Ladies’ Home Journal

The Meredith Corporation announced that Ladies’ Home Journal will soon no longer be available as a subscription publication.  In July the final issue will be sent to subscribers.  The LHJ will then be available only at newsstands and on the web.  It will go from a magazine that was published 10 times a year to a quarterly publication.

The magazine was first published in 1883 and was one of the “seven sisters” of women’s magazines.  All but one of these publications, McCall’s, is still standing.  The Meredith Corporation cited declining ad revenues and tough competition for ad dollars from other women’s magazines as the reasons for their decision.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid # 9

The next Wimpy Kid title is # 9: The Long Haul, and is available to order. However, the release date is not until November 4, 2014. The series has 58 million copies in print worldwide as of 2010, 3 movies have been made, and Kinney was named one of  Time Magazine’s 100 “Most Influential People” in the world in 2009. Not bad for a kid’s book author who uses simple stick figure illustrations!

“Treasure Hunt”

Having just finished Donna Leon’s newest  Commissario Brunetti mystery set in Venice, I decided to stay in Italy ( I wish)  and read a recent Andrea Camilleri mystery.  To say that both of these mystery series are set in Italy is geographically true but culturally they are world’s apart.

Inspector Montalbano is the chief of a police force in a fictional Sicilian town.  Unlike Brunetti he is single and lives alone.  His girlfriend lives in northern Italy, and although they phone each other every day, they are seldom together.  Like Brunetti, Montalbano loves food.  Both Leon and Camilleri describe in detail the meals that each of these men eat.

Culturally the people who live in Venice and those that live in Sicily are very different.  Even the Italian they speak is different.  There is also a big class divide.

Montalbano is a very hands on kind of chief.  After he and his men apprehend two religious fanatics in a raid that is televised on Italian national TV, he is involved in a bizarre mystery involving a series of clues that result in a “Treasure Hunt.”

How about never…is never good for you?

This book by Robert Mankoff is all about New Yorker cartoons. He is the current cartoon editor and tells how he got into the cartooning business and shows the process of cartoon creation and how they are chosen for the magazine (the number of submissions is incredible).

He points out the different styles used, how each cartoonist has a signature emphasis, some strong on art, some on captions, etc.  The philosophy of what to publish has gotten a little edgier over the years. He has a nice section about the cartoons people don’t “get” that I liked.

Mr. Mankoff also started a cartoon bank where people can shop for cartoons. This is a great way for cartoonists to have their work viewed and hopefully chosen for publication.

“Me Before You”

What would happen if you happened to be highly successful in business, wealthy, a world traveller, and a very athletic individual, but suddenly found yourself a quadriplegic housed in a wheelchair for the rest of your life? Is life still worth living? This question forms the basic theme of this novel by Jojo Moyes. Will Traynor is the afore-mentioned character, and if it were up to him, his answer would be no. However, his mother is determined for Will to have as “normal” a life as possible, under the tragic circumstances (he was struck by a motorcycle while crossing the street). She hires one Louisa Clark, aka Lou, as a caregiver for Will to feed him, and generally keep an eye on him. Lou has just lost her job as a waitress in a coffee shop, lives with her parents, sister and nephew, and is desperate for work to support her family. As their story unfolds, and the relationship builds between Lou and Will, it will touch your heart. I don’t want to give anything away, but there were definitely tears involved. Read at your own risk!