From the Stacks: June 23, 2006

| June 2006

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.

A Himalayan peak stands before a midnight-blue sky on the cover of this month's India Currents (vol. 20. no. 3). Inside the San Jose-based magazine, Indian-American Meera Desikamani's cover story recounts her trek through the expansive mountain range. Traveling across glaciers, climbing a grueling 6,000-meter pass, and narrowly escaping the wrath of a 200-foot wide, 5-foot-thick mass of plunging snow, Desikamani seeks to satisfy a deep thirst for her native land. Between descriptions of sleeping under canopies of stars and admiring the 'glittering arrays of peaks,' she succeeds in both satiating her own appetite and inducing wanderlust in others. -- Kristen Mueller

It's not too often a book arrives that inspires whole-hearted jealousy among the staff members who weren't quick enough to get their hands on it. But the revised, expanded edition of Dianne Onstad's Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green 2005), first published in 1996, did just that when it came in this week. Inside the textbook-sized guide are nutrition-class worthy stats on the nutrients in a plethora of fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, oils, herbs, and spices. Yet unlike assigned reading material, the accompanying text on each item's history, folklore, and current culinary uses make this a read you'll want to pick up without prompting from a professor. -- Kristen Mueller

No matter which came first, the chicken or the egg, Poultry Press, the official publication of United Poultry Concerns, is here to remind people not to eat either one. The latest issue documents various atrocities and indignities inflicted upon chickens, from the inhumane conditions of egg farms to tourist traps that force their chickens to play basketball and tic-tac-toe for spectacle. A house-ad inside the magazine reminds people, 'Nonviolence begins at breakfast.' -- Bennett Gordon

Cultural Survival Quarterly, the magazine committed to 'promoting the rights, voices, and visions of indigenous peoples,' has dedicated its latest issue to 'Indigeneity in Africa.' Executive Director Ellen Lutz addresses the topic as it has played out during the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. The question of whether Darfurians are 'indigenous' is a problematic one, she says, noting that 'debates over terminology have an insidious way of undermining or delaying desperately needed intervention.' The Summer issue -- which debuts the magazine's move to full-color -- also covers the Batwa, a marginalized culture in a place where ethnic distinctions have been outlawed: Rwanda. -- Bennett Gordon

With 'Armageddon' scrawled on the cover, and homophobia in the Middle East as a lead article, the latest issue of New Humanist is engaging, if a little gloomy. But two-thirds through things lighten up with Sally Feldman's piece on women's hair, 'Because You're Worth It.' Feldman tries to hit all avenues on the power of the tress, with religious interpretations (divine, tempting), anthropological explanations (evolution, fertility), and a cross-cultural agreement that long hair equals 'unrestrained sexuality.' The piece even wanders into the beauty shop realm, reminiscing about styles and hazardous hair products of yesteryear. With no mention of hair in the cover story, 'Judgment Days,' we'll just have to wait for the coming of the next style. -- Rachel Anderson

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