April comes to a close along with the first year of The New Leaf Journal. In our typical fashion, we will review the month that was as we move into the heart of springtime. Starting with this month-in-review post, I will list our most-read articles from the month, an idea that I am borrowing from our New Leaf Journal birthday article. Speaking of which…
Happy Birthday to The New Leaf Journal
We launched The New Leaf Journal on April 27, 2020. I celebrated the first birthday of our online magazine with an article – our 294th – published on April 27, 2021. My New Leaf Journal birthday post includes a timeline of significant events at The New Leaf Journal, our most-read articles, and recommendations that did not receive as many visitors as some other content.
Notable Content From April 2021
This is our 24th article of April. While I humbly recommend reading all of our April content, I will suggest a few articles from our April archive that merit special attention.
Join Victor V. Gurbo For Great Music
Victor V. Gurbo published two new Quarantine Session articles in April. First, Victor and Mark Caserta covered Ray Charles’s Seven Spanish Angels. This article featured not one, but two original covers of the classic song. An interesting microphone that Victor discussed in an article last summer made its New Leaf Journal debut in one of the recordings. The usual duo of Victor and Caserta was joined by Kathryn Williams for the song in Victor’s second Quarantine Session article of the month – You Win Again by Hank Williams.
The Longest Article at The New Leaf Journal
We include estimated reading times above most of our posts. Our previous longest post had an estimated reading time of 33 minutes. I shattered that record with an 18,000-plus word article on accounts of the life and death of Otho, a short-lived Roman Emperor in 69 A.D. While I enjoyed the research and think that it will make for an interesting (albeit long) read, I hope and expect that this article retains the record for longest New Leaf Journal article indefinitely.
A New Visual Novel Project
I announced the start of a visual novel review project on April 11. In the mid 2000s, several Japanese-to-English translation circles submitted their officially-sanctioned translations of independent Japanese visual novels to three translation festivals. I have downloaded all of the translations, and I will review most of the 32 projects here at The New Leaf Journal throughout 2021 and 2022.
A Miniature Abraham Lincoln Story
In early April, I told the story behind an 1860 miniature painting of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln sat for the painting in August 1860, between his winning the Republican nomination for president in May and winning the general election in November. The article is supported by excerpts from the diary of the artist who adroitly painted Lincoln, John Henry Brown.
Humane Website Design
Early in the month, I wrote a lengthy Around the Web essay on the small web and the concept of humane web design. In so doing, I explained how The New Leaf Journal itself fits within these concepts. Reading and considering the small web led me to start a second blog at Bearblog, which I will discuss in more detail here at The New Leaf Journal in May.
Most-Read New Leaf Journal Articles in April 2021
Final list (updated May 1, 2021).
- Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask. By V. Gurbo. Dec. 2, 2020. (Change +1)
- Around the Web 〜 RSS as a Facebook Alternative. By N.A. Ferrell. Feb. 21, 2021. (Change -1)
- Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam). By N.A. Ferrell. Nov. 15, 2020. (Change 0)
- An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative. By N.A. Ferrell. Nov. 13, 2020. (Change +1)
- The Last Stand of Constantine XI. By N.A. Ferrell. May 28, 2020. (Change +1)
- An Essay on Productivity, Production, and Productive Leisure. By N.A. Ferrell. Mar. 24, 2021. (Change +2)
- The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei. By N.A. Ferrell. Mar. 14, 2021. (Change +6)
- The Awful About Page for Sara Tirschwell’s NYC Mayoral Campaign Site. By N.A. Ferrell. Mar. 26, 2021. (Change +6)
- Why Vintage Guitars Sound Better. By V. Gurbo. Jan. 4, 2021. (Change -5)
- Review of Wutsearch, a Search Engine Launchpad. By N.A. Ferrell. Mar. 22, 2021. (Change 0)
Site Changes in April 2021
I am in the progress of revamping our site’s category structure. You may notice that some older articles have new categories already. My goal is to create what I call “topic categories” to complement our broader categories. For example, because Victor has written so many music articles, all articles about music will now be in a “Music” category in addition to one of the broader categories. This shift will also come in handy for my visual novel review project – Visual Novel Reviews will now be a sub-category for Reviews. As we approach 300 articles, I will continue to examine new ways to make our content more readily discoverable.
I have started a side project at Bear Blog. You can find the site at “nafmusings.xyz”. I am still working on configuring HTTPS for that project. Once that is complete, I will introduce my Bear Blog project at The New Leaf Journal and incorporate its RSS feed.
Looking Forward to May 2021
While we officially launched The New Leaf Journal in April 2020, May 2020 was the month during which we got the project off the ground. Victor and I combined to write 30 articles, including some that I think remain among our best work. I hope to make May 2021 even better.
To begin, I will change the structure of our Newsletter Leaf Journal a bit. I submitted our newsletter to a new project that will share the newsletter with other readers who joined the project. Merely recapping our content from the prior week would not suffice for holding the interest of readers who know nothing about our site. For that reason, while I will keep our weekly content recaps in the newsletter, I will also include more original content in the newsletters going forward. If you are not already a subscriber, consider signing up for our emails or following the newsletter with your favorite feed reader.
Regarding content in May, I will begin my visual novel review project by publishing multiple reviews during the month. You can expect to see a follow-up to last year’s article on the last stand of the last Roman Emperor, Constantine XI, around the anniversary of the fall of Constantinople. As I noted in one April post, April showers bring May flowers. I may just have some flower content in store befitting the month.
As always, Victor and I publish content almost daily, so you will have to check in periodically (or daily, if you insist) to see what else we come up with for May 2021.