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MAKE – Winter 2007

Make has gone the route of Opium and Swink—championing shorter material and a more relaxed design style. For this, their international issue, they also include “sister city” book reports; Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code tops the list in both Jordan and Israel. Athens, Greece, appears to have far better taste— three Orhank Pamouk novels make its top six. Osaka, Japan appears consumed with captivating nonfiction titles like The Dangers of Induction Heating Cooking-wareElectromagnetic Waves Could be the next Asbestos. A diatribe about the anti-gay culture of Poland follows. Occasionally this lackadaisical style grows tiresome; an “interview” with poet Gabriel Levinson allows exchanges like, Q: “What is memory?” A: “My best friend. My worst enemy.” to be less the exception than the rule.

Make has gone the route of Opium and Swink—championing shorter material and a more relaxed design style. For this, their international issue, they also include “sister city” book reports; Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code tops the list in both Jordan and Israel. Athens, Greece, appears to have far better taste— three Orhank Pamouk novels make its top six. Osaka, Japan appears consumed with captivating nonfiction titles like The Dangers of Induction Heating Cooking-wareElectromagnetic Waves Could be the next Asbestos. A diatribe about the anti-gay culture of Poland follows. Occasionally this lackadaisical style grows tiresome; an “interview” with poet Gabriel Levinson allows exchanges like, Q: “What is memory?” A: “My best friend. My worst enemy.” to be less the exception than the rule.

Most interesting are Fred Sasaki’s fragmented biographical vignettes from a Japanese internment camp; Sasaki knows well enough to stay away from the heavy-handed sentimentality or outright rage, focusing instead on how the time in the camps is reflected in future actions. This is not the case for much of the fiction, which feels crude, often presenting a garden-of-Eden scenario shattered blandly by corporate power entities. Many are taken from excerpts; perhaps their clumsiness is an unfortunate side-effect of design. In any event, the issue is vibrant, interesting and insightful.
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