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Reader’s Digest. A Collector’s Choice.

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Like many, I loved Reader’s Digest. The love has continued, even after the magazine went out of print. Until then I had not found a magazine so consistent, balanced, family-oriented, uncontrollably humorous, witty, thrilling, all round, little and ever green. I think this is what happened. You thought you could write and found their offices. You walked in. They gave you a pen and paper. Write us something. We’ll be in the other room. Bring it over. If you hear us laughing, you’re hired.

How I discovered Reader’s Digest I can’t remember, but I was in primary school. It was too expensive to get a new one every month, but one didn’t have to. A ten year old Reader’s Digest is as fresh as any just out of print. It doesn’t matter whether you had read it. Newspaper vendors sold old copies and they moved. My friend’s father had a subscription. Whenever I went there on Sunday afternoons, that’s what I looked forward to carrying back home. It’s something I couldn’t put down.

The magazine and its sections. The story of the story is what they called Book Choice. It’d be on the cover page and in the features. I’d read this one last because it was the longest and often, the most spell binding. To today, I remember the story titled “Judy The War Dog.” It’s the story of a pointer who became a Japanese PoW in WWII, how she saved British PoWs and her amazing survival story. Judy died on 17 February 1950 and is buried in Nachingwea, Tanzania. The internet describes her thus;

Judy (1936 – 17 February 1950) was a ship’s dog on board HMS Gnat and HMS Grasshopper stationed on the Yangtze before and during World War II. She proved able to hear incoming aircraft, providing the crew with an early warning.

Then there was It Pays To Enrich Your Word Power where you guessed the meaning of words and checked your score at the back of the page. Life’s Like That had pieces of awkward but funny life moments. Like you trying to buy a small electric indoor fountain and asking the shop assistant about the possibilities of electrocution. Well, she replies. No one’s ever brought one back! There was All in a Day’s Work too. It was about those What moments at work; “I had to tell one of our patrons that she owed the library over $15 in fines. Among the late books was The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beating Debt.”

There was my favorite – Laughter, the Best Medicine. I’d always go to this page first; “Why are coins made out of metal? Because change is hard. What do you use to fix a broken tomato? Tomato paste. Whoever wrote this one should really catch up.”

It’s from Reader’s Digest that I read the story of Denzel Washington. How his mother had a hair dressing shop and one day as she worked on a client, the latter hysterically asked for a piece of paper. Denzel was in the shop a that time. The client wrote that he, Denzel, was going to be great. Undoubtedly, he today is. A favorite actor. After that, I’d fantasize the same happening to me. I actually just found a copy of RD with his story. Another story.

Reader’s Digest has a big impact on my English language learning, especially written. I learned suspense, new words, story plots and wrote better compositions in school. Above all I was guaranteed of entertainment and information whenever a copy came by, new and crisp or old and tattered. Like some people collect limited edition watches, vintage cars or stamps, I’ve started collecting old copies of this magazine. They’d be of great use to future generations, undoubtedly.

Here is Judy’s story: Judy The War Dog


Written by coldturkey

January 12, 2016 at 9:26 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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