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A Year of Great Writing: Our Favorite Blogs in 2014

The Daily Post editors weigh in with their personal favorites, and invite you to share yours.

Image by Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

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.

cheri lucasCheri Lucas Rowlands

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.

benBen Huberman

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.

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.39.47 PMKrista Stevens

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.

superman curlMichelle Weber

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.

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  1. thanks for sharing some of your faves. this past year i happily bumped into a new photo blog. truly brilliant, must-see photography. the stories accompanying the images are original and delightful and although usually in Dutch, online translations sort that out.
     
    did i mention must-see? do feel free to check it Russels Lof @ http://wp.me/3LLcp.

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  2. It’s always lovely to read about such round ups – it gives us a chance to discover blogs that I wouldn’t have come across. Also curious, do you actually go through all the blogs personally – as there are so many of them? I hope that the passion, perseverance and the penchant for blogging shines through as you hop into my blog. Here’s a lot of great reading as we sign off this year 🙂

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    1. As much as we’d want to, since there are millions upon millions of blogs out there it would be impossible for any team of editors to actually visit them all. So we rely on our own curiosity, tips from other bloggers, and, quite often, serendipity. It’s worked well — at least that’s how it feels to me, given the number of fantastic blogs I follow.

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  3. I think it’s a tough one – not wanting to sit on the prooverbial fence, but each blog has a unique quality, there can never be a clear winner or loser in the art of the best blog – each voice comes from within, something makes the brain to plug into gear, for fingertips to hit the keyboard and the words to flow…. in each heart, there is a blog…

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    1. Wow… That sounds that wise I can’t say anything against it 😉 no- it was really what I felt when thinking about this post, I tried to search my reader for the best few blogs but it isn’t possible for me to decide – I read feminists, photo bloggers, beauty blogs, political bloggers, guys fighting against illnesses and all this in German, English and French – oh my gosh I forgot about the travel logs…
      There can be no best blog because every single one is special in its own way… Regarding to those typing and honoring the author…
      Amazing somebody feels the same…
      Yours,
      Mary

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      1. That would have been an even better comment from me if my keyboard hadn’t decided to add an extra ‘o’ in with proverbial lol! Thank you for your article and I hadn’t said that initially and I should have done 🙂

        I think the reason why I like it here is because I can be around like minded writers who write for themselves. It’s great that a voice in the wilderness will be heard and read, but even if I didn;t have any readers, I would still quite happily churn away on my own. It’s a tough subject to tackle and I do think that blog platforms such as this attracts a certain type of person. Here we are writing away each day for each other and our bands of readers, and its ok – it our world and its a world where there is peace – no fighting – no poverty, we write about the things that warm are hearts and inspire our fingertips, and that’s a great world. So this is home for me, evern when the real home seems thousands of miles away – keep writing 🙂 Warm wishes, Michelle

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      2. I agree with what you’ve said about this little corner feeling like home, an escape, a sanctuary where you can happily churn away from the daily woes of the real world undisturbed. Where we can be ourselves without being harshly judged and can continue to develop and nurture our creativity among like-minded people.

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      3. I didn’t even see the extra “O” it came quite naturally while reading your comment- maybe because I’m no native speaker… 🙂
        That was exactly what I thought about. I like your Idea, being read is not the most important thing- reading is too- I startet one year ago and read quite little the first three months. I didn’t read much at others and others weren’t visiting me that often- after realizing I got more active and things started to work out… Where would we stand if no one ever reads?
        Everyone is important and every idea is kinda special- wordpress is wonderful because people with so different passions get together and everything you might be interested in is already there…
        I like your point of view very much…
        Best wishes,
        Mary

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think it is really important not to fix your mind onto one topic- even if i read every single thing about photography – wich would clearly drive me mad – there were still thousands of other things to discover… I know, that more than hundred guys visit me and my mind regularly and they come from different blogs to different topics and all find something inspiring in the pictures I take…
        I don’t know, if my attitude is admirable- I’m clearly too you to act as a role model but maybe it’s a fist step to discover new ways and new Ideas….

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      5. It clearly is that way- otherwise we all do our stuff not noticing each other and we can#t improve at all- how should we? There is always somebody doing things better than me and if he or she gives me a chance to learn, I will…

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      6. Life is a never ending learning process. No matter how good we are in our chosen fields, there is always someone better. I find that a good thing. It keep people from having a heightened sense of self-importance.

        I enjoyed having this little conversation with you. Perhaps we can do this again sometimes. Take care.

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  4. I believe the blog that is my most favorite and has inspired me the most to develop better as a blogger here is AB’s Perspectives of the Universe and Everything. The only blogger I have met so far that consistently gets way over 100 likes on his posts of the most beautifully written pieces of poetry I have ever witnessed. His pictures are also incredible and inspirational.

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  5. Oh my goodness, if I could make the 2015 list… 😀 everyone on here, please feel free to check out my blog! I’m a fairly new writer so any critiques are welcome. Thank you!

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  6. This post is exactly what I needed. I’m brand new to this blogging thing and have been looking for great blogs to follow.

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