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.

Ways to Connect

Clifton Fadiman was one of my boyhood idols. I admired him-to my young mind he epitomized wisdom and savoir faire. He was quick and witty and so very erudite. I hadn't thought about him in years. Then last summer an advance copy of a memoir crossed my desk. It was a book by Anne Fadiman, Clifton's daughter, and the book is mostly about her relationship with him. I was intrigued and I immediately contacted her publicist to request an interview with the author upon the publication of her book.

When you live in a state like Ohio you have to deal with many mistaken notions. Some people on the east coast don't really have a comprehension of what it is like out here in flyover country and that can be a good thing. Allow me to explain.

We live in an affluent consumer society. Many of us have too much stuff and we are obtaining more of it with every passing day. Is your stuff becoming an issue for you? Do you feel like perhaps your life could be better with much less?

Rose Lounsbury got to a point in which she realized that she had too much stuff and that it was having a negative impact on the quality of her life. She decided to do something about that.

The Irish writer Maeve Binchy passed through Dayton on book tour in 1999. Maeve and her husband Gordon Snell came out to Yellow Springs for a live interview in our studios. During that conversation she explained that she had never come to America before on a book tour because some health issues had been preventing it.

Back in 1999 Mike Wallace appeared on the program to discuss the first volume of his massive history of New York City. That book ended with the year 1898. Wallace was the co-author of that work. It is a massive volume and was highly praised. The book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

"Righteous" by Joe Ide

Joe Ide returned to the program to talk about his second book in a series that features a fearless sleuth named I.Q. In his first book, the eponymous "I.Q.," we learned the back story of this young man who investigates crimes in a hardscrabble neighborhood in Los Angeles. He had been devoted to his older brother and after his brother was killed in a traffic accident that tragedy left the younger brother devastated and alone.

Try to imagine that your two young sons were out working in the tobacco field one day and that they never came home. They had vanished and you had no idea what had happened to them. This happened to a mother in Virginia over a century ago. The two missing boys had been taken away to be paraded around the country as freaks in a circus side show. In those days before television and radio the circus was the the most popular entertainment to be found in little towns and hamlets across America.

In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt began serving his first term as President of the United States of America. In the election Roosevelt had defeated the incumbent Herbert Hoover. When Hoover was elected in 1928 the U.S. economy was booming. With the stock market collapse on Black Friday in 1929 the nation had plunged into the Great Depression. The dour Hoover had become very unpopular. Roosevelt exuded confidence and he was elected even though most people had no sense of what he might try to do to get the country back on track.

Lee Child made his fourth appearance on the program to discuss his latest Jack Reacher thriller "The Midnight Line." During this interview I told Lee that I think this is his best book yet. And I mean it. This novel is a bit of a departure for him. In this one Reacher is on a quest. He found a ring in a pawn shop and he wants to return it to the original owner. When he meets the person who owned the ring he is overcome by compassion. We don't think of Reacher as the emotional type. In "The Midnight Line" we find a kinder, gentler Jack Reacher.

In 1929 the Soviet dictator Stalin began the process of what was known as the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union. There was a lot of resistance to this effort especially in the breadbasket region of the Ukraine. Stalin was determined to crush the Ukrainian nationalist movement and his agricultural policies served to do this quite effectively. As Anne Applebaum describes it in her book "Red Famine - Stalin's War with Ukraine" during the period 1931 to 1933 over five million Ukrainians starved to death.

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