I read quite a few blogs. There are a couple of hundred in my feed reader (and let me give a recommendation to Feedly here--kicks Google Reader's butt up and down the block) at any given time, though some aren't updated regularly and some I rarely read beyond the headline. And I've been reading blogs regularly for a long time. I can't tell you when, exactly, I started, but it's been years.
I was from the beginning, and still am, interested in blogs mainly for the stories. I read fashion blogs and few other photo-heavy text-light sites, but mostly, when I am reading a blog, it's because I want someone to tell me a story. For me, that's where the love started. And it's more and more rare, these days, at least in the blogs I find. There are a few really good storytellers still telling their stories on their blogs, but a lot of the best ones have moved on other things.
Which is why, these days, my favorite blog isn't a blog at all.
Around the same time I started reading blogs, or maybe a bit later, I started listening to podcasts. One by one, they began to bore me. Some took only an episode or two, some took months, but my interest in each of them dwindled. Except one: Croncast. Started in 2004, Croncast is a conversation between Kris and Betsy Smith, a married mid-30s couple with two kids who resided in the Chicago suburbs for years and have more recently relocated to NYC. They just tell stories. They talk about their lives. And they are really, really good at it. Amazingly so. They're touching, they're interesting, they're entertaining, and they are really, really, really funny. Their podcast has always reminded me of the best story-telling blogs, and unlike most of the bloggers that initially turned me on to the genre, they're still going strong, and are even better than ever.
I've been meaning to give Kris and Betsy's show a plug on the blog for ages, but was reminded about it this past weekend, when I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Betsy at BlogHer. She's the same person in real life that she is on the show, which is to say entertaining, genuine, a ton of fun, and hilarious. The only thing that struck me as inconsistent between her portrayal on Croncast and meeting her in person was that the show never gives much indication that she's gorgeous. She's seriously great, and having met her, I feel even more strongly that Croncast ought to have a way bigger audience than it does.
Though it was free for years, and you can still listen to a ton of free episodes, Croncast is at this point a subscription show. It's not expensive, though, and they offer several options. Individual episodes are $.99 each, monthly subscriptions are $4.49, quarterly subscriptions are $12.49, annual subscriptions are $48.49, and $199 gets you a lifetime pass. Way more than worth it. In general, Betsy and Kris release three 25-30 minute shows a week, though, like any of us, their lives sometimes intervene and they miss a little bit of time. It's worth waiting for them to get back to it.
One of the things I thought about a lot while I was at BlogHer was that I want to do a better job calling attention to and praising other blogs that I love and read regularly. Though it's not a blog, Croncast is the first example of that. I cannot stress how much of a fangirl I truly am. Please, go check them out.