From the Stacks: February 2, 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.

Reading Azizah, I couldn’t help but feel like I
was eavesdropping. The magazine is the self-proclaimed ‘Voice for
Muslim Women,’ a voice unfamiliar to many. As I skimmed through,
ads and spreads of ‘modestly’ cool headscarves and clothing were
jarring at first, and I admit to subjecting the publication to a
wary scrutiny. A closer reading, however, revealed Azizah
to be among the most positive women’s magazines I have encountered.
Stories include profiles of accomplished young Muslim women, an
explanation of the rights of women in Islamic marriage, a look at
Islamic home finance, as well as skin care tips (no Botox here).
Azizah is a celebration of modern women who take pride in
their faith, strength, and intelligence, and I look forward to
hearing more of the too-often unheard voices it presents. —
Elizabeth Oliver

Ong Ong is an eclectic zine that arrived
in care-package fashion from Seattle. From the extensive cover
(hand-processed by one person) to the handful of inserts, Vol. #3’s
arrival demonstrates the great care that must go into crafting this
publication. Enclosed were an array of seemingly random items,
including a card with a bunny on it, stickers from the Bikery (a
nonprofit education and repair center), an old check from the
Metropolitan National Bank of Seattle, and a big purple dot
sticker. The content is equally delightful and hodgepodge,
containing interviews with band members, comics, more stickers, an
engaging short read by a jailed protester, and posters of past
concerts that rocked. What’s more, all these treasures can be
relished while sampling some West Coast bands on an enclosed CD.
— Elizabeth Ryan

With President Bush and his pals hitting the post-State of the
Union circuit, we’ve gotten a steady barrage of assurances about
the coming victory in Iraq. Draft NOtices, a quarterly
newsletter put out by the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft,
isn’t buying it. ‘[T]he President insists that we are winning the
war / but his dumb-ass smile says otherwise,’ writes poet Reyes
Cardenas for the latest issue. The newsletter focuses on hot topics
such as the US military budget, sexism, and homophobia, with the
January/March issue updating readers on Rep. Charles Rangel’s 2003
bill calling for a draft. Writer Jorge Mariscal sums up much of the
publication’s concerns asking, ‘Is a draft going to help prevent or
end a war, or help wage it?’ — Mary O’Regan

Wonka Vision is celebrating its 10th
anniversary this August, but it’s new to us, just bounding into our
library this week with its recent ‘Art and Design’ issue devoted to
toys. Wonka Vision is one part feisty music magazine, one
part indie art and culture commentary, and the rest seems to run on
unbridled enthusiasm. The cover story is an interview with the
creator of comic book character ‘Spawn,’ Todd McFarlane, who
expounds on his passion for toys and sports. In my favorite item,
the magazine matches up ’80s pop culture icons, pitting the likes
of the A-Team and GI Joe against each other in a battle of
coolness. (The A-team wins, of course). — Jenna
Fisher

If you’re looking for some heady reading, you might want to
think about Brain Work, the bimonthly newsletter of the
Dana Foundation.
In the Jan/Feb issue, Brenda Patoine explores the theories behind
neurogenesis — the idea that humans continue creating new brain
cells into adulthood. The theory runs counter to the long-held
belief that humans were stuck with the same brain nerve cells for
their entire lives. This issue also dishes the latest neuro-news
about addiction, treatment, and experimentation. People interested
in Brain Work can sign up for a subscription on the
website, and the fact that it’s free should put
their minds at ease. — Bennett Gordon

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