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 June issue of Prospect, the glossy British current events magazine that boasts a vast and slightly intimidating table of contents, takes an in-depth look at Mohammad Sidique Khan, the engineer behind the 2005 London bombings. The feature describes the suicide bomber and his accomplices as second generation Britons dissatisfied with and disconnected from the traditional Islam of their immigrant parents. Other notable essays include a review that takes to task two new books on the failures of international development and a short piece on the debt English popular culture owes to Irish immigrants. -- Eric Kelsey
This July, Shambhala Sun offers its yearly 'All Buddhist Teachings Issue' -- an edition full of thoughtful, didactic essays that serve as a primer on Buddhist practice. If the prospect of intense meditation and mindfulness seems daunting, 'True Confessions from the Cushion' offers refreshing consolation and inspiration with a humble look at the challenges even a monk can encounter. Shozan Jack Haubner, the pseudonym of a man who's been living the Zen life for over three years, tries to answer a few questions posed by undergraduates visiting his monastery including, 'Now, what's my mind supposed to be doing during meditation?' Haubner fights off the urge to wax poetic about spirituality and peace, admitting to a 'packed marquee of fantasies' that run through his head during meditation sessions. After all of the attempts to focus, be mindful, and achieve peace, this disciplined monk ponders whether or not his practice just might result in 'discovering entirely unique ways to fail miserably at it.' -- Julie Dolan
In Creative Review, a magazine for the commercial art and design industry, ?aesthetics reign supreme. Although the magazine's square shape and heavy paper (Galerie One Silk 115gsm, to be exact) make it an unwieldy read, the June issue is a good place to satisfy any curiosity about the world of graphic design. By focusing on topics such as the redesign and reception of subway maps, Creative Review emphasizes how integral and powerful seemingly-mundane signage is to our perceptions of the world. The cover story is about how right-wing S?o Paulo mayor Gilberto Kassab banned all outdoor advertising in the city. Critics fear economic fallout to the tune of 20,000 jobs and $133 million. Others lament the loss of the city's culture and history, but many S?o Paulo are beginning to discover a new side of their city, one previously hidden by the the overgrowth of ads. -- Eric Kelsey
Mountain Gazette proclaims on its website to be 'a flat-out magazine legend' from the early to mid-70s when it was the 'most influential outdoor publication in the Known Universe.' The magazine, which was resurrected in 2000 after a 21-year break, doesn't take itself too seriously though, as illustrated by the latest edition's 'Cartographic' and 'Bumpersticker' departments, which feature, respectively, fecal matter disaster sites and an inside-joke sticker 'Jesus Would Have Stuck It' (a reference to a botched skiing landing). The entertaining and informative June offering is also the climbing issue and includes an inspiring look back at the history of female climbers who have taken on Yosemite. -- Natalie Hudson
Buried beneath the media deluge of muddled Middle East reporting and misrepresentations lie the contested realities of the problematic region. Digging deeper for meaningful analysis is the Middle East Report, published by the nonprofit Middle East Research and Information Project. The quarterly magazine provides the details not only of what and where, but also answers how and why events unfold as they do in the Middle East. In the summer issue's cover story, 'The War Economy of Iraq,' Christopher Parker and Pete Moore describe the underlying profit motive and 'fundamental failures of political imagination' that lie beneath the 'Bush administration's imperial fiasco.' -- Natalie Hudson
No Shouts No Calls is the most recent album from the Brighton, England, quartet Electrelane on the independent London label Too Pure. On its prior efforts, the band has made less overtly personal music, with long instrumentals of fuzzy guitars, driving keyboards, and crisp rhythms that seemed to be more about the band playing together than it did about the songs themselves. But by emphasizing the vocals of keyboardist Verity Susman, No Shouts No Calls instantly finds a new direction with the presence of a narrative. With her light and unassuming approach, Susman gives the band an emotional touch, while still allowing the band enough room to play. -- Eric Kelsey