Flipping through the nostalgia-inducing Seventeen magazine, I thought about the pounds and pounds and pounds of paper magazines I’ve consumed over the years. After Seventeen in junior high came the more sophisticated Glamour, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and (oh, yes!) Cosmo. Mailers for frequent flyer points that were to expire had me and Phil getting free subscriptions to a ton of magazines, including People, Entertainment Weekly, Wine Enthusiast, Economist, and once, because I wrote the code incorrectly, Golf Digest. I went through numerous cooking and lifestyle magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Readymade (RIP, Readymade), Better Homes & Gardens, Cooking Light, and Cook’s Illustrated. We’ve subscribed to smaller publications like Brain,Child and MotherJones and Country.
These days, I subscribe to three magazines, and getting my notice that the next issue of Taproot would be in the mail this week (yea!), I realized that they all have a theme.
Taproot is a brand new quarterly, no-ad magazine created by a team that includes Amanda Soule of Soulemama – a site I both love for the inspiration and loathe for the feeling I get when reading it that I’ll never be as organized, creative, or maternal as Amanda. I was on the fence about subscribing, but when I saw the first issue included an unbelievable cast of writers and artists, including Shannon Hayes and Maya Donenfeld, I subscribed. I consumed the first magazine front to back the first night, and then was annoyed with myself that I didn’t savor it more. I’m going to try to restrain myself when this next issue comes.
Taproot is, essentially, inspiration and how-to for living a more slow, sustainable, meaningful life. The first issue, which was themed on growing and gardens, beautifully mixed practical information with thoughtful essays on, as the tagline says, “digging deeper.” I love that the magazine is quarterly so that it has less opportunity for repeating itself.
Yes, Mother Earth News is the flagship publication for the back-to-the-land movement. Forty years ago, I understand the magazine was much more hardcore; today it’s very accessible, while still remaining committed to sustainability and responsible living. I understand that the readership is more country-living wannabes (like me), rather than people actually in the country. Either way, the mix of small projects like keeping your garden organically bug-free mixed with bigger-picture essays (installing a gray-water system) provide information for everyone on the sustainability spectrum. The magazine doesn’t tend to be political, but there is an undercurrent of the need for regulation where it’s responsible for health and the environment; they’ve got their eye on you, Monsanto.
I love Hobby Farm Home. This tends to be a lighter magazine; it almost always features food on the cover, includes product pages of farm-themed gadgets you can purchase, and provides very basic how-to information on processes like canning that people actually living in the country would be long past. And the recipe for rosemary-wine jelly last year was totally worth my subscription price.