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60 something

Mad about magazines

At one time I enjoyed the erudite articles in publications such as Vanity Fair, Esquire and GQ

Published on May 24, 2014 9:22 PM

I picked up a copy of Vanity Fair when I was in Books Kinokuniya recently. It was the first time I had done so since more than 10 years ago when I stopped reading the magazine.

I used to be a regular reader. When the magazine was relaunched in February 1983 (it was founded in 1913 and ceased publication in 1936), I was staying over in the upstate New York house of my friend and mentor, the Malacca-born poet and author Shirley Lim. She happened to have a copy of the first issue.

After dinner, I went into the guest room and stayed up reading the magazine from cover to cover. It was a thick edition and very erudite, with long essays by brand-name literary writers and a very long excerpt from the yet-to-be-released Gabriel Garcia Marquez book, Chronicle Of A Death Foretold. The editor was Richard Locke and his deputy was John Leonard, both from The New York Times Book Review.

At the time I was a subscriber to the weekly Book Review. It was - and still is - a free supplement in the Sunday New York Times and a colleague who was attached to the United Nations in New York for a year during that time told me how he would throw away the supplement every Sunday when he got his papers, and here I was paying for it.

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