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.
Literature has explored addiction in its many guises: drugs (Junkie), sex (Choke), and wagering (The Gambler). David Axe and Steven Olexa are adding to the canon with War-Fix, a graphic novel that follows a journalist with a jones for war. After coming of age in the glow of TV broadcasts of the 1991 Gulf War, David risks his personal relationships and his life to cover the war in Iraq, where he discovers he's not alone in his affliction. The book is like a mix of Anthony Swofford's Jarhead and Francisco de Goya's 'The Disasters of War,' switching from scenes of aimless boredom to nightmarish visions of brutality. Due out this month from Nantier Beall Minoustchine. -- Bennett Gordon
The June/August issue of PanGaia -- a journal of pagan-oriented commentary, poetry, and fiction -- contains as much historical background as it does current perspective. Ranging across disparate and distant cultures, the commentaries inevitably pose the question: How can the practices and beliefs of long-gone pagans influence and inform the pagans of today? Dangerous ground, when those past practices often involved human sacrifice, as did those discussed in Archer's 'Gifts to the Gods,' in which Archer looks at the 'Bog People' of Northern Europe. But the discussion proves rewarding: Neither for nor against the practice, Archer approaches the topic with curiosity and reverence -- which ultimately is exactly what these bog-preserved bags of bones deserve. -- Nick Rose
Before I open Lauren Eggert-Crowe's research project/zine, a mini zine slips from the pages and lands on my lap. In its six pages, Eggert-Crowe describes her very first DIY publication, a fantasy-fueled newsletter about 'Unicornia, the land of unicorns.' Since then, Eggert-Crowe has moved on to create this larger cut-and-paste volume on the equally enchanting world of zinesters, titled I've Never Meta-Zine I Didn't Like. After a quick history lesson on the 18th century origins of the underground press, she time warps to the cult world of 1930s sci-fi fanzines, careens toward the punk and Riot Grrrl zine scenes, and ends with a passionate letter heralding the revolutionary powers of counter-culture press. -- Kristen Mueller
The first print issue of The F-Word, 'A feminist handbook for the revolution,' entered Utne's library Wednesday. Inside the Spring issue is an essay by Texan Shelby Knox, whose crusade to bring comprehensive sex-ed programs to her community, rife with sexually transmitted infections, has earned her national attention. Also inside: interviews with Alix Olson, 'an internationally touring folk poet and progressive queer artist-activist'; the wondrously outspoken Margaret Cho; and Pamela Means, who protests domestic abuse and racial profiling with a guitar and collections of biting personal lyrics. All in all, the magazine contains enough inspiring dialogue to make any Riot Grrrl stand up and shout. -- Kristen Mueller
As World Cup mania kicks into high gear around the globe, the potential of African teams to compete with soccer darlings like Brazil and France has been touted as globalization at its best. But in the latest issue of the UK-based New Statesman, David Runciman debunks the celebration as hype. African countries, like the Ivory Coast this year, are often among the most touted World Cup contestants, but Runciman claims that the success of African national teams is always short lived. The continent's most talented players are constantly plucked for European club teams, and while Senegal, Cameroon, and Nigeria have all experienced momentary World Cup success, the fleeting victories have done little to change the countries' soccer programs. Elsewhere in the May 29 issue, John Gray argues that the only existing power that can help Britain fight climate change is nuclear power. -- Bennett Gordon
The Soil Association has been an outspoken opponent of genetically modified (GM) foods for about a decade. And a new flurry of scientific research has emerged to buoy its anti-GM case. The Spring issue of the group's member publication Living Earth cites a recent study in Russia that 'found a 56 percent death rate among young rats fed GM Roundup Ready soya, as well as stunted growth in the surviving progeny.' The magazine also reports on a recent governmental attack on organic food labeling. The European Commission wants to allow food with up to 0.9 percent contamination with GM organisms to still be labeled 'organic.' The Soil Association vehemently opposes the measure and is encouraging people to contact lawmakers to stop the pro-GM proposals. -- Bennett Gordon
Though Republican and Democratic caterwauling seems to dominate the political discourse in the United States, an independent undercurrent is alive and well. This independent streak was on exhibit when Michael Bloomberg was re-elected mayor of New York City in 2005, Jacqueline Salit argues in an article for the New York-based Neo-Independent. Partisan politics, Salit says, led African-American voters to be disenchanted with the Democratic Party. The partisan haze prevented political wonks from predicting such a scenario, so when nearly half of black voters went to Bloomberg, whom Salit labels an independent Republican, many analysts were surprised. Score one for independent voters. -- Nick Rose