Esquire’s 1,000th issue — it’s October 2015 issue — was in my mailbox on Wednesday. I was excited because I had just pushed out a Gangrey: The Podcast episode a couple days earlier, in which I talked with Esquire editor Tyler Cabot about the new Esquire Classic.
Through Esquire Classic, one can now read every issue of Esquire; all 1,000 issues and counting, online. The magazine scanned in more than a quarter-million pages in order to build this massive archive.
As I was flipping through the pages of the new issue, I noticed that page 34 had a table of contents of sorts — “The Greatest Table of Contents of All Time: The Perfect Issue of Esquire.”
From the Cover (Muhammad Ali as Saint Sebastian, April 1968) to What I’ve Learned (Woody Allen, interviewed by Cal Fussman, September 2003), the list is made up of the best of the magazine’s best. There are essays by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nora Ephron. There is fiction by Ernest Hemingway and Tim O’Brien. There are features by Tom Wolfe and David Foster Wallace.
I figured that if Esquire were going to build this “Greatest Table of Contents of All Time,” the least I could do is read it. All of it. Every single piece.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Over the next month of so, I am going to read every single piece on this Table of Contents, and then each day, I’m going to write about what I read.
Hopefully it will be enlightening. I’m sure it will be for me.