Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for August 2012

In August, WordPress.com bloggers hit us with their best: Smart takes on the month’s biggest stories. Thoughtful musings on culture. Photographs and art that bring the world to life.

The following ten picks represent what Freshly Pressed is all about: original content that engages readers, timely posts that contribute to a larger discussion, and personal writing that resonates with others. Enjoy!

Glimpses of Iran

This photo essay documents quiet, unexpected moments of daily life in Iran and captures the delicious details and textures of Yzad and elsewhere. The collection of six photographs illustrates quality over quantity—each image is strong, well-composed, and tells its own story.

Frankie V. Debra, Roe V. Wade: Patricia Heaton’s Two Famous Moms, and Can You Still Be a Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion?

“But I’m still happy to be in their gang, because we don’t all have to think the same.”

This post examines hot-button topics—abortion and feminism—through an original and nuanced discussion of actress Patricia Heaton. We are impressed with the blogger’s honesty, respectful but confident voice, and willingness to ask questions; these elements encourage readers to comment and join the discussion.

Thinking of New Orleans

“Why do we turn to these stories? For shelter. We need an explanation, because “It happened for no reason at all” is somehow too horrifying to face.”

In this reflection on Hurricane Katrina, writer/photographer Kim weaves thoughts on Louisiana, loss, and the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. We especially like her musings on how we create stories to cope, and to make sense of why things happen in the world. Her gallery of evocative images of New Orleans complements the piece.

Armstrong Is Probably Guilty, But It Is Definitely Meaningless

“This whole long, sordid episode ends in two competing realities. The first is that Armstrong – despite his protests – likely is guilty. The second is that doesn’t matter if he is.”

After introducing the story on Lance Armstrong’s battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency, Mark presents an opinionated yet fair take on doping in cycling (and touches on other sports, too). He admits he is not an Armstrong fan, which further illustrates a balanced approach to the issue.

Authors Behaving Badly: The Seedy Underbelly of Reviewing

“As a writer, I’m not comfortable with the idea of someone writing a review of my book if they haven’t read it. I’m not writing so people can pat me on the back, I’m writing because I have stories I want people to read.”

Here, Jo offers her thoughts on an interesting publishing story: an entrepreneur who set up a business in which authors pay him to write a positive review. Solidly written and thorough, the post leads to a discussion for both writers and readers alike. We like how she asks questions at the end to help launch a healthy debate.

Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape

“The point is, this is a decision that most deeply affects the victims of rape; those victims have to live with the outcomes of that decision as well as the effects of the crime itself; and those women should be allowed to make the decision that is best for them.”

August saw no lull in controversy in the news, and WordPress.com bloggers confronted these issues head on. A post tackling a hot-button issue can become polarized—even angry—but this take on Todd Akin’s statement on rape is at once passionate and professional.

Lie to Me: Five Lies I’m Proud of Telling My Kids

“Actually, Timmy, there’s a really, really good chance that you won’t be an astronaut. Considering your complete inability to understand long division, you’re probably going to sell cars when you grow up. Now let’s talk about Santa Claus.”

Readers enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek list about the lies one father tells his kids. Whether or not you are a parent, you can relate to this lighthearted post, and will likely recall your own childhood and wonder: did my parents lie to me?!

Rethinking Sleeping Beauty

“Before she pricks her finger, she hesitates, her hand outstretched, but then at Maleficent’s urging, she finally touches the spindle. I’ve always preferred to think that she did it on purpose, not just because she was under a spell. I like to see it as an act of rebellion, a refusal to go from Briar Rose to Aurora quite yet.”

We like how Melissa uses a childhood tale to express ideas about coming of age. Musings are particularly resonant when a writer takes something familiar—such as the story of Sleeping Beauty—to illustrate observations on a more personal level. As a result, she engages with her readers, who have made their own connections through her insights.

When Saturday Mornings Meant Something

Cartoons – the word, the concept, the feeling, the religion — is dead.  Dead and obsolete like the Gothic-arched mouse hole where Jerry took refuge.  Drowned in a sea of endless animation.”

This homage to old-school Saturday morning cartoons left readers swimming in a sea of nostalgia. He-Man! Dungeons and Dragons! The shows of Hanna-Barbera! The sharp and entertaining commentary and palpable passion for the subject contribute to this well-received post.

For Neil.

“Rest in peace other Neil.”

We’re always on the lookout for original artwork: illustrations, paintings, sketches, and more. Shortly after learning of Neil Armstrong’s death, (another) Neil shared an illustration celebrating the famed astronaut. The piece is just as much about Armstrong as it is about the artist himself, and this makes the post timely as well as touching.

What do you think about these selections? Were there other Freshly Pressed posts that stood out this month?

If you’re looking for more, peep the latest posts on Freshly Pressed; check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at the Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


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Cheri Lucas Rowlands

71 Comments

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  1. Cathy

    It’s so nice how much you value your bloggers by putting them in the limelight :)

  2. Deli Lanoux, Ed.D.

    Excellent choices! I’ll definitely make time to read them. Thanks!

  3. senatorbrett

    The “Daddy Drinks” entry is great. Even as a non father, but as an uncle many many times, I can relate. It is definitely worth the read. Thanks for showing us these blogs. I am going to check out the Iranian and New Orleans ones, as well.

    -SB

  4. Joel Emmanuel

    Makes me want to write more :) I hope I could be featured soon too! Hehehe. Good job, WordPress!

  5. susielindau

    I love this new award and way to showcase bloggers! Congrats to the winners!

    • Cheri Lucas

      So glad you like this new feature. It’s not really an award, and these bloggers don’t win anything; it’s just a way to highlight some of the posts that resonated (as well as tackled the month’s biggest stories and topics).

  6. Angie Z.

    Thank you to Cheri, WordPress, and, most importantly, to the readers who stopped by my Saturday morning cartoon post. I loved reminiscing with everyone! So many great memories were shared in the comments — not only of the throwback cartoons (a lot of which I forgot about until someone reminded me) but also of the magical ritual of Saturday mornings.

    I’m honored to be on this list and excited to check out the others!

  7. Elisabeth

    Excellent – stopped-me-in-my-tracks intelligent selection. Thank you.

  8. Mark Zmarzly

    Excellent list! Always great to be exposed to new blogs.

    PS – It appears that the link to the cartoon post is broken.

  9. jujubandung

    “For Neil” post is nice to read..:)

  10. The Vegetarian Bagpiper

    What a great list of inspiring posts.

  11. Mikalee Byerman

    I do love that you’re spotlighting the best of the best, considering you’re now FP-ing 19 times a day…sometimes I simply can’t keep up!

    I LOVED the Todd Akin entry — in fact, I do believe that’s how I first heard about the controversy. This is such a great example of how bloggers influence the dialogue…
    :)

  12. jumpforjoyphotoproject

    Wonderful and inspiring.. thanks for this list!

  13. More2Explore

    Although not pressed ourselves, we really appreciated the “Daddy Drinks” blog which is FULL of great content! Very much a top 2012 blog with original content.

  14. Leisure Time

    What a fantastic list, thought provoking too

  15. KALOY

    I hope other languages can be appreciated too. But this is cool and inspiring. :)

    • Cheri Lucas

      Hi there — while we do promote bloggers living everywhere in the world, at the moment, from an editorial perspective we aren’t (yet) able to evaluate blog posts not written in English. Thanks for the comment!

  16. Pavitra

    great picks. but i do have an observation that i’d like to make (and I think I saw a similar comment on another post recently) Almost everything, most times, are representative of the western world’s opinions/blogs. So…i guess there’s that as well? :)

  17. diane

    Thanks so much for the inclusion! It’s such an honour to be Freshly Pressed, and really brought in some interesting comments. I’d read a couple of others on the list already, but will have to check out more.

  18. Harbans Khajuria

    Indeed masterpieces. Eye catching indeed.

  19. Georganne Spruce

    Glad to see you are featuring some meaningful, in-depth content rather than only photography. Quite honestly, I stopped looking at Freshly Pressed a long time ago because all I found was superficial chatter and pictures. I want to read good writers who have something worthwhile to say and have some maturity.

  20. autolawjd

    Reblogged this on Auto Law JD and commented:
    I learn best when I learn from others, and blogging is no exception. This month’s Freshly Pressed has some great reads. Enjoy!

  21. Brian Worley

    These are wonderful selections, all in their own unique way. Thank you for putting this together!

  22. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Excellent choices, WordPress! I liked the Iranian pictures (totally brought me back to recall an Iranian girl at school, so much mystery surrounded her – & the Sleeping Beauty & the Neils. I do wonder how you choose… but you chose well! :)

    Noeleen

  23. kimpugliano

    So proud to follow TWO of the above blogs. Yay!!!

  24. christrocks

    These are some neat blogs! Thanks for the round-up; it’s such a great way to find awesome content!

  25. Lu

    Excellent picks! Loved the commentaries!

  26. Lucía Gallegos

    Great selection! I won’t miss any of these!

  27. Russ Crandall (thedomesticman.com)

    Excellent list, congrats to the selectees!

  28. Eric

    I’ll get on this list someday (I hope)!

  29. tu

    Brilliant list.

  30. brightlinelegal

    Thanks, WordPress! Enjoyed each one of these for content and writing. I just started a blog myself, so was interested to know what themes the authors used – particuarly the one used by The Happy Logophile.

  31. teeceecounsel

    Beautiful selections! I’ve just read one and I’m excited already. I’m checking them out, headlong! Keep up the good work! :)

  32. davidaallen2

    I’ve never lived in Iran so I don’t exactly know how it feels or the things people go through, but from what I saw it seems like and endless struggle to carry out just simple daily task.

  33. rant4u

    Great job, Very nice selection.

  34. GraCess_Mommy

    I have checked the featured blogs and they all look really good and interesting. Great picks Cheri!

  35. emptybees

    Wow, thank you so much for including me on this list, and thanks, too, to everyone who’s dropped by and shared their thoughts with me. My blog is still a baby, relatively speaking, and being featured on Freshly Pressed has given me such a warm welcome.

  36. wordsmith1313

    I’m not on this awesome list, but I was Freshly Pressed this month, and it was magical. To hear from other writers why my post resonated with them, and to hear them share their own stories of how they felt during Katrina, was a great gift. A fabulous experience. Thank you!

  37. Russell Roberts (@kh6jrm)

    Excellent selection of posts. Most were interesting, entertaining, and thought provoking. While I don’t alway agree on material selected for Fresh Pressed, the August selection was a definite cut above average.

  38. A Gracious Life

    Thanks for this! I missed some. Am gladly catching up. =>

  39. free penny press

    A great line up of FP for sure..I really enjoyed “Glimpses of Iran”..Thanks for bringing these good posts to the forefront!!!

  40. Vibeke Johannessen

    Good selection, thanks!

  41. zoetic * epics

    CONGRATS TO ALL THE ABOVE! Brilliant idea to showcase a variety of selected bloggers!

  42. qualandar

    There got to be some picks from wildlife.

  43. Jamie

    I am happy and honored to be part of such an inspiring community of writers. As I check out these awesome blogs I’m trying to focus on inspiring myself – not intimidating myself: comparison being the thief of happiness. Thanks for putting this together.

  44. rachelocal

    Yes! More accolades for Childhood Relived! Angie is clever and like you said, has a passion for her subject matter.

  45. Lida Bushloper

    Not only are these well chosen and diverse, but their excellence gives my own efforts a much needed incentive.

  46. bruceczopek

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  47. Our Tiny Earth

    Some great blogs! All should be proud of their accomplishments!

  48. Emmanuella

    This really inspire me. ;) Really like the (another) Neil post. :)

  49. The Hook

    They’re all great!
    I can’t help but be envious though; I’ve been blogging for two years and You’ve Been Hooked! has received NO LOVE WHATSOEVER FROM THE FRESHLY PRESSED GODS!!!

  50. vandykel

    I’m new to this venue but looking forward to the experience!

  51. mclicious

    By featuring me on Freshly Pressed last month, you broke my blog! Seriously. My stats look so sad now after that. haha but really, I have to thank you most of all not for getting me more visitors and followers but for prompting me to take a look at who else was being featured. New blogs to read! More time on the Internet! My school does not thank you, but I do. :-p

  52. maxim_sense

    Freshly pressed, to me, is a good incentive for WordPress bloggers to come out with more substantive and impressive posts. As to the criteria you use for judging, those are something that I’m not quite familiar with. Nevertheless, I write for two objectives: to inform and to entertain; that’s what our English professor told us. With this in mind, I am not certain if any of my posts will ever have the chance to be ‘picked’. At any rate, I find your ‘picks’ worth reading. Thank you.

  53. Bem Enson

    Wow. I love every picture. Everything is just so surreal. This is so inspiring. Thanks for letting us see behind the curtains of the real Iran.

  54. Debra Kolkka

    I been Freshly Pressed a couple of times and it was very exciting. I was delighted recently when one of my followers told me I was one of WordPress’s recommended Travel blogs…..thank you for taking the time to notice my blog!

  55. Winged wizard

    Great new introduction encouraging and inspiring plus a good way to find new and interesting blogs and authors.

  56. Ibrahim Allam

    An excellent selection of blogs. I personally enjoyed the piece on Iran both in terms of content and graphically. These freshly pressed blogs inspire me as a blogger to aspire for a more comprehensive blog with a well-defined agenda to inform my audience.

  57. albertsagwe

    Quite a good sampling, makes a refreshing read. The articles inspire and spark the creative flow of a writer. Most of all they are a great entertainer for lovers of the written word.

  58. snippetthinking

    Excellent blogs! Everyone needs a little inspiration…

  59. normitafenn

    Great blogs! Well-written. Thanks for sharing.

  60. eyesomephotography

    Great choices! I am fairly new to WordPress and look forward to reading/viewing!

  61. AcquayeRaphaelAwuku

    Reblogged this on Acquayeraphaelawuku's Blog.

  62. SinghStyleStudio

    interesting -n- interactive picks, keep it Up!

  63. stratskayav

    Great job all on these thought provoking pieces. Unfortunately, not enough room to spotlight everyone.

  64. stuartedwards001

    Since one of those selected was a theory about how stories are created by people to cope with things that ‘happened for no reason’ perhaps it would be good to also select one that has an opposing view i.e. that most things do happen for a reason and not the ones we are told by the mainstream media :-)

  65. Madhu

    Wonderful selection Cheri!

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