The Daily Post editors weigh in with their personal favorites, and invite you to share yours.
We discover excellent blogs, both old and new, every single day. Multiply this by 365: the amount of superb writing we’ve been collectively exposed to this past year becomes staggering. Still, even in a year bursting with talent and exciting voices, some blogs spoke to us with particular power. Here are the ones we kept returning to in 2014.
This year, I’ve followed Arabic Literature more closely — Cairo-based writer M. Lynx Qualey’s site focused on the literary and arts scenes across Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, and more. I’ve discovered so much new writing and poetry from around the world. Likewise, it’s fun to explore Sesquiotica, James Harbeck’s blog for all things words. I love the concept behind his Word Tasting Notes — word lovers, do dive in and taste.
I also return to many long-time favorites, again and again. The most notable one is Brevity, the blog of the journal of the same name, which publishes writing and news from the world of creative nonfiction (and specifically concise nonfiction of 750 words or less). I’m drawn to everything published there, especially memoir, personal essay, and commentary on the current state of nonfiction.
Some of my favorite blogs this year have been lucky finds. I was looking for blogs using the McKinley theme, and along the way stumbled on writer Amanda Mininger’s site. I was immediately won over by her beautiful, clean prose. Likewise, a quick search for Halloween-themed posts last year led me to Melancholy Hyperbole, a poetry e-zine curated with great care. I love reading the work they publish, which is mostly by solid, less-known poets I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.
For smart photo essays on space, travel, and culture, Duck Pie has been a go-to site for me since I’d first discovered it last winter. Finally, I always enjoy Rebecca Schuman’s irreverent (and profanity-laced) critiques of academic culture on her blog, pan kisses kafka. She’s always serious, and always hilarious — a winning combination in my book. I love her Slate and Chronicle of Higher Education pieces, but her blog posts offer even more freewheeling fun.
I’m interested in great writing and great eating, and the blogs I gravitate toward reflect these passions. I enjoy Bending Genre, which is a site devoted to creative nonfiction. A couple of my favorite pieces there this year were Wendy Rawlings’ On Not Being Able to Write It and North 20°54, West 156°14, by Maggie Messitt. I’m also a big fan of Tim Elhajj’s magazine, Junk. Junk‘s About page defines their focus: Junk: The street name for heroin. Garbage. Trash….Junk has become an inescapable part of us. So, why not reduce, recycle, and reuse? Let’s make art from junk. There’s just something about making art out of what we discard that appeals to me. The writing is often dark and gritty and I love it.
I enjoy cooking and get inspired by great food bloggers like Quelcy Kogel at With The Grains, and Ashley and her tantalizing food at No Thyme to Waste. Quelcy and Ashley put so much care into their posts: their photography is amazing and their writing always goes beyond mere recipe into interesting narrative. All four of these blogs are must-follows if you enjoy thoughtful work.
I love bloggers who introduce me to new ideas. Make me care about something I didn’t care much about before. Infect me with their passion — like Robin Lucas at Dry-Humping Parnassus. Poetry and experimental prose have never been my thing, but Robin’s offbeat, wry vignettes never fail to suck me in.
Even better is when a blogger gets me excited about something I know nothing about (thanks, Bones Don’t Lie, for kindling my new interest in mortuary archeology) or actively dislike. Math With Bad Drawings helps me understand and makes me laugh; comprehension and humor are two things that have never before entered my relationship with math. Not only that, but it makes we want to learn more about math, so I don’t miss a single joke. (Somewhere in an alternate universe, 12-year-old alternate me, sitting in an alternate algebra class, just got a chill.)
Of course, sometimes I also want to read about the things I love, like eating delicious food — Pornburger‘s over-the-top, beautifully photographed sandwiches are a kitchen inspiration. And for my feminism fix, I head to Jay the Nerd Kid or Erin Matson.
Over to you: what blog made a difference for you in 2014? Leave a comment and share your faves.