Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “digest.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!
This prompt prompted another Internet search as my stream of consciousness sometimes does. My first thought upon reading the prompt was Reader’s Digest. Then, whatever happened to Reader’s Digest? Is it still around? Hey, what about their condensed books that were so popular when I was growing up? Then I was wondering why, at Thanksgiving time, when eating and digesting is such a big part of it, did I think of digest publications (no answer to that was ever discovered), which lead me to wonder why was it the Reader’s Digest? What is a digest anyway? Yup, all of this before digesting coffee.
I’ve corrected the coffee issue and am currently slurping a cup of nice, dark roast Sumatra. This is important.
Reader’s Digest, that publication that used to be in every doctor’s waiting room, is still around and thriving. Guess I’m out of the loop. My first stop was Wikipedia, of course. According to them:
Reader’s Digest is an American general-interest family magazine, published ten times a year. … The magazine was founded in 1922 … For many years, Reader’s Digest was the best-selling consumer magazine in the United States; it lost the distinction in 2009 to Better Homes and Gardens. According to Mediamark Research (2006), Reader’s Digest reaches more readers with household incomes of $100,000+ than Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Inc. combined. Global editions of Reader’s Digest reach an additional 40 million people in more than 70 countries, via 49 editions in 21 languages. The periodical has a global circulation of 10.5 million, making it the largest paid circulation magazine in the world. It is also published in Braille, digital, audio, and in a large type called Reader’s Digest Large Print.
Huh. I feel kind of badly for not knowing that.
Their condensed books, however, are defunct. The last of the anthologies was printed in 1997. According to web surfing, despite the huge popularity of the books in their day, their resale value today is nil and if you’re interested in getting some try places like Goodwill.
A digest is what? Once again to
the Batmobile Wikipedia, which edifies that:
Digest size is a magazine size, smaller than a conventional or “journal size” magazine but larger than a standard paperback book, approximately 14 cm × 21 cm (5 1⁄2 by 8 1⁄4 inches), but can also be 13.65 cm × 21.27 cm (5 3⁄8 by 8 3⁄8 inches) and 14 cm × 19 cm (5 1⁄2 by 7 1⁄2 inches). These sizes have evolved from the printing press operation end. Some printing presses refer to digest-size as a “catalog size”. The digest format was considered to be a convenient size for readers to tote around or to leave on the coffee table within easy reach.
This gave me a brief, tangential thought of how much I dislike RollingStone’s new oversized, fancy format. They recently switched to this production; I think they did it to create collectors. I just find the huge size and stiff pages to be extremely difficult to read. And no, it doesn’t induce me to keep the back issues. I did stop in briefly to their website to see if there was some information on the formatting change, but I got sidetracked into reading “Are Sex-Doll Brothels the Wave of the Future?” That was so much more fun to read than the headlines on the Washington Post.
ANYway, back to the surfing topic of digest. How is it that there’s a digest for publications and a digest for food, and are they related? A favorite blog, Grammarphobia, has one of their great, in-depth* postings on just this etymological question. The short answer, from them is:
You’ll be surprised to hear this, but the two senses showed up in English about the same time, and the Latin source for both referred to the digesting of information, not food.
I highly suggest their full explanation.
And that, folks, is that. On to another bucket of coffee.
*In-depth or in depth? I hate hyphenation! In the case above, it was used as an adjective so it is hyphenated. An in-depth analysis of the problem. The problem was analysed in depth. Oy. Eff me. Yes, I had to google this.