These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Today we welcome 90 Minutes Soccer Magazine to the newsstand. This monthly magazine, which also calls itself 90:00, is all about professional soccer. About two-thirds of the December 2005 issue is devoted to American Major League Soccer, the rest to soccer in Europe. You know the magazine's going to be edgy and irreverent when you read the opening editorial from editor-in-chief Bill Hodson. Apparently 90:00 had previously criticized powerful Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness, and some London soccer journalists had told Hodson that if they had done that, "Souness would tell his players to never speak to their publication again." Hodson adds, "One of the advantages of being a North America-based soccer publication is that independence from the black balling, cabal-like mentality of most of the sycophantic world soccer press." With the MLS season winding down, there's a lot of "best ofs" and "worst ofs" about the season; they really like young Justin Mapp of the Chicago Fire, while DC United 16-year-old phenom Freddy Adu is labeled the "most overrated" player in the league. You'll no doubt be interested to learn that the San Jose locker room is the worst in Major League Soccer: "I can stand in the middle of the locker room and touch all four walls at once," complains writer Alecko Eskandarian. But on to Europe. There's a comprehensive one-page summary of the prospects of each team in England's Premier League. The magazine seems to like Chelsea's chances to repeat as champion, and devotes several pages to an article about the team's imperious manager, Jose Mourinho, who is quoted as saying, "Some people may have thought the one problem would be controlling the egos in my dressing room. Well, there isn't any problem there because mine is bigger than any of theirs." 90:00, published in Anaheim, CA by LiveWire Sports Group, Inc., is a fun read for the soccer fan. But old fuddy-duddy me does take issue with the magazine's designer, who seems to enjoy breaking every rule in the book regarding type. Multi-line subheads have absolutely no "leading" or space between the lines; there are occasional columns of white type over graphics which themselves have very light areas, and white type on a light background can't be easily seen. This stuff may be "in" but it isn't readable―and isn't readability the point of a magazine? An annual subscription to 90:00 (12 issues) is $29.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

AMERICAN JEWISH SPIRIT: Celebrating a Sense of Community

New to the newsstand this week is American Jewish Spirit, a quarterly that published its first issue in January. It has an interesting editorial concept, focusing on inner values such as life's meaning and the attainment of happiness within Jewish traditions and religious beliefs. The magazine is intensely concerned with both the Jewish sense of community and the forces in American society that tend to push individuals out of that community, outwardly manifested in the failure to observe traditional practices and inwardly in terms of unhappiness and psychological isolation. The article I found most interesting is titled "The Most Happening Shabbat in Jerusalem." It's about a couple from New York who moved to Jerusalem and for two decades have invited anyone who wants to come to Friday night dinner and lunch the next day at their apartment, a traditional display of Jewish hospitality that they have extended to an almost implausible extent. They routinely host 50 or more strangers on these occasions, Jews and Gentiles, many of them students, tourists and the homeless, and a theme of the article is the number of non-practicing Jews (many from the United States) who have come and been so impressed with the traditions, generosity of spirit and sense of community they encountered at the meal that they have decided to return to their Jewish roots. Other articles in the issue are about getting children to understand and appreciate Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashana, what the Torah says about the concept of happiness, and efforts to get Jewish college students more involved in community activities. You'll find a couple of recipes, one for pomegranate chicken, the other for a cute napkin ring made of a challah roll. I always enjoy the ads in magazines that are about worlds largely unfamiliar to me, and one that really caught my eye here was for "rabbi trading cards." That's right: well-known rabbis are on the cards, not second basemen or running backs―and the ad claims that three million cards have been sold around the world! American Jewish Spirit, published in Phoenix, AZ, is offered in a national edition and in an amazing dozen regional editions (Arizona, Chicago, Long Island, Atlanta, Columbus, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Dallas, Pacific Northwest, Bucks County, Houston and St. Louis), which add about 15% local editorial content. Subscribers are asked to specify which edition they want. An annual subscription (four issues) is $14.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy of the national edition from us for $2.59.

Monday, November 28, 2005

FLAVOR & FORTUNE: Sophisticated Chinese Cooking

We're going to visit the local dim sum palace today, a lunch we'll have to celebrate the arrival in the newsstand of Flavor & Fortune, a quarterly magazine about Chinese food. This is a serious food magazine, published in Kings Park, NY by an organization called The Institute for the Advancement of the Science & Art of Chinese Cuisine. Its driving force is Flavor & Fortune's editor, Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman, a registered dietitian, professor emeritus at Queens College, City University of New York, and the author of several books, most recently, Food Culture in China. While the magazine is using more graphics lately (it just recently incorporated color throughout), it's mostly text―fairly small-sized text. That's because there's a lot to squeeze in: many detailed recipes, articles about those recipes, discussions of spices, visits to Chinese restaurants in New York and other major cities, even an article or two about an aspect of Chinese history (food-related, of course). We're salivating over the Fall 2005 issue, just arrived in the newsstand, featuring a couple of glossy-coated roasted chickens on the cover. Turning to the three-page cover story that the editor has written on "Chicken: Chinese Style," we find a very detailed discussion of the history of the chicken in ancient China (it was apparently used for divination purposes before anyone thought to eat one), and how over the millennia the Chinese have come to enjoy consuming every bit of the bird except the feathers. The article ends with recipes for "Hot and Sour Soup, The Ancient Way" (it includes coagulated chicken or pork blood) and Fujian chicken. Among the issue's many recipes, for such items as black bean sauce, tomato shrimp with mango, black rice soup, and dry-sauteed beef with ho fun (a broad rice noodle), one stood out to me as truly exotic: it's for pickled duck tongue, and calls for one pound of duck tongues along with a host of spices and sauces. Some other interesting ingredients in this issue are an article about what a food critic should consider in reviewing a restaurant, a list of Internet sites dealing with Chinese cuisine, a discussion of the Zhuang people (China's largest ethnic non-Han minority), and the editor's own reviews of several memorable restaurants in San Francisco. I liked her comment, "Understand that poor restaurants should never be reviewed. Why call attention to them?" If you enjoy eating Chinese food, this magazine is of great interest. If you like to cook Chinese food, it's a necessity. An annual subscription to Flavor & Fortune (four issues) is $19.50 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Friday, November 25, 2005

"Report from the Newsstand" Archives Aug. 2-Nov. 23, 2005

Wednesday, November 23
―Yesterday we introduced you to
Brew Your Own, a home brewing magazine from Battenkill Communications in Manchester Center, VT. Today marks the debut in the newsstand of WineMaker, about making your own wine, from the same publisher (those Battenkill people must put on a heck of an office Christmas party!). WineMaker is subtitled "Creating Your Own Great Wines," and, like its beer counterpart, it is a very sophisticated magazine that assumes a considerable amount of knowledge of the subject by the reader. The publishers know this, and offer a WineMaker Beginner's Guide, either by mail order from the publisher or over the counter at winemaking retail stores. I've been leafing through the October-November issue of WineMaker, and don't know where to begin. I guess a good place is with grapes. Some of WineMaker's readers grow their own, some buy grapes from local or faraway vineyards, and some purchase specialty grape juices such as Merlot, Trebbiano and Riesling that have been imported from Europe. From here on things get really complicated, since each grape has its own characteristics and peculiarities that must be considered when making it into wine. For example, there's an interesting article in the issue about one grape variety, Tempranillo, that author Tim Patterson calls "Spanish sunlight in a bottle." It's Spain's best-known grape, and "the heart of wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and several other parts of the country." He argues that this variety has been grown in California's Central Valley for over a century without much success―kind of like the Chicago Cubs―because the climate is too warm. Patterson then goes on for several pages to explain how to properly process the Tempranillo grape into wine, exploring questions of pH, acidity, crushing, fermenting, aging and blending. And WineMaker is not just about grapes: there's a substantial article in this issue about making cherry wine. I always find the ads in hobby magazines of interest because they give you a sense of just how entangled someone can get in a world like this (and loving every hour and dollar spent). There are the most basic wine kits, which offer grape juice in a bag with a plastic can, on to crushers and destemmers, filters, fermentation tanks, bottles, bottle washers, siphons, barrels, polymer and natural corks, hydrometers, refractometers, yeasts, tannins, custom labels and wine racks. Wouldn't it be beyond cool to be sipping your own wine at your 2006 Thanksgiving dinner? An annual subscription (six issues) to WineMaker is $22.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Brew Your Own
Tuesday, November 22―Plaudits today for Ralph Waldo Emerson, who made self-reliance more of a virtue than a necessity. Combine self-reliance with a red-blooded American's love of beer, and the result is our newest publication,
Brew Your Own, a magazine dedicated to helping you become your own brewmaster. My happiest beer experience was back in the mid-1980s, when my favorite spirits shop in Hackensack, NJ started stocking an obscure East German beer in plain cardboard cases: 24 bottles for about five bucks! It was a great beer—I used to pride myself on remembering its long German name, but that was long ago—and what amazed me was that when I washed out the empty bottles the following week in preparation for bringing them to the town dump, bits of greenish-black fungi would be growing in the bottle. The beer was still alive! But then the Berlin Wall came down and whatever torturous trade channel that wonderful East German beer traveled—I like to think it was a Coca-Cola for beer swap—dried up, and I never saw those flimsy cardboard cases again. But now—maybe—I can make my own! We've received a supply of a recent issue of Brew Your Own from publisher Battenkill Communications in Manchester Center, VT. The legions of homebrewers who read it seem to be interested in two things: brewing up one of the classic kinds of beer (malty or sweet beers, bitter or hoppy beers, lagers, flavored beers, etc.) or duplicating an existing commercial brew such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Pilsner Urquell or Guinness Draught. Much of the magazine is given over to recipes to accomplish these goals, and reading some of these recipes can stop a novice in his or her tracks (e.g., "For the hopback, run the hot wort through an in-line hopback-type filter where you have the remaining three hops in a straining bag, with the outlet going into 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water in a sanitary fermenter. . ."). Happily, each issue of the magazine contains a full-page ad for the Brew Your Own Beginner's Guide, available directly from the publisher and at homebrew retailers. You'll definitely need a primer like that to appreciate and make use of the articles in the magazine, which also delve into the alkalinity and pH of water, designing and modifying brewing equipment and absolutely anything you want to know about hops. I have no idea of the economics of homebrewing; I suspect you'll come out ahead just buying your beer at a store. But I'm sure that avid homebrewers will argue that it's the accomplishment of making your own beer that's the goal. A case in point: the last article in the issue is by a homebrewer who reports that his daughter's wedding had a medieval theme, so he whipped up what he calls "Ye Olde Canterbury Ale of 1503," based on an actual recipe from that year, for the occasion. It was a great success and later won him his first ribbon in a beer competition! An annual subscription to Brew Your Own (eight issues) is $24.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Delaware Beach Life
Monday, November 21―Today we're proud to introduce a gem of a regional magazine to the newsstand. It's
Delaware Beach Life, aimed at residents and vacationers along the Delaware shore, and they should feel fortunate to have this magazine. Editor/publisher Terry Plowman has given it the editorial feel of a friendly but concerned small-town newspaper, but has incorporated photography and editorial input from the major leagues. What I like best about the magazine is that it eschews puffery and pandering to the most moneyed elements of the population, even though the ads are obviously getting fairly upscale. Like just about any vacation-friendly coastal area these days, folks with dough are pouring into the Delaware coast, driving real estate prices up and causing no end of problems for long-time and non-wealthy residents. The magazine recognizes these problems and writes about them, even taking the trouble to propose solutions. I'm looking at the Fall 2005 issue (the magazine publishes seven issues a year, monthly in the warmer months and a couple of issues over the fall and winter). The eco-friendly tone of Delaware Beach Life is reflected in an article about efforts along the entire Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia, get it?) to promote "low impact tourism," which is defined by its volunteer director as "don't scare the wildlife and don't kill things." Instead, the organization promotes activities such as bicycle, canoe and walking trails and bird-watching. There's a very nice piece about the various kinds of Canada geese. Yes, the article acknowledges that the non-migrating guys are a pain in the neck, but they're all heart-stoppingly beautiful in flight and have a fascinating social life. You'll also find several thoughtful articles about the disruptions that the inflow of new residents with money have brought to coastal Delaware: they want big houses just like they're used to in the affluent suburbs, and so the older bungalows are purchased for very high prices and torn down to build "mcmansions." Real estate prices are driving town employees like teachers and police officers to live 20 or 30 miles away. It's a common problem today, but it's magnified in the traditionally cozy atmosphere along the Delaware shore. Lastly, I must mention the cover article, about an elderly local aviator who has an open-cockpit Stearman. You'll find several pages of absolutely gorgeous photos of the yellow airplane shot from above with local landscapes underneath. Delaware Beach Life is published in Rehoboth Beach. An annual subscription (seven issues) is $18.00 (a steal!); you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Professional Mariner
Tuesday, November 15―Almost all the publications in the catalogue are consumer magazines. A happy exception is
Professional Mariner, a maritime industries trade journal. This bimonthly publication provides fascinating reading about the perils and challenges of working on the high seas and waterways to move cargo and people. The new December/January 2006 issue, just received in our landlocked little newsstand, is unique in that more than half of its editorial space is devoted to detailed coverage of the heroic work of tugboat crews and other mariners in trying to keep the Mississippi River clear in the face of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. The magazine reports that an estimated 1,568 vessels were damaged, grounded or destroyed in four states by the hurricanes. There's also a report on the investigation of the October tour boat accident on New York's Lake George that killed 20 elderly passengers; it's found in the "Maritime Casualties" section that regularly chronicles marine mishaps around the world. Professional Mariner also covers technical advances in the industry. In this issue, for example, it explains plans for a new diesel-charged battery propulsion system for tugboats that promises to reduce fuel consumption by up to 70 percent. There's also a lighter, gentler side to Professional Mariner. The new issue concludes with a profile of Reginald Fessenden, Thomas Edison's chief chemist and an inventive genius in his own right, who created the sonic depth finder and the turbo-electric drive for battleships. But Fessenden also developed a long-range voice radio transmission system, and on Christmas Eve of 1906 he hosted the world's first radio show, a program of music, hymns and scripture readings for lonely sailors at sea. Amazingly, according to author Richard O'Donnell, a couple of Fessenden's performers, including his wife, froze at the microphone, the first cases of what has come to be known as "mike fright." Professional Mariner is published in Portland, ME by Navigator Publishing LLC, the company also responsible for Ocean Navigator and Smart Homeowner. An annual subscription (seven issues) is $29.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Monday, November 7
―It may not seem like the right season, but today we welcome
ChopTalk, which is, as the magazine's cover proudly proclaims, "the official monthly magazine of the 14-time-defending National League Division Champion Atlanta Braves." Actually, baseball is never out of season, and this is the time of year when the "hot stove league" warms up. It's when wounds are licked, excuses are made, and signings, trades and retirements are announced. Most important, it's when a fan can formulate dreams of success for next year. That's where a magazine like ChopTalk comes in, supplying the quotes, statistics and other information that a fan desperately needs to place his team (and, by extension, himself) in its proper position in the universe: on the verge of ultimate success. We've received a supply of the November issue of ChopTalk, and it contains short columns from team play-by-play guy Skip Caray, General Manager John Schuerholz and Manager Bobby Cox, all bemoaning the 18-inning loss to the Houston Astros that ended Atlanta's 2005 playoff run but congratulating the team on a fine season. There's an interesting visit to retired pitcher Phil Niekro's very nice home on Lake Lanier, near Atlanta; I've always wondered what an old star's retirement house looks like. This one's got a round stained glass window that looks like a baseball, and the patio features a row of seats from the demolished Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. There's plenty of talk in the issue about hot new prospects and the outlook for emerging stars like rookie―and Georgia native―Jeff Francoeur. ChopTalk is steak and potatoes (or maybe fried chicken and grits) for Braves fans. The title, by the way, comes from the "tomahawk chop" gesture that Braves fans make when their team is rallying. An annual subscription (12 issues) is $34.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Today's Diet & Nutrition
Friday, November 4―This morning, munching somewhat guiltily on a bagel, we welcome
Today's Diet & Nutrition to the newsstand. This brand-new magazine is all about eating well and living well, and comes from people who know food: they're the publishers of Today's Dietitian Magazine, read by the pros in the nutrition business. We've received a supply of the magazine's premiere Fall issue here at the newsstand. I like premiere issues, since they usually contain statements of purpose from the publisher and/or editor. Today's Diet & Nutrition is no exception. Publisher Mara Honicker writes in the issue that her new quarterly "is a comprehensive wellness and lifestyle magazine for the health-conscious consumer." She adds that the magazine "explores the different ways to enjoy a good life and live healthier. We've divided the magazine into five sections: Health, Nutrition, Fitness, Lifestyle and Cuisine. . .the keys to overall well-being." Leafing through the magazine's colorful pages, I'm impressed on how the editors have put fresh touches on these various topics (it's not at all like listening to nutritionists lecture). There's an interesting discussion on how food can affect relationships: if people like radically different foods, can they cohabit peacefully? Not to give the ending away, but the solution involves understanding the problem (you may be cheating on your partner with food for all sorts of reasons), soliciting your mate's support, negotiating compromises, finding creative solutions and keeping a sense of humor about it all. There's an eye-opening tour of all those mysterious vegetables in Caribbean markets, as well as some recipes (e.g., green mango chutney, conch in coconut milk) to make them come to life on your dinner table. You'll find that pilates are no longer the newest rage; now it's pilates in the pool! Today's Diet & Nutrition is published by Great Valley Publishing Co. in Spring City, PA. An annual subscription (four issues) is $9.99 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Field & Feast
Thursday, November 3―Today we welcome
Field & Feast to the newsstand. This new quarterly magazine is all about growing, finding and eating good, safe food. That's not an easy task in the midst of what publisher-editor Laurie Carlson calls "the chemical-laden Green Revolution." Ms. Carlson knows her topic: she wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the history of agricultural economics and she and her husband raise poultry on a small organic farm in Four Lakes, a town in eastern Washington. We've received a supply of the Summer 2005 issue of Field & Feast. It's not a slick publication―the only color is on the outside covers―but its content is meaty. The issue opens with a chilling editorial about new research that indicates that pesticides now in use are causing generations of low fertility in lab rats. You'll find several interesting articles on seafood in the issue. One is a warning about the proposed growth of offshore fish farming, in which huge cages hundreds of feet long are being designed to float on ocean currents, filled with genetically engineered ocean fish and perhaps dooming existing small fishing fleets. This being the summer issue, there's an engaging article about the history of ice cream and a couple of recipes for making French vanilla (with eggs) and Philadelphia vanilla (no eggs) ice cream. I liked an article about heirloom tomatoes, in which the author describes the qualities of 16 different varieties that still taste like tomatoes should taste. I savored some of the names: Pink Accordian, Big Rainbow (yellow flesh with crimson red streaks throughout), Old German, English Rose, Cherokee Purple. They're all available through independent seed suppliers. If food and health are important to you (and that's just about everybody), Field & Feast should be important to you. An annual subscription (four issues) is $16.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Antique Automobile
Tuesday, November 1―With the new month comes a new magazine to the catalogue:
Antique Automobile, the official publication of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), based in Hershey, PA. This is one of those publications that you have to be a member to receive, but membership is just $30 a year, and you don't have to submit proof that your great-grandfather owned a Pierce Arrow to become a member. Antique Automobile covers a very wide range of automobiles, since its editorial yardstick excludes only automobiles manufactured within the last 25 years. We've received a supply of the September/October issue. The articles include an examination of the appropriately named Fascination, a three-wheeled vehicle that a fellow named Paul Lewis designed and tried to market about 1970. Only five were built. I wish they'd put it on the cover; here's a photo of the traffic-stopping Fascination from the magazine. There are also articles about a 1969 Pontiac Firebird, 1935 Buick and 1932 Ford, all vehicles belonging to members of the AACA. You have to understand that this is a magazine with a very clubby feel: its members are automobile collectors and restorers, and Antique Automobile is all about its members and their love of cars. This issue contains biographies of candidates for the AACA Board of Directors; obits of members (fascinating to read; one, we learn, won the Cleveland Soap Box Derby in 1940!), and photos from some of the many club-sponsored gatherings around the country―happily, the photos tend to be of the cars, not their owners. There's a nice regular feature of old snapshots of cars from the early part of the 20th century; the magazine invites readers to write in and try to identify the year and make of automobile. The ads are fun to read too: one company specializes in original car keys! An annual subscription to Antique Automobile (six issues) is included with a $30 membership (valid for the calendar year only, so now's a good time to join for 2006); you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Thursday, October 27―This is the first day in our newsstand for
AmericanStyle, a bi-monthly from Baltimore about art, crafts and interior design in the United States that is itself very well crafted. AmericanStyle eschews the ponderous, and makes it fun to read about the imaginative creations that populate many of the country's galleries, art fairs and exhibitions. From looking at the very colorful articles and ads in the December 2005 issue, I'd say that crafts are the predominant focus. I liked an article about sculptor Amy Brier, who carves limestone balls with words, faces and other images so that when the ball is rolled on fine sand, the images are transferred. The article starts, "Amy Brier likes to pose her favorite childhood riddle: How do you make a statue of an elephant? Answer: Find a really big rock and take away everything that doesn't look like an elephant." The magazine visits the home of a painter/sculptor/builder constructed over 14 years on a gorgeous rocky hillside in northern California; not a glitzy palace, but a quirky, comfortable abode for art and music filled with all sorts of eye candy, like a manzanita-railed stairway, arched windows and carved cypress columns. AmericanStyle's readers also apparently like to travel to centers of art, and in this issue you'll find a comprehensive survey of the fast-evolving arts scene in Miami, as well as a list of the readers' ten favorite art fairs and festivals around the country. The issue also features an eight-page article about new art jewelry. If you like to collect or just look at beautiful stuff, you'd be wise to get a subscription to AmericanStyle. An annual subscription (six issues) is $24.99 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Friday, October 21―We're proudly wearing pink suspenders in honor of our newest publication,
Pink magazine. Billed as "finally a magazine for professional women," Pink is just that: combining the concerns of a career (and a growing bank account) with those of a woman who may also be a wife and mother. Published six times a year out of Atlanta, this is a substantial and serious woman's magazine (no horoscope!) that leavens its message with an airy layout. We've got the August-September issue in our newsstand (just the second issue of Pink), and it appears to have its act together already. A quick sketch of some of the articles in the issue: some no-nonsense advice about wills, including don't trust your husband so be sure to leave something to the kids, and don't forget the family pet; an article called "Mothering Your Company" that argues that all those "how to be a better manager" tomes are just rip-offs of traditional parenting handbooks; a piece on "baby bloomers," women creating their own dream jobs (the author calls it "repotting"); articles on how to save and retire in comfort; and profiles of the leading women in the ad business. The articles are generally short (two-three pages max), as befits the busy lifestyle they celebrate. A longer article entitled "Blackberry in the Bedroom" discusses how obsessions with personal digital assistants can disrupt your sex and family life. In it I learned of a delicious acronym credited to Robert Reich, President Clinton's Secretary of Labor: "DINS couples" (double income, no sex). It's a magazine by women for women; the only male contributor to this issue seems to be Dr. Deepak Chopra. An annual subscription (six issues) to Pink is $18.00; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Lake Superior Magazine
Monday, October 17―Today we warmly welcome our newest publication,
Lake Superior Magazine. Published in Duluth, MN, this bimonthly ably covers the parts of the three U.S. states that adjoin the greatest of the Great Lakes: eastern Minnesota and northern Michigan and Wisconsin. If I were to use two words to describe Lake Superior Magazine, they'd be "solid" and "unpretentious." I get to see a lot of regional magazines from all over the country, and from the articles and ads in many of them you'd think everyone in the area was a millionaire, concerned mainly with getting a bigger Jacuzzi, heavier Rolex and new columned mansion. Not this magazine. Its editorial focus reflects the local population's admiration for an unspoiled environment and interesting history and its healthy respect for the powers of nature. We've just received a supply of the October/November 2005 issue. November is perhaps the worst month for gales on Lake Superior. The 730-foot Edmund Fitzgerald ore carrier went down on November 10, 1975, 30 years ago. The cover article of this issue recalls the November exactly 100 years ago when more than 20 ships sank in gales, killing 60 sailors. The most famous of the wrecks was the ore carrier Mataafa, which foundered just a few hundred yards offshore from Duluth; that storm became known as the "Mataafa Blow." You'll find an interesting history of Presque Isle in Marquette, MI, a public park founded and underwritten by a local iron ore financier in the 1880s after three of his children died in a diphtheria epidemic. He engaged Frederick Law Olmstead's firm to design the park, whose name means "almost an island" in French (it's the tip of a peninsula and is separated from the mainland by a swampy area). And then there's an article about the many family-run perennial plant nurseries and apple orchards in Bayfield, WI. Author Julie Buckles points out that the area is blessed with sandy soil and a generous microclimate: "in the fall, the warmth of Lake Superior extends the season, and in the spring, the lake's cool breezes delay growth, eliminating the danger of frost nipping young buds." The seasonal articles in the issue include one on weather-sealing older houses for the winter and another on the joys of snowmobiling. An annual subscription to Lake Superior Magazine (seven issues, including the annual Lake Superior Travel Guide) is $21.95; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Tropical Fish Hobbyist
Monday, October 10―Forget those addictions that celebrities and lesser folk are always getting involved with: gambling, booze, drugs, shopping. The really dangerous addiction is tropical fish. It starts with an innocent goldfish-in-a-bowl won at a carnival stand, and ends with a subscription to
Tropical Fish Hobbyist. I've been dipping into a recent issue of this substantial monthly magazine, published (appropriately) in Neptune City, NJ, and am astounded by the sea of information that must be processed to pursue this innocent-sounding hobby. You apparently have to be part biologist and part chemist, and have the time, patience and attention span equivalent to that of someone raising a new brood of quintuplets every other year. But a lot of people must care for a great many tropical fish, given the number of glossy ads in the magazine for live fish from all over the world (you can order them by Federal Express), fish food, fish vitamins, tanks that look like large flat screen televisions, lighting mechanisms, coral, fish tank vegetation, pumps, filters―the list is endless. The many very authoritative articles in a typical issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist are generally about different kinds of colorful tropical fish and how to acquire them, care for them and get them to reproduce. After 137 pages of all this, I was glad to get to a profile of a tropical fish hobbyist named Margie Luce. In the article, justifiably titled "Portrait of a Fish Addict," the author tells her story, which indeed began with a goldfish from a carnival. She describes her growing but still manageable addiction, through high school and living in a college dorm. But then she got her own house. The result to date: 30 aquariums, two indoor ponds, two outdoor ponds and hundreds of fish. Told by a work colleague that there were support groups for addicts like her, she replied that she didn't want to be cured. In the little bio that accompanies the article it's revealed that the author also has five cats, and I suspect it's the cats who need professional counseling at this point. An annual subscription to Tropical Fish Hobbyist (12 issues) is $28 from the publisher, and you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Carolina Gardener
Friday, October 7―There are fresh flowers all over the newsstand today to celebrate the arrival of
Carolina Gardener to our catalogue. Yes, the title says it all: Carolina Gardener is about growing beautiful flowers and plants in the Carolinas and the Southeast. I've made a few drives south from still-frozen New Jersey in March and early April. It was like driving into spring, with flowers blooming and leaves sprouting with every mile I advanced into the home base of Carolina Gardener, and I like to think I have the magazine to thank for much of that pleasure. Carolina Gardener, which is published in Greensboro, NC, has been around for 18 years, and over that span has perfected its regional approach: many plants thrive in the region's soil and climate, and others require special care. A perfect example in the October 2005 issue, now in the newsstand, is an article about a couple who moved to their retirement home on the banks of Albemarle Sound 18 years ago. Avid gardeners who couldn't bear to leave their favorite flora behind on Long Island, they hauled a trailer load of plants with them. Some did well in their new environment, and some didn't. But over the years they've discovered local plants and experimented with raised beds and other gardening techniques―and have successfully coped with hurricanes and even a tornado. Other articles in the issue include a visit to Chapel Hill's Coker Arboretum and beautifully illustrated and informative articles on plants such as viburnum, clivia (Kaffir lily) and stokesia (the last described as "a true Dixie darling"). There's also a piece on preparing a water garden for the winter. An annual subscription to Carolina Gardener (seven issues) is $24.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

SpeciaLiving Magazine
Thursday, October 6―The newest member of the catalogue is
SpeciaLiving Magazine, a digest-sized quarterly for the mobility-impaired. I used to edit a magazine for the physically disabled, and I learned that our readers had two main concerns: getting the therapy and equipment to compensate for their impairments, and getting physical access to places where everyone else can go. These are also the major focus of SpeciaLiving, which is published in Bloomington, IL. I've got the Fall 2005 issue in the newsstand, and it covers a range of practical matters. There's an interesting article by a wheelchair-bound woman who had her kitchen remodeled two years ago, when she wrote about the project in the magazine. Having spent two years with the kitchen, she now writes about what she would have done differently, such as lower the sink and get an oven where the door opens to the left rather than downward. You'll also find profiles of people with disabilities who have active and fulfilling lives and careers, tips on equipment, and articles about a variety of special health concerns of the mobility-impaired. The issue's travel article is about accessibility in California's national parks―it seems to be pretty good these days. An annual subscription (four issues) to SpeciaLiving Magazine is $12 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Modern Haiku
Wednesday, October 5―It's a short review today, as well it should be. I'm looking through a copy of
Modern Haiku, a journal published in Lincoln, IL. Modern Haiku contains all sorts of poems (in English) in this abbreviated Japanese form. You'll find traditional as well as modern haiku. An example of the latter is this by Michael Ketchek that many across the land can relate to:

dog days of summer
twenty-three games out of first

And, since the baseball playoffs have started, here's another (by Elizabeth Howard):

first baseball lesson
he spits his son spits

Modern Haiku contains funny stuff, sad stuff, beautiful stuff. If you do any writing, you'll certainly appreciate the many excellent examples of word economy. You'll also encounter essays on traditional Japanese haiku and the haiku form, as well as a number of book reviews. Modern Haiku is always interesting. An annual subscription (three issues) is $23 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Today's Christian
Monday, October 3―Today we're taking up the digest-sized
Today's Christian, one of several publications in the newsstand from Christianity Today International, based in Carol Stream, IL. Today's Christian is subtitled "People of Faith, Stories of Hope" and its articles mirror the activities, anxieties and concerns of 21st-century America and look to Christian teachings for answers and comfort. Thumbing through a recent issue, I find a short feature about a 70-year-old grandmother from Alaska, Eleanor Claus, who likes to run marathon races. Noting that there are 26 letters in the alphabet as well as 26 miles in a marathon, "It dawned on me that my daily runs were the perfect opportunity to talk to the Lord. I started using the alphabet as a guide as I prayed on the run. Starting with the letter A, I'd celebrate the attributes of God: Awesome, blessed, compassionate. . ." Family life is a strong focus of the magazine. In the issue is a feature about a Grammy-winning musician and his wife who adopted three Chinese children into their Nashville home. It's followed by a chilling account by a housewife who was raped by a stranger―of a different race―and then found herself pregnant. Entitled "Loving the Rapist's Child," the article is about how she and her husband came to terms with the situation and to cherish their new daughter. Home improvement is a major preoccupation of many Americans, and Today's Christian examines what it sees as the spiritual roots behind the trend. You'll also find a few celebrity profiles in the magazine and brief book and CD reviews. An annual subscription to Today's Christian (six issues) is $17.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Woman Poker Player
Wednesday, September 28―We've covered the newsstand in green felt today to welcome our newest magazine,
Woman Poker Player. What, you may ask―I did―makes a female poker player different from a male poker player? "They're close, but no cigar," might be your flippant answer. But the editorial concept embodied in this handsome magazine answers the question brilliantly. Many of the articles seem aimed at the new poker player―at least new to competitive casino and card room poker―for I suspect that a good number of women have been drawn to the game because of its recent successes on television. A running theme is that poker has been a man's game, and a woman is an interloper whom the male players will treat differently, some aggressively, some with "chivalry"―figure out how they're treating you differently, and take advantage! The magazine tends to emphasize the psychological and emotional aspects of the game more than the non-gender poker publications, and I think many a male player can learn a lot from surreptitious glances at the pages of Woman Poker Player. Here in the newsstand I've been checking out the August/September issue, and was immediately taken with the first article, entitled "Scoping Out a New Game." If you can, study the table for 20 minutes before sitting down, developing theories about each of your competitors such as "never bluffs," "is too aggressive," "plays too many hands" or "can't miss a flop." If you don't have that opportunity, play conservatively until you can complete those profiles and begin to act on them. Another piece is about bluffing, and it makes the cogent observation that bluffs are more likely to come from players with big stacks of chips (they're not risking much) or very small stacks (they're desperate). You'll find the conclusion of a two-part history of women in poker (did you know that women weren't allowed to play poker in Las Vegas at all until the mid 1950s?) There are profiles of successful women players, and a useful survey of career possibilities in the poker industry. You'll also encounter oddly endearing little woman's magazine touches: a full page of horoscopes, a two-page spread on herbal teas. Woman Poker Player is published in New Westminster, British Columbia―it's our first Canadian magazine!―and an annual subscription (six issues) is $18.95; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59. It's a good bet.

Dulcimer Players News
Tuesday, September 27―With some old-timey music playing discreetly from the newsstand boom-box, today's report is about a music magazine in our catalogue,
Dulcimer Players News. Published in Winchester, VA, Dulcimer Players News calls itself "the journal for hammered and fretted dulcimer enthusiasts." My minimal research indicates that a fretted dulcimer is also called a "mountain dulcimer," and is an hourglass-shaped instrument―akin to a long guitar―that you finger. The hammered dulcimer is a stringed instrument that is struck with a hammer, and is usually heavy enough to require a stand. Both instruments seem to go back to the British-Scotch-Irish music that gave birth to American traditional folk music. But it's the magazine we're interested in, and the overwhelming sense of community that emanates from it. While there are professional dulcimer players, there are probably no dulcimer millionaires. These are instruments for playing among and with your friends and neighbors. The issue I'm looking at is filled with ads for dulcimer and traditional music festivals around the country, and almost all the festivals feature instruction on the instrument, often free. There's a profile in the magazine of a British dulcimer maker (called a "luthier"), Roger Frood, who turned from furniture-making to instrument-making and refuses to use any tropical woods out of respect for endangered rain forests. Frood, who sat beside George Harrison in primary school, notes that there are probably only about 200 dulcimer players left in Britain, and he's working to revive the instrument in Europe. A few pages later I encountered a touching reminiscence by a woman who, traveling west on the Southwest Chief a dozen years ago, set up her hammered dulcimer in the domed observation car and began to practice with an old hymn, because she was to play at her daughter's wedding when the train got to Colorado. A fellow passenger sang along and then requested hymn after hymn, singing them all, and proclaiming each "my mother's favorite." It turned out he was going to his mother's funeral in Los Angeles. I liked an article on how to practice for your first big performance. It included the advice, "Play for a pet. Set up chairs and imagine that your audience is there with you. Do anything to get your heart racing a bit faster so that you begin to simulate the excitement of an actual performance. When you're ready, play in a nursing home, hospital, hospice, school or restaurant. When you finally perform for the first time, you will already have done so, and you'll be much better prepared.” An annual subscription (four issues) to Dulcimer Players News is $24 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Michigan History
Michigan History for Kids

Monday, September 26―We start the week off leafing through a pair of thoughtfully written and well-illustrated magazines that are devoted to the history of one state. They are
Michigan History and Michigan History for Kids, both published by the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing, a state agency. If you live in Michigan and your home doesn't get these publications, shame on you. My copy of Michigan History starts off with the boom-and-bust story of Lake Marais, a harbor town on Lake Superior way up on the Upper Peninsula. Its boom was the lumbering industry in the 1890s, but by the eve of World War I all the white pine in the area had been cut, and only a couple of hundred people were left to eke out a rugged existence. Fishing picked up in the 1920s, and the town now is more of a summer vacation destination. The next story is about the Army Air Force training base for aircraft mechanics that mushroomed around Ford's Willow Run plant during World War II as that factory was dedicated to mass-producing B-24 Liberator bombers. Then there's a history of the Detroit Stock Exchange, founded in 1907 and lasting for 69 years. The article is illustrated with photos of stone relief sculptures that adorned the stock exchange building, including a bull and a bear, a stock ticker and figures from history and mythology. There are several other stories of interest in this substantial 56-page issue, which carries no advertising. The edition of Michigan History for Kids currently in our newsstand is dedicated to one theme: Life on the Great Lakes. It contains the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the huge ore carrier that sank in 1975 in Lake Superior, a history of the Coast Guard's life-saving mission on the Great Lakes, and an account of what life was like on a schooner. This nicely put-together issue, also ad-free, concludes with a list of places to visit around the state that complement the theme: lighthouses, museums and boats. The magazine's Web site states that it is written at the fourth-grade reading level. An annual subscription to Michigan History (six issues) is $16.95; an annual subscription to Michigan History for Kids (four issues) is $11.95, both from the publisher. You can get samples of either magazine from us for $2.59.

Friday, September 23―Free dog treats for every canine that comes by the newsstand today, to celebrate the arrival of
WAG magazine in the catalogue. This new doggie quarterly from Modesto, CA just came out a couple of months ago, and we have a supply of the premier issue in our inventory. What is WAG all about? Asked to supply a short blurb about his magazine for, editor Josh Magness wrote, "Not all pet, not just fashion, WAG magazine represents a new breed altogether. A self-styled 'GQ for dogs,' WAG magazine devotes itself to the art of living with a dog and looking damn good doing it." Is WAG therefore about dog as fashion accessory? Owner as fashion accessory for dog? I turn to the issue for more guidance. There are several short articles by people recounting their heartwarming experiences owning dogs. This happiness is followed by an article from Mongolia―that's right, Ulan Bator, vacation spot of the world―about a visit to the office of that city's official dog killer, who supervises the shooting of 17,000 stray dogs a year and is shown in a full-page photo modeling his dog fur coat. Then we get into the GQ-type stuff, with more than a dozen pages of very good-looking folks carrying equally good-looking dogs, with the stores of origin and prices of articles of clothing and accessories worn by human and canine alike noted. A couple of pages are devoted to dog carriers, ranging from $78 to $550. Right on target with the editor's GQ concept is a really enjoyable and very witty one-page essay near the back titled, "Can a Real Man Own a Small Dog?" To quote author R.S. Whitsell, "Nothing says 'manly dog' like a good, old-school, spiked leather collar. There is no question that a Chihuahua or a Pomeranian in a spiked collar is ready for prime time, for a walk down the street with a snarl on its lips, and ready to be your wingman. Limit your leather accessories to just the leather collar, though. Overdoing leather is a sure way for your small, yet manly, dog to look like an escapee from the Village People. This is not the look you are going for." An annual subscription to WAG (four issues) is $9.99 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Cabin Life
Thursday, September 22
Cabin Life isn't so much about vacation cabins and cottages as it is about the stuff that you can do and use when you own one―in other words, your lifestyle. The issue I'm looking at―and I love the cover, that German shepherd looks responsible, respectable and sagacious enough to be the host―contains articles on: joyfully (!) hosting far-flung relatives just about every weekend; picking the right water skis; selecting dinnerware with natural themes; purchasing a sundial that actually tells the time (proper installation for the location is the key); planting a tree correctly; selecting the right camera filters; and how to paddle a canoe with fitness as the goal. You'll find several interesting articles on food, the cover article about the trend to create "outdoor rooms" for dining and relaxing, and a useful multi-page national directory of dock and boatlift suppliers. There are a couple of paragraphs about cleaning the interior walls of a log cabin, as well as a two-pager about making your own small concrete patio, but this is not the magazine to satisfy the soul of the do-it-yourselfer with a saw and a pile of logs―at least until after he or she is finished building. In fact, a central article in the issue I've been reading is about a new trend in cabin life: low- or no-maintenance cabin developments for, as the article puts it, "the hammerless crowd." These are planned communities out in the boonies where the developer or cabin owners' association is responsible for repairing the dock, raking the leaves and shoveling the snow. In some of these communities, cabins even come fully furnished. But the author stresses that the more progressive developments of this kind keep the cabins clustered in one part of the property (but not too close together) and let nature remain relatively pristine on the rest, to be enjoyed by all. The article comes with a chart listing some of these developments (from Minnesota to Oregon), and the average cost of a cabin runs from $400,000 to $1.5 million. In many of these places, I suspect that use of the word "cabin" could be compared to the use of "cottage" in Newport, RI: reverse exaggeration. To sum up: If you have a nice cabin, cottage or lake home, Cabin Life will be a useful aid to enjoying your time there. Cabin Life is published in Duluth, MN. An annual subscription (seven issues) is $22 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Couloir: Backcountry Adventure
Wednesday, September 21―Forget that it's still technically summer; it's an honorary snowy day as we welcome aboard
Couloir: Backcountry Adventure, a magazine about skiing on "wild snow," far away from the groomed ski slopes. My first question to myself, of course, was what "couloir" means (if there's one thing I'm learning here in the newsstand, is that I know very little about anything). Being too lazy to reach over for the dictionary, I turned instead to Couloir's Web site, and there it was, the first FAQ about the magazine. Question: "What the heck does Couloir mean and how do I pronounce it?" Answer: "Couloir is French for a steep, mountainside gully filled with snow. It is pronounced: kool-wahr. In Paris you might hear it pronounced: koo-wah." Turning to Couloir's masthead, I came across a warning scarier than any I've seen pasted on a ladder: "Many of the activities covered in Couloir carry a significant risk of injury or death." And they do, for Couloir is all about skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry, where medical help is not readily available and avalanches are a major hazard. But if the magnificent photo section in the back of my copy is any indication, the action and the natural beauty make it all worth it. Most Couloir articles seem to focus on two topics: locations and gear. There's an article about skiing the backcountry near Sugarbush in Vermont, and another about the Grand Tetons near Jackson Hole, WY, "the movie stars of North America's mountains." Turning to gear, you'll find a fascinating piece about climbing skins, the answer to how a backcountry skier skis uphill when there's (obviously) no rope tow or chair ride. The article patiently explains to the novice that early in the last century (the 20th century, remember) skiers attached seal fur to the underside of their skis. Because the hairs of seal fur lie in only one direction, if the hairs are aligned so they point away from the direction you are moving you can glide forward, even uphill; conversely, you can't slide backward because the hairs stand up and grip the snow. Today climbing skins are made of nylon or mohair, but they're still called "skins," and now you know why. The article gets a lot more sophisticated, but―like a worried skier―I'm running out of room. Couloir is published out of Truckee, CA five times a year (in October, November, December and January, plus the annual "gear guide issue" in July) and the publisher offers an annual subscription for $22; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Teddy Bear Review
Tuesday, September 20―Today we venture into truly uncharted waters (for me):
Teddy Bear Review, one of four magazines in our catalogue devoted to dolls and such from Jones Publishing Co. in Iola, WI (the others are Dolls, Doll Crafter and Doll Costuming, and you'll find them in both our Arts & Crafts and Collecting & Hobbies categories). That teddy bears have their own full-color magazine is amazing to me, but then I'm constantly amazed by what surrounds me in the newsstand―and I love it! Teddy Bear Review is mostly about bears you can buy and collect, though some attention is also paid to those who like to create their own teddies. Many people seem to focus on collecting and appreciating vintage teddy bears, and the issue I am holding features brief tours of teddy bear museums in Iowa, England, Wyoming, Missouri and Florida. Teddy Bear Review is also the place where contemporary teddy bear designers from around the world get to showcase their new creations. I don't quite understand the rules, for some of the animals in the magazine are not bears, but clearly cats, elephants, even lions. You'll find articles about dressing your teddies and, of course, listings of upcoming teddy bear shows both in the United States and overseas. There's an article about making miniature teddy bears, and I enjoyed a discussion about how to add weight to such a bear's innards: Never use lead shot, which is poisonous and messy; stick to either copper-coated shot (used for wildfowling) or, even better, glass beads that come from teddy bear suppliers. The article goes on to describe where to put additional padding; then "sew up the seam and you have a lovely, weighty bear that will sag appealingly in your arms." An annual subscription to Teddy Bear Review (six issues) is $24.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

On Hurricane Katrina and Libraries
Monday, September 19―The current issue of the on-line
Writing World newsletter contains quite a bit of information compiled by managing editor Peggy Tibbetts on various relief efforts directed to libraries, schools, bookstores and newspapers on the Gulf Coast ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. While such institutions rank below the necessities of life like food, water, electricity, shelter and hospitals, they're crucial to the life and health of a community, and increasing attention must be paid to them after basic necessities are restored. The American Library Association Web site has an excellent running summary of how libraries and museums fared throughout the region. The library in our little town in Northern New Jersey was destroyed in flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and wasn't restored for quite a few months. Much material was lost forever. But that, in today's context, was just an inconvenience; there are probably a dozen other public libraries within a dozen miles. It's hard to imagine living with no functioning library for many miles in any direction for the foreseeable future.

Good Old Boat
Friday, September 16―Today's report is about
Good Old Boat, billed as "the sailing magazine for the rest of us." It was founded in 1998 by husband-and-wife team Jerry Powlas and Karen Larson. Jerry had just retired after 29 years as an engineer. They loved sailing, and decided―considering Karen's background as a reporter and desktop publisher―to create a magazine. "There are a lot of sailing magazines," Karen told a newspaper in Minneapolis a couple of years ago, "but they tend to focus on expensive boats, extreme experiences and rich, beautiful people. We thought there was a market for celebrating the real sailing experience. Regular people with a little paunch, some gray hair and a smaller, affordable boat." (It's good to know that I'm two-thirds of the way there.) Karen reports times were tough for a couple of years, but that Good Old Boat is now firmly in the black and is, to mix metaphors egregiously, sailing on smooth water. She's the editor, and Jerry's the technical editor; their operation is based in the Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove. I'm looking at the September/October issue. There are plenty of articles about the history, design and renovation of specific models of sailboats (the Whitby 42, the Cabot 36, the Pearson 28, the Cape Dory 27―the number indicates the length of the boat). But the heart of the Good Old Boat concept is sailing, maintaining and outfitting the modest sailboat. There's an article on fixing a corroded mast, with photos illustrating the step-by-step process. You'll find Part One of an incredibly detailed discussion of marine corrosion of metals, worthy of inclusion in a college chemistry text. And there's a fun article that's like an aircraft simulator: it puts you in various tricky spots (e.g., you're putt-putting down the narrow Intracoastal Waterway, approaching a bridge, and your engine quits) and suggests strategies for escaping disaster. If I had a good old boat, I'd be sure to have Good Old Boat. An annual subscription (six issues) is $39.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Palm Springs Life
Thursday, September 15―The week isn't over and energy in the newsstand is running low. . .and in comes a new supply of
Palm Springs Life, from the spot in southern California where the desert blooms and life is easy, and you're reminded there is a heaven―if you work hard enough and invest your savings properly. This monthly "city magazine" isn't as glitzy as you might think, and carries articles with substance. The issue I'm looking at has, for instance, a short piece on a retiree who maintains a Linotype machine and other obsolete type composition and printing machinery, just as a hobby (unfortunately and ironically, the words of the article are knockout white on a black background, which I find particularly tedious to read). There's a charming story about a couple of local authors who have written a book for children about the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, a 270,000-acre area west of the city, using facts about its vegetation, wildlife and Indian legends to make the young readers more curious about and appreciative of their environment. But Palm Springs is also Hollywood at Rest―it's where Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and countless other celebs vacationed or retired―so there's an interesting excerpt from the authorized biography of the late director John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Darling, Marathon Man), who died at his Palm Springs home in 2003. There are rafts of listings―restaurants, golf courses, spas, jewelry stores―to help make all the necessities of life even more readily available. Plus a party pictures section at the end where you can actually identify a good number of the guests! A Palm Springs Life annual subscription (12 issues) costs $38 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

American Book Review
Wednesday, September 14
―The newsstand has just received copies of the new September/October issue of
American Book Review, a journal published at Illinois State University (Normal, IL) but full of reviews written by serious writers and academics from around the country. American Book Review describes itself as "a guide to current books of literary interest published by the small, large, university, regional, third world, women's and other presses," and what you read is what you get. No Stephen King novels are reviewed in its 32 tabloid-sized newsprint pages, but lots of books of poetry and small press novels are. You'll find a review in this issue of Contemporary Jewish Writing in Sweden: An Anthology, a 462-page tome from the University of Nebraska Press. A couple of pages later you'll find a discussion of the novel A*hole from Soft Skull Press. Featured in the issue is a review of Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac, 1947-1954, edited by Douglas Brinkley. If your tastes in literature are both elevated and catholic, the American Book Review would seem to be for you. An annual subscription (six issues) is $24 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

The New American
Tuesday, September 13―Politics is on the menu today, specifically the biweekly
The New American, a conservative magazine published in Appleton, WI by American Opinion Publishing, Inc. Of special interest: the masthead notes that the aforesaid publishing company is "a wholly owned subsidiary of The John Birch Society," a name guaranteed to bring a memory jolt to just about anyone above the age of reason in the 1960s, no matter what side of the battered fence they occupied at the time. The Society is alive and well, at least as regards its publication. The New American is trim and dapper, and presents thoughtful articles promoting its philosophy. The issue we're looking at is mostly concerned with economic questions: how "virtually uncontrolled federal spending" is weakening the dollar and "passing on a huge hidden tax to American citizens"; how the IRS "remains riddled with corruption and committed to prosecuting its 'war' against taxpayers"; and how CAFTA is exporting American jobs and industry with no benefit to the United States. You'd think that Bill Clinton was still in the White House instead of in Chappaqua! For the history-minded, there's an interesting essay on Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina, a leading patriot during the American Revolution. A subscription to The New American (26 issues) costs $39.00 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Door County Magazine
Monday, September 12―Today's subject is
Door County Magazine, a regional publication that requires a more precise geographical definition to most of the visitors to (I had to look it up myself). It's a nicely put-together quarterly from Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin, near the tip of the peninsula in the northeastern part of the state that juts into Lake Michigan. Or, as the crow flies, about 100 miles north of Milwaukee. The local chamber-of-commerce types call the area the "Cape Cod of the Midwest." From looking through the pages of Door County Magazine, I gather that the Sturgeon Bay area is a down-home, vacation-on-the-lake kind of place that's recently been attracting a good number of people with money to spend, so the result is articles on local craftsmen, family-run shops and the like surrounded by fairly pricey real estate ads. The cover article in the Fall issue, just received in the newsstand, is about Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman owning a vacation home on the shore. There's an interesting piece on the need to hire foreign college students―mostly from Eastern Europe―to work in the area's hotels, restaurants and resorts during the summer. The explanation given is not that local kids don't want to work, but that their school year begins well before the vacation season ends. Door County Magazine offers good coverage of a nice place to visit and live, though I suspect you have to dress warmly in January. A one-year subscription (four issues) is $12.95; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59. Door County Magazine will be found on our Midwest regional shelf; we also carry an abundance of regional magazines from the East, South and West.

Trail of the Sportsman
Friday, September 9―One of the nice things about hanging out in the newsstand is learning about other worlds. No, not Mars or Pluto, but activities I've never experienced that are central to the lives of a lot of people. Take hunting, which is the focus of
Trail of the Sportsman, one of the magazines on our extensive Hunting, Fishing and Firearms shelf. I've been leafing through the Summer issue of the magazine, which is published in Salem, UT. It basically consists of articles by guys (and the occasional woman) recounting a big hunt, along with color snapshots of proud faces posing with the kill. The varieties of creatures involved include bull elk in Utah, whitetail deer in Kansas, Roosevelt Elk in Oregon, black bears in Oregon, Barbary sheep in Texas, Stone sheep in Alaska, antelope in New Mexico, mountain lions in Utah and wild turkeys in Oregon. The weapons used include bow, rifle and pistol. You'll also find a few articles on fishing in the back of the issue. The authors write of the excitement of the hunt, their failures and mistakes, their growing understanding of prey behavior that is crucial to hunting success, and the rush of joy when that success finally comes. I guess hunting magazines are like travel and food magazines: some people read them for information to use, and others for the vicarious experience. An annual subscription to Trail of the Sportsman (four issues) is $12.95; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Antietam Review
Thursday, September 8―Good things do come in bunches. Yesterday we welcomed
Gargoyle Magazine aboard, the first literary annual in the catalogue. Today we introduce another prestigious literary annual, by coincidence from the same part of the country: Antietam Review. This perennial annual (pardon the gardening pun) is published from the Hagerstown, MD offices of the Washington County Arts Council, but its reach and reputation are national, the result of hard work and excellent editing since its founding in 1982. Antietam Review features short fiction, poetry and an abundance of black-and-white photography, the latter benefiting from the magazine's glossy standard-size pages. And there's more: the current issue features an interview by executive editor Philip Bufithis with Larry Schiller, the photographer, author, filmmaker and frequent collaborator with Norman Mailer, as well as an interview with poet and novelist Fred Chappell. The cover price of an annual issue of Antietam Review is $8.00; you can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Gargoyle Magazine
Wednesday, September 7―The newest member of the catalogue is special. It's
Gargoyle Magazine, a literary journal published annually in the Washington, DC area (the mailing address is in Arlington, VA) by Paycock Press, and edited by Lucinda Ebersole and cofounder Richard Peabody. It is thick (the issue we have in our inventory is more than 300 pages), filled with fiction and poetry, but it isn't heavy. To understand the point of Gargoyle, which has been published―with some interruptions―since 1976, a good place to go is its Web site. There, the editors answer the question, "What types of work do you publish?" with "The best work we can obtain. Work we can live with. Work we can read 20 times and still get a kick out of. We've never had a theme issue and doubt we ever will. Obviously we want the best poem or story you will ever write. We're not fans of the same old same old and tend to publish works that are bent or edgy." They continue, "We both collect books and lit mags, love to read and write, and actually believe that literature is one of the most important endeavours any human can undertake. Silly us." Silly you not to take advantage of this opportunity to sample Gargoyle. Subscriptions are available from the publisher for $20 for two issues; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59. By the way, the cover of the issue we received was "bent and edgy" enough to be enshrined in our gallery of interesting covers. It's also noteworthy for not being cluttered with the name of the magazine; that's on the very substantial spine.

Rethinking Schools
Tuesday, September 6
―Today we welcome to our catalogue, just in time for the new school year, the quarterly
Rethinking Schools. It's a thoughtful educational journal with definite political points of view―so much so, that we've placed it in our News, Politics and Opinion category as well as in Education. The masthead of Rethinking Schools describes the journal as "a nonprofit, independent magazine advocating the reform of elementary and secondary public schools, with an emphasis on urban schools and issues of equity and social justice." This translates to the more pointed opening words of an editorial a few pages later: "Like so many others, Rethinking Schools editors awoke Wednesday morning, November 3, to the discouraging prospect of four more years. Four more years of war. Four more years of hostility to public schools. . ." And what of the articles? The issue I'm looking through has one claiming that private testing companies are doing very well under the No Child Left Behind legislation, while the schools themselves are suffering; another worrying that use of computer technology might be bad for the development of the preschool child; and a third attacking "myths" of the American Revolution that are being taught to children. I was most engaged by a story from a Beaverton, OR fourth-grade teacher whose district was "adopted" by the nearby headquarters of Nike. This meant frequent class trips to the very nice Nike campus, where the kids played soccer and watched an hour or so of Nike commercials while their teachers enjoyed a catered lunch. The author is troubled by the corporate influence on children resulting from such a relationship, one that many financially embattled school districts would welcome. Rethinking Schools is published in Milwaukee, WI and costs $17.95 for an annual subscription (four issues); you can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Film Comment
Wednesday, August 31―Everybody's tastes in movies are different―this past week I enjoyed The Last Days of Pompeii (1935, with Preston Foster, taped from Turner Classic Movies) and Rambling Rose (1991, with the incomparable Robert Duvall and not-quite-pretty but oh-so-sexy Laura Dern, on IFC). If your film appetites are at all advanced, you'll find
Film Comment a feast of information on films in production, in release and on DVD and cable. As I relax in the newsstand I'm thumbing through the July/August issue, which features a busty Ziyi Zhang on the cover. She stars in Wong Kar Wai's new 2046 (a hotel room number, not a year, though as the cover article explains, the film was initially conceived as a sci-fi epic set in 2046). Film Comment is hip and sophisticated, with an emphasis on directors and on independent and foreign films. The issue also contains a feature on George A. Romero, whose Land of the Dead is the latest in his "Dead" cycle (I liked the Romero quote that starts the article: "In my films the villains are always the living."). There's a story on Broken Flowers, the new Jim Jarmusch film with Bill Murray. Werner Herzog's many documentaries are reviewed, with the focus on his new release, Grizzly Man. Films shown at the Cannes Film Festival are rated by a stable of critics, so you'll know what to watch for over the coming months. Film Comment is published six times a year by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, and a subscription is $24.95 from the publisher. You can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Tuesday, August 30
―I don't know anything about boats and boatbuilding, but even I can tell that the folks at
WoodenBoat, published in Brooklin, ME, really do and really care. The work and devotion that go into building and restoring wooden boats―and in putting together this magazine―are awe-inspiring. There are plenty of articles in WoodenBoat that go into extreme detail on both subjects, with all sorts of photographs and sketches of the work being done. But what entranced me was some other stuff in the new September/October issue. For instance, there's an article entitled "The Musketaquid Mystery: In Search of Thoreau's Boat," which undertakes to deduce what kind of rowboat Henry David Thoreau and his brother John built in one week in 1839 for their famous journey on the Concord and Merrimack rivers. Thoreau's boat, which author Stan Grayson says "must be counted as among the most important in American letters," was sold three years later to Nathaniel Hawthorne for $7. I liked an article about globalization in the wood market, and how the best lumber is increasingly going to the big purchasers, Japan and China, leaving U.S. boatbuilders possibly to "find ourselves scrapping over the reject lumber pile." In a feature called "Launchings," where readers submit photos of their new wooden boats, there's one of a 53-foot ferry that took a fellow 13 years to build. The caption reports that "the intrepid builder describes the project as a great adventure that took him to the extremes of anxiety, depression, frustration, elation and economic deprivation." And then, way back in the classifieds, you'll find an ad for the 65-foot Alcatraz Prison launch Warden Johnston. The boat of my dreams! An annual subscription to WoodenBoat (six issues) is $35.00; you can a get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Budget Savvy
Monday, August 29―We open the week with a look at
Budget Savvy, a quarterly published in Redwood City, CA. Budget Savvy is, put simply, aimed at women who want to save money. Publisher/editor Melissa Tosetti puts it more elegantly on the magazine's Web site: "This is not a magazine about doing without. It's about working smart with what you have." The issue we just received seems thin―just 30 pages plus cover―until you realize there are no ads. Just like Consumer Reports, the people behind Budget Savvy, now in its second year, have made the brave decision to forego income from ads to insure their editorial independence. Interestingly, the back cover consists of a couple of subscription coupons, along with the notice: "During one of our first concept meetings for Budget Savvy, we unanimously agreed not to include subscription insert cards. They are messy, frustrating and are most often a waste of paper." The magazine itself is an assemblage of brief one- and two-page articles full of advice on acquiring things inexpensively and using and reusing them well. I loved the tip, "Toss your orange, lime and lemon peels down the sink and turn on the garbage disposal. They will freshen your drain." The opening feature, "Plants for Pennies," suggests that you help a neighbor with gardening chores and take some divided perennials as payment; collect seeds from your annuals and consider trading seeds with neighbors or via the Internet; even check out construction sites for plants and materials like paving stones you might be allowed to take before the bulldozers flatten everything. There are also articles on picking up bargains at auctions, swapping clothes with friends, buying a car, and organizing your life so you spend less than you make. You'll find brief articles on summer clothing, sunless tanning and thrifty recipes. An annual subscription to Budget Savvy is $12.00 from the publisher, and you can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

About a Personal Triumph
Friday, August 26―With the work week coming to a close―and having spent that week inside the newsstand, surrounded by the remains of dead trees―one's thoughts turn to living flora, in my case, to my garden, site of a recent technological triumph against the forces of evil. (This report has absolutely nothing to do with magazines.) Now
my garden is a modest place, filled for the most part with easy-to-care-for but always colorful impatiens. Equipped with a bird feeder and birdbath, it's a day spa for the avian set. But into my garden at barbaric morning hours crept a neighbor's elderly cat (too crafty to photograph), who lay among the fragile impatiens in wait for the happy birds. In doing so, he created great damage. What to do? My first solution was a scarecrow of myself, set up each evening (using a Showboat Casino plastic coin pail for a head). It seemed to work, but neighbors gave it―and me―uncomfortable glances. Worse, my favorite hole-in-the-elbow winter flannel shirt was exposed to the elements. So I turned, of course, to the Internet, and found a solution that mercifully preserved both my garden and the life of the felonious feline. It's a simple pulsating sprinkler mounted over a battery-powered motion sensor. When a moving object larger than a bird is detected, it lets out a furious spray for a few seconds. Over the past few weeks it's doused the cat, a skunk, a variety of terrified squirrels, a deer, me and a delighted seven-year-old relative. If you're interested, the sprinkler can be obtained from the Web site at this link (this is not a plug, just sharing). Have a great weekend!

Plains Faith
Thursday, August 25―[Note: On October 9 we were informed that Plains Faith has ceased publication.] From Amarillo, TX, Plains Faith editor Debra Lunday-Wells has sent the newsstand a supply of the quarterly's Summer issue. Plains Faith, subtitled "The People, Issues and Beliefs Shaping the High Plains, South Plains and Surrounding Areas," covers Christian activities of various kinds, generally in the Texas Panhandle, but with ambitions to spread to surrounding regions. The issue in hand includes an interview with Christian musician Darrell Bledsoe, a story about a gravestone carver in Clovis, NM, and a feature about United Supermarkets, a 47-store family-owned chain in west and north Texas operated on Christian principles. In an ecumenical touch, the cover article is about participation of the Amarillo Catholic Diocesan Choir in a mass in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, one of the late Pope John Paul II's last appearances in the church. There are also movie, book, CD and Web site reviews.

Cowboys & Indians
Wednesday, August 24―The October issue of
Cowboys & Indians has come in, featuring actor Kurt Russell on the cover (this magazine likes Hollywood actors: recent covers have featured Keifer Sutherland and Antonio Banderas). Those covers should clue you that Cowboys & Indians, which bills itself as "The Premier Magazine of the West," is not devoted solely to accounts of shootouts on the Pecos a dozen decades ago. No, this big magazine (the October issue is 190 pages, and weighs about 1.3 pounds―I know, I have to mail copies out) is the embodiment of the West as seen through the prism of a very prosperous 2005 USA. The ads are for Western togs, jewelry, real estate and vacations for the wealthy, including a couple of interesting full-page sales pitches for family-friendly but very well trained guard dogs. A sampling of the articles: the work of a master custom Western hat maker in Darby, MT; the feature about Kurt Russell, who stars in a movie about a thoroughbred horse trainer this fall; a photo spread on a luxury 6,000-acre ranch near Dillon, MT that features a new 13,000 square-foot (!) ranch house; and a round-up of "The Best Steakhouses in the West." There are also several well-illustrated articles on contemporary Western artists. An annual subscription (8 issues) to Cowboys & Indians, published in Dallas, TX, is $24.95; you can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Natural New England
Tuesday, August 23―I've been leafing through
Natural New England's Summer issue, and finding it an enjoyable experience. This quarterly focuses on short (one- or two-page) observations of natural phenomena around the region, and leaves vivid impressions that you want to follow up in person. An observer decries the gluttony of herring gulls feeding on migrating alewives in Cape Cod. Another recounts a magical expedition by wildlife students who accompanied biologists into the snowy fields of Maine to check on hibernating black bears; while the mother is sedated in her den to be examined and weighed, the tiny cub―at first frightened, eventually snoozing―is passed from student to student to cuddle and keep warm. To the delight of a group of biologists, a couple of giant right whales are seen just a few feet from the Cape Cod shore, mouths wide, skimming the surface of the bay for plankton. The emphasis is clearly on observing nature, and an interesting article on the evolution of vacation camps claims that hunting and fishing, the traditional activities at sporting camps, are declining as more and more camps are being remade to allow visitors the opportunity to observe and photograph nature, not interfere with it. Natural New England is available from the publisher for $15.00 a year (four issues); you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Smart HomeOwner
Monday, August 22―We've just received the September/October
Smart HomeOwner, and this issue is really timely because it deals with topic #1 these days: it's the annual home energy issue. The cover story is a barnburner, about a unique 6,000-square-foot house that mechanical engineer and inventor Bryan Beaulieu is building in Scottsdale, AZ that is hydrogen-powered, avoiding all fossil fuels. The original impetus for the design was the comfort of the owner's wife, who is sensitive to many allergens. So there are no pollutants, no electromagnetic fields, and no conventional air conditioning. The way it works: solar energy provides the heat that separates hydrogen from oxygen in water through electrolysis. The hydrogen that results is the nonpolluting fuel that can be stored and used at will for heating and air conditioning. The process is supposed to be superior to solar heating because no batteries are needed to store the energy; batteries have limited capacity and need to be replaced every few years. By the way, until supplies run out, when you order a sample copy of Smart HomeOwner you'll also get a copy of Better Home, Better Planet, a special supplement to the magazine. Smart HomeOwner, published by Navigator Publishing LLC in Portland, ME, costs $19.95 for an annual subscription of six issues from the publisher. You can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Prehistoric Times
Friday, August 19
―I've been trying to think of some witty lines to start talking about today's featured magazine―a timely selection, a magazine on the lighter side―but I love the magazine's own subscription pitch tagline: "Subscribing to Prehistoric Times is so easy, a caveman could do it!"
Prehistoric Times is simply all about dinosaurs: their history, their presence in popular culture, and making models and pictures of the beasts. It's a recent addition to our catalogue, and I've been leafing through the June/July issue. There's a spread on the Tsintaosaurus, a Cretaceous one-horned herbivore that roamed China before chopsticks or anything else was invented. You'll find the second part of a two-part article on "How to Draw Dinosaurs." A writer recalls a year from his youth, 1974, which was made golden by the presence on NBC of a much-loved dinosaur-laden series, "Land of the Lost." Allen Debus begins what promises to be a fascinating four-part series on how Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Caspak trilogy"―the most well known of which is The Land That Time Forgot―reflects evolutionary theories of the first decades of the twentieth century. The ads are mostly for dinosaur models, but there are others for fossil hunting supplies, real dinosaur teeth, even a dinosaur fossil-hunting safari in Wyoming. Prehistoric Times is published six times a year in Folsom, CA. A subscription is $32 a year; you can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Wooden Horse Publishing News Alert
Thursday, August 18
―We're back in the newsstand after an enjoyable (but not profitable) couple of days in Atlantic City. Today we'd like to share with you both an enjoyable and profitable service that you can receive on-line at no cost: The Wooden Horse Publishing News Alert, a weekly newsletter about comings and goings in the magazine world. Although it's squarely aimed at freelance writers looking for markets, it's a good place for anyone interested in magazines to find out about new titles and changes in editorial direction at existing publications. We use it to hunt up new magazines for our on-line magazine catalogue. The Wooden Horse Publishing News Alert is edited by Meg Weaver from her office in Carson City, NV. You can subscribe to the newsletter at, where you'll find an archive of past newsletters. Meg also offers a variety of other services, such as an extensive database of magazines with descriptions and contact information, for a fee.

Ocean Navigator
Tuesday, August 16―The newsstand just received a shipment of the September issue of
Ocean Navigator, a monthly that can't fail to ignite the wanderlust in all but the hydrophobic. Subtitled "Marine Navigation and Ocean Voyaging," this magazine is all about serious boating: how to get where you plan to go, what to do if something breaks on your way, how to avoid heavy weather, and cautionary tales of the troubles mariners have encountered and how (hopefully) they escaped. The September issue, for example, has articles on the pluses and minuses of adding a controllable-pitch propeller to a marine drive train, a review of a number of weather analysis products, instructions on how to fix a failed alternator in mid-voyage, and a hair-raising account of a family sail off the coast of Labrador on a 42-foot cutter that nearly turned to tragedy. If you travel anywhere on a boat, you'll want to keep a file of back issues of Ocean Navigator snug in your cabin for instant retrieval. The magazine is published in Portland, ME by Navigator Publishing LLC. An annual subscription to Ocean Navigator (9 issues) is $27.95 from the publisher. You can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Pro Football Weekly
Monday, August 15―Having just watched Phil Mickelson win the PGA, one's thoughts naturally turn to. . .pro football! Those exhibition games have started turning up on television, and training camps conducted in 100-degree-plus heat will once again separate the players from the wannabees. We've just received a shipment of the August 22 issue of
Pro Football Weekly, the tabloid-size newspaper that tells any National Football League fan all he or she needs to know―and then some. This is billed as the "fantasy football issue," and contains enough stats and picks to give a fantasy football player a good shot at immortality and maybe even a jackpot. Brett Favre's on the cover, and the accompanying story predicts that the 36-year-old is far from retirement and should have a great season with the Packers. And take a look at publisher/editor Hub Arkush's column, where he predicts that the New England Patriots are pretty much in the bag to win an unprecedented third Superbowl in a row. An annual subscription (30 issues) to Pro Football Weekly, published in River Woods, IL, is $99.95; you can get a sample issue from for $2.59.

Friday, August 12
―Added to the catalogue today is
HopeKeepers, a digest-sized quarterly started last year by Rest Ministries, Inc. in San Diego, CA. The purpose of HopeKeepers, subtitled "Joyfully serving the chronically ill," is to inform and support―from a Christian perspective―people living with chronic pain or illness. We've received a supply of a recent issue, and one of the featured articles is an interview with the wife of an active-duty Air Force chaplain; she's been a paraplegic since a horseback riding accident decades ago. She talks about the accident, how her religious beliefs enabled her to cope with her disability, and how she now counsels soldiers' wives throughout the Western states. Another article advises readers on how to handle unwanted advice from well-meaning friends and relatives about coping with their illness. A subscription to HopeKeepers is $8.99 (four issues) from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Crown Jewels of the Wire
Thursday, August 11
―One of the exciting aspects of life in the newsstand is finding magazines that cover worlds I never knew existed. An example is
Crown Jewels of the Wire, a monthly (11 issues a year) published in Merlin, OR by Howard and Linda Banks. Subtitled "A Magazine for Insulator Collectors," it is just that: a cornucopia of articles about glass insulator manufacturers of bygone days, hunts for rare insulators along abandoned railroad and telegraph lines in truly remote areas, and painstaking analyses of insulators for color, condition and history. The ads in Crown Jewels of the Wire indicate that insulator collecting is related to antique bottle collecting. There's a National Insulator Association, and the magazine lists a host of insulator collector gatherings all over the country. Crown Jewels of the Wire subscriptions are $24 a year from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Our New Gallery of Covers
Wednesday, August 10―A couple of months ago,
Arabian Horse Times circulation manager Mark Gehring sent us an e-mail in which he made the bold assertion, "I have attached one hell of a cover!" I looked at the attached .jpeg file, and he was right. We got to talking on the phone, and he planted the idea in my head of putting a special gallery of interesting covers from our publications somewhere in the site. That idea has been simmering for a while, and today we unveil Covers We've Liked, which you can also reach from the column on the left. The covers were chosen for no reason other than they caught our eye or made us smile. We hope you find our gallery worth the visit―no purchase is required!

Tuesday, August 9
― is proud to introduce its newest publication, the renowned photographic magazine
Aperture. This publication and its parent Aperture Foundation were founded in the early 1950s by a group of photographers and writers, including Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. Through the years Aperture has been true to its mission: "to present to the public the finest photographic images that are faithful to the artist's intent and to the truth of the subject." Published quarterly by the Aperture Foundation from its new headquarters in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, Aperture costs $40 a year. The cover price of Aperture is $14.95; you can get a recent sample issue from for $2.59.

Global Traveler
Monday, August 8―We begin the week with a look at
Global Traveler, a monthly (10 issues/year) geared to those lucky enough to engage in serious business and luxury travel. The magazine's July issue is billed as "the wine issue," and features the results of Global Traveler's annual airline wine survey (obviously, for people who expect more than stale peanuts on a flight). To arrive at the result, the magazine held a wine tasting at a New York hotel in the spring, amassing 151 wines submitted by 31 airlines offering international long-haul business class service. Judges tasted from glasses with coded labels. The top three airlines for wine: United, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. The issue includes a plethora of short news notes of interest to global travelers, features on destinations such as Oslo, Santiago, Turin and San Diego, and interviews on new routes with executives from Qatar Airways and Thai Airways International. Global Traveler is published in Yardley, PA. An annual subscription from the publisher is $19.95 for 10 issues. You can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Media Post's Magazine Rack
Friday, August 5―The best ongoing series of magazine critiques can be found online at MediaPost's Magazine Rack. Written by Larry Dobrow, they're witty, at times slashing, and always fun to read. Reviewing niche consumer magazines can be very difficult when their subject matter is foreign to your own experience or interests, but such concerns don't seem to inhibit Dobrow. Yesterday he reviewed
Tennis Magazine, one of the publications in's on-line catalogue. For examples of his leave-no-prisoners approach I'd recommend you look at his reviews of Lucky and Vanity Fair. You can subscribe (at no cost) to the almost daily magazine reviews by Dobrow and his colleague Rachel Lehmann-Haupt at You'll find dozens of their reviews archived at the MediaPost site.

Thursday, August 4
Bereavement magazine, subtitled "A Magazine of Hope and Healing," occupies a delicate niche in the publishing business. It contains articles and poems all about grieving for the death of a loved one, and is aimed at both grieving individuals and those who interact with them, from relatives and friends to professionals such as caregivers, clergy and funeral home employees. We've just received a shipment of the July-August issue, and it includes a number of short essays by individuals reflecting on their own grief experiences; an article by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, entitled "Helping Children Understand Cremation"; and an article by a family therapist on comforting those grieving for the loss of a loved one to suicide. Heavy stuff, but professionally handled. It's interesting to note that also carries a publication with similar themes, the quarterly Grief Digest Magazine. Is there a mini Time vs. Newsweek-type circulation war raging under our radar screen? Bereavement is published six times a year out of Colorado Springs, CO, and subscriptions are $32 a year from the publisher. You can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

SpeedWorld Magazine
Wednesday, August 3―NASCAR racing is growing more popular throughout the country as its big new TV contract brings it into more and more homes. Tracks are being planned at major population centers away from the sport's origins in the South. And has just added a colorful new magazine that reports on NASCAR racing and the stars of the circuit. It's a quarterly called
SpeedWorld Magazine, published by Synergy Publishing International Corp. in Clearwater, FL. We've received a supply of the Summer 2005 issue, which contains recaps of important races around the country in the past few months as well as interviews with leading drivers, including Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Joe Nemechek. There's also an interesting opinion piece by senior writer Alan Jones, who complains about the crush of advertising interrupting racing action on the Fox Network. He suggests that the TV moguls take their cue from baseball, football and basketball and never show ads when real racing under green is underway; just show the ads during yellow light caution periods, and even schedule artificial caution periods―equivalent to "time outs" in football―to show all those beer and car ads. SpeedWorld Magazine costs $16.00 for a year's subscription. You can get a sample copy from for $2.59.

Bee Culture
Tuesday, August 2―The buzz around the newsstand today is about our newest title,
Bee Culture. Published in Medina, Ohio by The Root Candle Co. (see the connection?), this monthly covers the world of bee and honey cultivation on all levels, from the backyard hobbyist to the commercial operator. We've just received a supply of the June 2005 issue, and it contains a variety of articles of interest to any apiarist: an article on building a fence―a very strong fence―to keep bears away from your hives; another on the necessity for having beekeeper's insurance; and a survey of bee breeding in Ireland. For the wildlife lover, there's an interesting article on saving a wild colony of bees when its habitat is destroyed. As with any specialty publication, half the fun is looking at the ads, where you can buy live bees by the pound, all sorts of cute containers for packaging your honey, and a myriad of sophisticated honey processing equipment. And don't miss the recipe on page 38 for honey and ginger cake! An annual subscription to Bee Culture is $21.50 from the publisher, and you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.