From the Stacks: September 14, 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.

The
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

Film
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

Top-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

A 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

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