As Beth says, "Appreciation is best shared out loud," so I'll thank her for the nod, and pass the award on to those whose work I enjoy. The meme asks you to list 15 blogs, or however many you think are deserving.
I read too many blogs (or more accurately, I subscribe to more than I can keep up with). So for me, it's about the ones I can't delete, even when Google Reader tells me I have 300+ unread posts. As for the others: sorry. Sometimes hitting that "Mark All As Read" button just feels too satisfying.
Many of these are listed in the Blogroll to your right, so I'll give a blanket award to them all. But several of those deserve special mention, including Beth's beautiful and witty photo blog, The Daily Devil. Beth also nominated another photo blog to which I'd award the Stylish Blogger crown, Spines' alt.tedium.*
When I want thoughtful, insightful, and drop-dead gorgeous prose, I turn to two others on that list: Christy's Neighborhood Watch and Jane's Leaf-Stitch-Word.
Christy is a friend of mine from way back (high school), and I loved her wit and brilliance then, and I appreciate those qualities even more now as she directs them toward questions of what makes a struggling urban neighborhood in Chicago work, and how to face its challenges. Reading her work always makes me think more critically and sensitively about how I live in my own world.
Jane is a friend from college--well, from a very brief but troubled moment in my college history. We lost touch and reconnected through Facebook a few years ago, and it's no exaggeration to say that the re-acquaintance has gone a long way toward healing some of the old scars from that experience.
My memories of her had always been positive: she was so smart, so funny, so level-headed, so curious and kind and unassuming. And so she is in her writing, too. It never fails to move me, and now she's added an additional blogging venture focused on her adventures with Type 1 diabetes at sweetlife.org, so I get a double dose of her goodness. Both Christy and Jane's work helps me take more risks with my own writing. Thanks to you both!
Retro Recipe Attempts, which chronicles "Retrochef's" fearless preparation of such culinary delights as Jellied Bullion with Frankfurters and Veg-All Pie Plate Salad.
I also love Better Book Titles, in which people submit Photoshopped covers of well-known books with titles that more accurately reflect their content, such as this one for Robinson Crusoe, this one for Walden, or this one for Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
In a similar vein, there's Awful Library Books, which features, well, awful library books that submitters--mostly public librarians--have found while weeding the stacks. This "best (i.e., worst)-of 2010" post provides a taste of the blog's flavor. But be warned: this Burt Reynolds book is just plain unappetizing.
Random weirdness: Scanwiches, which is just what it sounds like: scanned images of sandwiches in cross-section. And Running from Camera, which features a guy, well, running away from a camera, usually somewhere in the Netherlands.
Lee Wind's I'm Here, I'm Queer...Now what the Hell Do I Read?I'm also gonna put in a plug here for my friend Erin McCahan's blog, Beach Notes. Erin is a young-adult writer whose first book, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (2010), was one of seven finalists for this year's Cybils, the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards. Erin is a bit of a reluctant blogger, but I love to read her stuff, so let's urge her on, OK?
Pickled Bananas, written by a ten-year-old bibliophile
The Graphic Classroom, a blog that reviews graphic novels and passionately and persuasively argues for their inclusion in the K-12 curriculum
Guys' Lit Wire, which recommends books for those reading-resistant boys in your life.
*I might note here that the title of Spines' blog was inspired by a running joke that a group of us had almost 20 years ago in grad school about what we'd call a Usenet newsgroup of our e-mail conversations. We were old-school internet nerds, baby!