Looking on my shelves I see I have been a subscriber to The Reader since edition number eleven (though number twelve's gone awol) and number twenty-seven has just arrived. It's a quarterly publication so as I'm still not Carol Vorderman, I'll let you do the maths, but it's been quite a while.
I don't even remember how I made the discovery but it's been one of those very pleasurable acquaintances ever since and I mention it here with great regularity because I'd hate new visitors not to know about it.
Quarterly is good because you forget all about it and then suddenly another arrives and I am enthused all over again.New reading trails emerge and I am nudged towards reading more poetry because The Reader always does poetry.Lately reminding me of a poem I knew of but had quite forgotten, here are the first lines, W.B.Yeats has sung away beautifully in my head since I read this in The Reader last month,
"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade"
The magazine is a not-for-profit endeavour based at the University of Liverpool and being half Liverpudlian I clearly have a divine right to an affinity.Editorship has passed from Jane Davis to husband Philip Davis and I can just imagine the kitchen table conversation if that was us...well I wouldn't have used that cover, colour's all wrong...hmm don't know why you made all that fuss about deadlines and said you didn't have time to do the ironing, I've mowed the grass twice.
Actually Philip Davis single-handedly responsible for my current Bernard Malamud experiment and I can report that it's all going very well. Could his biography persuade me to read the novels? Well that's singing along too, a fascinating and, allelulia, a very readable book, so absolutely yes.
One of the big attractions for me to The Reader was the ethos which I had never actually read in words but had sensed. This is an egalitarian, inclusive, very unpretentious reading magazine, they love books and they want to share the love of reading; every piece intelligently and thoughtfully written but not scarily so.
Then I see that Philip Davis has put it into words on the website
"It is not academic, it is not arty, it is not preachy, it is not exclusive. But it is a magazine concerned with the direct effect of books on readers, with the human content and purpose of literature."
How many literary journals have I subscribed to down the years and been bamboozled by academic waffle after the first few months?
Jane Davis has moved on into the realms of reading as therapy and we share a great deal of common thinking on the health benefits of literature and reading. Fortunately Jane is pursuing tenaciously where the rest of us have given up in despair.
Even better, and no excuse not to keep in touch, I see that there is now a Reader Blog and if you live near Liverpool check it out because you have some brilliant events in the offing, you lucky lucky people.I think a Devonshire annexe to the University of Liverpool is essential, twin the Tamar with the Mersey or something, they've both got ferries, that'll do.
Cleverly with this edition the news that the next edition will have had a makeover, and if I want to see it it's time to renew my subscription. How typical is that? Jane's put up with those curtains all this time and in comes Philip and orders new ones.
I just hope to goodness it all co-ordinates nicely with my collection.