It’s easy in this business to read too much journalism at the expense of books. Every morning I go through the New York Times (faster and more selectively with each week that passes), the (London) Daily Telegraph, and Le Figaro (it has some strong conservative writers, like Luc Ferry, and interesting essays and well-done interviews in the Sélection Premium department), and look into Il Messaggero. The Guardian is fun to make up for myself, and then follow up to see whether the editors and writers exceeded the idiocy I had imagined for them. Each month I read nearly all of First Things, which does the best job of any magazine I know, save Catholica, of integrating religious issues with social and political ones, and every two weeks The New York Review of Books: so obsessed with Donald Trump that it has forgotten what matters most in life, which is good books. I use it mainly now to keep abreast of what the publishers are up to. I read right through The Spectator every week (or almost), enjoying especially Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes for the elegant prose and the balance and reserve of its observations, the bracingly right-wing and occasionally outrageous (though not by my standard) Rod Liddle, Freddy Gray’s articles, and—of course—Taki’s High Life column, which I think of as the shadow column to Under the Black Flag. The Spectator is conservative but not right-wing, sprightly, and sophisticated; I have been disconcerted on occasion by its casual view of sexual morality and its verbal explicitness. Weekly, I check the left-of-center New Statesman, which occasionally prints some good essays, many of them by John Gray. The Salisbury Review is sent me quarterly, and I do appreciate that. Several times a year a copy of the aforementioned Catholica, the admirably rightist French magazine published in Paris, reaches me in Wyoming. Claude Polin wrote regularly for it before he became too ill to do so, which gives you some idea of its intellectual distinction, rigor, and courage.
Having read all of this, plus Chronicles in mss. and galleys, I have no time for websites. Steve Bannon is right: The best writers want to appear in print, which is where they deserve to be read. My activity online is restricted to checking news headlines, weather forecasts, road conditions, simple facts, and the bridge videocam aboard Queen Mary 2 when I feel the irresistible urge to run away to sea again. It is all too much, and I am taking far too long with Alistair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace: an excruciatingly detailed history I am making slow progress with, while loving every page of it.
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