Vick Mickunas

Host - Book Nook

Vick Mickunas created the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1200 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.

Ways To Connect

Gary Shteyngart's memoir "Little Failure" has recently  been issued in a paperback version. The book came out last year in hardcover. At that time I tried to book another interview with Gary (more about that later) and I reviewed it for the Cox Ohio newspapers. Here's my review:

Ann Hagedorn is a meticulous researcher. In her previous books she has tackled historical subjects which are now receding into history. Her latest book examines a topic that is so current that the story lines are shifting every day. In this interview you'll find out how hard it became to actually complete a book about issues that are constantly churning in a fluid fashion that is seemingly being updated and revised by the moment. Hagedorn immerses herself in her work. We were fortunate to have her come out to Yellow Springs to record this interview.

Here's my review of another knockout debut novel. This one ran recently in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

Following the economic downturn of 2008 Samuel Fromartz found that his opportunities to continue to earn his living as a freelance writer were dwindling. Undaunted, he turned his problem into an opportunity. Fromartz had a long standing interest in baking bread. In this interview he describes how he soon found himself in Paris searching for the best loaves, the tastiest baguettes that he could discover. He ate a lot of bread while he was in France. Later on he went there again to observe a baker who was making loaves the way they used to be made many centuries ago. 

Some of us read horror novels because we want to feel scared without having to worry about our fears. Then there's a genre of novels that are so gnarly and tough that they could make  readers scream. Our screams would be sympathetic ones because the characters in these stories can elicit our emotions. As they go about the gritty business of their tattered lives we might feel like screaming just to release some of the tensions these tales can build up. Sometimes life isn't pretty. We know that. That's why we read books about these kinds of things.

Now and then a book will come along that is so darned wonderful I can hardly believe it. Neverhome by Laird Hunt is just such a book. Here's my review that ran in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

One of the great pleasures that can be obtained from reading works of fiction are the joys of discovering books and writers that were previously unknown to us. Recently, an acquaintance of mine said that I might like a new novel called Neverhome by Laird Hunt. I had never heard of this writer.

The Kent State University Press recently reissued a new edition of Robert Fogarty's classic study of a religious sect, the House of David, a once thriving community based in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In "The Righteous Remnant - the House of David" Fogarty traces the origins of this group all the way back to the 17th Century in what was known as the "Anglo-Israelite millennial tradition" and in the prophecies of a mystic named Joanna Southcott.

Ted Rall went to Afghanistan shortly after the United States invaded the country. He was with a group of journalists-during that time things were quite dangerous there. Some of them never made it back home. 

Two fifteen year-old girls are feeling bored. It is a summer night in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, which is right on the waterfront. These two girls, June and Val, are close friends but their friendship appears to be fraying. One of them is more precocious than the other. That night they decide to set out on an adventure, just the two of them. Things get out of hand and something tragic occurs.

After much deliberation I have decided to declare 2014 to be The Year of the Debut Novel. Every year I compile a list of my favorite fiction and non-fiction titles to share with readers of the Cox Ohio newspapers. I was going through my fiction stack and realized that half the books I'm considering to be my favorites from the past year are debuts. Now Smith Henderson's superb first novel "Fourth of July Creek" has landed upon that select stack. Wow, what a book!

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