From the Stacks: September 14, 2007


| September 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.

BuddaharmaThe Fall edition of the quarterly Buddhadharma opens by challenging Buddhists to become more engaged in social service. Bhikkhu Bodhi, a monk currently residing in Carmel, New York, argues that Western Buddhism is running the risk of isolating itself among the affluent while neglecting the rest of the world. According to Bodhi, Buddhists should transform their teachings of kindness and compassion 'into pragmatic programs of effective action.' Elsewhere, an essay by the late Zen pioneer Dainin Katagiri Roshi, adapted from Each Moment Is the Universe (Shambhala Publications, 2007), explores ways in which we can understand the impermanence of time. -- Brendan Mackie

filmcommentFilm Comment, published by the Lincoln Center's film society, analyzes movies in near-obsessive depth. In the latest issue (September/October), writer Chris Norris considers The Darjeeling Limited, the new flick by 'twee auteur' Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore). Norris dissects the characters' search for spiritual redemption: '[L]ike most of [Anderson's films], Darjeeling draws deeply from the Great American Ninth Grade Syllabus, specifically that postwar bard of adolescent spiritual longing, J.D. Salinger.' The issue also offers a retrospective on the work of unsung Japanese director Kihachi Okamoto, the creative force behind such films as Kill! and Samurai Assassin. -- Brendan Mackie

AudubonTop-notch wildlife photography takes center stage in Audubon, the magazine of the National Audubon Society, vividly illustrating the importance of the organization's work in habitat restoration and conservation. The September/October issue features aww-inducing close-ups of adorable baby Bermuda petrels, highly endangered birds who resemble fluffy, gray balls of cotton candy with pointy black beaks. Ornithologist author Rachel Dickinson details the efforts of naturalists working to save Bermuda?s national bird from extinction. And in ?Dead End,? Michelle Nijhuis takes an in-depth look at the havoc that proposed U.S.?Mexico border fences will likely wreak on the area's wildlife. ?-- Julie Dolan



The quarterly literary magazine Threepenny Review, published in Berkeley, California, unfolds like a newspaper, revealing impressive lineups of poetry, fiction, and reviews. For the latest issue, Columbia University professor Richard Locke parses a newly released compilation of writer E.B. White's letters. Reading through White's correspondence from age 9 until his death in 1985, Locke discovers a current of 'faux-na?ve folksiness -- what we've come to loathe in the rhetoric of Madison Avenue, television, Reagan, and Bush.' The issue also features five essays exploring the work of Spanish film director Pedro Almod?var. -- Eric Kelsey

cjrA perennial nominee for the Utne Independent Press Awards, the Columbia Journalism Review just rolled out its Books Issue (September/October). In ?Goodbye to All That,? former editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review Steve Wasserman takes a hard look at newspapers' declining literary coverage. Wasserman doesn't rail against the internet, chastise cost-cutting publishers, or lament public apathy. Instead, he advises book reviews to continue to strive to produce great content. 'What matters in this Kulturkampf,' Wasserman writes, 'is a newspaper's ambition, its business acumen, and its cultural imagination.' -- Eric Kelsey