To Your Door
The City Reader offers the best in independently published magazines.
Whether it is on classic literature or traveling the world, you can expect the highest quality publications.
Selection changes according to availability of stock. Many of these are rare and hard to find,
so if something is calling to you, order it. Once an issue is gone, it's probably gone for good!
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Look for sale pricing on many back issues, marked at 25% off.
Limited copies available, so get them while they are still here!
These days, travel publications crowd the magazine racks, from monthly ‘stay here, do this’ glossies to annual or biannual tomes filled with stories on one destination. Lodestars falls into the latter category, but stands apart. Each hefty volume takes us to one country, and attempts to find the heart of the place. Written very much as classic travel memoir, they might go on a paddling trip, or walk a historic trail, or visit the culinary destinations that embody the terroir of the region. For each trip the authors, photographers and illustrators document the landscape, people and culture as personal experience, lovingly remembered. Lush and unexpected, this is armchair travel at its best. Don’t miss it! Triannual, UK, $21.00
Published by Kyoto Journal
If you are familiar with Kyoto Journal, or if you find small homes to be splendid, then you will be interested in this lovely little book. Compact but exquisite, it is filled with page after page of photos of the small, sometimes ramshackle and always emotive buildings tucked into the nooks and crannies of Kyoto. Volume one was funded through Kickstarter, and thoroughly sold out. This volume, photographed via iPhone on John Einarsen’s travels by bicycle through the side streets of Kyoto, is just as wonderful. Perfect. 2018, Japan, $16.50
Each issue of this journal of food and travel covers one place, spending time, doing research and interviewing whoever is influencing the food scene. Whether they are chefs, restaurateurs, bakers, or growers, the authors get inside, peeling back the layers of the region, showing the food community and its inhabitants from an insider’s perspective. Lovingly put together, with photos that are intimate and compelling, hefty paper and 150+ pages, including a list of restaurants etc. in the back, this is a keeper. Annual, US, $19.00
European Review of Culture
This literary publication out of Berlin is elegant, international and mesmerizing. Each issue contains a few pieces of fiction, literary essays, and a long piece of reportage, often of a personal story. You will also find some poetry, mainly in translation, and perhaps a photo montage or essay. The feel of this journal is of classic European literature, with a post-colonial, multicultural mix. And it is gorgeous: ivory paper, lovely font, quality printing and bound like a book, fit for a shelf. If you like Granta or Lapham’s Quarterly, this is for you. Fast becoming a personal favorite, and only found here. Don’t miss this beauty. Bi-Annual, Germany, in English, $20.00
This publication is a cool little package who’s target audience, astonishingly, is people who like books, book clubs and interesting people. And yet, also astonishingly, it is an entertaining and very hip publication for a modern reader. Divided into two sections, the front half is a long interview with one interesting person, and the back half is a long review/essay on one classic novel. The whole thing is a great package, in a small pamphlet-like format, with color and annotations and photos, and moves quickly through the content. No long, dusty sentences to bog you down, and at around 65 pages, it won’t feel like a chore to pick up and dive into. Published as a partnership between Penguin Books UK and the magazine Fantastic Man, it is an excellent, crisp addition to anyone’s magazine pile. Try it! Bi-annual, UK, $6.00
Cereal is a biannual journal of travel, art and design. Each volume explores a theme, from the perspective of design, art and landscape. Divided into three sections - morning, afternoon and evening - it is filled with interviews, visits to iconic or visually stunning locales, discussions on space and place, and spare, artful photos of objet d’art. Each hefty, 180 page issue has thick, matte gray and white pages lightly filled with images and words, and is the epitome of minimalist artistic journals. Published since 2011, Cereal is one of the original journals that sparked the resurgence of beautifully produced independent magazines, and is still one of the great influencers. Stunning. Bi-Annual, UK, $25.00
Documenting Cycling Journeys Around the World
Far Ride is a gorgeous, photo-heavy publication that takes us on cycling trips far and wide. Published from Seoul, Korea, with hefty, art-quality paper and an elegant layout, this one simply feels different. Trips could be on the back roads of Korea, across the open plains of East Asia, or into the unknown lands of Africa. Photo essays, long personal stories, and interviews with riders and dreamers keep us absorbed and intrigued from front cover to the final page. Small print runs and self-distribution make this one rare, so grab it while you can. Tri-Annual, South Korea, $23.00
Wild Sounds from Past Dimensions
Ugly Things is one of those obscure niche titles that exist in the world of magazines, and one of the great examples of how there really is a magazine for every taste. A music magazine for those that love the obscure, the lost and the forgotten, Ugly Things packs its 150-ish zine-like pages with the stories behind, and long interviews with, those musicians that have had a brief moment in the spotlight, and then moved on. Published since the early 80’s, it mostly covers the early decades of rock - garage, psychedelic, punk, surf, what-have-you - and mostly hunts down the rare, unknown, local or short-lived bands no one else covers. Pages and pages of album reviews, and ads for what seems like every small record store and music label in the country, complete the package, making this the perfect read for anyone who loves to hunt down forgotten gems. Tri-Annual (3x a year), US, $9.95
What it Means to Live Today
I am excited to carry this interesting little design criticism publication! This quarterly published out of London is most identifiable by its unique format. Designed with an extra fold, it resembles that folded New Yorker that has been stuffed in your bag for three weeks - but the resemblance ends there. The layout works with the fold, treating them like separate pages, with the columns and images divided between them. The articles within cover design, architecture and art criticism, along with a heavy dose of psychoanalysis on the human condition. Essays, interviews, commentary and opinion pieces, most longer in length, wrapped in a peculiar but inherently clever package. For fans of New York Review of Books, Jacobin or Macguffin. Take a look! Quarterly, UK, $14.00
Bright and exuberant, this bi-annual publication out of Brooklyn is a celebration of women and their place in the world of food. From chefs to start-up food entrepreneurs, cookbook authors to restaurant owners, famous or not-yet-famous, Cherry Bombe celebrates all these women and more. In each lengthy issue, you might find interviews with food icons, riffs on women making it in professional kitchens, or the story behind how a woman restaurateur got her start. Full of fun, without any fluff, it is one of the best of today’s modern independent publications. Bi-Annual, US, $20.00
DG is a quarterly news journal for folks seeking an alternative to the fake news/social media/24 hour news cycle we seem to be trapped in. The folks at DG use hindsight and reportage to track down a bunch of stories that mattered, and compile them into an awesome publication every three months. For each quarterly issue, they look at a few important stories from across our world, giving them some depth and perspective. With interviews, timelines, photography and amazingly colorful, entertaining and readable infographics, they show us our world with insight. One of my favorite publications, I consider it the best in modern independent publishing. Get hooked. Quarterly, UK, $20.00
Most dog and cat publications you see these days are those mainstream rags filled with cutesy pet photos and sales pitches for fancy foods and pet furniture. This is not that. Each issue of this stylish publication features one breed of dog, investigating the history and personality of the chosen subject. Then we take a trip to the locale that is the origination of the species, visiting the region and its dogs. You will also find a variety of essays by and about pet owners, the loves, losses and art of dogs and their humans, and short interviews of a collection of creative pet owners, and how their lives are enhanced by their dogs. Full of color, illustrations and excellent dog photos, this is a rare… wait for it… breed of pup mag.
Direct from the publisher, I have issue 4: the Pomeranian. Give it a try! Bi-Annual, UK, $18.00
Legendary Indie Nerd Bible
This long-established indie music mag - very zine-like - has been around for ages, off and on, sort of as a cult thing. Musically connected and locally made by a small group of women, it is packed with interviews and reviews of artists such as themselves - underground, independent-minded musicians doing it their way. And made right here in Portland! For this issue - possibly the last - they fulfilled a dream, to finally interview the mysterious musician Kendra Smith. If you are a fan of either, you should not miss this. 2018 edition, US, $12.00
By Chefs, For Chefs
Toothache is a peek inside the world of chefs and fine dining. Within the hefty covers you will find interviews by and of chefs of all stripes. Everyone from Michelin-starred restaurateurs to chocolatiers and pastry chefs, international and experimental - and recipes for some of their specialities. They talk of history and technique, culture and hardship, inspiration and the foods that inspire them. Recipes are fit for skilled cooks, with instructions and ingredients aimed at professionals. A solid 125 pages, with detailed and colorful photography, this should give inspiration to budding chefs and experienced foodies alike. Issue 3, Bi-annual, US, $20.00
The Human Side of Technology
What is Offscreen? This compact publication is the stories, inspirations and passions of people who create in the world of technology. Containing a nice blend of pieces, there are four long, in depth interviews that explore the thoughts and drives of the interviewee, short essays and quick interviews about some insight found in a techie’s life, a handful of projects to improve the lives of humans, a photo section showing tech workspaces across the world, and a smattering of gear. Short of tech-speak and long on inspiration and humanity, this tri-quarterly published out of Australia and printed in Berlin is international, engrossing, inspiring. One of the many small, self-distributed gems I carry, it is hard to find outside of a few tech hubs, so grab it while you can! 3x Annually, Australia, $20.00
Interiors / Art / Architecture / Travel
This modern, sophisticated design quarterly covers interiors, architecture, design and art. Published out of Hong Kong, and focusing on the countries of southeast Asia, the aesthetic found in these pages is alternatively classic, ornate colonial buildings, or spare and precise modern buildings in a lush, natural setting. Each issue visits several homes, hotels, cities and cultural destinations, with stunning photography of interiors, gardens and iconic buildings. They have product design spreads, interviews with architects and artists, and book reviews, all with a spare, Asian cosmopolitanism. Beautiful images, a hefty 200+ pages per issue, with nice thick paper and a clean, matte design add up to a gorgeous publication, not to be missed. Hong Kong, Quarterly, $11.99
For Creative Kids & Their Grownups
Stories, Comics, DIY
If you are the parent of, or shop for, creative, artsy, clever kids, you need this magazine! Lovingly done out of Oakland CA, every page is full to the brim of art, stories, comics, interviews and things to do for youngsters, or the young at heart. Aimed at the 6+ set, issues feature stories such as the quick history of something cool (think street lights or vermillion), interviews with authors and artists of kids books, brief bios of famous painters, a series called Literary Giants, book and music recommendations, and tons of activities - all fully, colorfully, wonderfully illustrated, of course! Published 3x annually, and completely ad-free, this is part of the wave of great indie mags being published these days for kids. Take a peek! 3x annually, US, $16.00
For the Creative and Curious
Uppercase is for those who like a bit of creativity in their lives. Each quarterly issue - which has a theme ranging from various fabric arts, to papercrafts, to color and patterns - is a compendium of creative artists and their wares. A riot of color and inspiration, these makers range from professional artists to hobbyists, collectors, curators and creators. There are interviews, collections of artists, design guides, tours of studios, and designers at work. Each issue is eagerly awaited. Whether you are seeking inspiration, aspiration, or beauty in craft, this is what you are looking for. Quarterly, Canada, $18.00
Creativity for the Young at Heart
This adorable, tiny publication by Uppercase is for those that love crafts and crafting, with a bent towards the young and young at heart. For kids and adults, this pocket sized publication is filled with hundreds of pages of crafts and artists who create. Everything is included, from paper to knitting, dolls - nesting and soft - to quilts, books to pencils, interspersed with interviews of adult artists and their kids. This is the first issue of Little U, but Janine VanGool, says it won’t be the last! Created with help from her son, Finley, and lots of contributors and friends, it is a pint-sized package that is as tasty as a pint of ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Take a peek! Occasional, Canada, $24.00
Beautiful back issues!
Fiery Fiction & Poetry Brought to Life with Visual Flair
Firewords is a petite quarterly of flash fiction and poetry, illustrated throughout. Flash is short, short stories, generally under 2000 words, and, when done well, thoroughly mesmerizing. Each issue of Firewords has a theme and the stories are all reader submitted. In the wrong hands that could equal amateurish content, but the editors have good taste, and I have found them to be entertaining, atmospheric and often humorous. Read it all in an hour, or pop it in your bag to grab quick bites in line at the store. Either way, much better than twitter!
I have two issues to choose from, 8 & 9.
A beautifully produced independent quarterly on vegan cooking and lifestyle. This issue includes an ode to CSAs, a visit to a refuge for neglected farm animals, tips for vegans when travelling, a discussion with five feminist food writers, and a host of delicious summer -or any- time recipes.
Issue 16, Summer 2015
An Urban Guide to the Middle East
Brownbook is fascinating! If published in this country, and of lesser quality, it might be categorized as a ‘general interest’ publication, but that certainly doesn’t do it justice. What it does cover is the culture of the Middle East. Interviews, design, history, fashion, stories - all that, without any politics. Published out of Dubai, UAE, it covers countries as diverse as Egypt, Iran, Libya, Algeria, Afghanistan and Turkey. These are places Americans tend to have generalizations about, but seldom see much beyond the news highlights. Brownbook humanizes this diverse region of our wide world, something we could all use a bit more of. Classy, beautifully designed, upscale and endlessly interesting, Brownbook is one of my favorites. Hard to find, but once you see it, you will be hooked! Bi-Monthly, UAE, in English, $16.00