Positivity, Ideas and Progressivism: On the Shelves

Hello Readers!

Summer is almost here, and that means things are starting to get busy around D Street. The kids in the neighborhood are out of school, Imperial's outside seating is generally packed, and Eb & Bean has a constant flow of sweets-seekers. Sadly, Josephine's moved out a few weeks ago, but her shop hasn't gone far - just down to 26th and Clinton - and it is much larger, so your fabric needs will still be met locally. And I still carry a bunch of sewing and crafting mags, so your reading needs will still be met, too! 

I decided a few months ago that we needed something to snap us out of our collective funk. For me, that means a strong dose of overtly 'positive outlook' reading along with some critical reading on ideas and culture, with a smattering of progressive politics. No more navel-gazing!

Here's what I've got:

I now have Yes! Magazine on the shelves. It is published from Bainbridge Island, WA, and has been around for twenty years, dishing out quarterly doses of positivity and solutions to our troubled world. This is the Sanctuary Issue, where they focus the power of positivity on sanctuary and inclusion. Summer 2017, $6.50

Orion is an environmental journal that 'invites readers into a community of caring for the planet'.  Filled with essays and stories, art and photography, people and nature. This issue is Natural Kinship, and it is filled with stories from people finding a kinship with with a natural place. Orion is always a treat for the senses. March/April 2017, $7.00

Taproot is a quarterly who's tagline is, 'For Makers, Doers and Dreamers'. If you are the sort of person who likes to create, whether in the kitchen, the yard or the sewing room, this is for you. Full of love and crafts, it is a comforting and happy place to while away the afternoon. Currently quarterly, they are going bi-monthly next year, so that is something to celebrate! Summer 2017, $12.00

Lion's Roar is a bi-monthly buddhist publication that helps us find insight into life, anger, happiness, wisdom and all the parts of our emotional and spiritual existence. This issue focuses on the Dalai Lama, one of the great humans of our world, and why we need him more than ever. Indeed. Bi-monthly, June/July 2017, $7.99

If you are interested in taking a deep dive into ideas, I have a few directions you can go:

Columbia Journalism Review has been covering those that cover the news for more that 50 years. These days, like so much today, the bulk of their reporting is online, but they still publish a bi-annual journal, which I carry. If you have been paying more attention to journalism recently, as so many of us have, you should take a look at this. Their Spring issue is on the future of local journalism, and the state of newspapers in this country today. There is much that is troubling, but also much to be encouraged by. Spring 2017, $9.99

Lapham's Quarterly picks one rabbit hole per issue to go down: For this issue, they chose Fear. From the cover featuring a scary head of Medusa, to excerpts on some exceptionally scary moments in time such as the fall of Caesar in 40 AD and Auschwitz in 1944. Fear within and without, personal situations - such as deportation - and public situations - like 9/11 - make appearances. Writers of great skill, writing on interesting times. Engrossing. Summer 2017, $18.00

Works That Work is a 'Magazine of Unexpected Creativity'. They look at a place, or a theme, from the perspective of design. This issue the theme is Play, and they take a unusual look at how design plays a role in sports, and how sports can play a role in design. Stories include Columbian fighters coming together in peace to play soccer, designing women's sportswear for professional athletes - including those that wear hijabs - and stringing tennis racquets for professionals. Each issue is a different perspective on an interesting topic, and this one is sure to please. Issue 9, Summer 2017, $21.99

I have a few copies of Boston Review, Forum 2, Spring 2017, which is a forum on the topics of Basic Income and Work Inequality. Basic Income (also known as Universal Basic Income, UBI) is a relatively radical, but not new or completely unknown theory, that has recently returned to public debate in the current age of technology-driven job loss and economic inequality. This publication - completely ad- and image-free, it is scholarly in its format - debates in a series of essays the pros and cons of both the theory and the practicality of implementation. Alongside that discussion, they have serious essays on work inequality and how to create jobs that are satisfying and decent. Not light beach reading, then. But still, good stuff. Spring 2017, $16.00

If you are looking for a dose of Progressive polemics, I've got that, too.

The Nation shows up every few weeks, filled with diatribes against Trump, Congress, particular bills (here's looking at you, AHCA...) and commendations for the good stuff - Bernie, Franken, even Merkley, and stuff like Women's Marches. It's been rabble-rousing for more than 150 years, and still a needed voice. Bi-weekly, $4.99

If you want a bit more heft, or more history, try Jacobin. This quarterly of the American Left does great work, diving into a topic with understanding and scope. This issue they tackle the Latin American 'Pink Tide', a term referring to the progressive governments, not necessarily communist or socialist, but anti-capitalist, washing over the region. The neon pink cover and graphics throughout keep things bright and loud, not unlike the progressive movement itself. Quarterly, Spring 2017, $12.95

Finally, I will mention New Republic, another publication, like The Nation, that has been around for ages. They have been through a few difficult years recently, but with the purchase by Win McCormack - who also edits Tin House - things seem to have settled down, and these days they rabble rouse with the best of them. Topics within the pages include politics, investigative journalism, books, the arts and international crises, all with a liberal outlook. It has been under its new leadership for a bit more than a year, and is currently published 10 times annually. How long have they been around? Since 1914 - I have issue 5,005 on my shelves right now. Really. July 2017, $6.99

That ought to keep you occupied for a bit. If you just want something fun, how about Milk Street? Or Cherry Bombe? Or Dwell? Or the last regular issue of Lucky Peach? Yep, something for everyone. The shelves are packed! 

Keep Reading!


Karin Dibling
A Few Things to Read: April 15, 2017

Hello Readers!

The stand is full of hidden gems; here are a few of the standouts!

Orion: Nature Culture Place

This journal shows up infrequently, but is always worth the wait. It is full of essays, musings really, on the intersection of humanity and environment. It is nature writing, in the way that The Sun is literary memoir - moving, touching, thought-provoking, and always illustrated with lovely photography. Their editorial team, both contributors and advisors, is a stacked deck, a who's who of the best in environmental writing today. January/February 2017, $7.00

Doctor Who Magazine

This issue is a remembrance of John Hurt, who played the War Doctor. (You remember him from some other movie? Hmm.) He passed away in November, and is much missed. Contributors include David Tennant, Steven Moffat, Louise Jameson and the Big Finish crew. April 2017, $9.99


Flow: Celebrating Creativity, Imperfection and Life's Little Pleasures

This issue has a feature on Portland! Sections are Feel Connected, Live Mindfully, Spoil Yourself and Simplify Your Life. The inserts this issue are Herbarium booklet, and The Manual of Me. Always lovely, always creative. Get hooked on Flow! Issue 17, $22.99



Sift: A King Arthur Flour Publication

This is a quarterly publication full of fabulous things you can make with flour. They talk to bakers, visit bakeries, have features on things like ice cream sandwiches and berries, and pack the pages with excellent recipes and photos. Are you a fan, as I am, of the Great British Baking Show? This is the magazine for you. Yum! Spring 2017, $12.95


Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan

Monkey Business was/is a Japanese language literary journal, published by Motoyuki Shibata, a respected translator. What I have is published by A Public Space, which is an American literary journal. Monkey Business is an annual journal of contemporary stories translated from the Japanese, and edited by Shibata and Ted Goossen. Confusing? Sure. But if you are looking for something good to read - different, clever, funny, odd - then forget about all that confusing publication talk and just grab a copy of this. Read. Volume 7, 2017, $15.00

Karin Dibling