What eclectic, unique blogs should I read?
April 30, 2013 2:01 PM   Subscribe

I want single-focus blogs about off-the-beaten-track subjects that are readable and interesting.

I know there are a million blogs out there but I am looking for ones that meet a few criteria:

1) Focused on one specific topic. Not simply "my life" type topics, more like "molecular gastronomy" level of specificity.
2) Reader friendly. Readable. I read enough academic texts that I want these websites/blogs to be funny and personable and entertaining.
3) Interesting topics. This is whatever you think is interesting! Quick notes on my interests, in case this sparks any reccomendations: sports and athletics, food, "high" fashion, law school, social justice, economics. But seriously! Any esoteric blog topic is fair game. Woodworking! Alcohols! Pressure-cooking! Tree types of North America!

Here are some examples that I think fit this mold:
LetRun - fuels my interest in American (and international) distance running - I don't even run!
This 10-part series about the world's most expensive chocolate and it's true worth - MetaFilter helped me find this one

I realize this is vague, but basically I just want to learn more about weird topics, written by people who are clearly totally into it. Thanks!
posted by hepta to Computers & Internet (37 answers total) 147 users marked this as a favorite
My friend Di, has Fat Chic, and awesome blog about fashion for fat ladies.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:07 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Beauty Tips for Ministers- fashion and beauty for women of the cloth
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:17 PM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You should look at this previously from 2010: What are some comprehensive one-topic websites maintained by cranky old guys (or gals)?
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:22 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've always liked Lovely Bicycle.
posted by BostonTerrier at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2013

Cartoon Brew can be fun if you're at all interested in animation.
posted by DingoMutt at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2013

This is a blog that revolves around the very strange, often infuriating, never predictable world of export law. I promise it is not as boring as it sounds...
posted by jph at 2:24 PM on April 30, 2013

Damn Interesting! Unfortunately, it's not updated as frequently anymore, but it is my very top favorite site of obscure stories that really are very damn interesting.
posted by Eicats at 2:24 PM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

My own (now basically defunct, ha) blog about my journey to Orthodox Judaism and back.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 2:33 PM on April 30, 2013

Rogue Classicism is a great roundup of ancient language, archaeology, and related news/books/finds. Along the same lines, A Don's Life by Mary Beard has a bit of the "this is my life" theme, but her life is as a Cambridge don and OBE, so it's got a lot of good stuff. The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World is a great blog by an archaeology/history professor in North Dakota, but it touches on a lot of topics: technology, digital humanities, teaching, landscapes and how we see them, Byzantine structures, and so on.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:38 PM on April 30, 2013

VentEnterSearch - The building is on fire. Now what?
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:43 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Humans of New York
posted by rubster at 2:52 PM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

Codex 99, for a number of different specific subjects — cartography, design, art. I haven't read all of them, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the list, the history of the alphabet is fantastic.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:58 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

ScoutingNY is a film scout's blog of various locations in New York City and is amazingly engrossing.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:00 PM on April 30, 2013 [7 favorites]

Not a blog exactly, but I love Eyesore of the Month, about horrible architecture or urban planning.
posted by seemoreglass at 3:02 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

40-going-on-28 is a fun, well written San Francisco blog with lots of generally-applicable pop culture stuff too.
posted by colin_l at 3:03 PM on April 30, 2013

French Laundry at Home
Alinea At Home

(since you mentioned cooking and molecular gastronomy...)
posted by moxiequz at 3:09 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll also add this one:

Field of Schemes - A blog dedicated to tracking news and events around the use of public money to finance private stadiums. Updated regularly (unfortunately).
posted by moxiequz at 3:15 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Strangest Names in American Political History is fun to browse.
posted by interplanetjanet at 3:34 PM on April 30, 2013

Blood, Sweat, and Tedium: Confessions of a Hollywood Juicer

A "juicer" is a set lighting technician, not a juicing machine. A really well-written, clear look into Hollywood from a perspective most people never see or think about.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:03 PM on April 30, 2013

Aid Watch: just asking that aid benefit the poor is an amazing archive of posts from William Easterly and others on international aid. It's no longer updated, but still very much worth reading through.

Africa is a Country is still blogging strong and is my go-to source for non-Bono/Angelina Jolie-centric information about the culture and politics of Africa and the African diaspora.

Lastly, from the urban planning field, PLANetizen is freaking amazing round-up of articles, commentary, and original posts. You'll get so much more breadth than the Atlantic Cities (which is immensely popular for a reason, but has too much cheerleading and not enough criticism)
posted by spamandkimchi at 4:19 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hah, somehow I missed the "off-the-beaten track" part of your question. An entire continent and the whole field of city planning/urban design are pretty "on-the-track" so to speak. Still, I stand by my recommendations, and even though I think all three blogs could be considered fairly mainstream, it's not like they're Gawker.
posted by spamandkimchi at 4:22 PM on April 30, 2013

The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor -- fashion-watching blog about royal clothing all around the world, but MOST IMPORTANTLY extensive reporting on tiaras!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:18 PM on April 30, 2013

The Automata Blog
posted by ljesse at 5:25 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'll go with Popehat.

It focuses on free speech and copyright law, and includes flashes of profane brilliance by lawyers who are clearly at the top of their game and whom you would want to pour a drink for, rather than upon.
posted by Kakkerlak at 6:27 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rainbowholic, a sort of hypnotic, photo-packed blog about cute stuff in Japan.
The Grand Narrative, feminism+Korea.
Tokyo Food File, does what it says on the tin.
If Language Log isn't specific enough, check out Prochronism (about language use in historical TV shows etc.) or Separated by a Common Language (about varieties of English) or the existing entries at The Language of Food.
Then there's Playing D&D with Porn Stars. No, seriously...
posted by wintersweet at 6:28 PM on April 30, 2013

Response by poster: These answers are amazing! Keep them coming. I am about to begin a new degree so I clearly need all the procrastination material possible :)
posted by hepta at 7:14 PM on April 30, 2013

Pop Culture Junk Mail - Um, I can't really explain PCJM. But it's great!

Candy Blog - The best and one of the oldest candy review blogs out there.

Tom and Lorenzo - Design collections, red carpet fashion, TV recaps, and analysis of Mad Men episodes via style.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:05 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sam Irby's blog bitches gotta eat, whose posts are like: "i'm never going to have a baby, so shut the fuck up about it." and "i want some goddamned romance."
MeFi favorite Charles P. Pierce runs the Politics blog at Esquire Magazine. Example: "Once again, I ask anyone smarter than me to explain the eleventy-dimensional chess strategy behind the Sequester because, right now, it still seems like the whole mess depends on people who left all their shame behind in middle school suddenly becoming ashamed of themselves. "
Hunter Angler Gardener Cook is about (mostly) forgotten foods and how to catch, kill, find prepare and eat them.
Brad DeLong is an economist at UC Berkeley who practices what he calls "mark to market blogging" and actually goes back and looks at predictions he made in the past and tries to figure out why he was right or wrong. He's even more neo-Keynesian than Krugman.
Nieman Storyboard is a project from Harvard that looks at journalism, collects excellently-written jounalistic pieces, then interviews journalists about how and why they told the story they did. Fascinating stuff.
Derek Lowe blogs at In The Pipeline about research pharmeceuticals, the FDA process, and extraordinarily dangerous chemicals.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:08 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

99% invisible - it's a podcast about design, however episode descriptions do stand on their own and are very readable.
posted by ohforf at 10:33 PM on April 30, 2013

Luxirare makes clothes and insanely elaborate dishes and meals.

Pumpkinrot posts one Halloween-related thing every day, including updates on the creation of his beautiful and macabre scarecrows.

VHShitfest is obsessed with crappy old VHS tapes.

I found North Korean Economy Watch through another AskMefi.

I asked a question about firsthand blog accounts of starting a food business previously.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 12:17 AM on May 1, 2013

Some I like, with very short descriptions because I should be in bed:

- His Black Dress. Lots of outfits-of-the-day and occasional longer posts about male fashion freedom.
- What Claudia Wore. Looks back on the outfits of Claudia Kishi and sometimes other characters in the Babysitters Club book series.
- The Beheld. "Beauty, and what it means."
- Tom Ruffles. Essays about the paranormal by the reviews editor of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.
- Invisible Oranges. A multi-contributer blog about metal music.
- The Exploding Kinetoscope. Magnificant overthinking about moving pictures. I have a vague idea that the writer here might be a MeFite, but I can't remember where I got the link, so maybe not.
- Hot Monks. NSFW. A friend mentioned this today, having allegedly been redirected to it it by mistyping the address for Hotmail or somesuch. Categories include Hot Monks in Literature, Hot Monks in Old Porn, Hot Monks in Real Life, Hot Monks on Screen and Hot Monks Singing.
posted by daisyk at 2:30 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I did a Tokyo ramen blog a few years ago (profile website link). Slobby!
posted by brappi at 4:08 PM on May 1, 2013

I really enjoy Playscapes. It's about playground design. I don't have children, don't work at a school, and have never (and probably never will) build a playground -- and yet, I find Playscapes fascinating!
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2013

All the Russian dash cams (strangely addictive)

Things Magazine (eclectic grab bag)

Kindertrauma (horror movies)

Everything is Terrible (VHS crap)
posted by pepcorn at 8:04 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I had literally only heard of one blog/site suggested by you guys - thanks so much!!
posted by hepta at 6:45 AM on May 4, 2013

Late to the party, but I kept forgetting to post my latest favorite: Charm City Writer. The author is a teacher and parent in Baltimore, and she writes quite compellingly through that lens. She has new posts three or four times per month.
posted by gubenuj at 9:05 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

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