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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!