I have subscribed to THE NEW YORKER since I was a teenager. I also subscribed to THE NEW REPUBLIC and a few teen magazines then. Over the years, there were times when we subscribed to 25 magazines. Phil liked cooking and gardening magazines as well as many scholarly ones. We got THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, THE ECONOMIST, THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS, ATLANTIC, HARPERS and many more. Now it is just the one.
The short stories used to be my favorite part of the magazine. That was back in the day when the stories tended to be by Updike, Cheever, Munro, Carver, Beatty, etc. Those were stories I understood even though I didn't come from that milieu.
Now I rarely read the stories because they puzzle me. For instance in 'Just a Little Fever" a young woman washes her hair in cherries, goes to work at the bank and becomes interested in a customer old enough to be her grandfather. It is a long story about their courtship, which never explains her attraction (or his) beyond a degree of comfort she experiences in his company. The story ends, many words later, with their breakup which appears to relieve her. The writing is fine, but shouldn't we understand by the end the point of the story. Is it enough just to offer a portrait of a relationship?
This is the knock on a lot of literary stories. That nothing happens. But in a good one, things do happen or you come to a greater understanding of the human condition. This offered none of that for me. Both characters were unknowable. Was that the point? Another thing: I am reading more and more novels and stories with a quirky central character . Or an autistic/aspergers character. When did we become to fascinated with this? Was it Sheldon on THE BIG BANG that started this trend. The other trend would be characters with dementia. Hardly a story goes by without a character with dementia.