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Best of the bookshelf this Xmas, part three

Winter is the perfect time to withdraw from this modern world’s routines and stress to read a book. Here is an overview of acclaimed non-fiction publications of the past few months.

Oliver Hilmes has written an acclaimed biography of Franz Liszt. The Burgenland-born musician was one of the most important composers of the 19th century. Concerts of works by Liszt have been taking place all over Austria to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth. "Liszt. Biographie eines Superstars" is not Hilmes’ first book about big names of musical history. His portraits of Alma Mahler-Werfel and Cosima Wagner were well received too. Both books are still available.

Liszt. Biographie eines Superstars
By Oliver Hilmes
Published by Siedler Verlag (www.randomhouse.de/siedler)

Christoph Biermann has written many books about the greatest game in the world. Most of them were highly entertaining with a strong sense for a decent amount of humour and satire. His latest work, called "Die Fußball-Matrix", is more of an analytical approach to football. It checks whether it is possible to make players better by trusting statistical material and explains managers’ most recent attempts to use science and computer technology to prepare their squads for upcoming challenges.

Die Fußball-Matrix
By Christoph Biermann
Published by Kiepenheuer & Witsch (www.kiwi-verlag.de)

Reinhard Mandl’s pictures – taken between 2000 and 2010 – show the beauty and the beast that sleep within Vienna. His photographs offer the drastic contrasts of a city famous for its monuments, parks and museums. They show scenes of daily routine in public transport on the outskirts of the federal capital of Austria as well as beggars, runners and construction workers. Mandl managed to create a photographic memory of this loved and loathed city.

Wien: Geschichten einer Stadt
By Reinhard Mandl
Published by Hubert Krenn VerlagsgesmbH (www.hubertkrenn.at)

Oliver Schulz walked across India. His book about the trip – called "Indien zu Fuß" – is a brilliant portray of the exciting country which is widely considered as one of the most promising economies in the world. The German writer’s book shows the stark contrasts of India, a country where immense poverty and high-tech developments are both strongly represented. "Indien zu Fuß" creates memories of Wolfgang Büscher’s acclaimed books about his walk from Berlin in Germany to Russian capital Moscow ("Berlin – Moskau. Eine Reise zu Fuß") and from the USA’s border with Canada to its border with Mexico ("Hartland").

Indien zu Fuß. Eine Reise auf dem 78. Längengrad
By Oliver Schulz
published by Deutsche Verlagsanstalt (www.randomhouse.de)

Dietmar Grieser investigated why celebrated writers, actors and pop stars changed their names. His research draws up spectacular revelations but also wonderfully funny anecdotes about what tempted some of the most famous Austrian artists to get rid of their birth names. Grieser publishes around one book a year. "Das zweite Ich", which also deals with international celebrities’ decisions considering their artists’ names, is certain to find its audience.

Das zweite Ich
By Dietmar Grieser
Published by Amalthea (www.amalthea.at)

"Schwärmer – Schwindler - Scharlatane" takes the reader on a fantastic ride into the world of charlatans, soothsayers and mystics who had a vast influence on people in almost all civilisations. Literature scientist Rainer Schmitz, who wrote for German magazine Focus for years, considered previously unknown documents on their controversial business activities. The illustrations which are featured in his book give an insight into their actions and how they affected people’s daily lives.

Schwärmer – Schwindler - Scharlatane
By Rainer Schmitz
Published by Böhlau Verlag (www.boehlau-verlag.com)

Reinhard Heydrich was one of the most feared leaders in the Nazis’ Third Reich. Heydrich losely cooperated with Heinrich Himmler about the Holocaust. Historian Robert Gerwarth analyses Heydrich’s rise to political power. He investigates whether claims are true that Heydrich was focusing on his career without endorsing the terror regime of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Himmler. Gerwarth lectures at Dublin’s University College after having worked at the universities of Harvard and Princeton.

Reinhard Heydrich
By Robert Gerwarth
Published by Siedler Verlag (www.randomhouse.de/siedler)

More than 20 journalists contributed to a new book dedicated to the long history of the second-oldest city derby in European football. Only the Old Firm clashes between Celtic Glasgow and Rangers FC have more tradition than the series of matches between Rapid Vienna and rivals Austria Vienna. Edgar Schütz, Matthias Marschalik and Domenico Jacono gathered articles, old photographs and interviews for their book "Alles Derby!" which looks back on the many legendary games between the Green-Whites and the Purples, starting in the 1910s.

Alles Derby!
By Edgar Schütz, Matthias Marschalik and Domenico Jacono
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (www.werkstatt-verlag.de)

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Cosmo and Nanu
ORF Watch

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