Readers Digest

I saw the article on the front page
“Paddling Safety Article for Water Sports Foundation Gets Published in Reader’s Digest”
And it got me to thinking. I haven’t even seen a copy of Readers Digest since my grandmother passed away like 40 years ago, not even in a hospital waiting room or a dentist office or a supermarket checkout. I thought it went the way of the dodo years ago.
When I was a kid I only looked at them for the car ads and I think we only subscribed because after the grandparents read them, we saved them and made little Christmas trees out of them by folding each page and stapling the front and back cover together. Then we would spray paint and decorate them.
Anybody else have a Readers Digest memory?

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My parents subscribed. I thought some of the clips were funny, Like Life in the United States, or a title like that.
My HS English teacher called it Reader’s Pablum.

Don’t forget “laughter is the best medicine” , that was always funny, but I was like 9. We also had a shelf full of Reader Digest condensed books. I guess you just added water and you got the whole story.

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The publication definitely had wide distribution. You mentioned the waiting rooms. I read where the articles were condensed and designed to be read in that waiting room period of time. I guess the publication died, a victim of the cell phone and especially the smart phone.

Publication didn’t die. RD is still available…

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Reader’s Digest: Official Site to Subscribe & Find Great Reads (

Wow! Dang! That was a different world for sure.

Yes it was. No violence, no sex, positive stories and not the ceaseless babbling of every idiot with a keyboard.
How did we make it through those days?


My wife brought home 10 or so fairly recent issues of Reader’s Digest a while back that she found at a thrift store. Thinner than they used to be, but still the same excellent content.

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People probably read slower now.

A lot of authors took exception to how the Digest “condensed” their work. It was originally to be an enticement to buy the book. They would rather you download a sample on Amazon now , I suppose.
Magazines, be they Life or Newsweek or TV Guide were part of a time when we didn’t have the 25 hr news cycle and we only had 3 tv stations in a town. Simpler times. Sometimes it just feels like the curtain has been pulled too far back. We were all happier we were less informed.


Isn’t that strange. I once literally sat in a room with people texting other people in the room.

Reader’s Digest magazine had its place, but reading a condensed version of a book isn’t appealing. If a picture is worth a thousand words, its odd how The Heart of Darkness is 79 pages, while the movie Apocalypse Now based on an adaptation of the book was 2 hrs 33 minutes (a paddle across the Bay for me). The movie was only a snippet of the book, because a word has so many meanings. Condensing the book would be like watching the trailer for a movie.

I think that was the point back in the day. I was like a trailer for a book, but if you spoke to folks in my Grandparents generation, they were happy with the condensed version and considered themselves well read. Did you ever notice how many paperback books they had back in those days? They were thrifty and weren’t going to shell out two or three dollars for a hardcover bestseller.

That’s actually true. I think busy working, changing out storm windows, painting trim, hand tools to trim grass, ironing clothes . . . And we complain we have no tome to kayak.

The humor was good.

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Yes it was.