Journal Of Tanzanian Meat Sciences
November 23, 2009 1:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for strange magazines to give as gift subscriptions. Ideas?

Ideally these magazines would be moderately-priced and worth reading as an insight into other fields, even if the reader has no deep interest in the topic. Trade journals and academic publications are fine. I'm not interested in magazines that are trying to be outrageous in and of themselves.
posted by benzenedream to Shopping (34 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
The Believer
posted by scarykarrey at 1:55 PM on November 23, 2009

I'm not sure if this fits the bill, but Cabinet Magazine is pretty interesting. Each issue takes on some theme (Dust, Insects, Laughter, Invented Languages), and includes essays, art, and literature on that theme. Kind of like This American Life but even more focused on the indie-llectual demographic. Plus it's got neat pictures.
posted by farishta at 1:59 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

American Coin Op
posted by pahool at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2009

The Wire is a great read and every other issue comes with a CD of new experimental music.
posted by balls at 2:05 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Concrete Construction
posted by flabdablet at 2:06 PM on November 23, 2009

The strangest niche mag I've ever read was Concrete monthly. Weirdly compelling articles about concrete technology. SEED is pretty good - more technical than popsci, less slogging though dense techno-stuff than SciAm, and less.. "bull-shitty" is about the term... than Wired.
posted by anti social order at 2:09 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Overland Journal for anyone who has a yearning to drive through third world countries. (via Cool Tools

The Gamecock for those interested in fighting chickens.

Full Cry for those interested in hunting with their dogs.
posted by cinemafiend at 2:09 PM on November 23, 2009

Hobby Farm Magazine is surprisingly interesting.
posted by handabear at 2:12 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

Gothic Lolita Bible Quarterly for the cos-player in you.
posted by Babblesort at 2:23 PM on November 23, 2009

ReadyMade Magazine for really cool DIY@home projects, with a focus on using reclaimed/recycled materials to make furniture and clothes. I just like to read it, and I keep every issue in case I ever actually get around to wanting to make something.
posted by lizbunny at 2:31 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fortean Times is genuinely weird and wonderful. It's a "monthly magazine of news, reviews and research on strange phenomena and experiences, curiosities, prodigies and portents."
posted by vickyverky at 2:45 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Juxtapoz has always been well-received when I've given it as a gift.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 2:49 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Crappie World!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:56 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cigar Afficianado.
posted by fixedgear at 4:35 PM on November 23, 2009

anti social order - Hilarous! That's exactly the type of magazine that I was thinking of - my father subscribed to Concrete and has boxes of the old back issues in his basement.
posted by benzenedream at 4:48 PM on November 23, 2009

Slightly geeky, maybe, but definitely one-of-a-kind: The Journal of Irreproducible Results.
posted by taramosalata at 5:01 PM on November 23, 2009

Neat idea. Buy one newsstand copy to give with the gift: it makes it more physical and immediate and "gift-like".
posted by rokusan at 5:11 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Funny, I used to get dozens of magazines each month at work (including Concrete, Concrete Construction and ReadyMade).

My all time favorites are The Fish Sniffer, Honey Hole and MeatingPlace. Although these appear to be devoted to NSFW topics, they actually cover bass fishing and red meat processing.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 5:12 PM on November 23, 2009

Also, see if your local library has a BPA directory of consumer and/or trade publications. Every publication with an audited circulation should be listed in the BPA guides.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 5:16 PM on November 23, 2009

Serial Killer Magazine - though I'm not sure if they offer subscriptions, you might only be able to get them one at a time.
posted by LolaGeek at 5:55 PM on November 23, 2009

The Chronicle of Higher Education strikes me as a publication that could be of interest to reasonably well-educated and well-read people outside of academia.
posted by drlith at 5:56 PM on November 23, 2009

I enjoy Spacing, even though I strongly dislike Toronto.
posted by bellbellbell at 6:32 PM on November 23, 2009

The Chronicle of Higher Education might be interesting for understanding the culture of academia, but I'm not sure I would consider it insightful.
posted by qmechanic at 6:46 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

How ironic that you have to get serial killer magazine one at a time.
posted by kenko at 7:23 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to send people the Anatomical Chart Company catalog. It's not a magazine, per se, but it has some entertaining "why would a doctor even need that" bits.
posted by honeybee413 at 9:40 PM on November 23, 2009

How about the Journal of Deviant Behaviour?

I saw it in a university library. Good for a chuckle.
posted by flutable at 1:32 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

I love Smithsonian, and it's only $12 for 12 issues. Art, science, history, culture; it's eclectic.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:31 AM on November 24, 2009

Smithsonian has been on a downhill slide for some time, sad to say. But it *ruled* in the 80s.

Guy who sits next to me, an IT worker who used to do phone lines, really likes a monthly about network cabling.

3M has a medical device division for which a friend's dad was a salesman. Their catalogs for brain saws and such were pretty chilling. No magazine that I know of, though.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:59 AM on November 24, 2009

Raw Vision ( is a visually stunning and often astonishing look at the world of outsider art. A good look at the fringes of culture around the world.
posted by cross_impact at 8:22 AM on November 24, 2009

The Annals of Improbable Research, to which I would love a gift subscription :)
posted by leapfrog at 9:37 AM on November 24, 2009

Mental Floss is good.
I look forward to Fortean Times each month.
I also like Reminisce--lots of old photographs and stories contributed by readers. Preservation is the monthly magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and that is good, too.
The Hobby Farm magazine is very interesting. Thumbs up on that.
posted by FergieBelle at 10:29 AM on November 24, 2009

In a recording studio where I used to work, there were always copies of Hearing Health Magazine laid about. I always thought "hearing health" was an improbably niche topic to have its own magazine.
posted by Demogorgon at 11:10 AM on November 24, 2009

There used to be a great magazine called Fishwrap, which was a magazine about magazines. Not sure if it's still around.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:25 PM on November 26, 2009

Lapham's Quarterly. Not necessarily strange, but often so, and always always excellent.
posted by Freen at 7:32 PM on November 29, 2009

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