Dear Geist,

2 02 2014

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How inadequate you make me feel. I simply don’t GET you.

This morning I opened a free sample of your magazine, mailed to me with a pleading note to renew my subscription, offering a free tote bag if I took you on for three years. The magazine had tempting titles: “why I mastered ukulele”(a favourite instrument), “Helen Humphreys” ( a favourite author), “inferno, purgatorio, paradiso” (a favourite book).

Eyes flipped wide. What the heck, I thought, I’ll give it another look. Usually I find Geist impenetrable, hopelessly fond of literary jumping jacks and the ultra hipster feel of Vancouver on a hyper-caffeinated day. It thinks of itself as cool, above readers, unspeakably literate.

I find it tiresome.

The ukulele temptation was a poem of impossible inaccessibility. About flamenco dancing.

The Helen Humphreys review was oddly patronizing, which made me angry, but not strongly enough to feel the urge to care. I adore Helen’s writing, and I find even in her less engaging novels moments of pure transcendence. The final comment was cold: “made me want to comfort Helen. This too shall pass.” So glad you can recover quickly, reviewer, whoever you are.

The Dante article did remind me I wanted to read him, but the article was too full of masturbatory self-congratulation to be meaningful.

And then there was a whole page devoted to “I’ll-advised status updates”, an unfunny collection that surely to god we can find in too many places already. Ick. Grow up.

It all made me long for a good wallow through the much much better and less snottily pretentious New York Review of Books. Therein I learn things, I find new authors to stimulate my mind, I find actual thoughtful reviews about books and less about the writer of the review.

And that’s the thing, Geist. If you weren’t so enraptured with your own total coolness, I’d be tempted to subscribe. I like to support Canadian magazines, I regularly get and read the Walrus, Quill and Quire and such. But a gal only has so much free time for reading and I prefer to spend my time reading something of value.

So keep your tote bag. I will miss the maps of place names on a theme, though. Those are cute.

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