Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: The Year in Blogs

As much as books, music, and TV affect me, I always invite blogs into my life as well. Reading a blog on a regular basis is almost an intimate thing. You invite someone to share themselves with you via the seemingly cold impersonal method of the internet. Their thoughts and views will definitely work themselves on you as long as you open yourself up to them. I had a moment in which I realized the profound way in which this is true over the holidays. I am most certainly a changed person because of reading blogs. You simply can't expect to give over moments of your day, day after day, and expect to be the same. I could go on about this, but instead, why don't I share with you some of the blogs I have especially loved reading this year?

The Rabbit Room
Always at the top of my list. There are posts on this blog I would pay to have in a book, and I hope that's a future goal of The Rabbit Room Press. But more than just another great year of essays and reviews, The Rabbit Room put together Hutchmoot, a weekend retreat of sorts where the community that has gathered around them were able to meet, talk about great works of art, and listen to great music. :) Hutchmoot was without doubt a highlight of the year, and I sincerely doubt many blogs could host a retreat that felt as full of love and gentleness as The Rabbit Room.

No idea how I stumbled on Julie Clawson's blog but I love it. Every post is written with care and they often stretch me and make me think. Seriously, on what other blog would you stumble across a Christian mother blogging who would say this,

"I was stuck with a preschooler who believed in Santa but not in the Bible.

Strangely enough, I was okay with that. I didn't care that the preschool constituency was against me; my daughter's conversion woke me up to what it means to convey truth to her. I realized that our understandings of truth are communally created–the truths I want my daughter to understand have to make sense within the communal narrative of her world. The truth of the Christmas story is about more than historical veracity. And the Santa story provides space for meaning as well." (emphasis mine)

And as I was writing this, I realized another reason I so love Julie's blog is that while she's not afraid to critique the church, she never becomes snarky. I admire this more than I can say, and I think it's a rare gift. I have her book and need to read it this year. I am really looking forward to learning more from her.

Read React Review
Speaking of blogs that make me think, some of my favorite book bloggers blog about books I don't really read. Jessica's Monday Morning Stepbacks are so often chock full of good thought provoking articles you almost don't need to read any other blogs for yourself. Also, she's quite a bit smarter than me and is one of the bloggers who has helped me think about feminism and who is shaping our narratives. Thanks Jessica!

Jodie is really cool, let's face it. I am often confronted with thinking about things in a different way when I read her blog she shares points of view I may have not considered. I may not always agree or see things the same way, but she has a way of clearly explaining her thoughts and she is very kind. And she loves The Vampire Diaries! Woo-hoo!

Booknotes Blog--Hearts and Minds
The blog of this independent Christian bookstore is beyond compare. The suggested gift lists they published over the holiday season caused my wish list to explode...what I love about this store (and their lists) is that it's not exclusively books from Christian publishing houses. These are books of importance to people of Christian faith and quite frankly that's a way of looking at books I can agree with. Heavy on nonfiction recommendations, which is good because I need to fill my life with more nonfiction books about issues related to faith...theology and practice.

Shedding Velveteen
I met Jodi at the aforementioned Hutchmoot. She was very sweet and even drove Paul, Hannah, and I around a bit. When I got home and checked out her blog, I was amazed at how transparent she is (not because she didn't seem to be at Hutchmoot, we barely had time to chat). I've really enjoyed reading her perspectives on life, recovering from her fundamentalist background and trying to figure out if faith has a place in her life now. She's a really great writer and I always look forward to her updates.

Thoroughly Alive
Sarah Clarkson has an amazing way with words. I would be so happy if I could write even a fraction of how beautifully she writes. Her love for story is apparent, but the way she puts words together is inspiring. I hope to have a review of her book, Read for the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families up in the beginning of the year. She is also a contributer at the Rabbit Room.

Hogwarts Professor
While not a new blog for me, this is the year I started reading this one regularly, enjoying the analysis of The Hunger Games Trilogy. If you are willing to look at popular fiction a little more deeply, this is the blog for you. Also, how much love did I have for this post about the dance scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one?) I don't think this blog is for everyone, but for anyone who is willing to read books like Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games seriously and doesn't mind a Christian worldview. I really appreciate it.

So this is just a sampling of the blogs that have inspired and challenged me over the year and that I think deserve a wider audience. And if you're looking for more great blogs, my list from last year still holds true, I still love all of those bloggers (who are still blogging) and treasure every word they write.

What were your favorite blogs of the year?

(See also my year in music, and my year in TV/Movies)


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