Given the weather we've been having, the last few days have largely been taken up sowing this year's veg and dealing with the complications of planting grid patterns of carrots, onions and marigolds (keeps the carrot fly away). This all left little time for reading anything too long and I began to realise that not being a member of an academic library anymore meant no access to full paper editions of all the magazines and journals I once read. Other than Granta I don't subscribe to anything and I'm beginning to feel a lack, so I trawled through the internet in search of some of the ones I used to read and at the same time came across some new ones, of which there are many.
This reminded me of the Oxford Don Sillery (Alan Bennett in the TV adaptation) in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time bemoaning the fact that one of his former students is setting up a new literary magazine - Fission - which seems doomed to fail from the start.
So my plan is to read a back copy which features a writer or writers I know I like and then if I like it consider subscribing. Here's what I'm going to try (or have already tried) over the next few weeks:
The new(ish) literary magazine Zembla seems to combine typical literary magazine content with truly mad things - like interviews with dead authors. Its designed in Australia and edited in the UK, and has a very annoying website. Its motto is 'Fun With Words'.
Canadian Literary Journal Brick is well worth a look. I ordered a back issue from them a while back and there was some confusion and I got sent the then current issue, but after numerous emails with a nice person called Emily I got the issue I wanted and they let me keep the one they sent me by accident.
Mslexia: If I could get hold of issues 2 and 18 then I might consider subscribing. Anyone out there have a copy of issue 2 and/or 18 they would consider parting with?
At £17 a year for three issues - each issue is now published in multi-volume format - the Edinburgh Review is I think pretty good value, and you should believe what Time Out said a few years back about it being better than Granta.
I'm giving issue 104 of The Threepenny Review a go purely because there is a new short story by AL Kennedy.
Then there are the e-zines: The Roundtable Review is launched on Wednesday 19th April; 3AM Magazine is interesting and diverse; and Inkwell Newswatch has everything you could possibly want from a literary e-zine.
Now off to work out the complications oftravelingg from the east of England to the west by train - how many changes? No less than five.