My life is dominated by reading; messages from friends, academic texts and journals, books fiction and non-fiction, the news in all its forms. What I read for the news has evolved over the years, from the BBC’s website to the front pages to the Economist. Of course I still read these, it’s how you get informed opinion quickly, and I need that; I’m a news junky. But really, that kind of media is not going to tell me anything I don’t know already.
Which is why I now read the opinion pages on both sides of the pond, Prospect, Time, the New Statesman’s and Spectator’s online blogs. But this year, my favourite thing to read is the New Yorker. Maybe it appeals to my idea of myself writing in a note-book, while flipping through a newspaper and sipping coffee in a café in Lower Manhattan (ignoring that I can’t hand write and do not like coffee in the slightest). It appeals to my liberalism and, most importantly, it tells me things I don’t know.
Or rather, it makes me think. This week, I read an article on its website on what kids cured of blindness see. Think about that. Then read this. When I was a kid, I always had this question: could two people look at the same colour but see it differently? I still don’t know, but the article appealed to me because of its links to that natural curiosity. That’s what the New Yorker does: appeals to curiosity.
On top of that it’s amazingly well written; I can’t explain how exactly, it just is. Good writing like that has a strange effect, even though it’s non-fiction I can get lost in a New Yorker article like I can get lost in a good novel. They can take me out of my suburban home and all across the world. At the end of each one, I am left in awe and pretty envious. If only I could write like that, I think. I’d really be on to something.
So from now on, that’s what I’m aspiring to – writing well enough to hypothetically be in the New Yorker. I may be trying for my entire life. But hopefully, one day, I’ll get to try while relaxing in that Manhattan café. That’ll be good enough for me.