According to at least one person, this is One Lovely Blog — and here are a lot of other, even lovelier ones

Alysa Salzberg
Jun 29, 2018 · 7 min read

Author and bibliophile Sally Allen is a friend I met through blogging back in the golden days of Open Salon. She now has her own blog, (Mis)Adventures with Classical Literature, where she succinctly and very amusingly writes about books she’s been reading, in posts garnished with hilarious gifs. She also discusses important issues for us book lovers, like whether e-readers really are better than print books. Not is her blog good reading — it’s also inspiring.

That’s not just because in recent months she’s been on a mission to read every English translation of The Odyssey, although that is a formidable and admirable feat. It’s because her pure passion for reading reminds me that I, too, am a reader, and can find refuge in books.

How the heck could I forget something like that, I often wonder. I’m always reading at least one book, often trying to write one, too, and dreamily browsing real and online bookstores, imagining the crazy amount of tomes I’d fill my house with if I won the lottery. Despite that, a few years ago I was lost in a dark forest of the soul and sort of forgot myself for a while. Reading Sally’s words helped me come back to who I was. I’ll always be grateful for that, as well as some of her book recommendations (and all the laughs I’ve had at those unexpected gifs!).

Last month, Sally moved me again by nominating my blog for aOne Lovely Blog Award (even though her also-nominated blog is much lovelier than mine). I felt so moved and honored, and wanted to pay it forward (my favorite part about the nomination) right away.

But the timing wasn’t great.

I was still dealing with the loss of my mom, and wanted to focus on writing something about her and letting that rest here for a while. Not to say my mom wouldn’t have been proud of me and cool about my posting about this. It was purely a “me” issue. Grief is weird.

I feel ready now, so here goes!

When you’re nominated for a One Lovely Blog Award, the rules are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award.

2. Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog.

3. Share 7 facts about yourself.

4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers you admire.

Okay, so the first two are done; let’s get to number 3.

Seven Facts about Me

1. I can’t drive. I tried to learn when I was 15 — my grandma even graciously gifted me her old banged-up Buick. But, it was not to be. I could list several reasons why, but this clip from “Bob’s Burgers” sums up my attempts at driving so perfectly, that I’ll let it do the talking.

2. Okay, so maybe now I should share something I like about myself: I usually only need 5–6 hours of sleep a night. It’s just so convenient. If you told me I could switch bodies and lives with Beyoncé, but she needed at least 9 solid hours of sleep a night to function, I’d definitely have to think about it.

3. I’m fascinated by weird historical facts and details. The one that I’m most intrigued by at the moment is the decades-long search for the eye of 19th century French politician Leon Gambetta (who escaped from Paris in a hot air balloon during the Franco-Prussian War). You can see the actual eye, still preserved in a rather ordinary-looking bottle, here, and read about it (in French or via Google’s translate function), if you’re also into that kind of thing.

4. I’m the author of a guide to selfie-taking for preteens.

5. I hate sneakers. I don’t really have much of an explanation, and some kinds of sneakers — like classic Converses — I think look awesome…on other people. Maybe it’s because sneakers feel confining to me? All I know is, even when I was in preschool, if I had to wear sneakers, I would cry. I haven’t owned a pair in my entire adult life, and don’t ever expect to.

5. I have seen every episode of the show “Catfish”.

6. Sometimes when I just don’t know what to do, I put on some YouTube videos of pet rats doing tricks, and all feels right with the world.

7. I think that having to go out to breakfast or brunch when you could have slept in or just had a leisurely morning at home, is an abomination.

Bloggers I admire

Okay, so this is tough. Not because I can’t easily think of bloggers I admire and love reading, but because I’m terrified I’ll forget someone. So if I regularly read and comment on your blog, but you’re not on this list, please accept my apologies. I only got 4 hours of sleep last night and am not functioning as well as I could be while writing this.

- Sally Allen. As I wrote at the beginning of this post, Sally’s blog is awesome, as is her current bookish quest.

- Karen Milford is a doctor who writes with surgical precision, whether it be humorous pieces on parenting, or more profound musings. I wish I were half as gifted.

- Erica Herd. A little over a year ago, Erica survived a car accident that killed her husband and several of their cats, as they were moving to a new home. Erica has always been a talented writer, wry and able to see all the sides of tragedy and suffering. What she’s written since the accident is raw and beautiful, sad and hard and real. She doesn’t hide or apologize for the anger she feels. Everything she posts is challenging and compelling. Sometimes it will speak to you, and sometimes it may help you understand someone in your own life who’s going through loss.

- The Hatching Cat — The history of New York told through quirky, true animal stories and meticulously researched info about some of the city’s bygone and still-present sites — this is such stuff as blogs I love are made on!

- Anna Herrington blogs about so many things, and what ties it all together is her passion. Whether she’s trying to capture moments in photos, or sharing stories about her past, you’ll come away with a feeling of completeness and love, even, sometimes, of wanting to make the world better.

- Determined to See. Ingrid Ricks has led an amazing, hard, but uplifting life, as her New York Times-bestselling memoir Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story, and other autobiographical writings show. After surviving so much, and staying so amazingly positive and upbeat, she was walloped again, this time with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease. Over the past several years, she’s fought to find and test out treatments and cures, and, along with fellow RP-sufferer Jeanne Aufmuth, to share findings, results, and even simple everyday coping mechanisms, with the RP community. I hope I never have to experience RP, but as someone with another incurable illness that affects my daily life, I can’t help but feel inspired by the fight in these two women and their generosity in taking their time and making the effort to write in the hopes of helping others. Their writing is fascinating, compelling, and says so much about what it is to suffer from a condition we just don’t know enough about yet. Ingrid and Jeanne decided to stop updating the site a few months ago, for several very understandable reasons. They’ve left a valuable resource to so many people — and an inspiring read for everyone.

- The way Joan Haskins writes makes me 100% sure that if we ever get to meet in person, she’ll be one of those people who’s simply but incredibly elegantly dressed, with not a hair out of place, and so calm and dignified, but still warm and kind. Basically, if we met in person, I’d be even more jealous of her than I am already! As with many other bloggers on my list, my only complaint is that I wish she posted more often.

- I never know what I’ll read about when I visit Hilal Isler’s blog, but I know it will be thought-provoking and often transporting.

- James Mark Emmerling. I also wish James posted more often, but he’s in the Afterlife now. I know I can write that because James would think it was funny, although it’s, unfortunately, not a joke. James is the closest I have ever come to knowing a mad, brilliant burning star of a mind like the writers and artists that lived in early 20th century Paris. In fact, I think that we both lived there and were friends in a past life, but he was always the more talented of us. James’s posts are by turn silly, challenging, and miraculous. Not all of them have survived, since a majority were published on the now-defunct website Open Salon. But you can still enjoy a little over fifty of them at his last blog, hosted on Our Salon.

- Paris Zig Zag — Like I said, I love weird historical stuff, plus I love Paris, so the blog posts on this site are must-reads for me.

- Richard Brown. Richard is one of the funniest and most intelligent writers around, and one of the most underrated, even by himself. I feel like there is an alternate universe where his talent was recognized and he’s a famous journalist, and I’m pretty sure that that alternate reality is the best reality.

Thanks so much again, Sally, for nominating me for this honor, and thanks to you and the other bloggers on this list — and the other bloggers I read and love and who my addled brain forgot — for giving me so much to enjoy and think about.

Alysa Salzberg

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is a writer & worrier. She lives in Paris with an eccentric Frenchman, a clever toddler, & a charming cat. Besides them, she loves books, travel, & cookies.