From the Stacks: September 28, 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.

Represent, a magazine for youth in foster care, tackles the thorny issues confronted by its young readers and writers. Recent editions of the magazine, which is published bimonthly by the New York-based nonprofit Youth Communication, have focused on domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, and aging out of the foster care system. The September/October issue offers an arsenal of personal stories and advice to help readers cope with parents who have substance abuse problems. Represent is a heartbreaking read -- the magazine's contributors, many in their early teens, write about their struggles with anger, anxiety, and mistrust toward one or both parents -- but a highly recommended resource for those who work with youth in the system, or for anyone who'd like a glimpse into the lives of the 500,000 American children in foster care. -- Danielle Maestretti

In the October issue of the Bark, 'the modern dog culture magazine,' Patricia Simonet conducts a series of social experiments on her dog to see if canines can laugh. Not only can dogs smile and chuckle, Simonet finds, but their laughter can actually calm the anxieties of other dogs. Elsewhere, canine nutritionist Catherine Lane offers advice on how to balance your pooch's diet, and Kevin Skaggs gives readers a buyer's guide to ecofriendly transportation for people and dogs. Our condolences go out to editor in chief Claudia Kawczynska, whose pet Nellie, the magazine's 'founding dog' and sometimes cover-star, recently died. -- Eric Kelsey

The premiere issue of Paper Monument, a semiannual arts journal published in association with n+1, arrived in the Utne Reader library this week. The publication sets a new standard for arts journals, which tend to be either shallow and glossy or laborious, academic reads. In its inaugural issue, PaperMonument has successfully rebelled against both approaches by exploring the arts from both critical and self-critical perspectives. With nuance and subtlety, Christopher Hsu unpacks how the cultural mystique of New York City continually reproduces itself in restaurants, retail, and reportage. The journal also showcases the contemporary art of notables like Peter Peri and Dan Torop, and features cultural critiques of (and for) urbanites with artistic inclinations. -- Eric Kelsey

Eighteen times a year, One Story sends out one small, staple-bound short story. The latest offering (#95) is Tom Barbash's 'Balloon Night,' set on the 'balloon block' -- the staging ground for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The story tracks a man determined to put on his annual pre-parade party, without telling any guests that his wife left him just days before. Barbash's depiction of vulnerability and heartbreak is well worth the quick read. As it says on the One Story website, 'there is always time to read one story.' -- Julie Dolan

It is hard not to drool over the glossy and elegant photos of chic restaurants, striking modernist homes, and some of the coolest (not to mention prohibitively expensive) shops and hotels that fill the densely packed pages of Metropolis. Case in point: In the September issue, writer Paul Makovsky guides readers on a tour of some of the most evocative images of mid-century architecture captured in the brilliant, measured photographs of Julius Shulman. Glitz and glamour aside, the September issue also includes a substantive essay exploring how the city of Antwerp is taking rising sea levels into consideration as it looks to revive its once historic waterfront district. ?-- Chris Gehrke