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"The  Big Short" and "Koestler"

One is a big best seller, a  timely as today's headlines. The other is a true work of literary scholarship,  a terrific read. Both belong on your bookshelf.

"The Big  Short" by Michael Lewis (Norton, $27.95, 266 pages) sub-titled "Inside the  Doomsday Machine" is not about losers but about winners. These winners  were willing to put their money where their mouths were -- willing to place  their bets on an economy going sour and south. One worked in hedge funds,  another explored the wondrous (for him) possibilities of credit default swaps  ­ something most knew nothing about. And there are and were others. A  Lewis sampling brings them up close and financial and gives the reader a view  from inside on the great financial collapse we all lived and suffered through  in one way or another. NOTABLE READING;
"Koestler" by  Michael  Scammell (Random House, $35.00, 689 pages) is the first  authorized bio of Arthur Koestler and what a book it is. This what a page  turner is all about. Its sub-title says it is about "The Literary and  Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic."

For those  legions who read "Darkness at Noon," for those who read "Thieves in the  Night," this biography of the author of those works is required reading as it  should be for the rest of us.  Like an artist with words, Scammell paints  the definitive portrait of this literary figure - -warts and all. Koestler  lived  (1905-1983) despite peripatetic behavior that would have leveled  another man much earlier on. We are there through his three marriages, the  drugs, his womanizing, his manic depression. We are there as he escapes from  occupied France. And we are there observing the way he wrote, what  drove him  and the famous friends and acquaintances he met along the way.  Brilliantly researched and written,"Koestler"  is top shelf stuff.   HIGHLY NOTABLE READING
"Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest" by Jon Ortner  (Welcome Books, $18.95, 240 pages) is billed as a traveler's mini edition and  that it is and a wonderful one at that containing 200 photographs that present  a stunning panorama of the western wilderness. The price is right and the book is terrific & shy; for your coffee table, for a gift, as a collectible.

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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

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

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