Life, or Look?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by LostInTyme, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. LostInTyme

    LostInTyme One of the Regulars

    Did your family subscribe? At one time, for a short time, we had both. I really liked them. Great pics and equally great articles. I think they may have been better entertainment than TV. Your brain had to work to read, absorb and think about what was there.
     
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We took both, and I read both. They were both showing their age badly by then, but when you go back and examine them in their prime, Look had a much greater willingness to challenge the reader's point of view, whereas Life, to my eyes, was there to dish you up great gobs of Corporate America's particular positions.

    Going back to the prewar era, there were other picture magazines that were even more interesting -- "Pic" had the sensibility of a metropolitan tabloid newspaper, and "Friday" was a bracing alternative to the National Association of Manufacturers propaganda that filled most other magazines of the time. There was, however, little of this experimentation left by the time the postwar world rolled around. I often get very angry reading the postwar "Life," especially around 1947-49, when Mr. Luce's wanton red-baiting was especially rabid.
     
  3. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    We got both, sporadically, along with Time and Newsweek and a local daily newspaper. My folks were among the countless others who were persuaded that they would be somehow negligent if they failed to expose their kids to such things.

    I have a modest collection of old magazines — dozens of issues of Colliers and Life, a few issues of Look and the Saturday Evening Post, a couple-three or four issues of Sunset — dating from the 1930s to the early ’70s. As I’ve noted here before, I find that looking through such publications imparts a more telling sense of their eras than most analyses cooked up in more recent times.

    Among the issues in my collection dating from the ’60s are several that I clearly remember from when they landed in our mailbox. The August 29, 1969 issue of Life has Norman Mailer (who could be quite the insufferable gasbag, but he did produce some good stuff) on the cover, and his 26,000 word essay on the moonshot that first put men on the lunar surface; a feature on a well-attended outdoor rock ’n’ roll festival in upstate New York; and a short piece on the then-unsolved murder of the actress Sharon Tate and her LA housemates, before the name Charles Manson entered the popular consciousness. That’s one issue, from one week in the late summer of 1969.
     
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  4. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    Life, National Geographic, and Time. We also took the local rag of a newspaper. My parents really weren’t readers. (In fairness, part of the problem might have been that neither were native English speakers.) They subscribed so that we kids might get a broader outlook. Same reason they bought a set of encyclopedias which, as far as I know, my parents never cracked. In my current house books are a problem… they are everywhere in disorganized piles and the bookshelves are overflowing. My parents never had that problem. The house always looked neat. In part because of the absence of books.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
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  5. Turnip

    Turnip One Too Many

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    Neither, nor.

    Rock Hard monthly and weekend editions of our local newspaper since decades instead
     
  6. Fifty150

    Fifty150 One Too Many

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    I grew up on Kung Fu magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Playboy. It shaped my youth. Guided me to perfect a left hook, turn a wrench, wear cufflinks, and decorate my room with Patrick Nagel prints.

    I suppose if I grew up on Money magazine, Baron's, and The Wall Street Journal - I might have had a different childhood.

    The youth of today have YouTube & TikTok.




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  7. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Somehow I can’t see clutter in books, no matter how haphazardly stacked. Still, though, I acknowledge that visitors to my place just might.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
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  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I just tell people "that's not clutter, it's insulation."
     
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  9. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Before my cataract surgery last November such was my bachelor lair, hundreds of books, journals,
    law reviews, articles culled off the Net and stacked, strewn, spread all over. Then my sisters decided
    my apartment needed to be rid of all this clutter. I've always been the black sheep, no one in the clan understands me, or why I need hundreds of books around. The apartment is clean, spotless.
    And I cannot stand it now, so more book shopping to replace it all.
     
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  10. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    I have no interest in examining what dark psychological forces have me holding onto books (and old magazines and the like) my rational mind knows I’ll very likely never read again, which take up space that could be put to better(?) uses, books that have been a major PITA to move on the three occasions I’ve relocated over the past 15 years or so.

    It is my hope and expectation to move from our present home only when I become physically unable to remain. Or die. In which case I trust others will see to my removal in short order. I hope the old paper brings them some money.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  11. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    By the way, I see that old magazines are now selling for quite a bit more than I paid for mine.
     
  12. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    There are very few books that I read twice, yet it hurts me to get rid of them. In Vienna, I was on very good terms with the guy who ran the English language bookstore. When it came time to leave, I offered him the opportunity to take a large load of books from me at no cost. His eyes lit up, largely because I had bought many of those books from him in the first place. Shrug. Addiction takes many forms… and it kind of gave me the opportunity to “give back” to a city that I loved.
     
  13. Fifty150

    Fifty150 One Too Many

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    I've got all sorts of reading material that is worthless. Only value is to me. Paperback entertainment. Hardbound encyclopedias (which may have outdated information). Shop service manuals. Religious text. Text books from school. Biographies. Autobiographies. Coloring books. Cook books. Almanacs. Dictionaries. Home DIY guides on plumbing and electrical. True crime. Fiction. Non-fiction. Reference. Children's. Novels. Novelty. Mystery. The list could go on and on.

    Not 1 book I own has any real collector value, or resale value. I'd be lucky to hold a garage sale, and get a quarter per book. How did Jeff Bezos build an economic empire by selling books?

    No new acquisitions in the last 10 years. I download and accumulate information digitally.
     
  14. LostInTyme

    LostInTyme One of the Regulars

    I still love books. I still read books, albeit, not as frequently as I once did. I have a nice collection, probably numbering somewhere in the neighborhood of 300. About half are leather-bound classics from Franklin Library or Easton Press. I have the complete set of westerns in faux leather by Louis L'amour. I pick one up now and again and read it. They are all basically very similar stories, but rather easy reads and somewhat better than television offerings (at least USA big three network offerings). We like to watch BBC mystery series, but have seen most of them twice, so we've run out of good TV to watch. I've started to read the Fenimore Cooper (Deerslayer, Mohicans etc) but the descriptive sentences are so ponderous, almost paragraph in length, that I have to read each one at least twice before all the words begin to gel in my mind. (well, that was just an example of what I mean) In my youth, I could breeze through works such as these without any difficulty. Dickens, Homer, Shakespeare, most of the English poets presented no challenge for me. These days, I rather need simple language and even simpler plots to be able to keep my interest. Thank goodness for Stephen King and Hemingway. I can always fall back to those two and have a good read.
     
  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I consider my books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, and other such matter a working reference library generally superior to what I can find on the internet concerning the topics I read and write about. There's certainly more available on line than there was twenty years ago, but a sizable percentage of the stuff I need will very likely never be digitized. And even it if was, my eyes are never going to be any better than they are now, and will undoubtedly get worse -- and any hard-copy page will always be more legible to me than any internet scan...
     
  16. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Friends in the used bookselling biz, who were going great guns 25 years ago, have seen technologies and changing habits conspire against them. One friend who had three stores back then is down to one, and the other shut down his (and his woman friend’s) retail space quite some time ago and has been entirely online since.

    I’ve seen pop-up bookstores in suburban business parks selling books BY THE POUND! You’d be unfamiliar with almost all the titles on offer there, as would most everyone else, so if those books fail to sell and get pulped or sent to landfills it would be no great loss to posterity.

    Truth is, in this digital age, most material that might have found its way into print in earlier times is now entirely online. And that’s not so bad, really. Not in my, um, book, anyway. Fewer books to be sold by the pound someday, or relegated to the landfill.

    I recall one of the friends alluded to above saying maybe 20 years ago that he had no fear for his own financial future should digital technologies make physical books obsolete. “Real” books will become all the more collectible, he predicted. And he won’t live long enough to exhaust the supply.

    Maybe that friend’s prediction will pan out someday. But it appears that that day has yet to arrive.
     
  17. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    In the Era there were shops that sold books by the yard to interior decorators, stage-set designers, and like users. All those obscure textbooks, unwanted foreign-language books, and cheap disposable novels had to go somewhere. A lot of other discarded books found their way into the manufacture of new books -- cover boards might be stripped and reused, and pages shreedded for use in spine backings. Waste not, want not.
     
  18. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    We had subscriptions to both for a few years. My parents were news junkies. We also had subscriptions to Newsweek, The New Yorker, New York, National Geographic, and others, not to mention free-because-we-were-professionals subscriptions to several monthly photography magazines... My dad read three daily newspapers, and TV and radio news was on much of the time.

    And I still have an insane amount of books - 43 boxes when I moved two years ago! - and several tubs of magazines and comics too. The irony is, I'm too busy trying to keep up with movies/TV to read nowadays!

    Great ad slogan I recall: Look, The Magazine That's Bigger Than Life!
     
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  19. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    I can’t say I’m personally familiar, but I’m confident that interior decorators and window dressers and real-estate stagers and the like have their go-to sources for books.

    As to “staged” books …

    WTF is this current fashion of shelving books SPINES IN?

    A couple-three years ago covering books with brightly colored paper dust jackets and then shelving them by color had its moment. That, and this spines-in thing, screams “I don’t actually read books, they’re just here for decoration.”

    I acknowledge that I won’t likely ever again crack open most of my books, but I didn’t acquire a one of them without expecting to read it. (Not that I actually did read all of them. If I get several pages in and I find it doesn’t compel me to continue, I see no point in expending any more time with it.) And I do refer back to many of them, especially to anthologies and collections of essays and reference volumes. My shelving system is mine alone, but it makes sense to me and likely would to most who might take a few minutes to look it over. So I rarely have any trouble finding any particular book.
     
  20. LostInTyme

    LostInTyme One of the Regulars

    My books probably won't suffer that end. They look good on their shelves. (I may need to get an anti-shake attachment for my phone/camera, sorry about the rather unclear photos)

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