Remember the zine movement? (No? Visit Snapdragon Zine Fair) Ah, the 90’s and early 2000’s. Except that’s not where it started. No, it began long ago, and still goes on, in Literary Journals.
But do you remember Granta? (or Paris Review, or Soho Square, or The Quarterly, or countless others?)
My eyes tend to rest on Granta when I’m in a bookstore. Such colorful spines… printed by Penguin.
Today, #24 Inside Intelligence pops out at me… “Her Majesty’s Government does not want you to know about the life of Anthony Cavendish,” the cover reads. There’s a huge circular stamp in the bottom right corner: BANNED IN BRITAIN. How do you pass that up?
What follows is a spirited and creative journalistic effort to share news in the form of intelligent literature. Photographs and interviews you wouldn’t get in a newspaper, writing worthy of Pulitzers (and sometimes even written by Pulitzer winners). Just in Granta #24 alone, Philip Roth, Peter Carey, Tobias Wolff, Bruce Chatwin, and E.L. Doctorow all grace us with their presence.
The world of literary journals is a fascinating and amazing one that goes back centuries.
Paul Collins wrote an essay called “121 Years of Solitude” for Bookmark Now about his own journeys through a literary journal called Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men – a weekly magazine from the Victorian era. Collins’ memoir-like essay of his time spent in the Portland, Oregon library is one I dive into regularly, envious of his access and ability to take time to develop a daily library routine. Bus rides downtown, coffee, grand staircases, Notes and Queries, the entire endeavor sounds heavenly to me.
I don’t have time in my life – or the ability, as a mom of a three year old – to replicate a similar endeavor right now. But, the idea of taking an extra 30 minutes to an hour each Monday to peruse a literary journal that graces the shelves of my existing Monday routine (Good Books in the Woods) sounds plausible.
So here’s to Literary Journal Mondays – may they be more consistent than my Weekly Low Down of Kids Books (which happens sporadically throughout most months instead).