Missing the New Yorker

July 30, 2007 | 6 2 min read

Last week, my New Yorker didn’t show up. This has happened a handful of times in the close to ten years I’ve been reading the magazine. Typically, wherever I’ve lived, my issue has landed in my mailbox between Tuesday and Thursday. If I haven’t gotten my issue by Thursday, I tense up a bit and begin to plan, setting some time aside for a run to a bookstore or newsstand so that I don’t fall behind and so that my gnawing yen for the New Yorker is satisfied.

But over the last decade, my New Yorker addiction has felt burdensome at times. I like to read – a lot – and yet with busy work schedules and other demands, I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like. And though my Reading Queue occupies several linear feet of shelving, I still find myself devoting about four days a week to the New Yorker (which I read all the way through, skipping only reviews of theater, dance, and music). Being the best magazine in the world, the New Yorker is guaranteed to provide me with at least one transcendent reading experience per month, often more than that, and very few clunkers. It is exceedingly rare that I quit reading an article halfway through. Still, though I love it so, I sometimes grow resentful of the time I must devote to the New Yorker and I sometimes fantasize about the day I’ll decide not to renew, though even formulating the reasons behind such a rash act is difficult.

And so this week, when Thursday rolled around and my mailbox was still empty, I again felt that nervous pang and began to set aside some time for the ten-block walk to the Barnes & Noble. But then, I thought about it some more, and decided to miss this week’s New Yorker (though it may still arrive inexcusably late). So far, I feel pretty good, no withdrawal symptoms, and I think, if the day comes that I have to give up on the New Yorker entirely, I’ll survive, bonobos be damned.

Update: That missing issue turned up after all.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. Oh, I hear you. I've been a subscriber at different times in my life, and just subscribing is quite a burden. You know there's something great in each issue, but you've only got a week to get to it, or they start piling up.

    And that's what they've always done for me. Pile up. That's more pressure from a magazine than I can handle, at least right now. Who wants to be hassled by a stack of unread magazines?

  2. Agreed. I used to subscribe to The Believer (McSweeney's lit mag) and found that even at a monthly rate I couldn't manage to read everything.

    Instead, I was lucky enough to work someplace with a guy that brought the New Yorker to work. He would leave them, and I would take them. They're stacked up in a pile on my bookshelf. Now, if I have any desire to read the magazine, I can go downstairs and grab an old one.

    No obligation. No deadlines. Just great articles.

  3. Let's say I am very into literature and politics and forget how much I am into music because I can get coverage for most of the latter online. Is the New Yorker the ONE magazine I should subscribe to? How does it stack up against Harper's (now THAT always piled up on me!)? And is it affordable? This is also the only literary blog I read and I love it. I've read some works based off of reading reviews or mentions on here and then Amazon has been pretty good with leading me through the maze of recommendations for me to find other great reads as well. But if there is a literary blog(s) that comes close enough to snuff as The Millions I would love recommendations too. Or I could quit being lazy and start clicking all them damn links over yonder there on the right. Cheers!

    p.s. Does anyone else love Etgar Keret as much as me?

  4. May the day of unsubscribing never come! I've felt that piling pressure in the past too, believe me, but because I write about it, lately I've been pushing myself to read everything in the issue every week. It's surprisingly gotten a little easier each time–there's room for other books and magazines, too. Josh, I'd say yes, it's the one magazine you should subscribe to, since all of Harper's is free online. And it doesn't have to be expensive; I know a few people who've found good deals on those discount-magazine sites.

    I'm a fan of The American Scholar, too, though I know there was a lot of dissent about the change in editorship, etc.

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.