Utne receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and it's a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire lively daily chatter, but they can't all fit into our bimonthly magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of 'From the Stacks.' Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of the independent and alternative media.
POZ is one of the more inspiring periodicals I've encountered, likely because it gives its target audience -- people diagnosed HIV positive -- a healthy dose of encouragement. POZ empowers the community by creating a forum for grappling with intense issues. Especially interesting in the August issue was 'The Blame Game,' an interview between a recently diagnosed man and one who has been living with HIV for 16 years. They talk about the healing made possible by forgiving the people that infected them, how difficult that is, and the seeming impossibility of trusting others or oneself after the initial diagnosis. -- Suzanne Lindgren
We recently acquired the first two issues of DILDO, 'A Zine with ADD.' Nadja Martens offers the following explanation of her chosen title: 'I hope my zine can cover topics of sexuality, serious issues, and above all things of humor.' Issue 2 (Spring) offers Martens' adventures at a film festival and a Hot Hot Heat concert, as well as bits and pieces torn from the pages of pop culture as she sees fit: a 1994 Playboy blurb on zines and an ad for 'below the belt masculine hygiene deodorant.' Exemplifying her quirky style is a spread in which a thoughtful, grammatically correct book review is placed next to the introduction to her comic, 'Stinky Mike,' about a boy who 'grew up on cheep beer & porn while living in a one room apartment with his prositute [sic] sister Mary.' -- Suzanne Lindgren
It's difficult to sift through the lovingly created zines that pile up in our library without grabbing paper and pens, hijacking the office copy machine, and printing my own. Now that I've stumbled upon Stolen Sharpie Revolution (Microcosm, 2005, third edition), Alex Wrekk's zine on making your own hand-crafted publication, I have no excuse not to. The DIY guide offers invaluable advice on creating, printing, and distributing zines. And if all that doodling, cutting, and pasting becomes overwhelming, you can always sit back and relax with a title ordered from the list of distros (distributors), bookstores, libraries, and websites compiled in Wrekk's resource appendix. -- Kristen Mueller
Keeping up with the latest developments in nutrition (Soy is great! Soy will make you infertile! Drink whole milk! Don't drink milk!) is harder than keeping track of the latest celebrity surgeries. (Have you seen Ashlee Simpson's nose lately?) Adding dough (wheat free -- no -- gluten free) to the kiln is Wise Traditions, a magazine on 'Food, Farming and the Healing Arts.' Even the publication's readers contribute insights into modern dining habits that will make you question your kitchen's contents. In the Summer issue, an Arizona woman writes of her first experience drinking milk straight from a cow's udder, denouncing the taste of the pasteurized liquid found in most supermarket cartons, while writer Becky Mauldin's food feature proposes eliminating wheat, rye, oats, and barley from your diet to restore health. Now that's food for thought. -- Kristen Mueller
There have been an overwhelming number of natural disasters in recent years, and while people are still donating generously in response, the aid isn't always reaching those in crisis. The Boston Review takes an interesting approach to addressing the problem of 'Making Aid Work' in its July/August issue. MIT professor Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee presents his case on the 'institutional laziness' of aid giving, where some affected areas are receiving an overabundance of aid while others go completely missed. Fourteen guests, including writers, economists, and other professors, write response pieces, some in praise and others in opposition. The Boston Review touts itself as a 'political and literary forum,' and its feature package indeed demonstrated that 15 heads can be better than one. -- Rachel Anderson
The Summer issue of Santa Fe Trend celebrates the marriage of traditional Pueblo influence with the region's Mod-Art flair in home art and design. You don't have to live in Santa Fe to appreciate its vibrant art and culture, and the publication provides plenty of eye-candy for design buffs anywhere. A pictorial of architect Mark DuBois' residential creation rivals a visit to a contemporary art museum, and a few pages later, photographer Robert Miller walks us through a traditional adobe-style home, built of 10,000 mud and straw bricks. These two houses embody Santa Fe's polar artistic forces, which, when overlapped, result in some interesting new design ideas. -- Rachel Anderson