Roger Ebert
Movie Yearbook 2000

It's easy to forget, because Ebert is a TV persona: this guy can write.

Amos Poe's Frogs for Snakes is not a film so much as a filmed idea. That could be interesting, but alas, it is a very bad idea.

He's equally interesting whether the film is good, bad, or mediocre. Ebert, like McPhee and Angell and Gopnick, is fascinating when writing about things you don't care about.

But that's not why I'm reading Movie Yearbook this year. Nor is it my increasingly insistent hankering -- shared, fortunately, with Linda -- for frequent injections of narrative. I'm deeply entangled in planning a roundtable on hypertext narrative and Flash, and it's truly impressive to see just how many stories -- very expensive stories! -- the Industry generates in 30 months.

Charlotte Salomon
Life? or Theater?
Leila Vennewitz, trans.

I wandered, quite by accident, into an exhibit of some pages from this young Jewish woman's journey through adolescence and Nazism at Boston's MFA. My first impression was, "What an interesting, unknown diary!" My second was, "This is really sophisticated German graphic design, masquerading as a naive diary."

If she'd lived fifty years later, Salomon would have defined Web memoir.

I'd never heard of Salomon. It seems to me she's the direct ancestor of Spiegelman and Eisner. Fascinating. (Note: the edition weighs in at 832 pages, almost all of them plates. I wish there were more commentary, but the volume already pushes the limits of practical binding.)

Michael McGarrity
The Judas Judge

The fifth appearance of Kevin Kerney, a beat-up but not-beaten-down New Mexico cop. This isn't quite as wonderful as Tularosa, but few mysteries are. McGarrity has a wonderful and unsentimental knack for seeing the parts of the Southwest that don't much interest Hillerman.
Hillman Curtis
Flash Web Design: the art of motion graphics

Stylish, detailed, lavishly produced discussions of a series of high-design examples. More sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill How To books, though much space is still consumed with elementary instructions.

Confidential to designers: I believe you'll find that the root of "deconstruction" is "to construe", not "to construct." You don't need to abuse this too, too trendy word, because "dissection" is already available for your use at no extra charge.

Caroline Preston
Lucy Crocker 2.0
A middle-age romance, undistinguished except that Preston does a wonderfully job of getting the details of the East coast software industry exactly right. Her attention flags later (e.g. "Evelyn Dyson) but the background is otherwise exceptionally good. Unfortunately, the background is largely irrelevant to the novel.


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