches, Lapham’s Quarterly focuses on a single issue in each volume, however rather than real time reporting, past experiences and historical event’s are used as the backdrop for each tale.  The accounts and travels of key historical figures such as Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), Francisco Vazquez de Coronado (1510-1554), Ernest Shackleton  (1874-1922), Petrarch (1304-1374), and Jack Kerouac, among many others,  are told in their words, offering a glimpse into their lives and traveling experiences.  My personal favorites included excerpts from Kerouac’s On the Road, and writings from Ernest Shackleton during one of his four voyages to the South Pole in the early 1900’s.

(3.) Naturally, it was a topless chick riding a vintage motorcycle that drew my eye to men’s file, wondering what the hell this was all about, I picked up issue 01 of men’s file.  However, after falling victim to my curiosity, I was happy this girl caught my attention.  men’s file describes itself as “A Modernist Magazine Tracing the Roots of Style With New Photography and Stories About Real People Doing Real Things.”  Digging into classic surf styles, hot rods, motorcycles and the ultimate cool associated, men’s file definitely has one loyal customer…see The Standard Edition.

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