From the Stacks: September 21, 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.

Warning: Reading Verge, an ethical-travel magazine bursting with good-for-the-planet trips and tours, might cause you to drop what you're doing and start planning an extended adventure abroad. The Fall issue includes Verge's annual Go Abroad Directory, a handy roundup of programs that send you to trek, teach, work, volunteer, or study on all seven continents (yes, destinations include Antarctica). The issue includes dispatches from Morocco, India, Cozumel, Ontario, Kenya, and Nicaragua, where Toronto-based photographer Matthew Kadey recently took part in an 'agro eco-tourism' project that pairs visitors with fair trade coffee farmers in four communities for home-stays and hands-on coffee production. I recommend keeping a notepad nearby, because you may find yourself tabulating revised budgets, vacation days, and potential cat-sitters. -- Danielle Maestretti

The Art of Eating is a svelte food quarterly that entices readers with the promise of authentic, exquisite eating experiences. The latest issue describes the difficulty of finding real wasabi -- the green lump you get in most sushi restaurants is just gussied-up horseradish that 'bears the same resemblance to wasabi that Roger Moore bears to Sean Connery.' To experience wasabi's true 'grassy freshness' for yourself, Rowan Jacobsen explains that you can special-order some from a farm in British Columbia and then grate it on a sharkskin grater, or scratch together a lot of dough and find one of the handful of sushi restaurants in the United States that's fancy enough to serve the real thing. -- Brendan Mackie

The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade is a book for children, and for adults who want to act like children. The Octonauts are a team of eight adorable creatures who hang out in a bright, colorful, octopus-shaped city under the sea. In Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy's second Octonaut tale, the gang must travel to the creepy Sea of Shade to rescue all the world's shadows. The crisply drafted pages bloom with fascinating detail: every tree, shadow, rock, and animal has an endearing, individual personality. While the story might be too cute for some, the book itself is a lush visual treat. -- Brendan Mackie



In New Internationalist's September cover package, Vanessa Baird investigates the roots of 'the most hideous incarnation of globalization' -- international sex trafficking. According to Baird, when the Iron Curtain fell, global capitalism swept into former communist states, creating a boon for the now $12 billion industry. For example, the social and economic instability that plagued Albania after it joined the World Trade Organization created ideal conditions for sex traffickers to prey on young women and ensure the country's ascendance in the international sex trade. Also in the package, New Internationalist tells the stories of two trafficked women -- one from Nigeria, the other from Moldova -- and offers a character sketch of the 'small-time bottom-feeders' that turn the wheels of the sex slavery industry. -- Eric Kelsey

Finally, a magazine you can read for the pictures! DOUBLEtruck, the magazine for the photo and news service Zuma Press, reprints 'pictures that need to be seen.' The current issue (#8) documents both international headline grabbers, such as the Virginia Tech shootings, and little-known local stories, like rampant malnutrition in Guatemala. Most of the photos span two pages (a 'doubletruck' spread), offering the images a privileged platform rarely seen in the daily newspapers that are the bread and butter of photojournalism. Most evocative are the photos of public leaders caught outside of staged photo ops. In one picture, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair pensively crouches in a helicopter circling Baghdad, and in another, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert turns his head toward a protester as if in personal confrontation. -- Eric Kelsey