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August 30, 2011 10:22 PM   Subscribe

What's the absolute best Chinese periodical around? (Wrinkle: 简体字.)

I recently moved from China back to America. I want to read some high-quality Chinese journalism as a way of keeping my Chinese up. I can read articles from the People's Daily online all day long, I guess, but I'd prefer to have longer, more challenging/interesting pieces to work through. (A Chinese "The Atlantic" or "New Yorker" are good reference points for what I'm looking for.)


1. I can't read traditional characters that well, so I'd prefer a publication in simplified. This rules out magazines from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and most overseas Chinese communities.

2. I think it would be cool to get it in paper form rather than only electronically, so availability in America is a plus.

I realize that only looking at publications from the PRC is a HUGE limitation, but I'd like to see what's out there before I bite the bullet and make an effort to read in traditional.

posted by jweed to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I find 《财经》 to be about the best of the weeklies; for a more Atlantic-like experience there's 《读书》, though must confess not read it much since the Wang Hui/Huang Ping days and it's supposed to have gone downhill a bit since.
posted by Abiezer at 1:12 AM on August 31, 2011

Best answer: Well, it's not Atlantic Monthly, but I bought 读者 in Philly's Chinatown, and I heard that they deliver internationally by mail. There were other publications in 简体字 in the Chinatown bookstore I fond, and if you are near New York or a large Chinatown you should be able to find bookstores with plenty of books and magazines in 简体字, as I believe the majority of recent immigrants from China are from the Mainland.
posted by bearette at 1:41 AM on August 31, 2011

Best answer: Not sure whether or not they're available overseas, but 三联生活周刊 and 万象 are both worth a look. You may also want to look into Singaporean publications: I don't know what sort of stuff is out there, but it should be in Simplified characters too.

The good news if you've already got a reading proficiency in Simplified characters is that it's nowhere near as hard to pick up a reading proficiency in Traditional characters as you think it will be. It'll be slow going at first, and you can expect to be stymied and annoyed by the Traditional forms of some common characters (让 <> 语, 給 -> 给, etc.) and turning the crank backwards will get easier and easier.

Another thing you might want to think about is combining Instapaper with a Kindle (or your e-reader of choice) as a way of reading longer pieces offline. There are plenty of blogs and forums out there generating interesting content, and it can be nice sometimes to snarf it onto your e-reader to peruse on your commute or whenever. And having adjustable font sizes may not be a literal life-saver, but it's kept me from having to bust out the reading glasses on plenty of occasions.
posted by bokane at 3:24 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great answers so far. Thanks!
posted by jweed at 11:36 AM on August 31, 2011

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