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SYMPHONY:  Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall and Other Worthy Reads
Book Review

If you haven't  been there and don't plan to be there any time soon, - "Symphony" (Abrams, $60.00, 240 pages, 150 illustrations, 120 full color) is the next best thing to a visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.  Lavish, lovingly presented, filled with all kinds of interesting information on the breathtaking structure  - from its origins to its completion - "Symphony" is the first and last word on Gehry's master work.

One of the more significant and innovative buildings of the past few decades, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a mélange of exterior stainless steel curves and interior  hardwood paneling in the main auditorium.  Ironically, it was envisioned and designed years before Gehry's striking Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, a one-of-a-kind structure that these writers visited very early on.
If you are a student of architecture or a reader with a leaning to important books that fuse stunning visuals with insightful writings  - "Symphony" belongs on your bookshelf.

Speaking of things with a California connection, "Hollywood Horror" By Mark A. Vieira (Abrams,  $45.00, 256 pages) is a very novel look at the range of the genre from gothic to cosmic. Vieira fuses testimony from directors,  actors, special effects types, writers, with his own observations to provide many insights. If the subject turns you on - this book will do the same.

"The Orient in the Mirror" by Roland and Sabrina Michaud (Abrams, $40.00, 256 pages, 200 illustrations in full color) is a book for browsing, collecting, learning from. The book - back  in print for the first time in 20 years - has a totally new look. Using the mirror as a motif, the Michauds "twin" traditional Islamic art miniatures with their own photographs that cover almost a half a century. One would have wished that the writing were a bit more elegant and the proofing a bit more careful. These are jarring when lined up against the telling quality of the visuals.

"Earth From Above 366 Days" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Abrams, $29.95, 792 pages) is a successor to  "Earth From Above: 365 Days." There are 60 more pages and almost 200 new images by the renowned aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Reaching across the continents, the incredible full-color photographs are enhanced by new captions explaining what we see, describing  environmental concerns related to each location.   

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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