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!
Thank you for visiting The City Reader!
A Modern Sense of Place
Each theme-driven issue of The Common explores the culture of place in our modern times. Each compact, lovely issue is filled with stories and essays, a bit of art, and a smattering of poetry. Often in translation, they take place in the curious, unusual or interesting places of our world, revealing the nuances found there, and what makes our world the diverse, complex and exhilarating riot of cultures it is. Published out of Amherst College twice a year, in a tactile and mesmerizing package, I await the next issue eagerly. Bi-Annual, $14.00
Short Stories / Flash Fiction / Poetry
The Illustrated Magazine of New Writing
Popshot has gone quarterly! If you have encountered this little package of wonder before, prepare to be twice as engrossed! Popshot is what's often called flash fiction - super short stories, often only a few pages long. And yet... It is so much more. Emotional. Descriptive. Fantastical. Powerful. And fully illustrated. Writing excellent short stories is a craft, but to create super-short but fully formed stories, that is a special talent. This publication seeks out new writers with that talent, and gives them a moment to shine. The illustrations that accompany the stories give this small package it's particular beauty, making it one of my most anticipated arrivals. Don't miss it. Quarterly, UK, $12.75
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
We Are Adventurers
Overland Journal is for those that love to travel, or dream of traveling by offroad vehicle through the rugged, rutted, muddy, uncivilized parts of our world. With 4-wheel drive, perhaps a trailer, and a kit of gear you can go anywhere you want - jungles, desert, mountains - whenever you want. The folks at Overland do just that. Their travels take them to remote places, and they take us along - vicariously, of course! Full of stories, photos, long treks through some awesome places, and tons of gear reviews - which they proudly stand behind after extensive use - this is for those who love their off road vehicles, and dream of the next adventure. Quarterly, plus and annual Gear Guide. US, $12.00
A Journal of Travel + Design
This elegant and hefty publication takes us on a design tour of one locale. From the architecture and objects, to the parks and museums, and most importantly its people, we get a feel for the culture through its creativity, colors, buildings and artists. Each issue tops out at over 200 pages, with thick paper, interesting inserts and packed with excellent photography and color, color, color. One of the new breed of travel journals, each unique to its creator. This one is arresting, full of design, and not to be missed. Bi-Annual, US, $20.00
Expand your Mind, Refine your Wardrobe
Are YOU Chap? This publication is so cool! A small indie out of the UK, it celebrates those who appreciate the timeless, classic qualities of a fine linen three-piece suit, mustache wax, and tweed. If you tend toward trousers and fedoras, always hold the door for a lady, and wouldn’t consider wearing plimsolls except on the tennis court or cricket field, you are, most definitely, Chap. Filled with gents - and ladies - who are chap, but also interviews, columns - don’t miss The Butler - and essays on the people and places that comprise the history of classic British panache, this publication is thoroughly entertaining. A rare find on this side of the Pond, yet fits quite nicely into our quirky Portland style. Don’t miss it! Quarterly, UK, $10.00
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
Insights from Asia
I am honored and thrilled to be able to offer this publication. Kyoto Journal is celebrating 30 years of publication, but after some years as digital-only, it has recently come back as a print publication. And I have to say, this must be experienced in print! Kyoto is at the center of a story that illuminates the ancient culture of Japan and its region, which includes Korea and China. Whether it is on traditional craftsmen maintaining a centuries old tradition, a travel diary from the Meiji era, or an essay on a particular aspect of life in modern Kyoto, each piece is elegant, timeless and meticulously crafted, each issue a complete package. This is something to keep and treasure, something you will go back to time and again. Rare in the US, so don’t miss it! Quarterly, Japan, in English, $16.50
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
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
A Magazine That Takes its Time
Celebrating Creativity, Imperfection and Life’s Little Pleasures
Each issue of Flow is a happy, colorful, creative, wonderful package of fun. Full of things to do and to ponder, it has interviews with makers and artists, ideas for creativity and simplifying your life, and always contains a little activity booklet or two within its pages, filled with projects to keep you creative and thoughtful. Published in The Netherlands, and a hefty 130+ pages per issue, this is well worth your investigation. If you are a fan of Uppercase or Taproot, you shouldn’t miss this one - you will get hooked! Bi-Monthly, The Netherlands (International edition in English), $24.99
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
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
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
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
Beautiful back issues!
Stories of Modern Business
Courier is a magazine for people making their way in today’s modern, entrepreneurial, startup and gig economy. Stories cover everything from how to upscale and how to fail, to the affordability of coworking space, to successful management of small teams, to financing your startup. Short pithy insights from successful entrepreneurs, long pieces on modern business success stories, and lots of advice, insight and interesting tidbits fill each 150+ page issue. From tech to retail, manufacturing to services, whatever your gig, there is something in here that speaks to your chosen path. Great stuff, totally unstuffy. Take a look! Bi-monthly, UK, $9.00
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
A Sideways Look at Cycling
This is, as the Boneshaker crew puts it, a reminder that cycling is so much more than a sport. This is a compendium of stories about people living what I’m gonna call a bicycle-positive life. Stories inside have included pedalling across the remote regions of our wild world with a child in tow, and on local people using bicycles in foreign (to us) lands such as Lesotho and Bangladesh. Essays on the magic of building your own bike, and on the existential question of whether or not to use electronic gadgets. Cargo bike-using businesses, the sadness of abandoned cycles on city streets, an all-women-of-color bicycling club in LA. As with so many of the great little indies out there, the team behind this is small: most stories are by riders/readers, they come out infrequently, yet it is a small, glorious package each time. Sadly, this will be the last print issue of Boneshaker, so get it while you still can! Issue 20, UK, $12.00
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