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 second issue of Polite pulls off a smart silliness that, as anyone who has attempted it knows, is more difficult than it seems. Most of the articles in this 'journal of arcana, deadpannery, and cultural criticism' carry a bit of an inside-joke sentiment, which lends a convivial disposition to the magazine. (There's a distinct this-is-funny-because-my-friend-wrote-it sentiment.) In one essay, an American writer fondly recalls a communication breakdown he experienced in France, in which he tried repeatedly to order a glass of Pernod ('too-sweet, licoricey grog') and was instead shown to a piano at the back of the bar. 'Years later I realized that I hadn't got enough trill in the rrr in Pernod; the French r being a point on which many dilettantes in the language are shipwrecked.' A short piece on cricket discusses Lagaan, a Bollywood film that is 'nearly identical to the Mighty Ducks movies, all of them, except that the stakes include famine in addition to utter humiliation? and also, cricket matches are much longer than hockey games.' -- Danielle Maestretti
Translators often labor in the shadows of authors, their nuanced linguistic expertise obscured by romantic notions of writerly genius. But translators and authors share the limelight in Two Lines: World Writing in Translation, a multilingual literary journal published by the Center for the Art of Translation. 'We are the only literary magazine where the translator's name comes before the author in the table of contents,' reads the introduction to the 14th issue. Translated stories, essays, and poems fill the pages, with the translations of shorter works and poems appearing side-by-side with original texts. Two Lines gives much-deserved attention to two perennially overlooked groups: authors unknown to readers of English and their translators. -- Evelyn Hampton
The layers of political, economic, and cultural histories shaping many global controversies can seem overwhelming. That's why Foreign Policy's mission is 'to explain how the world works' in an accessible, easy-to-grasp way. The March/April cover feature -- 'Who Won in Iraq? The top 10 people, nations, and ideas that can declare victory' -- is a perfect example. With contributions from a wide field of experts, the package of essays lists exactly who has benefited from the Iraq war and why. Another story by editor in chief Mois?s Na?m explains the real reasons behind China's generous foreign aid programs -- namely, 'money, access to raw materials, and international politics.' Published by the nonprofit Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Foreign Policy has a sharp layout and, in this most recent issue, 10 pages of letters -- strong evidence that it's engaging and informing readers. -- Mary O'Regan
Because People Matter, a progressive newsletter from the Sacramento Community for Peace & Justice, deals largely with feminist issues. This week's cover package features articles on reproductive rights, the National Organization for Women, and a profile of Maggie Khun, founder of the Gray Panthers protest group. In an article about women in politics, college student Ren?e D. Covey writes that the reason women may be having a harder time getting elected is because of the 'lag effect,' i.e., 'starting their political careers later than men.' Also in this issue, Amreet Sandhu, a law student from Sacramento, notices that the female students in her classes aren't speaking up. She encourages them to, 'Support each other. Build a community. Raise your hand tall.' -- Mary O'Regan
Folks pining for homey charm might do well to crack open the Ozarks Mountaineer, arriving from the quirky tourist destination of Branson, Missouri. The bimonthly celebrates Missouri's Ozark region with various features and columns on sights, food, books, 'Ozarkerisms,' and more. In the latest issue, Carol D. Atkins entices readers to sample the Thursday night bluegrass sessions at Flossie's Apple Barrel in Winona. The directions note: 'It's nearly impossible to get lost in Winona, but if you do, just call Flossie's.' Elsewhere, history buffs might enjoy Lin Waterhouse's piece recounting the mysterious and fatal 1928 explosion that rocked a dance hall in West Plains. The event even inspired a tune called 'The West Plains Explosion.' If inspired, feel free to hum all 10 verses -- words and melody are provided. -- Elizabeth Ryan
For many women, the open road beckons. But where -- they might wonder -- can they find adventure, inspiration, empowerment, and renewal? Stephanie Elizondo Griest's new book, 100 Places Every Woman Should Go (2007, Travelers' Tales), reveals treasures far and near. Griest suggests female travelers try seeking enlightenment in any of the 66 temples of Luang Prabang, Laos; race yaks across the Mongolian grasslands; or pay homage to pharaoh Hatshepsut, who Griest writes, 'is widely regarded as history's 'first great woman.'' The book also offers tips on safety, how to fend off unwanted male advances, and, perhaps most importantly, the advice to support fellow female travelers and local sisters abroad. 'Your money will almost certainly go where it is needed most.' -- Natalie Hudson