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.
Forthcoming from indie publisher Buenaventura Press, Hunter & Painter, a comic book by British illustrator Tom Gauld, opens with the prehistoric title characters discussing their work-related anxieties over a pint. (Yes, a pint: American readers will quickly note the charming irony of cavemen expressing themselves in British vernacular.) These loincloth-clad chums share many stresses with their 40,000-years-in-the-future descendants. The hunter laments that he hasn't caught anything 'bigger than a hare' all year; the painter struggles to imagine a subject for his next cave-side masterpiece ('It's been easy so far: rabbit hunt, deer hunt, ox hunt, bear hunt.'). Though the book is small, Gauld gives his illustrations plenty of room to breathe -- the story feels like it ambles on at the same pace as a couple of cavemen in no particular hurry. Those eager for a preview can visit Cabanon Press' online gallery, which showcases some of the comic as it originally appeared in the Guardian. -- Danielle Maestretti
Be they witty and artful or banal and messy, the comics in Not My Small Diary are, at the very least, endearing. Compiling the work of all types of comic talent from around the country, this enjoyable zine celebrates its 13th issue with a two-volume set drawing on the theme 'Luck of the Draw.' #13 includes everything from funny, predictable tales of broken mirrors, black cats, and casinos, to more intense explorations of luck in love, money, and death. On their own, only a few of these stories would hold up well, but grouped in this finely assembled zine, they form a treasure trove of quirky anecdotes. -- Elizabeth Oliver
The Small Press Review is a no-nonsense tool for independent press junkies and writers in search of small publications. More of a crib sheet than a fancy artistic endeavor, the bimonthly newsprint magazine gets down to the business of shedding light on small presses, books, and magazines with short, lightning-quick reviews. In addition to dishing out the skinny on everything from the biography of avant-garde 'polyartist' Brion Gysin, to RubberStampMadness magazine, the Small Press Review's November-December issue highlights recent magazine and press start-ups by featuring their contact and submission info. And lest you think you are done with this fine tool as you close it, gracing the back cover you'll find a list of publishers that will supply a free copy of their work, should intrepid seekers get a hankering for a sample of something new. -- Jenna Fisher
It's the time of the year that every High Times subscriber must wait for with bated breath: The annual Cannabis Cup issue. Taking place every year in Amsterdam, the Cannabis Cup brings together contestants from across the globe to find out who has grown the best bud. This year's top prize was taken home by the grower of 'Ultra Haze #1.' Also in this issue, alongside the usual full-page photo spreads of marijuana plants and half-naked 'Ganja Gals Gone Wild,' is an article by Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws that reminds readers of the $1 billion a year US taxpayers shell out to keep pot smokers behind bars. -- Bennett Gordon