A line from Hamlet has stuck to my head and I never miss an opportunity to quote. Here I take the liberty again.
What do you read, my lord?
Words, words, words.
What is the matter, my lord?
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
So what is this doing in a blog review? Well many of the blogs are just what Hamlet said: “words, words, words” that leave the readers asking “what is the matter’. This is especially true in the case of quite a few poetry blogs. Anunoy’s blog ‘justforsuzan’ is one of those that stand apart from this motley crowd. The words create a powerful imagery, the metaphors are distinctly original without seeming ludicrous and overall his words leave a strong impact. Even some of his fiction reads like poetry. However his blog is definitely not one of those blogs that can be quickly skimmed through. If you try to glance through his blog, you will find no difference between his blog and some of the more banal blogs that just peddle words to sound impressive.
I have started out about the content. So let me finish all I have to say about content before moving on to the rest. I do not feel qualified to give any feedback on his literary content as such. He also shares a few photos which again are in my opinion out of the world. His pictures are not run of the mill pictures and are usually accompanied by an interesting commentary that makes them fascinating indeed. He also has some very interesting informative posts, mainly written for contests. They are very lucid and convey the point very well. He has also linked his photos section to his travel blog and often this blog leads to his travel blog. Last but not the least most of his content has a sprinkling of humor. I however will limit my review to the literary and photos blog alone and not comment on the travel blog to avoid losing focus.
In terms of look and feel, my feelings are quite neutral. There is nothing wrong as such but it does not look as if he has really put any effort into thinking through the background theme either. Maybe it will help if he thinks what kind of first impression he wants to convey to his new readers and tries to explore a theme that can convey that. On a similar note the blog does not seem to have a name. There is a nice tag line and the title section describes in a succinct way what the blog is all about. But a catchy name helps in top of the mind recall. The url of the blog has a name ‘just4suzan’. But the name is not mentioned anywhere else on the blog nor is an explanation given for the name.
In terms of navigation, he has followed my favorite method of creating separate tabs for fiction, poetry and photos and giving links to all the posts manually instead of the label based one which requires much more scrolling. But I feel he could have used the labels as well separately to provide an alternate method of navigation. The latest link section on the side bar has too many links. In my opinion, if any section has more than ten links, people tend to skip it. The archives and the popular post widget have been placed right at the bottom and it is doubtful if people will scroll down so many posts and find them. He should either bring those to the side or have only the latest post in the home page. One thing I would recommend is to create a separate tab for more informational posts. Right now the excellent informational and nostalgic posts are scattered among the contemplative posts. It will be nice to call them out separately for the low attention span reader starved of time to rush through, while the more relaxed reader can recline on his arm chair and sip through the more contemplative posts.
In terms of interaction, he replies to comments regularly and has a contact section. But in general readers do not seem too responsive if one were to go by the comments. But I guess in general readers don’t tend to say much on contemplative posts as it is not easy to put up some shallow comment on them without looking stupid.
Overall I would strongly recommend readers to take out time and go through his writings. In my opinion they have literary merit. In case reader is not able to get it one reading, it is highly advisable to read it a second and third time and I can give assurance that it will be worth the effort. Find below a small sample of writings selected by the blogger for a new reader’s perusal.