From the Stacks: June 1, 2007


| June 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 New ConfessionalsThe New Confessionals, a collection of female zinesters' writings compiled by Katie of The La-La Theory fame, will have you running to the office-supply store for scissors, glue sticks, and pens -- because you'll want to make a zine of your own, and right away. Katie has assembled a delicate balance of writings that are funny and somber, thoughtful and lighthearted, and all-around readable. In an excellent excerpt from Clark 8, Megan Gendell gracefully chronicles her descent into suicidal thoughts, describing an 'almost manic' evening during which she cleaned her room and folded her clothes: 'I wanted to leave things in a state of order.' In 'M is for Mixtape,' Becky writes an ode to the art of mixtaping and declares her 2007 New Year's resolution to 'make my height in mixtapes.' By her calculations, given her height (5' 2') and the width of a cassette tape (1/2 inch), she'll have to crank out 124 mixtapes by year's end. -- Danielle Maestretti

Coffeeshop CrushesCoffeeshop Crushes, a one-off zine from 2001 reprinted in April by Microcosm Publishing with a few new additions, catalogues the sometimes awkward, sometimes painful interaction between the java we love and the dreamboats who sell it. Edited by Nicole J. Georges and Jon Van Oast, the zine is split between amusing anecdotes about secret crushes and illustrated comics that chart jittery attempts to gain the attention of beloved baristas. While a good many of the crushes remain simply that, a few gain purchase as lusty encounters of promise that end with embarrassing failures or broken hearts. As one such account concludes: 'After a week and a half of coffee themed hot sex, I decided to declare my love. I was more surprised than he. He said 'You know you're cute and all, but.... You're just too weird for me.'' -- Chris Gehrke

Just in time for the summer reading season, the May/June issue of the Bloomsbury Review has arrived to whet our appetite for books from presses large and small. The Denver-based magazine boasts reviews on books from a wide array of genres, ranging from fiction to biographies to young adult and children's books. Published six times a year, Bloomsbury Review also features several author interviews and profiles in each issue. Interviewed in the latest issue is Marjane Satrapi, author of the widely acclaimed graphic novel Persepolis : The Story of a Childhood, her autobiographical account of coming of age during Iran's Islamic Revolution. -- Natalie Hudson



Socialist ViewpointSocialist Viewpoint offers 'news and analysis for working people.' The bimonthly magazine out of San Francisco focuses on labor issues, while keeping a close (and skeptical) watch on national and international politics. The May/June issue features an antiwar-themed section, including a piece reprinted from Jason Miller's blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, in which the author argues that 'each of us in the United States is complicit in the crimes of our nation to some degree.' In her 'Open Letter to the Antiwar Movement,' culled from Global Research's website, Hana Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty calls on antiwar activists  to 'condemn the ignorance that accepts the dehumanizing of the other.' -- Natalie Hudson

Writers Elie Wiesel and Leonard Fein founded Moment in 1975 to chronicle and explore the American Jewish experience. A staple of the engaging magazine is its 'Ask the Rabbis' department, which challenges rabbis from various sects to answer a pressing question. The June issue's query -- 'What does Judaism say about being a workaholic?' -- draws some interesting insights. Rabbi Arthur Waskow chimes in for Renewal Judaism, connecting overwork to the unfair employment patterns that leave many people with two or three part-time jobs: 'As Jews,' says Waskow, 'we should affirm our religious obligation to change the present patterns of overwork so that all peoples' work can be worthy and sacred.' Conservative Rabbi Gary L. Atkins comically bristles ('This is a question you ask a rabbi?') before speaking of the importance of honoring Shabbat in order to rest and spend time within one's family and community, while Reform Rabbi Joui Hessel holds up workaholic Ari Gold of Entourage as a warning against prioritizing a job over important relationships and Holy Days. Also a highlight of the issue: Ron Rosenbaum interviews novelist Norman Mailer about his latest book, The Castle in the Forest. -- Julie Dolan