Interviews

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is our community-wide BIG READ selection this year and it was an excellent choice. The author came to Dayton for the kick-off of this year's BIG READ and when you listen to this interview you'll discover how she first found out about the orphan trains (they really existed) and why she decided to write the novel when she did. As it turned out her window of opportunity for conducting interviews with actual orphan train riders was closing fast. There are very few of them still living today.

The audience that obsesses over our media driven pop culture possesses an insatiable appetite. The celebrities who become the focus of all that attention are sometimes devoured in the process. The list of victims is long. The pressures of being a celebrity can be enormous. Say goodbye to your privacy. Guard your sanity. The paparazzi are lurking at every turn.

Some young couples in rural areas of Bosnia in the former Yugoslavia still practice a custom which has been known in that region for centuries, they elope. These elopements are somewhat unique in the way that they are carried out and according to Keith Doubt the author of  "Through the Window - Kinship and Elopement in Bosnia-Herzegovina" the results are often empowering for the participants and their families.

Shortly after the Japanese made their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 they invaded the Philippines. Those islands had been under American control since the Spanish American War and the US forces there were ill prepared to repel the invasion. The Philippines fell quickly to the Japanese.

Two of my favorite crime writers hail from Scotland. Ian Rankin lives in Edinburgh and his stories are mostly set there. Denise Mina lives in Glasgow and her stories are often set there. But her latest one, "Blood, Salt, Water," is set in another town entirely, a place called Helensburgh. This community is located in a beautiful spot right on the oceanfront. It was once the playground for millionaires. The mouldering ruins of their Victorian mansions are now rotting high up on the hillsides.

This surreal novel is set in a trailer park in the Mojave Desert. The author, R.A. Morean, is quite familiar with this locale. She used to live in the area. This is one of the most otherworldly and bizarre books that I have read in a long time. It defies genre. Fortunately I was able to interview the author about it and her insights and confessions really helped me to understand the story more clearly.

Rita Gabis had fond memories of her Lithuanian grandfather. She knew that he had come to America as an adult and that he had lived in Lithuania during World War II. After he died she began to want to know more about his life. In particular, she was interested in what he had done during the war. Her grandfather had been a policeman and he had maintained his police duties during the German occupation of Lithuania.

In 1996 Robert Crais embarked on his first national tour for his novel "Sunset Express." He came through Dayton and stopped by the WYSO studios for a live interview on the Book Nook. That was his 5th novel. He was really just getting started as a novelist following a successful stint as a Hollywood screen writer for programs like "LA Law" and "Hill Street Blues."

Has our society got you down? Is our culture depressing you? Have you been unlucky in love? Are you tired of feeling like somebody's punching bag? I have just the book for you. The eminently quotable Cheryl Strayed has put together a self-help book called "Brave Enough." You might know Strayed as the writer who brought us the mega-memoir "Wild." She has a terse, pithy, and succulent mode of expression.

Perhaps you spurn the "self-help" category? I know that I do. Don't ignore this book. This is an inspiring collection of Cheryl's most resonant quotes. Here's an example:

Harold Holzer has dedicated much of his life to the study of one of our greatest presidents. Abraham Lincoln. Holzer has written many books about Lincoln and his recent book "Lincoln and the Power of the Press - the War for Public Opinion" was the one that finally delivered the ultimate honor for a Lincoln scholar. Holzer won the Lincoln Prize for it. 

Holzer writes exceptional books and he's an absolute delight to interview. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean as you listen to this one.

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