Childhood Memories Friday: Reader’s Digest

Childhood Memories FridayI remember childhood visits to my grandparents’. There usually wasn’t a whole lot for me to do there, so my default was to read. Often my first stop would be to the dining room, where I could find all the letters my mom wrote to my grandma each week. I’d read those, to find out the “real scoop” on what was going on in life. But it didn’t take to long to go through them.

My next stop would be the living room, where there were often quite a few magazines. I specifically remember Reader’s Digest.

Reader's Digest vintage

I enjoyed so many issues of Reader’s Digest over the years. Is it still around? Don’t know, because I never see them anymore, but at the time they were a staple of life, at least at my grandparents’.

I enjoyed all the short features: Humor in Uniform — Life in these United States — All in a Day’s Work. I learned a lot of words through the vocabulary feature. Then it was on to the “Adventure in Real Life” for the month — often a harrowing tale of an emergency rescue. And, once I was warmed up, the end of the magazine always included a condensed book. Sometimes these didn’t interest me, but I recall reading lengthy narratives about various body parts and health issues, along with more tales of life-or-death.

All this was packed in the pages of a small magazine (maybe about 5″x8″), with its signature index on the cover (what a good idea; it is frustrating to me to pick up many magazines now and have to flip through a dozen or more pages of ads before reaching the index).

I suppose I wasn’t the only fan of the condensed books, as Reader’s Digest published groups of them in their Reader’s Digest Condensed Books anthologies, of which there are many, many. Any home of the 1970s worth its salt had a shelf or two of these ;).

What about you? Did you read Reader’s Digest? Or maybe you still do? Any memories?

3 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Reader’s Digest

  1. Decades ago I used some gift money to buy a nice set of Christmas records sold by Reader’s Digest. I know you listened to them countless times. We all did. Maybe we will play them again this Christmas. Also I really wanted the book of Christmas music put out by Reader’s Digest. I was lucky enough to find one at a neighbors’ yard sale some years ago and they GAVE it to me! Those two items made me far far happier than any Reader’s Digest magazine ever did. Even though in the last year or two I’ve made a stab at reading, reading is just really not my strong card. This summer I’ve hardly touched a book and yet I am accomplishing some marvelous feats!

  2. I have always enjoyed their magazine, but was not too much of a fan of their condensed books. I must say, I don’t remember a time when your grandparents subscribed to the magazine, but maybe it was while I was gone.

  3. I have read Reader’s Digest off and on over the years, but not so much anymore. In fact, we no longer subscribe to it for lack of reading time.
    My favorite section was always the vocabulary quiz. Julie loves RD because of the short stories and various cartoon segments, so I still give her a gift subscription every Christmas and probably always will. She expects it, and I would hate to disappoint her! I also subscribe to Good Housekeeping for her.

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