From the Stacks: June 15, 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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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