From the Stacks: March 16, 2006

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

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