Utne Reader's library is abuzz with a steady flow of 1,500 magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box bookstores, newsstands, or even online. So we share the highlights (and occasional lowlights) of what's landing in our library each week in 'From the Stacks.' Check in every Friday for the latest edition.
Make/shift, a new magazine published by 'an editorial collective committed to antiracist, transnational, and queer perspectives,' acts as a telling snapshot of 'feminisms' at the present moment. In the first issue (Spring/Summer), narratives and interviews explore the intersections of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class with art, activism, and relationships. An interview with a group of non-union hotel workers, most of them immigrants, focuses on their fight for a living wage and recent hunger strike. (The short Q&A is presented in both English and Spanish.) Ample space is dedicated to reviews of independent books, films, publications, and blogs, and I hope make/shift's editors continue to make these a priority. Many magazines opt for shorter reviews so that they can include more titles, and it's refreshing to read these more in-depth discussions. -- Danielle Maestretti
A&U, dubbed 'America's AIDS Magazine,' began in 1991 as 'a forum for the creative responses of those living with HIV and AIDS, their peers, their caregiving circles, their families and loved ones.' Published by the nonprofit Arts & Understanding, the glossy mag features stories about healthcare, current events, and the arts through the lens of AIDS awareness. Queen Latifah smiles widely on the cover of the February issue, proud to play the role of AIDS activist Andrea Williams' alter ego in an upcoming HBO movie. The singer and actress chats with writer Dann Dulin about the myths surrounding AIDS and echoes much of A&U's mission, saying: 'If you didn't do any research, you wouldn't know the truth.' -- Mary O'Regan
Never at a loss for words, Speechwriter's Newsletter is an invaluable publication for anyone preparing to hug the podium. The monthly newsletter, put out by corporate communications publisher Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc., has served as 'the insider's guide to writing and delivering effective speeches' for 25 years. The April issue opens with a recap of a Speechwriters Conference cocktail party that spotlights the lyrics to the song 'Speechwriter Blues.' Other items include an excerpt of a school superintendent's moving speech and a snippet on the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science's recent move to hire speechwriters to make those rambling Oscar acceptances more engaging for viewers. The final page closes with a joke -- about Jesus and a speechwriter -- taking a bow with a smile. -- Mary O'Regan
A couple of profiles of Stanford alums caught my eye in the March/April issue of Stanford, a bimonthly from the university's alumni association. One looks at the work of Edward Tufte, a guru of the information age. In his books and on the lecture circuit, Tufte critiques the way information is designed and presented, and he's gained some renown for his staunch criticism of PowerPoint's pitfalls. Complementing the Tufte piece is a profile of another information-age star, of sorts: Dennis Hwang, the 'Google doodler' who reimagines the search engine's logo for holidays and famous birthdays. I'll leave it to Tufte to critique Hwang's work. -- Evelyn Hampton
Against the Current injects life into lefty debates with a socialist bent and a sharp analytic eye. Sponsored by the socialist group Solidarity, the bimonthly tackles a gamut of issues from the worker's perspective. The latest issue (March/April) focuses on 'Women's Global Struggles,' featuring topics as varied as the international sex-work scene to the women's movement in Oaxaca. Yakira Teitel recounts the historic 20,000-strong march of women that ended in a nonviolent takeover of the government-run television station in the Mexican state. And in the article 'Feminism at Work,' Lynne Williams reveals the path that allowed her to integrate gender and sexual identities into workplace activism. -- Natalie Hudson
Terrain's Spring cover offers the attention-grabbing headline: 'Spilling the Beans: What you don't know WILL hurt you.' Though the sensationalist teaser from this Northern California-based environmental magazine may be an unnecessary over-dramatization, the feature on soy will likely open your eyes. Mary Vance writes that the acclaimed health food can actually cause hormonal problems in women when consumed in large quantities and lead to vitamin deficiencies in infants and children when soy makes up too large a portion of their diets. While some soybeans are genetically modified, clinical nutritionist and The Whole Soy Story author Kaayla Daniel tells Vance that organic soybeans aren't entirely safe either as they 'naturally contain plant estrogens, toxins, and anti-nutrients.' -- Natalie Hudson