Turn The Page

Magazine subscriptions are an oft overlooked, but generally appreciated gift for just about everyone in your life. The great part is, magazines make for a super niche gift – you can find a mag on just about any hobby, interest, or demographic on the planet. My recommendation for today was originally going to be one magazine suggestion, but I’ll throw two into the mix because both are equally good.

The first is for Maclean’s. Canada’s equivalent to American giants like Time, Maclean’s provides a sharp look at the Canadian landscape – politically, economically, culturally, and more. The magazine represents the pulse of the nation with thoughtful articles, great photography, and solid opinion pieces. In recent years they’ve started to shed their fuddy duddy demeanor with an increased look at some of the issues that crosscut age groups – musicians, sports, and environmentalism regularly feature.

They’ve also joined the increasingly popular game of producing studies about the state of the nation (one recent issue tackled the third annual ‘smartest cities in Canada’) to generate media attention and interest in the magazine.

Maclean’s makes a great gift for a vast array of people. Grandparents and parents appreciate its heritage and hard-nosed approach to journalism, and younguns in their 20s and 30s will enjoy the way it frames debates, highlights issues for activism, and still touches on cultural points. The price is pretty affordable as well. For $14.95, you can get 20 issues (five months worth). Alternatively you can spring for a full-year subscription for $41.95 and receive a bonus $5 Chapters gift card. I know the math doesn’t quite make sense, but that $14.95 thing is a special for the first 20 months only.

Anyway, that’s the gist of my recommendation. I used to think Maclean’s was boring, now I’m a little older, and I find it interesting. It can be a little dense, in which case I recommend Entertainment Weekly, my subscription of choice. Over the years I’ve had a myriad of subscriptions – YM, Teen People, In Style, et al – but after getting bored of the repeated formats of each publication I wanted something new. I’d always been a fan of EW, but I could never find it, other than an occasional issue (usually at the airport) that was a couple of weeks out of date.

I bit the bullet and subscribed last year and am totally hooked. This magazine is sort of like an industry publication for fans. They give you a first glance at upcoming projects, interesting interviews and profiles of various stars, reviews of movies, TV, books, and music, and humorous and insightful commentary on the state of the entertainment industry. Your intro year with the magazine will set you back only about $25-$30 Canadian. After that the price goes up to $1 per issue, so you’re looking at a cool $50 a year, but really for the entertainment value and quality of writing, it’s totally worth it. Plus right now they’re giving away fun bonus retro tees, like ‘Bayside Tigers’. What is with me writing about Saved By The Bell lately?

EW is a great alternative to the gossip rags that litter the newsstands out there, and where I live at least, the only way to get it on a relatively timely basis is to become a subscriber. I have few negative things to say about it, other than its guilty of doubling up a lot of its content online. If you have a friend that loves to see movies the week they come out, or scours the web for info on their favourite shows, they’ll absolutely love this magazine. Even if an article doesn’t appeal to me, there will be half a dozen other ones that do.

Both EW & Maclean’s are pretty general interest. One is a Canadian current affairs mag, the other is an American entertainment business mag. Kind of different, but generally they both have a widespread appeal that’ll easily suit those hard-to-buy-for friends and family members in your life.

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