WYSO

Vick Mickunas

Host - Book Nook

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them.  Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.

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Astrea Taylor returned to our studios to discuss her latest book, "Belle Dame Sans Merci," an urban fantasy novel that showcases the author's vivid imagination. The main character is a woman who has become a demon. She is trying to improve her karma enough to be admitted to heaven. Until she does so she'll continue with her lethal labors for a truly devilish boss. Taylor's vision of the precincts of hell is complex and profoundly amusing.

Fiona Barton served notice with her debut novel "The Widow" that she is a rising star in the world of crime fiction. Her second effort, "The Child," is just as compelling as her first book. Barton had a long career as a journalist and that background has served her well. Kate, her fictional investigative reporter has returned in the second book but don't think that just because she is back that these two books mark the start of a series. They don't. These are stand-alone thrillers.

The U.S. Postal Service has played a significant role in the history of our country. In her book "How the Post Office Created America-a History" Winifred Gallagher enumerates the many major impacts that our U.S. Mail has had upon the growth and development of our infrastructure, our industries, and our educational opportunities.

Long-time NPR commentator Frank Deford began contributing his commentaries to National Public Radio in 1980. In May of this year he turned in his last radio piece for Morning Edition. He died later that month.

Deford made a couple of appearances in the Book Nook over the years. Here's an interview Frank did with me in July, 2000. His dulcet tones will be missed.

We are living in the age of the "selfie." Some of us are self-absorbed. President Trump epitomizes the "selfie" lifestyle. It's really all about him. This is the perfect moment for a humorous novel featuring a protagonist who is dealing with all the stress and pressure of modern life and not handling it too well.

"Who is Rich" by Matthew Klam is set during the summer of 2012. That seems like a zillion years ago. Barack Obama was running for re-election and his opponent was Mitt Romney. In retrospect those seem like innocent times.

Virginia Heffernan grew up with the Internet. She was on-line before any of us were. In this interview she explains how that happened and how her zealous participation in that strange and sometimes magical world has been a transporting endeavor.

I wanted to interview Virginia when this book first came out last year but I wasn't able to make that happen. Fortunately when books are issued again as paperbacks we obtain second chances to discover them. I persevered. Virginia agreed to an interview.

Don't you love it when somebody has the good grace to go out at the top of their game? It can be depressing to watch former star performers embarrassing themselves because they didn't know when to quit. We have all seen them, the baseball players who strike out on pitches they used to hit or the lead singer who wrote the lyric "I hope I die before I get old" still out there on stage 50 years later gamely strumming away. Some writers keep plodding along, putting out books long after inspiration has faded.

This book is the debut in a new crime fiction series set in Columbus. Roxane Weary is a private eye with lots of issues. Her dad was a hard drinking cop who died recently while fighting crime. The two of them didn't get along. His sudden death has left his daughter with unresolved "Daddy" issues. He drank a lot. So does she. Her love life is a mess, too. Her father's demise has even served to complicate that aspect of her existence. Business is bad.

Antioch College

In 1968 an eighteen-year-old youth named Bill Newman arrived in Yellow Springs to begin his freshman year at Antioch College. Bill's first Antioch co-op education experience took place in New York City. He was supposed to return to Antioch after three months but the experience he was having in New York was so thrilling and important to him that he ended up staying away for nine months.

There are quite a few memoirs being published. Every famous rock star from 50 years ago seems to have written one. At least, the ones who are still alive. Many of the memoirs that are coming out were penned by people who never have had a hit on the Top 40. People like you and me. We have stories to tell, too!

This is a time when some of us are feeling desensitized. The 24 hour news cycle churns out the latest shocking and outrageous reports. There's a blurring sensation that takes place. Books can give us a sanctuary, temporary cocoons to shelter us from all of this brouhaha.

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