Thursday, January 14, 2010

Five Blogs That Make Me Think

Keira Soleore tagged my blog -- and seven others -- as Five Blogs That Make Her Think.  (No comment on how none of these blogs are about mathematics...)

In response, I am supposed to list five blogs that make me think, and also link you here for the original idea.  There's going to be some duplication with Keira's list, I'm afraid, but those bloggers will just have to feel even prouder that they're making lots of people think.

First up:  Dear Author.  I know sincerity is the toughest thing to fake convey on the Internet, but I truly do benefit from much of what Jane and the gang do at Dear Author.  In addition to their reviews, their round-ups are wonderful reminders of what's going in the world, and you have to love it when someone does work for you and does it better than you could or would do it yourself.  But the best part of DA is that everyone reads them, and that means you get the very best comment threads in Romlandia.  Long and particularly intelligent, like the posts that prompt them, these threads show how valuable the marketplace of ideas can be.

Next, The Pioneer Woman's From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels love story.  (Which you can read in individual posts here or all in one big, long, rambling story here.)  The Pioneer Woman is Ree Drummond, the daughter of an orthopedic surgeon (I think) in a small city north of Tulsa.  She met a cowboy (who happens to be a multi-millionaire, but I truly don't think that was ever part of the appeal) and fell in love.  She says, not inaccurately, that it's like a Harlequin Romance.  But I thought a lot after reading it -- about the nature of love, what it feels like, how much I wished it had been fiction so I could get the hero's POV, and all the little things she included in her story that made it clear it was real life.  So it's this weird amalgam of real life and fairy tale romance.  Good stuff, but have some time on hand -- it's long.  (Oh, and a warning:  she cooks; she even has a cookbook out now; and just looking at the pictures will cause you to gain weight.  They are that yummy.)

MonkeyBearReviews makes me think about the clarity of her reviews, and the even greater clarity she brings to the issues of the day.  I wish I had her lightness of touch -- she writes a relatively brief, cogent post and it draws out the most interesting ideas and discussions in the comment threads.  She makes me think about my shortcomings as a blogger -- which is always a good thing for me to be thinking about in pursuit of a better, simpler, stronger way to communicate.  With Sarah, less is often way more, and I admire that.

Dooce.  There, I admit it.  I (and millions of other people) read Dooce.  She's funny and outrageous, but she's courageous as well.  Not just because she is willing to overshare for our amusement (and yes, for her own financial gain -- she is truly making blogging pay!), but because she endures a shitload of abuse in return for her fame and notoriety.  She's pretty good about it; she mocks it and exploits it.  But she also makes it clear how painful it is.  I wouldn't want her job even with the money -- I don't have that thick a skin.  I think a lot about how hard blogging honestly is when I'm reading Dooce.

Racy Romance Reviews  Jessica at RRR is a philospher, teacher, reader, reviewer and fangirl.  She does it all, and often all at once.  I think a lot about subtleties of morality and narrative when I'm reading her posts and the comment threads that follow.  But she does something I see nowhere else.  She's had a couple real-time book chats (with Black as their theme: Black Ice by Anne Stuart and Black Silk by Judith Ivory).  In both cases I had to think hard about what I found in these books and why I felt and thought about them as I did.  I got to meet and interact with other readers (because -- except when Anne Stuart herself commented -- we're all readers in a discussion like that) and see these books through their eyes and hearts.  It doesn't change my opinion, but it's not supposed to.  What it's supposed to do is get us all to exchange opinions and end up with a wider view of the book under discussion.

There are my five!  Oh, and an honorable mention to the Fugly Girls at GFY.  They make me think, a little, about fashion and the foibles of the rich & famous.  But they sure do make me laugh.

Thanks again, Keira!


  1. My brilliant comment from earlier didn't make it. Will try to repro it.

    Thank you for playing along, Magdalen.

    I've heard about Pioneer Woman from Angie James, but it was only in the context of her recipes, of which I've made two. After reading your comment, I went up to her blog and read around a bit and added it to my Reader. Will check out to see if she sticks with me.

    Dooce to me is on par with Goop--not that their content is vaguely similar--but rather it's my on-again-off-again relationship with them. I read them for a while, get bored and stop, then return again...

  2. I don't follow The Pioneer Woman religiously, but that long story about her romance was surprising and (repeating myself here) thought-provoking.

    I had an on-again, off-again thing about Dooce, but recently (last year or so), she's been very interesting. And the kids are cute!

  3. Thanks so much for mentioning my blog! I somehow missed this post before.

    I agree with you on many of the other blogs you listed. They're also among my favourites.


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