Interview

This past April we observed the 150th anniversary of our first presidential assassination. When John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln that evening at the theater he changed the course of history. Have you ever wondered what might have been different if Lincoln had not been killed that night and been allowed to serve out his second term? Perhaps he might have been re-elected to a third term? We'll never know, right? But TJ Turner has imagined it.

Love songs have been around forever. They are ubiquitous. If you eliminated every love song from our repertory of music there wouldn't be many songs left. The music historian and musicologist Ted Gioia took on a daunting assignment when he decided to write a history of the love song.

He takes readers back to the origins of the love song at the very dawn of recorded history. This is a fascinating study that is filled with surprises. Love songs are powerful and controversial and inspiring. Perhaps that's why we love them so much.

John Hooper is a British journalist who has spent many years stationed in Italy. He has spent time in the various regions of Italy and has been able to observe Italians up close. He has really gotten to know the Italians; their passions, their quirks, and their idiosyncrasies. 

WYSO listeners will recognize the calm, reflective voice of Bill Felker. Bill's meditations upon nature and the changing seasons are a long-time staple on the WYSO airwaves and in publications across America. Bill recently published his latest "Poor Will's Almanack 2015." I always enjoy my interviews with Bill because I can usually surprise him with a question or a topic that he probably wasn't expecting. In this interview we discussed Bill's SAD table, a new feature in this latest edition of a series that he has been producing for many years.

Peter James has created a crafty series of crime novels set in the English city of Brighton. Detective Roy Grace is his protagonist in what I like to call his "Dead  Series" because every book has the word "dead" in the title. Grace is a determined sleuth. These books are carefully plotted. James spends a lot of time consulting with advisors, veteran police officers, to make sure that he has gotten all his details right. 

Do you feed your dog canned dog food? Do you ever think that perhaps your dog deserves better fare than that? I have just the book for you. Judith Jones has known and loved many dogs over the course of her long life. Her current dog, Mabon, gets the same food for his dinner that Jones has prepared for herself. In her book "Love Me, Feed Me - Sharing With Your Dog the Everyday Good Food You Cook and Enjoy" the author explains how she came to the point of deciding that Mabon deserved better dinners than canned dog food.

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

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.

14 years ago Marc Levy visited the Book Nook to talk about his novel "If Only It Were True." That book became an international best-seller. In 2005 this story was adapted and released as the Hollywood film "Just Like Heaven." Levy is French and he's very popular in his native land. He's also rather productive. During the 14 years since his last appearance on the program he has written and published 14 more novels.

This is an extraordinary novel. Here's my review of  it which ran the other day in the San Antonio (Texas) Express News:

“Knockemstiff” author Donald Ray Pollock is one of my favorite writers.  The other day I noticed he had written a Facebook post which mentioned a new book that he really likes. This reviewer acted immediately, procuring a copy of “The Enchanted” by Rene Denfeld.

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