To tell you the truth as a kid, it was my ambition to become a journalist. I would have loved to have become one but in the India of the ’60s and ’70s where I grew up, it wasn’t considered to be a hot career. At least that was the case in my family. I have loved and followed magazine writing over the years. As a writer myself, I have often felt the short, terse sentences and the pace of the articles written in magazines call for special skills. Some of these are quite different from those you would need for a long novel, though basic elements of good writing would undoubtedly remain the same.
“The Best Of American Magazine Writing, 2013” from the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) in collaboration with the Columbia University Press, makes for interesting reading. The Editor in Chief of The Atlantic, James Bennett and Sid Holt, Chief Executive of the ASME deserve credit for having put together such an interesting anthology. As the name suggests, this is an annual compendium of the best articles written in different magazines which cover a wide variety of subjects from politics to stories of human interest. They cover works of public interest, reporting, feature writing, and fiction. Many of these articles have been adjudged winners in the National Magazine awards.
First up you read a fascinating article which first appeared in The Atlantic, “Fear Of A Black President” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. After all Barack Obama made history when he was elected the 44th President of the United States. Sure, he was one of the few African-Americans to graduate from Columbia University and the Harvard Law School, but how would he fare as the President in very demanding times?
I was delighted to find a short story by Stephen King, “Batman and Robin Have An Altercation” from Harper’s. I have admired his writing over the years. Most of all, I am grateful to King for his little book on Writing.
Some of the others which stayed in my mind (and perhaps indicate my areas of particular interest) are:
- “Did You Think About The Six People You Executed” by Robert F. Worth of the New York Times in ‘Reporting.”
- “Ten Days Inside The Mansion- and the Mind- of Kim Dotcom, the Most Wanted Man on the Internet, by Charles Graeber in Wired.
- “The Innocent Man” by Pamela Colloff, in Texas Monthly in the category of Feature Writing incorporating Profile Writing.
If you want to gift someone with thought-provoking yet interesting reading for the festive season, why don’t you consider “The Best of American Magazine Writing, 2013 ?”