After one year of subscribing, I recommend Harper's and recently re-upped for two years. I would agree with some reviews that say the writing is uneven, maybe not in quality always - the nature of the magazine is a variety of articles covering a broad range of topics, some of which I don't always read. At the same time, this is what I enjoy about the magazine: it's an interesting mix of articles and ideas that I haven't found anywhere else. I read magazines to get away from the computer and Harper's presents a broad range of ideas to keep me interested. The fiction and poetry is excellent. Artwork is scattered in the magazine that is also interesting. Others have mentioned the 'Harper's Index' and 'Findings' sections which are collections of statistics and recent research findings that are particularly entertaining for quick perusal. I also read the New Yorker, Atlantic, and Mother Jones and find Harper's fits nicely with these as it comprises many ideas to think upon (as a Swedish friend phrases it).
This is one of my favorite magazines. If you want to understand what is going on in the country and the world, you should read Harper's every month. Gutsy, fearless reporting. If you are looking for more than corporate- speak reporting and analysis in a magazine, you should subscribe to Harper's.
The best of the intellectual and, why not, the absurd. Entertaining, thought-provoking. Worth every dime.
[Harpers began before the Civil War and is still a wonderful read, whatever the topic: politics, literature, fine or performing arts....everything!![ASIN:B00005N7QO Harper's Magazine]]
Finally, I've found a magazine that keeps my mind active long after I've set it down. Each month I discover a deeper understanding into today's issues and look at things with a new perspective thanks to the thoughtful words in Harper's. I recommend this magazine to anyone looking to learn more about our country and the vast world around us.
You can't judge a magazine by its cover. Thank god. The cover of Harper's Magazine screams BORING. And it has a really obnoxious flap that drives me nuts. But get past the cover, and you're in for a literal treat. It's like reaching that rich, syrupy bottom of your Italian ice. Filled with tons of obscure quick reads, and not to mention the Harper's Index, you will not be disappointed. 5 stars for most issues, although some come in at a 3 or 4. Order a subscription online -- it's much cheaper than buying each issue at a newsstand. ...
I order this magazine,in B.C
long time ago...
why...?advice ,go to a book store and read , have some coffe with.
Harper's Special Anniversary Collector's Edition: Celebrating 150 Years of Literature, 1850-2000.
Opinion in a nutshell: weak on the past, strong in the present.
The title of Harper's anniversary edition is misleading. As a student of American Literature, I eagerly opened the magazine to search for the best of the past. What I found, instead, was Harper's retrospective of the best of the past, as well as commentary on the present and future in typical Harper's style. Although I was disappointed at the absence of voices from the past, the present voices Harper's has gathered here make it Harper's at its best.
The "Readings" section contains excerpts from old Harper's editions, but only from the past two decades (the tenure of the current editor). Editor Lewis H. Lapham's history of the magazine, "Hazards of New Fortune: Harper's Magazine Then and Now" will be especially interesting to American history buffs. If history is not your passion (the history of print, in particular), you may get bored. The first part of the article situates Harper's history in its historical context, but by the end, the context fades and the article becomes primarily a history of Harper's editors. Lapham teases with references to his enjoyment of past contributions from the likes of Henry James, John Muir, Leon Trotsky, Rebecca West, Pearl S. Book and Woodrow Wilson, among others. I found myself wishing that Harper's would have included excerpts from some of this content for those of us who do not have ready access to it.
Other retrospective content includes "Dispatches from 1850: A Sesquicentennial Symposium," in which nine contemporary authors offer pieces on aspects of life in 1850. Personally, I would have preferred excerpts from 19th century Harper's magazines. Historian Tom Chaffin contributes an annotated map of the Oregon Trail.
The rest of the anniversary edition focuses on the present and the future. Four of the articles have millenial themes. Tom Wolfe writes on patriotism as we enter the "Second American Century." Russell Banks asks the question posed by American literature for the past four centuries: Exactly who or what is an American? Mark Slouka takes on death and the state of myth and belief, while Jane Smiley takes an insightful and somewhat humorous look at marriage and capitalism at the turn of the century. I highly recommend all four articles.
Once I got over my initial disappointment, instigated by a misleading cover, I was able to enjoy reading this magazine. The essays are some of the best Harper's have offered. Although I still would have liked more historical content, this anniversary edition is well worth reading.
Summary: Harper's Magazine successfully walks the fine line between bottom-line drivel and snobby irrelevance.
In writing, there's a fine line between brainless drivel and pseudo-intellectual snobbery. Magazines like Time and People represent the former, in which big splashy headlines and multicolor bar graphs replace careful consideration of issues. A writer for these rags typically assumes that readers are too stupid to make up their own minds, so she or he comes up with a neat and tidy conclusion for them. On the other hand, writers for monthlies like The Atlantic seem to go out of their way to show how smart they are. This usually involves using a whole lot of needlessly fancy or foreign phrases, throwing a lot of quotation marks around words to indicate irony, citing literary or psychoanalytic figures not too many of us have heard of, and/or covering cultural events only the elite care about: opera, ballet, art galas, charity balls to cure poor fashion sense.
Harper's successfully walks the fine line between these extremes, respecting the reader's intelligence without getting snobby or silly. For an intellectual magazine, Harper's is strikingly direct, devoting the first half of each issue to expressions and information from sources other than the authors themselves. Harper's Index is a frequently funny, always thought-provoking list of statistics about our world in which each listing is connected to the next in some (sometimes obscure, but always telling) way. The "Readings" section that follows contains unadulterated pictures, poems, screenplays, interviews, transcripts, lists, memos and more direct from the source. Often, these materials were never meant to be published, but in the magazine offer a humorous, scandalous or shocking account of the hidden lives and motives of some of our society's most notable people and groups. It is to Harper's credit these materials are simply presented, without comment, for the reader to interpret and ponder.
Harper's continues with selected fiction, written documentaries, reports from the field and editor's reflections, all of which are commendable. The result is a truly civic journal -- informative and edifying -- that also manages to be a lot of fun along the way. If you are looking for a thought-provoking read that sidesteps the hoity-toity nonsense, I highly recommend Harper's Magazine to you.
If you want to do some serious reading, you know where to go. Harper's is one of these literary landmarks and benchmarks. If offers some serious journalism. Award-winning essays and fiction are also published in its pages. The style can be a bit more sublime due to the topics it grapples with. There is no question about this. One has to pay close attention to the reading of some articles. This is meant to be a pro's magazine.
What I don't like about the style in which some articles are written is that they are made hard to understand by the average reader. When you add the lack of attraction to the page, you may end up being turned off. Well, if the article happens to be interesting, then you will stick to it. Most of the times, you may find yourself hoping for some distractions on the page. A cartoon would not be a problem.
When you put aside all these turn-offs, you will find yourself in front of a well-mounted magazine. The layout is pretty simple and easy. Harper's index is pretty cool to read. So is the Readings section.
I recommend it to you who want to do some serious reading. You may want to browse it first for the best article. Most of the times, you will find one that you must read. When I have a copy in my hands, I know I have a great magazine with articles I can pretty much trust. Always be critical despite your convictions...