Hip members of the Mercantile – which is to say anyone with a current subscription – know that the Library was a Third Place 172 years before the idea of a lovingly adopted Someplace Other Than Home or Workplace got its new shorter – hipper, actually – name. One of the crucial underpinnings of our particular Thirdness is our serious investment in magazines. We know that a couple of hours wallowing in the particular combination of twenty foot ceilings, maple floors, leather cushions, and a magazine one would not think of subscribing to for oneself, is very very hard to beat. The current champ in the Breathtakingly Expensive Magazine category, a title once held by Country Life, is Monocle. It’s thick, it’s glossy, it’s crammed with advertisements for things one has never heard of but which cause one immediate unhappiness for their being not only not unaffordable but for being available only in cities one has never heard of, such as Hilversum. To ease the sorrows and headaches caused by too much time spent in Monocle, we always advise picking up Dwell, which is much more domestic and somewhat more reasonable. And if that doesn’t work, we’ve just signed on with plain-talking This Old House.
We continue to subscribe to the newsweeklies, but we have to say that they are thoroughly confused these days. Stick with the consumer porn is our advice.