“What are you reading on paper that inspires you?” That was the question to a panel of inspirational writers and bloggers at Blogher Food a couple weeks ago. Good question. It got me thinking.
I’m going to be completely honest here. I get the New York Times on weekends (which I love) and I’m reading a couple good books at the moment, but the print publication that’s inspiring me the most these days is O Magazine. I wish I could say it was The New Yorker, The Economist or even TIME. But that would be a lie. (I take solace knowing that I didn’t answer People, In Touch or Life & Style.)
Though I love O Magazine, I’m not that interested in what type of jewelry best fits my peach-shaped face (I’ll never buy a pair of $300 earrings) or what Vitamin D can do for me, or even the luscious photography in the food section (though I did love the feature on cranberries). What I do love is that each issue highlights a different aspect of the joy and goodness of being a woman. The focus is always on being your best self and in showcasing women who are doing incredible things. I feel inspired when I read about women who change careers, take risks, start businesses or charities or who are the best in their field. It inspires me to hear about women who have overcome adversity, who go out on a limb, who can be honest about parenting and the tough stuff in life (there was a feature by a man in the October issue that brought me to tears as he talked about the strength and beauty of his wife during a traumatic miscarriage). Is it going too far to say that I close that magazine and feel proud?
I don’t want to hear about who has cellulite, who’s aging badly or whose career is in the dumps. I don’t care that so-and-so forgot to shave her armpits before a night out or who has a truly tragic fake tan. Cutting women down is not inspirational.
I understand that O doesn’t really tell me what’s happening in current events or teach me much about history, but it has inspired me to be a better me. And unless I have that in my life (at least right now), it’s not good enough to read “important” things I can spout off at cocktail parties.
So: “What are you reading on paper that inspires you?”
*Disclosure: I think it goes without saying that Oprah and her people don’t know that I exist. I wasn’t asked to write this piece, these are my own thoughts and opinions.
SMITH BITES says
Maggie, we are truly kindred spirits – I read O Magazine for the very same reasons. I’m always inspired to do more, be my best self, shake off the old crap in my life and embrace whatever comes my way. I find myself dreaming about starting a charity or at the very least, getting behind one I believe in; getting rid of all my worldly possessions and taking off to a third world country to teach, to share, to inspire others.
And every single month, O Magazine reminds me that I, me, Debra who lives in the middle of Indiana, I have to power to change someone’s life. That is inspiration at its best!
SMITH BITES says
And I JUST realized I’ve misspelled your name – MAGGY!
At nearly every foodie conference I attend someone poses that question to the panelists.”What are you currently reading?” It’s hilarious. I can see everyone start to scramble, their brains racing to come up with the most impressive answer.
If most of us are honest, we’re reading a lot fewer books and magazines than we used to–it’s certainly true for me–but I will admit the audience member’s question has subsequently impacted my behavior.
I had been reading Elizabeth George’s This Body of Death at a turtle’s pace the last few months, but on the five-hour flight home from the conference I managed to nearly finish the book. Without that question playing in the back of my mind I probably would have watched a movie or worked on my computer.
One other thing… I loved Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections a few year’s back and had been meaning to buy his new one. Michael Ruhlman’s response to the what-are-you-reading question reminded me to pick up Freedom the other day, and that’s my new book.
And since the conference I’ve gone back to reading a hard copy of the NY Times. Since I hear it’s not going to be around in paper form forever, I’m doing my part to keep it alive. Plus I love it.
Cookin' Canuck says
O is one of my favorite magazines, too. Whenever I read a few articles in it, I come away feeling as if I’ve nourished my soul.
I feel inspired by your blog and others. I love knowing there are women out there striving to do their best, doing what they love and are passionate about life. I am working on changing my life and I feel uplifted and encouraged by the many talented bloggers and authors out here on the “interwebs”. Thanks for the inspiration, I think I will go pick up a copy of “O”.
I too love reading O every month. It’s time where I can turn into myself and reflect. I always look forward to reading Martha Beck’s column. I’ve found her advice the most helpful in my everyday life struggles and helps give me a new prespective.
I keep all my back issues of O just like my grandmother did with National Geographic. I LOVE this magazine. I’m sure this post will bring all the O readers out of the closet. O never dumbs things down just because we are women. And the reading room section has the most diverse book reviews around (they even review books by men 🙂 )
PS Pam- I finished reading Freedom a few weeks ago, it is a feast to be read over many chilly nights……a great book.
sink girl says
i am reading michael polan’s “in defense of food” and it’s inspiring me to eat healthier and to be more cognizant of the implications of my food choices.
Torrie @ a place to share... says
Hands down one of best magazine that I’ve subscribed to and read…
And I am utterly excited to dig in to this new book (I can tell it’s going to be a good one.)…
On your recommendation, I headed straight to Amazon, read the review of Seven Pleasures and did an immediate 1-click. I’m already hooked. Thanks for sharing.
Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker says
I have actually never read O Magazine (shocking confession, I’m not a huge Oprah fan), but just reading what you wrote has inspired me to pick up a copy. Feeling good about being you and inspired to be a better you? Nothing better.
I just started reading Eat Pray Love last night and so far it has smacked me right in the face. In a good way. I totally identify with it and I think it’s going to be a wonderful read for me.
I haven’t read O Magazine in a while, but whenever I see it in the store (especially this most recent cover “What’s Your True Calling?”), I thank O for insprring me try to figure out who I am. I’ve been trying to figure out my calling for years, and I’m praying that I have finally found it. Not sure where it will lead me, but I now feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be.
Torrie @ a place to share... says
You are very welcome. It’s funny because your comment on Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, sent me to Amazon to do an immediate one-click as well! I look forward to reading this (and Freedom, in the future). Thanks!
It was so wonderful to read everyone’s comments here. Love the women who read our blog – we’re cut from the same cloth 🙂 — and we love the men too!
Jamie | My Baking Addiction says
Sometimes reading is one of those things in life that gets away from me. I find myself needing to put down the food related magazines and books for a good novel. I too enjoy O Magazine….along with People 😉
Yea, don’t get my wrong, Jamie. If People is in front of me at the nail salon, I’m gonna read it 😉 I just wouldn’t say it inspires me the way that amazing “O” does, haha.