June 24, 2010
Last year I listed the bloggers to read in 2009, but when I started to make a similar list of my favorite blogs this year, I realized something had changed. Blogs written by individuals were slowly being replaced in my RSS reader by collaborative websites, culture resources written by more than one person and more like online magazines than blogs.
This year, I have modified my approach to list blogs instead of bloggers, to better include the collaborative websites I read every day.
Along with the sites from last year's list, these are the blogs I most recommend most to family and friends, and constitute my favorites.
Feel free to add your own favorite blog (or blogs) in the comments.
Aquarium Drunkard has been around for a while, but continues to impress me with its features and exclusive downloads featuring albums (most recently the L'Aventure Television covers compilation by L.A. bands) and live sessions.
Technically not a blog, Five Chapters serializes one short story a week, with new installments every weekday. Expertly curated by Dave Daley, Five Chapters has attracted new fiction by Kevin Brockmeier, Kate Christensen, Jay McInerney, Stewart O'Nan and others, and has over 200 stories available to read in its archive.
Over the past year Flavorwire has become my second favorite pop culture blog (no one can top Pop Candy in my eyes). Smart, funny, and often irreverent, Flavorwire's daily links, lists, and features always amuse and inform.
Fluxblog is hardly new, but it is still one of the few music blogs I read every day. Matthew Perpetua's writing provides lively commentary for the tracks he shares, the perfect way to start my online day.
Isak covers topics close to my heart (social activism, literature, feminism) with intelligence and clarity. I admire Anna Clark's writing as much as her social activism, and strongly recommend everything she's written.
I have been reading The Millions for years. Always an eminent litblog, the site has evolved into an impressive collaborative literary magazine filled with well-written reviews, analysis, interviews and commentary. The yearly A Year in Reading feature is one of my favorite series online or offline.
Last year I named Jodi Chromey as one of 2009's bloggers to read, mostly for her personal blog I Will Dare. Jodi is also the mastermind (some would say supergenius) behind the collaborative books blog, Minnesota Reads.
Minnesota Reads combines its book reviews (from bestsellers to literary fiction, memoirs to children's books) with author interviews and a statewide literary events calendar, and has already become a staple of the Twin Cities literary scene as well as a great model for other local book blogs.
I have been reading The Nervous Breakdown for several years, but the site blossomed last year with a redesign. Begun as a writers collective, TNB offers unerring critical insight and commentary on books, poetry, and all facets of art and culture, as well as original fiction, book excerpts, and poetry, thanks to the talented contributors to the site.
The Rumpus is a collaborative effort helmed by author Stephen Elliott that by its own terms focuses on "culture as opposed to 'pop culture.'"
The impressive writing makes The Rumpus stand out. Rick Moody's Swinging Modern Sounds column matches up against any music blog, and its staff and roster of contributing authors always come through with insightful commentary, regardless of the topic. Books, comics, music, art, film, politics, sex... The Rumpus covers them all with an equal degree of intelligence and panache.
I have been collecting Sloan Simpson's live concert recordings for almost ten years (his Drive-By Truckers recordings in particular have forced several hard drive upgrades), and became an instant reader of his blog Southern Shelter when he started the blog a couple of years ago.
Southern Shelter does one thing, shares mp3s from live indie rock performances. Southern Shelter tapes and shares both established and up-and-coming indie acts, and often will host the first online recordings of new Athens and/or Atlanta bands or side projects. With over 250 artists' shows archived on the site, Southern Shelter is one of my go-to sources when looking for a live recording.
The newest blog on this list, Three Questions interviews interesting people, asking them only three questions. So far the subjects have been diverse and fascinating, and the questions have always been smart and probing. By far, this is my favorite new blog of the year.
also at Largehearted Boy:
52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists