Avow #12, $2--One thing about personal zines is that you rarely read them purely for the writing--they're fascinating for the autobiographical material, for relating to or figuring out how other people live their lives, but from a brilliant-writing standpoint, there are only novels and Al Burian. Avow, which is written by Keith Rossen, is an exception. It's written like short stories, and it's written well--descriptive, intelligent, literary, gritty. Short snippets of life: "And how even the radio can become a defining part of our lives, a meter." Read it.
Flyth Hits Earth, $1--This is a comic by Nathan Beaty, and seems more like a kid's story than an actual comic. It's also so fucking cute I could just shit. It's the tiny story of Flyth and Crat, who live on the planet Malaci, but run away to Earth. With endearing, simple, black-ink illustrations.
Journalsong issues four and five, $1--Created by Steve Gevurtz, Journalsong is always sweet and insightful, and has flashes of sassy brilliance. Steve is cynical and self-deprecating, but in the way you can tolerate, not the way that turns people into total assholes. Number five has more introspective thoughts on coffee shops, that vapid bitch Terry Gross, and the Slingshot organizer, aka "Punk Palm Pilot." Yay!
On Subbing, $.50--Super-interesting, funny zine by Dave Roche on... subbing. Like a diary for Roche's job as a sub Education Assistant, with a dry style and sharp eye. Roche works with a lot of developmentally or physically challenged kids, and he writes about this with much sensitivity. With an epilogue about the Portland Public School system (due to budget cuts, it's "completely fucked"), Roche's zine is fascinating and, sociologically, VERY important to this city.
Stolen Sharpie Revolution: A DIY Zine Resource, $3--It opens, "Stolen Sharpie Revolution is about DIY ethics. This zine is about looking at things and saying, 'I can do that!'" A perfect mission statement for Alex Wrekk's zine that gives helpful, basic information about zinemaking. Especially awesome is the "how to lay it out so it doesn't fuck up on the copier" section, which is a common, frustrating snare for those of us who don't know anything about design. Alternate binding, papermaking, distro (from Microcosm Distro mastermind Joe Biel), and other DIY information abounds. JULIANNE SHEPHERD