Unconventional reading

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com/chaplain).

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

How do you read a magazine? It occurred to me that I read them backwards, or as a traditional prayer book, from right to left. In fact, I read newspapers in the same fashion. I begin in the back with the editorials and work forward. I realize there is a constant back and forth motion as most articles are continued on inside pages.

During this year I had an excess of magazines delivered to the house. Who can say “no” to a young student or neighbor asking me to sign up for a subscription in order to raise money for school, sports and scouts? With the ease of a colorful bag and tissue paper, who needs wrapping paper anymore?!

When reading Vanity Fair, I start with the interview. (I always imagine my answers to the questions. “Most admirable quality in a friend” (loyalty). “Happiest moment”  (When in a state of inner peace). Runner’s World also ends with an interview although not as emotionally in depths.

Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Town and Country are a visual delight. The glossy pages, even the advertisements, make me smile. The colors dance off the pages. What I deem the really good interviews are towards the back of the magazines. Reading from right to left allows me quicker access to the “real” stories of interest.

So perhaps this explains why I never complete a book without skipping ahead at some point to read the last few pages? Really. But it still doesn’t explain my not-so-secret desire to become an obituary writer for the New York Times. Next blog. Maybe.