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Five magazines. Five minutes. That's all the time you've got in that airport newsstand before you're out of date, left behind, yesterday's story, over. In our virtual-worshiping media stew, these print periodicals stand out this season, meaning that they might last, say, six minutes.

Foodie Magazine is so bicoastal chic, slick and seductive, who cares if it doesn't even notice the savory alternatives between New York City and Southern California? Forget the recipe-driven, organic of-the-earth, mind-your-manners, old-school food magazine. Foodie doesn't really seem to be about food or even eating, but instead celebrates class, the way cool and the dot.com hereafter. Notice it now, 'cause it might really be the future.

You just saw the Boss, right? Want to know every song he played on the tour, in what order, where? Pick up a copy of Backstreets. Puts you right back in the front row in Jersey, right back on Thunder Road. This 65-issue-old Springsteen fanzine preserves the glory days, the goosebumps-feel of a Bruce concert. You might not really need to know if he looked more tired in Albany than Phoenix, or which show Patty sat out. But it's those details that separate a Springsteen zealot from the other knob-turners.

moxie: for the woman who dares is the kind of zine that makes you feel good that we haven't all gone flat screen. Editor Emily Hancock always picks an eclectic batch of story lines--from Brandi Chastain to sexual healing in Cairo--to get your attention. No advertisements and a feisty attitude make moxie special, 'cause if it's not about passion, strength, spirit or identity, it's not there.

Two totally hard-to-finds and you'll be on your way. In the latest issue of BMa: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review, local poetry rules. Contributors include most of the members of the Carolina African-American Writers' Collective. You'll recognize the names; Lenard Moore, Evie Shockley, Darrell Stover, Gina Streaty are just a few.

Before his disarming honesty and sharp wit made him a media darling and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Eggers was a cult hero, an underground god of zines. As publisher of Might and McSweeney's, Eggers was just too funny to stay in the wings. The fourth issue of McSweeney's, just off the boat from Iceland (no lie), is a treasure. A boxed set of "14 discrete booklets" packaged with a mini-book combine for a rare literary moment. The usual hip, urban suspects abound: Jonathan Lethem, Denis Johnson, Rick Moody, Lydia Davis. But it's Dave's baby all the way, every exquisitely typeset character, every perfectly tipped-in noun.

More by John Valentine


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