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2015: A Year of Great Blogging

The Daily Post editors talk about the blogs they kept returning to this past year.

There are nearly two million new blog posts published on WordPress.com every single day. Multiply that by 365 and, once your dizziness wears off, you might shake your head in amazement. We often do. Yet we all still manage to find the bloggers who speak to us the most, the ones whose voices and whose take on the world we always want to hear. Here are some of our favorites from 2015.

cheri new gravatar 2015

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

My reading habits changed in 2015. I’d cut down on my social media usage, from leaving Facebook to not checking Twitter. But Twitter fed my online reading habit, so when I stopped using it for leisure, I felt incredibly out-of-the-loop and missed the “must-reads” of the day. But I set a goal to find more blogs and writers in far corners of the web (and world).

Originally created to document the events of the 2011 Libyan revolution, Brave New Libya has evolved into a space where Nada Elfeituri shares personal essays about life in Benghazi, and her perspective on everything from identity to literature. I appreciate the way Nada describes life as a Libyan today — with honesty and nuance, and from a personal point of view.

Nakinisowin is the blog of Billy-Ray Belcourt, a writer from the Driftpile Cree Nation and student and 2016 Rhodes Scholar-elect at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. I stumbled upon a few of his poems (“Love and Other Experiments,” “Colonialism: A Love Story”), which blew me away. His recent post explaining to media that he is tired of talking about violence is also very powerful.

Finally, I enjoy the writing of author Ben Hewitt. Ben lives with his family on a small farm in Vermont; they built their home, which is powered by the sun and wind. I’m drawn to the quiet in his posts, in which he describes life on the land, as well as building and gardening projects. I went through a number of big changes this year, including moving into a little house in the woods and adjusting to a very different daily routine, and his musings on self-sufficiency and being in tune with nature are resonant.

benBen Huberman

I admire people who make niche, challenging topics fun and engaging without watering them down. Such is the case with medievalbooks, a blog about medieval material textuality by Dutch scholar Erik Kwakkel. He zooms in on arcane details — manuscript covers, footnotes — but you leave his posts with more than just quirky, esoteric trivia. You also learn a great deal about how the distant past informs and shapes contemporary culture.

Speaking of fun and engaging reads, anyone who enjoys The Toast might also appreciate The Social Historian, where Jonathan Healey publishes posts that highlight the absurd side of history (mostly, though not exclusively, of the early modern period). If titles like “17th-century cats who don’t have time for this shit” and “Taylor Swift… and the English Reformation!” bring a smile to your face, wait until you read the actual posts (hint: 1989 turns out to be a concept album about the reign of Henry VIII).

Oh, and for my weekly dose of eye candy, I keep returning to Illustration Age. It’s a group blog full of resources for illustrators, but even the artistically-challenged (read: me) can admire the cutting-edge stuff they curate.

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.39.47 PMKrista Stevens

I love discovering blogs by people who share the amazing things they make — be it art, food, or meaning. I first met artist Ryan McCallister in the September, 2015 edition of Blogging 201. His metal sculptures blew my mind. He made a minotaur out of over 300 carefully shaped steel nails. I think this dragon, made of steel and river rock, would look great guarding my front door.

I like to experiment in the kitchen and table twenty eight is a constant source of yummy inspiration. Angelica’s posts offer more than tantalizing photographs and enticing recipes. I always enjoy reading stories about the food that inspires her. Be sure to check out her blog.

It’s true for me that one great blog leads to another. I’ve been following Christy’s work at Running on Sober for a few years. She introduced me to Ruby Browne, who writes openly and candidly about depression and being bipolar. She’s created a welcoming community at her prolific blog. If you or someone you love lives with depression, I recommend sharing Ruby’s work. Sometimes, just knowing you’re not alone helps.

superman curlMichelle Weber

I get giddy when I find a blog with such fun, passionate writing that I get obsessed with a topic I’ve never particularly cared about… like stamps. I can’t remember the last time I actually used a stamp (thanks, internet!), let alone collected a stamp, but The Punk Philatelist is so fascinating and written with such verve that every post sucks me in. The blogger’s love of the subject is infectious.

Christmas Island has two things: giant crabs, and an immigration processing centre where Australia sends foreign-born criminals and asylum seekers. Since our immigration detention centres aren’t very festive, they don’t get to be on the Christmas stamps. Strange, really, because if Mary and Joseph turned up in modern Australia on the run from Herod’s soldiers trying to kill Jesus, there’s a good chance they’d be dispatched to Christmas Island’s detention centre. Deck the halls with boughs of irony, fa la la la laaaaa la la la laaaa.

So not for the first time, the crabs are carrying the Christmas can.

– “A Very Punky Christmas

While looking for blogs on a topic with which I have long been fascinated, the Tour de France, I found watercolor artist Maxine Dodd’s Racing Lines. Maxine creates colorful, impressionistic pieces that capture movement at high speed — like a frenetic, chaotic bike race. I love her use of line and color so much that one of her pieces now graces my living room wall.

I also turn to the internet for incisive social commentary, especially written by folks with different backgrounds and life experiences than my own. This year, I’ve been a huge fan of Marquaysa Battle and the contributing writers at The Color Lilac. Their critical take on race and gender issues in pop culture never fails to teach me something and help sharpen my own outlook; I really appreciate what they do.

What were your favorite blogs of 2015? Let us know in the comments!

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    1. There are, alas, millions and millions of blogs out there, and four of us, so we’re bound to miss out on many, many fantastic blogs.

      Which is why we’re happy to hear what your favorite blogs this year were — it’s always nice to see how diverse people’s tastes and proclivities are

      Like

  1. WOW – I find it fascinating to see the range of topics covered. Once we start writing, we sometimes pigeon-hole ourselves into a community of one subject area. While I definitely don’t feel that this is all bad, reading this shows that creativity can come from so many places. I can’t wait to dig in more in 2016!

    – Jessica
    http://www.semisweettooth.com

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This year, these have been among my favorite blogs.

    Lignum Draco: This fellow does a lot of street photography, sharing his photos and telling the stories behind them. His work is wonderful. https://lignumdraco.wordpress.com/

    Heather Blog: Heather Munro travels the world and brings back photos and stories of connection and meaning from all of the places she visits. https://hmunro.wordpress.com/

    The Ramblings: Tori Nelson’s blog was all humor, all the time, until her brother brutally murdered their father last year. Since then, her sporadic, heart-crushing posts have been about the aftermath and recovery. https://torinelson.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A blog find for me this year was http://theimmortaljukebox.com/. I never cared about pop music but Thom Hickey’s amazing writing reveals fascinating layers and connections.
    Here’s a sample:

    “Picture the scene. You’re in a bar in Texas or just across the Mexican border. The kind of bar where as you enter it’s Stygian interior you fear you have just lost the power of sight. But, somewhere in the deep shadows you can make out the figure of a burlesque dancer on a stage at the very back. And, behind the dancer a band seemingly comprised of recently released desperadoes adorned with knife scars who are here while they lay plans for their next bank heist.”

    And that topic? The familiar song, Tequila.
    I could pick just about any paragraph of his as an example of fresh expression.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 1. mine

    2. The Snow Melts Somewhere
    https://thesnowmeltssomewhere.wordpress.com

    3. Badfish Out of Water
    https://badfish2.wordpress.com

    4. PIRAN CAFÉ
    https://www.pirancafe.com

    5. What does nelkumi think? ねるくみの頭の中
    https://nelkumi.wordpress.com

    6. Ethnic Scarf Club
    https://ethnicscarfclub.wordpress.com

    7. Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?
    https://claudiamcgill.wordpress.com

    8. POINT BLANK
    https://pointblankphoto.wordpress.com

    9. four camels and a coffee to go
    https://fourcamelsandacoffeetogo.wordpress.com

    10. A Blog for Humans
    https://tomrains.wordpress.com

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Good writing is like a windowpane. – George Orwell
    Practically everybody in the blogosphere has half a mind to write a blog and does. – Groucho Marx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My goal is to visit each site recommended in this article with a primary goal of learning about others and seeking enjoyment in that and a secondary goal of picking up tips as I’m a new blogger. I can’t seem to find a humor section anywhere. Anyone have a good humor blog recommendation? Please check out my blog and let me know your thoughts. http://www.letmebefrankwithyou.com – I’m coming in hot with the humor attempts with over 80 posts in less than two months. Not going to continue that speed but wanted significant contact right from the start.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks! I’m embarrassed that I had to ask that because the answer seems so easy. I think I need to spend a bit more time on the site using my computer instead of my phone. Thanks again for the assistance, Ben!

        Like

      2. Nothing to be embarrassed about! I should point out, by the way, that you can enjoy the WordPress.com Reader and Discover on your phone as well — if you’re using the WordPress app for either Android or iOS, just click on “Reader” in the bar at bottom of the screen.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My ultimate goal? I hope one of my future post will be feature, oh well! So sad my friends always laugh at me because they can’t take I’m hooked into reading blogs, far from what skill I have as a heavy equipment operator…But you guys certainly inspired me man! Thanks.Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic finds and range of topics covered by WordPress team! Three cheers. It’s been more than 2 years since I found and learned with wordpress and they help our blogs come alive. There is just so much to read, so little time.

    Like

  9. I am humbled by the people featured here. I just started my blog about the Philippines travel blog philippinesetcetera.wordpress.com last November, at the height of “tanim bala” controversy in my country. it’s so sad when this happens. Anyway, I am still a diamond in the rough when it comes to blogging. Focusing on content for now.

    Like

  10. I have some favourite blogs in terms of photoblogs, I do like a good picture, you can get so much from them. I would like to find more personal blogs and have been looking for a long time, maybe even something even similar to my own but I have not had much luck so far.

    How do you guys discover the blogs you read, do you do keyword searches or a combination of different methods?

    Like

  11. Thank you guys!
    Two very fitting and interesting blog’s added to my following/reading list, with medievalbooks right up my scholarly interests street, and Ruby Browne further proving how to turn my condition into positive creativity!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Michelle, Thank you so much for the mention in your piece! I’m so delighted – This year has been quite amazing for my blog ‘Racing Lines’ and so much due to your recognition and support of my work. I can’t stop smiling! Have a wonderful Christmas and we’ll catch up again in 2016! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Actually I wish to have been listed here but unfortunately not because I was unable to go about giving my blog the best touch because I did not know how, but yet I look forward to 2016 as a different year of great experience. So please I wish to get the best tips from you guys to come up stage as yourselves, thank you. https://goldpeak.wordpress.com/diversity

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      1. I am really looking forward to 2016. Though am on a free plan now but I wish to have tips on how to customize my blog to standard. Please do check out my recent post and say something about it.

        Like