Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Issues: The nice little neighborhood magazine shop that feeds our hungry minds

Feeding hungry minds
It's encouraging to know that despite an increasing reliance of the Internet as a source for news and information, a medium that some predicted would cause the demise of magazines, our affinity with the printed word still exists.

No Kindles or iPads for us ~ yet.

We subscribe to two weeklies, The New Yorker and The Economist, and also to the Southern lit quarterly Oxford American.  Also, I like to read Monocle, a monthly published in London, and my wife enjoys reading Interweave Knits and other knitting magazines, too.

However, in our hectic, 24/7 instant information culture fed by Facebook, Twitter and all things Internet, it's a constant challenge for me to make quality time for reading magazines. Still, I find it important ~ not to mention relevant ~ and the opportunity to fit in 20-30 minutes of periodical reading while peddling a stationary bike is one of the things that stimulates me into regularly going to our local fitness center. Exercise for body and mind.

A nice little neighborhood
magazine shop
Fortunately, Issues, a nice little neighborhood magazine shop that's about a 10-minute drive from our house in Oakland, exists to feed my hungry mind.  While the shop is the size of your average living room, it's roomy enough to house 3,000 foreign and domestic magazine and journal titles on its shelves ~ everything from Dwell, Oprah and Lapham's Quarterly to Gastronomica, Living etc and Paris Vogue.  It carries an impressive selection of food, design, business and foreign affairs periodicals.  Earlier this summer, it was the place to find a variety of titles devoted to World Cup soccer and the Tour de France cycling race.  Also, Issues sells an assortment of local (San Francisco Chronicle), national (New York Times) and international newspapers (Guardian Weekly and Irish Times), artsy greeting cards, selected second-hand books and vinyl, too. 

The friendly and knowledgeable owners, Noella Teele and Joe Colley, left their jobs as record store managers to open Issues in June 2007, and, earlier this summer, the store celebrated its third birthday with a lively in-store bash.  Located just off trendy Piedmont Ave. (20 Glen Ave., Oakland), Issues sits a few doors down from a very popular Peet's Coffee and Tea, so it receives lots of foot traffic.  While their Facebook page has over 800 fans, their bricks-and-mortar store attracts a loyal and devoted clientele ~ reviews on the website yelp.com sing high praises for Issues ~ and it gives back to the community, too. Recently, Issues hosted the East Bay Vegan Bakesale, which raised funds for the Berkeley Humane Society and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland.

Window display at Issues:
Full of eclectic titles
I enjoy visiting Issues once or twice a month to peruse new and eclectic titles and, sometimes, just to absorb the colorful atmosphere.  There's always great music playing in the background that makes you feel welcome and makes stopping in a pleasant experience.  It's where I can always locate one of my favorite but hard-to-find periodicals, Monocle, a magazine devoted to global affairs, business, culture and design, as well as Paste, a music periodical.

Issues: A colorful atmosphere,
a pleasant experience
Recently, I engaged in a lively albeit brief conversation about my opinion of Monocle with another Issues customer while I waited to purchase the July/August issue. Noella and Joe joined in the discussion at the cash register ~ for a few fleeting moments we had become a micro-community of Monocle enthusiasts ~ and, as I exited Issues, it left me with a wonderful impression of the nice little neighborhood magazine shop that feeds other hungry minds, too.

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