Would a book by any other name read just as sweet?


This post focuses on  the pros and cons of spending $20 on a 6 month subscription to Psychology Today to illustrate the point of the title. But please don’t leave yet assuming it will boring! I mean, it might be, but I need your help. The reason I’m even having this decision snafu is because when I mentioned I was going to buy a subscription to this magazine, my boyfriend furrowed his brow at me. He furrowed his brow at me! I’m like, ‘what does that mean’? He’s like, ‘I’m sure there are plenty of free psychology articles on the internet, but whatever.’

So, naturally, this sent me into a fight or flight decision-making process. I know $20 isn’t that much money, relatively speaking, and you’re probably thinking ‘just buy the damn subscription!’ But there are a number of other factors that I’m obsessing about with this. Do I spend $20 on 6 issues of this beautiful, alluring, and—oh yeah, informative magazine? Or should I just be realistic and look for articles online?

pt 4

Here are the cons:

1. I already have a reading list that could wrap around the moon at least twice. And my apartment is packed full of old Writer’s Digests and books, only half of which are on said reading list. I should really start to consider making the books I already have priority on my Goodreads to-read list. *Sigh*

2. So you know those old Writer’s Digests I mentioned in #1? Yeah, that’s part of the problem. I have been known to hoard. So if I get these Psychology Todays, whose to say they won’t be layering my kitchen table like a second coat of lacquer at any given moment? The question is will I be able to exorcise myself of their hold, even if I have read everything they have to offer and have no further use of them?

3. I could always look for articles online. The bf is right.


Here are the pros:

1. I love psychology and I am interested in learning more. I love giving my characters psychological disorders, though never lightly. I especially love weaving it into my horror pieces, so it would be like research really. Right?

2. Not only good research, but it could provide untold amounts of inspiration for future pieces.

3. Finally, I could always find articles online, but this magazine is an art form of sorts, its form being derived from that of books and pamphlets–some of the first mass-produced literature. There are editors that put together relevant articles under an organizing theme geared toward a certain audience. And I want to be part of that audience.

Are you starting to see the pattern here?
Are you starting to see the pattern here?

A final point that is neither pro nor con: Would I have this same dilemma about buying a book that I wanted to read? Why is a $20 commitment to six issues of a magazine a more involved decision-making process? I think I would, at my age and level of frugality, have the same reservations about buying another book to add to my apocalypse-preparedness hoard of books. However, given that this is an entirely different arena of reader-consumption with more potential to benefit me, why the internal struggle about it? Maybe you’ve decided I should just get the damn subscription in the hopes of one day diagnosing myself to understand why this poses such a quandary for me. Either way, I want to hear your thoughts.

Is format, theme, and the compilation of words and images–with some advertisements thrown in, of course–on a subject you’re interested in worth a six or twelve month commitment? While magazines are a dying art, what with the advent of the internet, people still read them on their i-pads and tablets and enjoy their layout.

Do you subscribe to any magazines or even literary magazines? Do you like reading your week or month’s worth of short stories in lit mag format or do you prefer to take it in piecemeal? Why?  Or are there particular magazines you read just because you love the editor (I love the editor for Writer’s Digest so much, I even read her Editor’s Note!)? Is this form less important, appealing, spend-thrifty, or “green” than books or more so?

9 thoughts on “Would a book by any other name read just as sweet?”

  1. Thoughts:
    * I used to “collect” magazines rather than actually “reading” magazines. That was a bad habit and I stopped doing it.
    * I find that, in a month, I can read about 5 books (including audio books) and about 3/4 of one magazine. I am now limiting myself to one subscription, and that subscription is Writer’s Digest.
    * Pro: Paper magazines provide fodder for the madness-induced collage-making that is probably in your future.
    * Con: Subscribing to ANY magazine gets you on tons of annoying snail mail spam that you can never stop never never never never never as long as you live.

    1. I loved this comment, Carie! I used to do the magazine collecting too–a terrible addiction. We have to be careful not to relapse or they might call the show “Hoarders” on us. Or maybe they already did o.O
      Collage-making is kind of a necessary part of life. And that’s too true about snail mail spam. But even as I get 3-4 snail mail spams a day, I get 10 spam emails. lol Thank you for reading 😀

  2. As a long time magazine collector, I have decided this year to no longer keep most of them active. Most are health magazines which I read from cover to cover, but with writing 3 books now and a huge TBR list I don’t have the time any more. So in reply to your question, if that subscription will not be added to your piles of others which get left to the wayside and if you intend to actually read them to aid in writing your book then I say go for it!

      1. I do too but for now I figure that as long as I am keeping a healthy lifestyle, I really need to dedicate my reading to books which help in writing and publishing at this time. 🙂

  3. This cracks me up. “So, naturally, this sent me into a fight or flight decision-making process.” Are you me? Haha. My thoughts: it sounds like you know what you want and are talking yourself out of it. You can always unsubscribe if it turns out the cons lists is weightier. I *do* think reading something hard-copy is different than digital, and a magazine is a different experience than a book or a blog post. There’s value there, I suspect. (That said, I don’t subscribe to any magazines, so maybe I shouldn’t talk.) If you’re so intrigued by this particular one, I’d say go for it — maybe with a realistic reevaluation scheduled at the end of 6 months. 🙂

    1. Ha! Thanks so much for your input on this, Annie. I think I’m set and just talking myself out of it too. And reevaluating at a later date is a very logical compromise. I think this is what I shall do. Thank you!


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