From the Stacks: August 24, 2007


| August, 2007


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.

The July/August issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists takes a peek into the terrifying world of nuclear weapons research. Michael J. Neufeld, chair of the Space History Division at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, writes about the oft-forgotten space station plans of ex-Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun. Even before Sputnik kicked off the era of manned spaceflight, von Braun dreamt up a fleet of American nuclear-armed space stations orbiting the earth to ensure US superiority in space. But the Bulletin is not just about history; the current issue also hosts a lively debate on the state of nuclear nonproliferation efforts today.? -- Brendan Mackie

Twice each year students finishing up their studies at the Ryerson University School of Journalism in Toronto put out the Ryerson Review of Journalism, a sleek, colorful publication that doubles as an ardent watchdog of the Canadian media and a senior journalism project. A fun graphic in the Summer issue runs through the most hackneyed phrases in journalism ('the big picture,' 'in the wake of,' and 'boils down to,' to name a few)? and tracks how often the major Canadian newspapers tap the clich?s. The issue also provides in-depth reporting on media wonk, such as the power-struggles within the Vancouver newspaper scene and a historic look back at reporters who have haunted Canada's Parliamentary Press Gallery. -- Brendan Mackie

Published three times a year by the nonprofit En Foco, the photojournal Nueva Luz exhibits the work of American artists of African, Asian, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander descent, with commentary in both English and Spanish. In issue #12.1 U.S. artist Sama Alshaibi, whose parents are Iraqi and Palestinian, explores 'the impact of war and exile' in a personal photo essay. Elsewhere, Larry McNeil takes on Native American stereotypes in defense of his heritage with a biting wit. '[M]y spirituality is not for sale,' he writes in the text accompanying a series of landscapes, 'but can be rented at reasonable rates.' -- Eric Kelsey



In Balance, the quarterly newsletter from the Center for a New American Dream (CNAD), is a leader in ecofriendly lifestyle coverage. In the Summer update, ecobusiness expert Joel Makower makes the case that news of a green business 'bubble'' is a myth because 'the problems aren't getting any better.' As long as 'there's money to be made,' Makower writes, green is here to stay. Also in the issue, author Tim Sanchez advocates some simple measures to help the environment, including washing your clothes with cold water and buying a pound of local food each week. In Balance garnered an Utne Independent Press Award nomination for general excellence in newsletters in 2006. -- Eric Kelsey

In the premiere issue of Canteen, publisher Stephen Pierson and editor in chief Sean Finney declare that, 'Interest in reading literature has been eclipsed by interest in how and why literature is made.' The eye-catching literary magazine responds to this trend by offering up essays, fiction, poetry, and art that delve into the artistic process of creation and the relationship between artists and their work. In the essay 'Knowing Your Audience,' Po Bronson tells of a letter he received from a reader who attempted suicide after reading his book. It's a cautionary tale for Bronson, who argues that writers often isolate themselves in a 'literary code' that distances and neglects their audiences. -- Julie Dolan