Mike4, I understand your frustration. The same thing happened to me, but I think it’s not Sparkle’s fault but our way of thinking for being used to seeing/using certain styles that flood the Internet.
The truth is that what we see as a limitation of the tool can be a great opportunity to differentiate ourselves from the “competition” and attract more readers to our blog.
As you say, the fashion is to make the blog index in the form of a grid, but that is due to the fixed structure set by Word Press. The result is that all blogs, or most of them, look the same.
Sparkle offers us the possibility to create something different, to be original and stand out without repeating formulas. If a blog looks old, it is not because of the distribution of content, but because of an outdated design or, directly, the lack of design.
Here is an example I found of a blog designed with Sparkle:
Sparkle modern blog
It has an absolutely professional finish and, moreover, not very seen. It invites me to stay and read, although what makes me really loyal to a blog is its content, not its aesthetics.