From the Stacks: March 2, 2007


| March 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 edition.

If you don't reside near the Arctic Circle, Alaska magazine can help you live vicariously through the bear-eluding, bush-whacking folks who do. The self-proclaimed 'world's only general interest magazine about Alaska and only Alaska' churns out 10 adventure-packed issues a year from the land of frost heaves and musk oxen. In the Dec./Jan. issue author Ned Rozell tells of his wife Kristen, the 'bear magnet,' who once had her head pinned by the jaws of a grizzly. Also in this latest edition, Joe Stock reports on his 22-day skiing adventure with two friends in the Neacola Mountains, during which he 'traveled a hundred miles and 57,000 vertical feet across a mountain range no one's heard of.' -- Elizabeth Ryan

Ester RepublicI consulted a map to locate The Republic of Ester, just outside of Fairbanks, in the center of the vast ice cube I naively imagine Alaska to be. From this frozen zone comes The Ester Republic, a witty monthly magazine. The February issue includes 'The Shopping Cart Graveyard,' a subtle bashing of big-box development in which Dru Heskin laments the abandoned, snow-covered shopping carts collecting in a ravine near Ester's new Fred Meyer hypermarket. Elsewhere, 'Eureka Narcosis; Or, Rapture of the Trash' features a collection of songs by the former captain of the Ester Dumpster Diving Team that celebrate the 'eureka narcosis' of discovering good, usable stuff amid Dumpsters' clutter. Eureka narcosis is much like the feeling of finding a good publication like The Ester Republic amid the clutter of the daily mail. -- Evelyn Hampton

Last Known Address, a lovingly composed zine by Niku, recently found its way into Utne Reader's mailbox. A recounting of Niku's many migrations, Last Known Address is filled with hand-drawn illustrations and detailed narrations of each place Niku has passed through. What sets her writing apart from other loners' on-the-road ramblings is her obvious attachment to each place she's been, which comes across in the details of her narration. She recalls the stove in her Dinkytown, Minneapolis apartment, a Durham, North Carolina neighbor's affinity for leopard prints, and the odd raisin-flavored lifesavers in Ontario, Canada. Niku's zine achieves what I think zines, more than any other kind of publication (save the old-fashioned letter), are uniquely suited to achieve: direct, personal communication with the individual reader. -- Evelyn Hampton

FellowshipFellowship offers gritty details on global issues along with the positive impacts of people and movements effecting change. The now-quarterly (once bimonthly) magazine, published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, takes readers around the world to the various regions where members and others are promoting peace. The Winter issue highlights those who are working to push back the global expansion of the US military. Catherine Lutz writes that right now, the United States has a quarter of a million soldiers positioned in 737 military bases located in 130 countries. These bases face fierce resistance on many fronts, from Japan to Puerto Rico. -- Natalie Hudson

American AthiestAmerican Atheist Magazine offers hardcore atheism from front to back, with pages that speak out vociferously for the rights and recognition of atheists in the United States. The magazine is published monthly (except for June and December) by American Atheists. In February's 'No More Atheist Cleansing,' the organization's president, Ellen Johnson, presents a rallying cry for atheists to stand up for their rights and not back down in the face of bigotry. She writes, 'Atheists everywhere should be the voice and presence in their schools, workplaces and military.' The issue also provides some comic relief with a piece from The Onion satirizing the conflict between science and religion with an 'Intelligent Falling' theory that acts as an alternative to the law of gravity. -- Natalie Hudson