Magazines and book pairings

Recommended Reads

8 book recommendations based on your favorite magazines


Mar 28, 2024

Did you know that many libraries offer thousands of magazines through the Libby app? With titles such as Vogue, Rolling Stone, Outside, or Runner’s World, there’s a little something for everyone. Relive the nostalgia of sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room and dive into the newest digital edition of Highlights to solve the spot-and-find over your morning cup of coffee. Or live vicariously through a National Geographic photographer and daydream while staring at the amazing nature photo from Japan on the second monitor in your cubicle. Whatever your escape, Libby’s got you covered.

“But what if I want to learn even more about what that photographer went through to get the shot?” you may ask yourself. Glad you asked! Here are eight of the most popular magazines and recommended reads to pair with them after you’ve finished flipping through. And who knows, maybe you’ll take the rest of the afternoon off after finishing your Highlights spot-and-find to binge five Magic Tree House books in a blanket fort.

Outside - Into Thin Air

Like Outside magazine?
Read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

To kick us off, this is my personal favorite. First published in 1977, Outside magazine is focused on all things outdoors. Published monthly, it features articles, how-to guides, photos, and anecdotes from various journalists involved in nature and sports from around the world. Famous contributors to the magazine include Sebastian Junger, Bruce Barcott, Tim Cahill, and perhaps most famously, Jon Krakauer. Jon would be hired by Outside magazine in 1996 to climb Mount Everest and document his experience for their magazine. Little did either of them know that this experience would be even more remarkable than any other Everest summit.

Known now as the “1996 Mount Everest disaster,” a total of 15 climbers would go on to die during a devastating snowstorm that caught them halfway down their descent from the summit. Jon documented his entire experience of the events that took place and published them later in Outside, eventually turning the article into a full-fledged novel. Into Thin Air is a harrowing tale that’s not for the faint of heart and is an incredible look into human perseverance and determination in the face of disaster. Ironically, the book actually inspired me to want to mountaineer myself! As a bonus, check out the Into Thin Air movie as well.

The New Yorker - Evicted

Like The New Yorker?
Read Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

First published in 1925, The New Yorker is notorious for its commitment to rigorous fact checking and copyediting. With a focus on journalism, social commentary, essays, fiction and nonfiction stories, and cartoons, this weekly magazine has plenty to offer readers. Although famous for its sense of humor and unique cartoons, it’s made a name for itself with serious fiction stories, essays, and critiques of current affairs. Famous writers and cartoonists that have made names for themselves at The New Yorker include Truman Capote, Liza Donnelly, Shirley Jackson (famously for “The Lottery”), Roald Dahl, Haruki Murakami, Stephen King, and Art Spiegelman.

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, Desmond spent over a year conducting fieldwork to compile data for the novel. Set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the 2007-2008 financial crash and the immediate aftermath, the book documents eight families struggling to afford rent and at risk of being evicted. This book sheds light on the systemic issues that fuel poverty and homelessness, providing not only a deeper look at a broken system, but an empathetic glimpse into the very people experiencing the frustrations firsthand. Winning numerous awards and featured on several must-read lists, Evicted is a top choice for anyone looking to learn more about how past housing collapses can influence modern thought and policy. Readers of The New Yorker will appreciate the commitment to in-depth reporting, detailed examination of a complex topic, and the ethnographic research that went into the novel.

Vogue - Devil Wears Prada

Like Vogue?
Read The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Vogue magazine stands as a beacon of high culture, showcasing the latest trends in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Known for its high-glitz editorials, Vogue attracts readers with its stunning photography and in-depth coverage of luxury brands and designers. From exclusive interviews with industry icons to insider tips on style and fashion, Vogue provides a behind-the-scenes dive into all the latest trends.

Weisberger immerses readers in the cutthroat world of high-fashion publishing through the eyes of aspiring journalist Andrea Sachs. Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the strict editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, Andrea quickly discovers the ruthless demands but glamorous appeal of the fashion industry. The Devil Wears Prada offers a fictionalized glimpse into what it might really feel like to work for Vogue.

Good Housekeeping - At Home

Like Good Housekeeping?
Read At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

Good Housekeeping provides readers with practical advice, inspiration, and tips for homemakers and families. Focusing on home and lifestyle topics, it offers a wide range of content including home organization, cooking recipes, parenting advice, health and wellness tips, and product reviews. Founded in 1885, the magazine has been providing housekeeping advice twice a month for over a century and shows no sign of slowing down. Notable contributors include Betty Friedan, J. D. Salinger, Virginia Woolf, and many others.

Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life offers readers a fascinating look through the history of the home, exploring the evolution of everyday objects and household customs. Bryson delves into the origins of various aspects of home life, including the development of architecture and interior design to the invention of household appliances. Through engaging anecdotes and historical insights, Bryson reveals the hidden stories behind the objects and spaces that shape our lives at home. At Home is a wonderfully written book that will keep readers intrigued—perhaps even diving into some items that would have appeared in Good Housekeeping over the last century!

National Geographic - Pest

Like National Geographic?
Read Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains by Bethany Brookshire

National Geographic magazine, first published in 1888 as a scholarly journal, is renowned for its beautiful photography and in-depth articles on geography, science, history, culture, and adventure. With over 280 million followers on Instagram, the magazine aims to inspire a new generation of explorers digitally. Through storytelling, Nat Geo transports readers to distant lands, introduces them to fascinating wildlife, and explores the wonders of the natural world through both beautiful photography and interesting narratives. More recently, they’ve been focusing on environmental topics and have increased film and video production alongside their monthly magazine.

Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains allows readers to reassess their view on a squeamish topic. The book examines how human activities such as habitat destruction, introduction of non-native species, and climate change have led to an increase of certain animal populations considered nuisances or threats. Through a blend of scientific research and real-world examples (similar to National Geographic), the novel explores the ecological consequences of human actions and allows readers to reevaluate their relationship with bugs and animals they’d normally deem pests. By evaluating why we, as humans, deem some animals as “pests” and others as “pets,” author Bethany Brookshire hopes to inspire readers to reevaluate their own mindset on what she see as an entirely personal perspective.

Runner's World - What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Like Runner’s World?
Read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

As a runner myself, Runner’s World has inspired me over the course of training for my first half marathon. Catering to runners of all levels, beginners and experts can both benefit from their advice. Each issue is jam-packed with information including training tips, race coverage, gear reviews, nutrition advice, and profiles of notable runners. The magazine serves as a resource for runners seeking to improve their performance, stay motivated, and connect with the running community. Published quarterly and recently winning several awards, Runner’s World is experiencing a new boom thanks to a renewed interest in running post-COVID.

Named #1 in Runner’s World list of 15 books about running to read when in lockdown, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a memoir by prestigious author Haruki Murakami. Murakami uses the book as a way to reflect on his experiences as both a writer and a runner. Written in a series of essays and short recollections, he explores the parallels between long-distance running and the writing process. With its unique style and insightful observations, the book offers a unique glimpse into Murakami's life and creative process, while also celebrating running as a source of inspiration both physically and mentally.

Rolling Stone - Daisy Jones & the Six

Like Rolling Stone?
Read Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

First published in 1967, Rolling Stone has been known for its in-depth interviews, journalism, and coverage of music icons and emerging artists. The magazine is also famous for its reviews of albums, films, and television shows. Going beyond just pop-culture, Rolling Stone offers insightful commentary on social and political issues with its unique spins. Perhaps known best for its iconic covers, Rolling Stone has famously displayed the likes of John Lennon (the first cover), Tom Cruise (multiple times), Muhammad Ali, Harry Styles, Stephen Curry, and Olivia Rodrigo. As one of the largest magazines in circulation, Rolling Stone still serves as the authoritative voice for all things music.

Rolling Stone was first published following the emergence of rock 'n' roll in the late 1960s when the scene was exploding in the United States. Daisy Jones & the Six chronicles the rise and fall of a fictional rock band during the 1970s that is loosely based on Fleetwood Mac. Told through memories and interviews providing the unique point of view of each of the six band members, readers can get an inside look at the drama and excitement that comes with fame. (This structure really comes to life when listening to the audiobook, which is narrated by a full cast!) Love and heartbreak are a main focus of the novel, detailing the complicated relationships that come with being one of the largest bands in the world. Hailed as an authentic portrayal of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle at the time, this novel is highly praised and has since even been turned into a popular TV series.

WIRED - Feed

Read Feed by M. T. Anderson

First published in 1993, WIRED focuses on how emerging technologies impact the economy, culture, and politics of the world. Exploding quickly on the scene, WIRED became recognized for its focus on emerging digital culture and won several awards over the next decade. Known for coining the term “crowdsourcing,” featuring the short story that would go on to become the movie Argo, and releasing one of the most impactful publications in recent tech history, WIRED has solidified itself as a magazine legend. Featured guest editors have included James Cameron, Barack Obama, Christopher Nolan, and Serena Williams.

Drawing on the more consequential aspects of technology and innovation, Feed drops readers into a satirical dystopian world where society is dominated by the very technology that WIRED celebrates. In this world, individuals are implanted with a computerized feed directly into their brains. The feed, as it’s known, provides constant access to entertainment, advertising, and social media. The novel follows a group of teens that have been disconnected from the feed and their lives as they grapple with where they fit into this hyperconnected society. Through its dark satirical commentary, Feed allows readers to consider the downsides of the very technologies that we're working on advancing today.

*Title availability may vary by library & region.

Start flipping through these digital magazines and books in Libby, free from your local library. And subscribe to Libby Life for more reading recommendations delivered to your inbox weekly.

RELATED READ: Flip through your favorites: 20+ popular digital magazines in the Libby app


About the Author

Bobby Petricini is an informal educator at heart and loves to teach something new any chance he gets. As a book and film enthusiast, OverDrive fits his passions perfectly. When Bobby isn’t working, you can find him at the gym rock climbing, out on the trail backpacking, or playing video games with his buddies. He is currently reading through Cormac McCarthy’s bibliography.


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