I’m often asked what kinds of newspapers and magazines I read on a regular basis. I do read a lot of periodicals, so this list certainly isn’t exhaustive or definitive. But here’s a good group of periodicals that I read regularly and come back to.
The Most Important Papers
The most important newspapers I read are The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Every morning, usually after my private Bible reading, I’ll open up these papers on my iPad and read. The exception to this is that I usually read The Wall Street Jounal on Saturday in physical print form. There’s a simple reason for that: The Saturday print edition of the WSJ is very rich. I especially enjoy the columns from Peggy Noonan, the “Review” section (book reviews and recommendations), and the “Off Duty” section (culture and travel). I do the same thing with the Sunday print edition of The New York Times, which has my friend Ross Douthat’s column.
I read First Things magazine usually from cover to cover every month. Back when Richard John Neuhaus was editing the magazine, I would immediately turn to the back of the issue to read his “While We’re At It” column. It was entertaining, brilliant and frequently on point. Now I usually turn right to the front and read Rusty Reno’s editorial. I especially appreciate his focus on family issues and how the moral transformations of culture are felt much more keenly by the poor than by the elite.
Also every month I read Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, for which I serve as a senior editor. Touchstone is a collection of evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians writing from our various perspectives on literature, biblical studies, culture, and much more. Patrick Henry Reardon’s biblical study at the end of every issue is something I look forward to every month, as is Ken Myers’s column, usually on cultural issues and frequently on music.
I always read Christianity Today (the magazine founded by Billy Graham and Carl F. Henry). I enjoy writers like Katelyn Beatty, Andy Crouch, and several others. One section I particularly enjoy is the roundtable debate the magazine will occasionally host. I also really enjoy the testimonies toward the end of the issue about how someone came to know Christ. Even if there are occasionally some things in the testimonies that I wouldn’t say quite that way, the majority of them are uplifting and encouraging.
World Magazine is another magazine I subscribe to. I really am amazed at the quality publication that World puts out biweekly without an enormous staff of journalists and editors. There’s a lot of content in each issue, like movie reviews, book reviews, interviews and columns. Marvin Olasky, the editor in chief, has a column in every issue that is always excellent.
I also read Plough Quarterly, a publication similar to First Things that is run by a group of Anabaptist editors. It’s a very well done magazine and includes a wide ranger of writers, from N.T. Wright to Nicholas Wolsterstorff to many others. They cover issues like abortion, family issues, war, and many other topics.
Here are some other magazines that I read regularly:
Comment Magazine: A magazine edited by professor James K.A. Smith. Good cultural commentary.
The Atlantic: There’s a lot in here that I don’t agree with, but it’s a high quality publication that is a good conversation partner. I particularly enjoy when the magazine sends out questions to groups of thinkers and historians that are interesting and informative.
Harper’s: Similar in style and content to The Atlantic, though I don’t enjoy it as much. Harper’s Index is particularly interesting to me.
The New Yorker: I don’t read this magazine cover to cover. Rather I skim and try to find the essays that are interesting to me. The short book notices and the cartoons are always good.
National Review: I’ll usually read this one completely on my iPad. It’s a conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley. I won’t agree with everything the magazine says, especially when it comes to race, but I do find it helpful and interesting. I especially enjoy the movie reviews by Ross Douthat.
Weekly Standard: Lots of cultural and political analysis in this magazine, edited by Bill Kristol. The “Book Issue” that comes out around July is especially valuable.
The American Conservative: This one comes out less often than many of these other magazines. Wouldn’t necessarily consider myself belonging to their specific ideological camp, but Rod Dreher’s blog is very good and there are other thoughtful pieces as well.
The Week: Initially not a magazine I thought I’d enjoy, but I do. It’s more of a collection of smaller-sized constellations of news and opinion. I especially like the book and movie recommendations.
The New Atlantis: A magazine published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, focus on the intersection of technology, culture, and ethics. Many interesting articles, from cloning to the effect of Facebook on humans.
In addition to magazines, I regularly read several literary periodicals. My favorite is probably The New York Review of Books. The main reason I subscribe are the ads. In most places the ads are a price we pay for content, but in this publication I relish the ads and almost always look up books I find mentioned there.
I read every issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education when I was serving as a dean. I still read it, but I tend to skim and find the topics and articles that particularly appeal to me. The most important part of this publication for me is The Chronicle Review, which has its list of new books at the end.
Another periodical I enjoy is Books and Culture. It’s a Christian look at books and literary topics, published by Christianity Today. Every issue has beautiful and brilliant essays and I frequently will pursue their recommendations.
What are some of your favorite magazines and periodicals? Let me know on my contact page.