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.

Friday, March 31, 2006

ANARCHY: A Journal of Desire Armed

A caveat: I fell in love with the title of this publication before I ever saw a copy or knew what it was about. It's Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, a twice-a-year magazine from the C.A.L. Press, a collective in Berkeley, CA, about the social and political philosophy called "anarchism" or "anarchy" (more about that distinction later). This is issue #60 of the publication, which had its beginnings in Columbia, MO about 1980, moved to New York briefly and disastrously in 1995, then back to Missouri, and just recently was transferred to the West Coast.

I have no idea where the "desire armed" tag comes from―Prince Kropotkin's writings in the late 19th century would be my guess if it was a question on Jeopardy—but I have learned something about this interesting movement from scanning the Fall-Winter issue that's arrived in the newsstand.

A lifesaver in the issue is a three-page column by Bob Black titled "Anarchy 101." He starts it off with a definition: "Anarchism is the idea that government (the state) is unnecessary and harmful. Anarchy is society without government. Anarchists are people who believe in anarchism and desire to live in anarchy as all our ancestors once did. People who believe in government (such as liberals, conservatives, socialists and fascists) are known as 'statists.'"

Black then poses the question that's probably on your mind: "Aren't anarchists bomb-throwers?" I liked his snappy reply: "No―at least not compared to, say the United States Government, which drops more bombs every day on Iraq than anarchists have thrown in the almost 150 years they have been a political movement. Why do we never hear of 'bomb-throwing Presidents'? Does it matter if bombs are delivered horizontally by anarchists rather than vertically by the US Government?"

Black goes on to admit that unalloyed anarchy is not an achievable goal today, but its basic principles―such as voluntary cooperation among people, observable in early human society―can be implemented in many ways at many levels. One last quote from his column, this one in answer to the question, "How can you trust people not to victimize each other without the state to control crime?" The answer, also mind-bendingly logical: "If you can't trust ordinary people not to victimize each other, how can you trust the state not to victimize us all? Are the people who get into power so unselfish, so dedicated, so superior to the ones they rule? The more you distrust your fellow man, the more reason there is to become an anarchist. Under anarchy, power is reduced and spread around. Everybody has some, but nobody has very much. Under the state, power is concentrated, and most people have none, really. What kind of power would you like to go up against?"

This issue of Anarchy, 82 pages plus cover, is ad-free and full of well-reasoned essays on evolving anarchist thought, reports on anarchist organizations in Europe (they tend to be better organized (!!) and active than their American counterparts, and as a result seem to be in courtrooms and prisons a lot), book reviews and contentious letters to the editor. The anarchist community in the United States seems a lively and erudite bunch, not tied down to any party line and energetic in applying anarchist ideas to questions of feminism, culture, education, ecology and everything else. The community is a small one: the magazine proclaims in its masthead that the press run for the issue is a mere 6,200.

A note on the distinction between the terms "anarchy" and "anarchism." In a corner of the magazine's
Web site is this interesting snippet, reflective of the preoccupation of many of the publication's writers with terminology with getting away from traditional ideologies: "Post-left anarchy is a recent current in anarchist thought that seeks to distance itself from the traditional Left (communism, social liberalism, social democracy etc.) and to escape the confines of ideology in general. It has rapidly developed since the fall of the Soviet Union, which many view as the death of authoritarian leftism; however, its roots are clearly visible in the ideas of the 1960s Situationists. It is not an independent 'movement' as such but rather a critical way of thinking about anarchist ideas. Post-leftists frequently use the word 'anarchy' instead of 'anarchism' to avoid the '-ism' suffix's connotation of a doctrine."

Whatever your own political leanings, I think you'll find Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed a good wash and rinse for the head. You'll come away from it with a new perspective on humanity's organizational principles and problems. A two-year subscription (four issues) is $16.00 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Friday, March 24, 2006

TODAY'S DIET & NUTRITION: From Trapezes to Meatloaf

This morning we'll nibble through Today's Diet & Nutrition, a quarterly from Great Valley Publishing Co. in Spring City, PA. The company also publishes Today's Dietitian Magazine, a trade publication.

Today's Diet & Nutrition is edited and written very much for women, and about half of the editorial is non-food-related. The cover lists the major departments: health, nutrition, fitness, lifestyle and cuisine. The magazine is a bit of a nagger about eating right, exercising right and living right. It's to the editors' credit that they make the nagging interesting and even fun.

I've been looking through the Winter 2006 issue, and found some of the non-food stuff quite entertaining. Under "Fitness," there's a fascinating article called "The Trapeze Workout." Apparently a bunch of trapeze workout establishments have opened up in major metropolitan areas like New York, Baltimore, Boston and (of course!) Los Angeles, fueled by a 2003 episode of Sex in the City in which a character from the show did a workout at Trapeze School New York. At these places you do trapeze stunts under the supervision of an instructor a couple of dozen feet off the ground, but protected by harnesses and nets. The article contains an understatement by the owner of a California trapeze facility: "Working out in the gym is boring. Flying on the trapeze is not boring." Benefits of a trapeze workout are supposed to include improvements in muscular strength, flexibility, posture and coordination.

You'll also find an article in this issue about the health and psychological benefits of friendship. The article suggests that having close friends to kvetch with can even help you conquer cancer! Commenting on a study of cancer patients, author Carol Patton makes the interesting observation, "Friendships outside an individual's own family seem to have more power. The same study revealed that the relationships participants had with their children or other relatives didn't have a significant impact on their life span."

Today's Diet & Nutrition can drive you crazy with all the studies its authors cite about whether a particular foodstuff (tea, alcohol, dried beans—you name it) is good or bad for you. But it does do a good job when its focus is on food alone. This issue has a nice cover article on several "comfort food" dishes, including chicken pot pie, baked macaroni and cheese and that old comfort standby, meatloaf. You get a history lesson on each as well as clear and fairly simple recipes.

My favorite ad in the issue is for a line of sprouted whole grain pastas under the brand name "Ezekiel 4:9." Naturally, I had to look it up: "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof."

I think after just a couple of days of eating thereof I'd be ready for a burger and fries or at least a pastrami sandwich.

An annual subscription to Today's Diet & Nutrition (four issues) is $9.99 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Monday, March 20, 2006

THE GREENSBORO REVIEW: Literary Journal Turns 40

On this first day of Spring we welcome The Greensboro Review to the newsstand. It's a twice-a-year production of the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which has been putting it out for close to 40 years.

The publishing of poetry and short fiction is, in this country, a generally unremunerative and therefore fly-by-night occupation. I think of all the literary titles I've recently tried to chase down on the Internet only to find the desired Web site either unavailable or teasingly displaying the table of contents for the "soon-to-be-published Spring 2002 issue." But college and university literary journals are stalwarts of survival, for they can tap their institutional and departmental budgets to make up the shortfall between the costs of production and the income from sales. Of course, the publication of a classy literary journal also brings in the department's main source of income: tuition from students who want to learn their lit. It also helps recruit faculty.

The Greensboro Review, definitely classy, is also of interest because just last week we noted the arrival on our
Literary shelf of Backwards City Review, a new literary journal from Greensboro that is put out by five self-styled "refugees" from UNC-Greensboro's MFA Writing Program. That program produces The Greensboro Review. Not that relations between the two publications are bad, for each has an ad in the other's pages. The Greensboro Review has a fairly staid look, with a text-only-cover and zero graphics in its pages, which carry traditional poetry and short fiction. The upstart Backwards City Review, on the other hand, is filled with comics, weirdly structured poetry and other trendy things of the day.

The Greensboro Review has a distinguished history, and boasts of having published Joyce Carol Oates, Ezra Pound, May Swenson and James Tate. Its
Web site adds, "Even so, the GR has always taken the most joy in publishing work by new writers at the beginnings of their careers, and we are proud to include in this group such writers as Lewis Nordan, Yusef Komunyakaa, William Matthews, Alan Shapiro, Charles Simic and Dave Smith."

I've enjoyed my tour of The Greensboro Review #78 (Fall 2005), one of several issues we have in stock. A couple of short stories remain in the memory bank. One, "Birds in the House" by Kevin Wilson, is set in a decaying Tennessee mansion. Four tobacco-chewing middle-aged brothers are busily folding hundreds of paper cranes on the dining room table. The brothers, who don't get along at all, are carrying out the bizarre will of their recently deceased mother: They must each place 250 signed cranes on the table, at which point powerful fans on four sides of the table will be turned on. The last crane left on the table after the resulting windstorm will be examined for its signature, and that brother will inherit the house. Some understanding comes to the reader as you learn deep into the story that the mother was a Japanese war bride and the redneck brothers are indeed half-Japanese. Another story, "Gorilla Mother" by Lyn Stevens, is a touching account of the bond between a keeper at the Bronx Zoo's Ape House and the six-year-old gorilla she has tended since birth.

An annual subscription (two issues) to The Greensboro Review is at the bargain rate of $10.00 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

REUNIONS: Getting the Old Gang Back Together

Reunions is one of those niche magazines that amazes you with all the stuff that goes in its world. As you might suspect, this glossy magazine, published bimonthly in Milwaukee, is solely dedicated to reunions―of families, school classes, military units and whatever other group finds that its bonds of old need renewing. We've just received the April/May issue, and it's filled with a blizzard of advice about planning, publicizing and carrying out successful reunions.

By far the most affecting article in the issue was written by the father of a severely disabled, blind and largely uncommunicative son who's approaching 50 years of age. The author and his wife have several other children and a host of grandchildren, and are worried that when they pass on, the grandchildren―cautious of and perhaps intimidated by their uncle, who they know only from brief holiday dinners―will no longer include him in family gatherings. So they arranged a 10-day cruise for all of them, and used the opportunity for the grandchildren to spend some quality time with their son, even screening a "day in the life of" video for them to see how he copes with life. It's a good read, not mawkish, and describes some effective techniques for dealing with a difficult problem that affects a great many families.

You'll also find a short report about a four-day reunion in Shelby, NC of 500 people from 22 states, all descendants of slaves who toiled on three plantations owned by the same family. It was the 100th annual reunion of this group, organized in 1906 by three former slaves. The article reports that the "extended family includes renowned artists, a best-selling writer, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a parade of educators, business people and preachers." One interesting note: the cooking at this reunion has traditionally been done by the womenfolk, but "too much of the cooking burden was put on a new generation of women with both families and jobs, so the picnic is catered now."

A couple of pages in each issue are devoted to military reunions. One such reunion, to be hosted by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in August 2007, is for crewmembers of the 28 submarines built in Manitowic, WI during World War II and for the shipyard workers who built them.

Reunions has a prosperous look: its colorful pages are bursting with ads from hotel chains, resorts, and city and state convention and tourist bureaus anxious to garner as many reunions as possible.

An annual subscription to Reunions (six issues) is $9.99 a year from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

BACK HOME: Eco-Friendly Low-Cost Projects

New to the newsstand this morning is Back Home, which describes itself as "your hands-on guide to sustainable living." It's a colorful bimonthly that's filled with eco-friendly ideas on recycling, home maintenance, gardening, homesteading and workshop projects. We've just received a supply of the March/April issue, and it's a wonderful read for anyone looking for simple, low-cost projects to undertake or just contemplate and admire.

This issue focuses on the coming of warmer weather and the world of growing things. There's an article about "living roofs," topping off a building with several inches of soil and planting it with grass, wildflowers or ground cover. The aesthetic benefits are obvious, but there's also natural cooling in summer and longevity of the roof if it's properly constructed (the slope is particularly important). Another article is about building ultra-low-cost "hoophouses," Quonset-type greenhouses constructed of materials such as PVC pipe and polyethylene sheeting that can significantly extend the growing season for plants and vegetables. The author explains how they can be built in hours for as little as 50 cents a square foot.

I liked a short piece about some kids in rural Texas who noted that their fathers traditionally dumped used motor oil around fence posts to kill weeds. Having learned that just one quart of oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water, in 1997 they organized a 4-H project called "Don't Be Crude" to educate their parents and the wider community. The result to date: more than 300,000 gallons of used motor fluids have been collected and recycled. Urban living isn't totally neglected in the issue, as a very successful food co-op in Brooklyn's Park Slope is profiled.

There are a couple of articles about the benefits of raised gardening beds, with special attention paid to the dangers of using certain kinds of pressure-treated lumber as building materials. You'll come across a fascinating description of what you're in for when you buy your first cow, either for milk for home consumption or as a business proposition.

There's much more in the issue: plenty of recipes, tips on growing tomatoes, advice on finding cheap or free used furniture and making it pretty again, and an old design for a unusual homemade sawhorse. Back Home is published in East Flat Rock, NC and proudly proclaims that it's printed with agricultural-based soy inks. An annual subscription (six issues) is $21.97; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Monday, March 13, 2006

BACKWARDS CITY REVIEW: New from Greensboro

This morning MagSampler celebrates the arrival of Backwards City Review in the newsstand. It's a literary journal started in 2004 by five self-styled "refugees" from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro's Creative Writing Program and is published in that city. Lest you misunderstand that these gentlemen think badly of the town and are getting back at it through the name of their publication, note this statement of purpose on their Web site: "Cities are built upon need. In the physical world, they collect around resources: a spring, a bay, fertile soil. Imaginary cities collect around ideas: a style of art, a search for information, a game, a movie, a band, a book, a political ideal. It is these cities, these backwards cities, that nourish us and make it possible for us to live richly. In our Backwards City, there is no mayor, and we eat all our meals at one long table. Come sample our dishes."

I've been sampling the second issue of Backwards City Review, which has received a number of laudatory reviews in its short life, and it's quite a tasty stew of comic lit, poetry and short fiction. I found I was in the mood for tragic yet comic fiction, and a couple of pieces in the issue turned out to be especially to my liking. One is a story by Chris Bachelder in the form of a sports page account of a high school basketball game in which the Perlis Blue Knights trail by a point with a minute to go, but―apparently stricken by either fear or a moment of collective Existential anguish―pass the ball innumerable times and fail to take a shot before time expires. The sportswriter's story is full of wonderful asides, such as "'Winning is boring,' said Clarence Brown, my first editor, before he died alone at age 54 from a heart attack. 'You want the story, go to the losers' locker room.'"

Another short story, by Dave Housley, is about the coming apart of a small-town freelance clown. In addition to giving us the text of the actual "Clown Code of Ethics," the narrator provides us with all sorts of clown detail as he gets into makeup and costume for what turns out to be a disastrous performance at a small-town Pennsylvania restaurant: "Shoopy is a happy clown, what we in the trade call an Auguste. He is the kind of multipurpose clown who can fashion a balloon elephant, pull rabbits from his hat, perform an athletic yet comedic pratfall, and maybe give that shy, fat little kid enough wonder to keep going another year. The kind of clown I could have used when I was a kid."

An annual subscription (two issues) to Backwards City Review is $12 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

MILITARY: Wars of the Past and the Present

Today we welcome Military to the newsstand. It's a monthly based in Sacramento, CA that is written by and for veterans of the American armed services. Military is not a fancy publication: it's black and white throughout its 60 pages, with a self-cover, but its pages are cleanly laid out and well-edited. I think it's fair to describe this magazine as having two distinct personalities. More than half of its 60 pages are filled with reminiscences by veterans of their service, mostly in the wars we've fought from World War II through Vietnam. The rest of the magazine is devoted to very, very conservative commentary on current political affairs.

The tales of the old soldiers in the February 2006 issue are fascinating, and made especially poignant by the accompanying photos of the authors as young men at war. They're dying off rapidly now, and some of the reminiscences in Military are published posthumously.

The cover story is about Cat Girl, a B-29 bomber mothballed right after she was built at the end of World War II and hastily brought into service to bomb Communist forces in Korea in 1950. The author, a tail gunner on Cat Girl (he's pictured with the plane on the cover), details her missions and reveals that she was named after stripper Lili St. Cyr, famous in some circles for her "cat girl" routine. He remembers one scene that is cinematically surreal: a MiG-15 jet fighter flying with its landing lights on through a night flight of B-29s, trying to draw fire so that his comrades waiting at a higher altitude could spot the bombers. Cat Girl was to crash later in the war, killing all but one of the crew.

A World War II radioman recalls when his unarmed supply plane, flying low over a German field of alfalfa, encountered a farmer mowing the field with a team of horses. Incredibly, the farmer jumped off the mower and started throwing rocks at the enemy American airplane! The pilot circled around to "buzz" the farmer, causing the horses to bolt and leaving a very angry farmer shaking his fist at the departing plane. In another article a pilot in the Pacific theater writes of a day spent bombing a Japanese destroyer and strafing landing boats heading to the island of Kolabangara. He reports that an Australian "coast watcher" hiding on the island eventually confirmed that he had indeed sunk the destroyer, and mentions in passing that this coast watcher―who may not have survived if those landing craft he strafed had made it to shore―was later to rescue John F. Kennedy and the crew of PT-109. So history turns.

On the political side, the issue's first words on page 2 are: "It is increasingly clear that the leaders of the American leftist political movement have one agenda: to topple the American government and seize power by whatever means possible, including outright treason." I think the author is talking about the Democrats. You'll also find regular columns by such conservative pundits as Oliver North, Thomas Sowell and Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media. A subscription to Military (12 issues) is $17.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Today's addition to the newsstand is The Decorative Painter, a thick (128 pages plus cover) and colorful bimonthly that instructs its readers on how to paint flowers, folk designs, holiday motifs and the like on surfaces such as ceramic plates, furniture, canvas and paper. It's the official publication of the Society of Decorative Painters, which is based in Wichita, KS and offers the wonderful slogan, "It's cheaper than therapy!" Its members―throughout the United States and overseas (the bound-in application form is English on one side, Japanese on the other)―are mainly hobbyists, but some have become teachers of decorative painting within their communities and others are making a living with the crafts they produce and market. Membership seems to be overwhelmingly female, though I don't understand why. The spirit of the magazine is exemplified by an anecdote related in the November-December 2005 issue by self-taught (and now professional) artist and illustrator Nanette Hilton, who painted a rose and hummingbird design on a stool for her six-year-old daughter. On the underside of the chair she wrote, "For Diana, painted by your loving mother." Hilton tells the reader, "Diana knows she'll someday get this stool for her very own… It's amazing how well a child will take care of something if they know they're going to inherit it!" The articles in The Decorative Painter go into great detail on the materials needed for each project. One such project is to paint a wooden mantel clock green and add red poinsettias and green leaves around the clock face. Author Bobbie Campbell starts the article by telling you where to buy the basic unpainted clock by mail, lists the 11 acrylic paints required by name and palette code number, suggests a series of brushes, and adds the other basic elements, including wood sealer, sandpaper, steel wool and tracing paper. For every project in the magazine, a drawn-to-scale black and white outline is supplied for tracing and transfer. Campbell then gives specific instructions on painting the design, telling you what colors to apply where. In many of the articles, the authors give added advice on the various brushstrokes necessary to complete the painting. It's far more sophisticated work than "paint-by-the-numbers," but it's a skill that people without art experience should be able to master with practice and some appropriate face-to-face lessons. You have to be a member of the Society of Decorative Painters to get the magazine. An annual membership is $40.00 for individuals; check out their Web site at for details. We'll be happy to send you a sample copy of The Decorative Painter for $2.59.

Friday, March 03, 2006

HANGING LOOSE: A Literary Magazine from Brooklyn

After brushing more than a little snow and ice off the newsstand, I settled down this morning for an enjoyable hour with a copy of Hanging Loose, a recent addition to our Literary & Writing shelf. This Brooklyn-based literary magazine has been around for years, publishing the work of emerging poets and writers as well as established authors whom the editors believe deserve a larger audience. I'll take you to the Hanging Loose Web site for a short but instructive history lesson, starting back when the publication was solely devoted to poetry. "The first issue of Hanging Loose magazine was published in 1966. The name was inspired by the format―mimeographed loose pages in a cover envelope―and that, in turn, was inspired by a very low budget. But the format was also meant to get across a point of view: that poetry is for now, not for the Ages. If you liked a poem, you could pin it to the wall. If you didn't like a poem, you could use it as a napkin." Hanging Loose has evolved mightily since those early days, and now is cleanly printed and bound in a curious but satisfying squarish format with a colorful glossy cover. It runs very short fiction as well as poetry, and each issue includes a portfolio by an artist or photographer. There's also a section devoted to works by talented high school writers. These people know what they're doing: the parent Hanging Loose Press has published 135 books in addition to 87 issues of the magazine. Writers published by Hanging Loose include Denise Levertov, John Gill, Sherman Alexie, Kimiko Hahn, Joanna Fuhrman and Indran Amirthanayagam. To quote a recent review of the magazine at the excellent Web site, "The work here is refreshingly unpretentious, playful, and altogether untouched by the cerebral rarefaction of academia or clumsy experimentalism." In other words, it's fun to read. Hanging Loose is published twice a year. A subscription (three issues) is $22.00; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

BLUE & GRAY: For Those Who Still Hear the Guns

This morning we revisit the most traumatic years of American history as we welcome Blue & Gray to the newsstand. It's a magazine with the dramatic tagline, "for those who still hear the guns." The concept of this bimonthly, published in Columbus, OH, is to devote most of each issue to one campaign, battle or region of the Civil War, supplying copious historical detail as well as providing present-day students of the war with the information, maps and color photos to find surviving landmarks of the period while traveling on modern roads through towns with new names. It works! I've been reading the Winter 2006 issue, and about 60 percent of the pages are about the interesting and confusing campaigns that centered on the little West Virginia town of Romney, a few miles west of Winchester, VA. Historian Richard A. Sauers estimates that Romney changed hands some 60 times during the five years of war, as Union forces tried to protect the nearby Baltimore & Ohio Railroad from efforts by the Confederates to disrupt and destroy it. Dr. Sauers writes of nervous Union forces fearful of being "bushwhacked" by Confederate sympathizers if they wandered out of their fortified camps; at other times the Union and Confederate forces seemed to have an unspoken agreement to leave each other alone for months at a stretch. His account includes prominent generals such as Stonewall Jackson, Lew Wallace and John C. Fremont, as well as local people who figured in the struggle. A nice feature in each issue of Blue & Gray is an article examining letters written by soldiers during the war. The one in this issue is from a sergeant in the 1st Arkansas unlucky enough to endure four bloody Union charges against his lines at the "Hornet's Nest" in the Battle of Shiloh. "Miss Bettie," he wrote his sweetheart a week later, "I have often thought that I would like to get into a fight, but this battle has satisfied me. I am willing to play quit with them." Another article examines the legend of Union sympathizers captured in the mountains of North Carolina by Southern troops at the very end of the war. One of them, a fiddler, was asked to play a tune just before he was executed. It's a story reprised in both the novel and film Cold Mountain. There are plenty of ads for Civil War books, tours, re-enactments and memorabilia in Blue & Gray. A couple of the ads stood out for me: one for type fonts reproducing 19th century penmanship, another for a new book called The Confederate Book of Arguments, which insists that you "never attend a 'Lincoln Worship Service' without it." The Civil War is definitely not over for everybody. An annual subscription (six issues) to Blue & Gray is $21.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

WOMAN INTERNATIONAL: For Women of Asian Ancestry

We start what promises to be a busy month of welcoming publications to the newsstand―they're backed up like planes on a foggy night at LaGuardia Airport―with Woman International, a new glossy magazine from the San Francisco area. Its target audience: American women of Asian background, from East Asia through the Indian subcontinent. We've received a supply of Woman International's second issue, and it's got all the elements of a traditional women's magazine: celebrity profiles, recipes, spreads on jewelry, a horoscope, medical questions answered by a physician and advice on relationships, many with a decidedly Asian orientation. One profile is of Kalpana Chawla, born in northern India and Punjab Engineering College's first women aeronautical engineer when she graduated in 1982. She came to the United States for postgraduate studies, married and earned a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering. The story has an unhappy ending: Kalpana became a NASA astronaut and perished in the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003. Other profiles include actress Minae Noja, featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha (and on the cover of this issue) and Carrie Ann Inaba, of Japanese, Chinese and Irish descent, who is one of the judges on the television series "Dancing With the Stars." You'll find a two-page spread on Indian appetizer recipes, including tofu kabobs and an Indian variant of hummus. There's a short article about Twelve Girls Band, the interesting Chinese all-girl musical group from Beijing that plays pop Western music on traditional Chinese stringed instruments. For some reason their music is called "folk-techno fusion" and, to add to the oddity, there are 13 young ladies in the group (apparently 12 is a lucky number in the People's Republic, but the article doesn't discuss how the Chinese feel about 13). Women International has its editorial faults: the layouts can be confusing, and there are a number of painful typos—Dean Martin never appeared with "Gerry Lewis"; a women complaining to the relationship guru that she lusts after her guy's best friend is inexplicably offered advice on various ways to deal with the death of a loved one. Hopefully these are just the usual teething pains of a new publication. An annual subscription to Woman International (four issues) is $19.99 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.