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 literary magazine Pindeldyboz offers, thankfully, an explanation of its name: it is a 'feeling of confusion and/or anxiety, when ingeniously anesthetized by obese amounts of levity.' After reading the sixth issue, I must admit that it's a strangely fitting title. The stories' quirks and dark humor keep them from venturing into the pedestrian territory of many other literary magazines. Amy Havel's 'The News,' which could easily have been a trite story about an affair,?veers happily off-course by revealing that its protagonist eats clothing -- his lover's and her husband's. Another gem, Greg Sanders' 'Choco,' chronicles the relationship between a woman and her live-in bear. Pindeldyboz is funky enough to read cover-to-cover. -- Danielle Maestretti
Juxtapoz is one of those rare art publications that is smart, but not snooty; powerful, but not pedantic; hip, but not obnoxious. True, it is sometimes overwhelmed by its advertising (at times, it can be hard to tell content from commercial). That said, the ads are cool-as-hell, and so is the content. An arts and culture monthly out of San Francisco, Juxtapoz features young, edgy, under-exposed artists who have a penchant for the political, gritty, and guerilla. Whether the genre is 'psychedelic Southern gothic' or 'social surrealism,' the art in this publication is fresh, exciting, and communicative. -- Elizabeth Oliver
In the post-9/11 scramble to prepare Americans for disaster, the Department of Homeland Security launched Ready.gov, a website that turned out to be laden with questionable and confusing advice. (A disclaimer on the site even warned the information may not be 'accurate, complete, or current.') So a young college student working with the Federation of American Scientists took it upon herself to make things right, creating ReallyReady.org to fill in the government's gaps (especially the gaping hole of advice for people with disabilities). The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists profiles the effort -- deemed 'counterproductive' by the government -- in its November/December issue. The Bulletin, tagged as a publication of 'Security, Science & Survival,'has been nominated for two Utne Independent Press Awards in 2006. -- Rachel Anderson
The 35th issue of What Is Enlightenment? (Jan.-March 2007) centers heavily on evolution. Founder and editor in chief Andrew Cohen kicks off the edition by reminiscing about how the magazine has evolved from a 20-page newsletter to a quarterly magazine since its inception in 1992. What Is Enlightenment? addresses the theories of evolution from a spiritual standpoint, offering a timeline from early theorists such as B?hme and Kant, to the modern thinkers still writing the history of evolutionary spirituality. In 'The Real Evolution Debate,' the publication rejects the mainstream approach of 'Darwin vs. God' and finds not just a third point of view, but a dozen different schools of thought on how life began.. -- Rachel Anderson
A photo of a cluster of small boats forming an enormous starburst installed to hover over Lincoln Center in New York City was enough to get me to share the contents of Public Art Review's Fall/Winter issue with everyone in my general vicinity. Equally fascinating is the photo of a combat tank covered in pink yarn as a protest of Danish involvement in the Iraq war. Though the magazine drew me in with the pictures, the latest issue is dedicated to 'Suggested Reading,' articles recommended by poets, novelists, and critics. Pieces like 'Whose art is it?' -- excerpted from a 1992 New Yorker article -- provide important insight into public art, political correctness, and artists' perpetual, and thankfully often successful, struggle for survival throughout the last few decades. -- Jenna Fisher
A new addition to our library is The Gate, the quarterly publication of Admission Possible, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that aims to make college admission a reality for low-income students. Now in its seventh year, the program is remarkably successful; 98 percent of participants get into college. With help from AmeriCorps members, participants receive testing guidance, application assistance, college preparatory classes, and scholarships. The Fall issue of the group's newsletter features photos of participants and their feedback on recent volunteer experiences (students volunteer a minimum of eight hours annually in return for Admission Possible's services). Also included are a brief history of the organization and a list of supporters. -- Elizabeth Ryan
It's a card? it's a zine?it's Motto! This postcard zine flies in the face of convention and defies anyone who thinks a zine needs to be more than a side of one small page. In doing so, it captures the renegade spirit of the genre better than many of its relatively traditional competitors. Motto brings to mind the days of subversive and playful mail art and will likely lift the corners of your lips. -- Suzanne Lindgren