We love magazines. Because we publish one, we don’t get to spend a lot of time writing about our peers. But our passion for magazines runs as deep as it does for music, movies, and yes, even beer.
All of our Best of the Decade lists are subjective, of course, but this one may be more colored by our interests than any of the rest. Because at some level, magazines are impossible to separate from their subjects, and the subjects covered by the now-defunct alt-country music magazine No Depression interest us much more so than those covered by, say, the also impressive Car and Driver. But a great magazine also transcends its subject matter, and these are 20 that we can wholeheartedly recommend.
So what are your favorites?
20. Interview (1969-present)
It was a simple idea back in 1969, but one that has aged well—capturing interesting people in conversation. Every fantasy dinner party that we’ve imagined has in part been recreated by Andy Warhol’s Interview. Josh Jackson
19. Vanity Fair (1913-present)
No other magazine covers both politics and fashion with a quality of writing or level of expertise as high as Vanity Fair. Kate Kiefer
18. The Word (2003-present)
We love iconic UK music magazines like Mojo and Uncut, but there’s a cleverness and freshness to young upstart The Word that nudges it ahead of its established competitors in our esteem. Josh Jackson
17. National Geographic (1888-present)
First published in 1888, National Geographic is still deserves the lauds for its extensive articles about geography and culture, high standards in photojournalism, map supplements and, of course, that iconic yellow border. Kate Kiefer
16. Utne Reader (1984-present)
This was the first magazine subscription I bought with my own money back in high school, and its ability to cull the most unexpected, interesting and engaging takes on any topics it chooses hasn’t waned since. Josh Jackson
15. Real Simple (2000-present)
This women’s-interest monthly is full of beautiful photos, inspiring features, recipes how-tos, lists and charts—all intended to help make your life easier, and presented with a subtle, clean design. Kate Kiefer
14. Mental Floss (2001-present)
Without becoming an outlandish tabloid on the newsstand, this witty magazine is full of headlines that read like fiction, but are 100% true. Mental Floss addresses the tid-bits that no one else seems to think about (like how do farmers produce 46 million turkeys for the one day of Thanksgiving?), and it aims to make you smarter, one bit of trivia at a time. Gage Henry
13. Jane (1997-2007)
This slightly irreverent magazine catered to hip, creative women with thoughtful cover features on celebrities like Kate Winslet and Drew Barrymore, clever anecdotes from the staff, realistic fashion and beauty coverage, and reviews of up-and-coming bands. Our flag flew at half-staff the day it closed its doors. Kate Kiefer
12. Dwell (2000-present)
This is not your mother’s shelter magazine. Making modern design and architecture accessible, we salute Dwell for devoting an entire issue to homes under 1,000 square feet. Josh Jackson
11. No Depression (1995-2008)
Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock gave a name to and rose a banner for alt.country, music with its roots in what we used to just call country before it became all shiny and plastic. Readers like us could rally around old country radio refugees like Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris and discover a whole new generation of Americana. Josh Jackson