Reader's Digest

Published by: Reader's Digest Association. Inc.

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The other day, I saw the funniest magazine cover, and although I hadnít bought the magazine in years, I decided to give it another try.  The magazine cover featured a rather perturbed cat wearing Christmas antlers and the magazine was Readerís Digest.

            Readerís Digest has been around for years.  You may remember them laying around on the coffee table or in a magazine rack in your parentsí house.  The size of a paperback book, the Readerís Digest makes for the perfect traveling companion as it is one of the very few magazines out there capable of fitting in the back pocket of your jeans, in the inside pocket of your coat or in a small purse.

            However handy to read, there is a reason I stopped reading this magazine and I had hoped things might have changed.  I mean, there were certain things I really liked about it.  For one thing, the magazine used to contain a joke and funny anecdote page.  Thankfully, it still does.  There were some useful stories in there back in the day.  Things you wouldnít read in your celebrity magazines and may not find in your average Newsweek

            I had purchased the December 2010/January 2011 edition of Readerís Digest and the cover boasted of stories like Best Tips from TVís Biggest Losers, Gag Gifts for Good Friends, You To-Do List Condensed, True Christmas Miracles, Real Reindeer and Teens on Rx Drugs.  While all of those articles did appear in the magazine, many were just quarter or one-page blurbs.  The miracles promisedÖwell, we did have a story about a miraculous Christmas Eve birth and there were some very touching stories about the art f giving.  But as for the Real Reindeer, we didnít see much of that.  That particular story was really about the Sami of Scandinavia and really contained very little information about them.  There were some beautiful photos, but very little in the information department.  The Rx drug article was extremely interesting and made you realized that this growing drug problem could affect anyone.  I also enjoyed the article about industry and how we have to start manufacturing products here instead of oversees to maintain jobs and self-sufficiency as a country.

            However, what I noticed most and like least were the multitude of ads, mostly drug ads for medications like Humalog, Toviaz, Boniva and more.  These ads could take anywhere from one or two pages to four pages depending on the warnings, etc. the company decided to post.  That kind of advertising takes up valuable story space and it is no wonder why the digest has gone from being a magazine of stories to a magazine of ads with a story here and there. 

            When I was younger, everyone wanted to submit an article or joke or some sort of writing to the Readerís Digest.  If you were published, it meant something.  But now, thereís barely any room for these kinds of stories.  It would seem that the digest is now catering to the attention deficit disordered society and has forgotten that there are actually some of us out there who still actually like to read.  Fast blurbs and two-page articles do not a good magazine make.  I was very disappointed with this issue of Readerís Digest and unhappily reminded as to why I had stopped buying it in the first place.


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