Reader’s Digest: The All In One Magazine

Published January 1, 2012 by vishalvkale

My earliest memories of The Reader’s Digest date to Chennai, where my Dad was posted in 1976-1980. We used to get The Digest every month – and 1 copy among 3.5 readers was simply not enough. (3.5 readers? You dont expect me at age 7 -9 to be counted as a full reader by my family, do you? Come On! I gave you the date… ). I do not remember the articles, but I do remember that the arrival of the Digest was somewhat of an occasion, with Dad and Mom reading the book with full concentration. Afterwards, to my utter chagrin, my brother would also disappear behind it, only to emerge for dinner! 

My memories have nothing to with articles of the magazine – I remember the stacks of Digests which I would love to count and stack one on top of the other in 1976. Later on, I started reading the tail-pieces and some simple jokes etc, but most of the other stuff would still be beyond my comprehension. These would remain beyond my comprehension for a good many years, but I still remember the Digest, and the fun we had as a family….

That is possibly the best description of The Reader’s Digest that I can think of. It is a lovely magazine for the entire family, with its range of editorials and articles having something for everyone in the family. This is one magazine that no one in the family can dismiss as not being for me, such is the width of its coverage. The magazine – each issue is timeless and ageless, and can be read anytime and anywhere. I have even picked up second hand issues when I have spotted them. 

Most magazines have clear content and business focus. They are either business magazines, women magazines, sports etc – but The Digest is one that is truly a general magazine. The articles contained therein do not drive you to question, they do not leave you with a feeling of disgust or hopelessness or any negative feeling. It is not a publication that reports news, nor is the content analytical. It is simply a publication that ensures quality light content for its readers, and attempts to cover as many facets of society and human endeavor in the field of life as it can. Each issue is a collectors’ item in itself, and is a full package of entertainment.

There cannot be more than 25% local content in any edition of the magazine. That is, the Indian Edition can only have 25% Indian content in each issue. This simple check means that each issue of the publication exposes the readers to a veritable kaleidoscope of life and culture. Even the articles on tragedies are reported so well, covering experiences, the way victims have coped with the situation and life afterwards, that you end up getting a ray of hope. 

Then there are the pieces on people in trouble – usually in some natural calamity, marooned in the sea, or trapped somewhere. The blow – by – blow account of how these people – normal everyday citizens like you or me, coped with and won over all odds actually instill you with hope and confidence that life always offers a way out, you just have to keep fighting. There are regular features on technology, medicinal advances, health issues, the problems in the daily life of the people living on the edges (like tribals) – the list is endless. I could go on and on…

But perhaps the hallmark of the Digest is the content on what I would call normal people – mothers on motherhood; interviews with people like Michael Johnson, Nelson Mandela etc; stories of everyday people who became heroes with simple deeds; nutrition / health / psychological tips; articles on children & teenagers; Book Sections; practical tips tricks and ideas; self improvement; financial probity – this is what converts each issue into a collectors item. You cannot pin down the magazine in any way – each issue will have different but quality content which makes it a pleasure to read

Then there are the titbits and jokes of real life contained in Life’s Like That; Armed Forces Real Incidents in Humour in Uniform; College jokes in College Rags; Workplace titbits in All in a Day’s Work… ending up with the fillers aftter each article. These fillers can be anything – one line jokes, quotes, misprints in news, funny signs, real thought provoking incidents et al. What more could you want? 

 A Quality Publication that provides light reading for the whole family – that is Reader’s Digest!

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