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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Alafair Burke returned to the program to talk about her new mystery novel "The Wife." I hereby declare that Alafair has written the most prescient novel of 2018. Here's a portion of my review that ran in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

David Cay Johnston returned to the program to discuss his latest book about Donald Trump. The first time we had him on the show Donald Trump was still just a candidate for our highest office and Johnston had written a book called "The Making of Donald Trump."

Simon Sebag Montefiore is one of those rare writers who excels at both fiction and non-fiction. The last time I had him on the program it was for his epic history of the Romanov dynasty. The final czar, Nicholas II, died one century ago, along with his family, at the hands of Bolshevik assassins. With this centennial year underway we talked about the Romanovs for a bit as we began our conversation about Simon's new novel "Red Sky at Noon."

Hundreds of cassette tapes are filed away in drawers in my office. These are author interviews I recorded years ago when cassette tapes were still considered to be a perfectly respectable way to preserve sound. As I scan the names on the tapes I am often puzzled to encounter unfamiliar names. I'm sure if I listened to these mysterious authors I would say, oh, that's right, I remember this interview. I used to do 4 or 5 interviews every week and sometimes it could become a blur.

Elizabeth Berg had had enough. She was tired of reading bad news and hearing about things that were upsetting. She wanted to feel good and to think pleasant thoughts. So she sat down and wrote a thoroughly charming, feel-good book, "The Story of Alfred Truluv."

Arthur, her protagonist is a pleasant older man, a widower who is grieving for his wife. Most days he heads over to the graveyard where his wife is interred and has lunch with her. He talks to her. He even talks to some of the other people who have been laid to rest there. Arthur is lonely. The woman who lives next door to him seems interested in him. She's alone, too. Arthur isn't sure if he is ready to get involved in a new relationship. His late wife is still the center of his world.

"Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller" by Janet Leigh (original recording made in 1995)

1995 was my Hollywood year on the program. Over a thirty day period I had interviews with two of the greatest movie stars of their era, Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh. Janet Leigh was coming to Dayton for the Janet Leigh Film Festival and she was publicizing a book about her experiences making a film in which she only made a brief but career defining appearance; Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho."

Robert Crais returned to the program to talk about his latest installment in a mystery series that features Elvis Cole, a private investigator who Crais likes to call "The World's Greatest Detective." In "The Wanted" Elvis is contacted by a woman who is worried about her son. The youth is still in high school, he doesn't have a job, and lately he's been sporting some very flashy and expensive apparel. She got suspicious and searched his room. That is when she became really upset and very concerned. How did her son obtain a Rolex watch that would retail for forty thousand dollars?

Brendan Gill began working for The New Yorker magazine straight out of college in 1936. In 1996 he celebrated his 60th year with the publication and he published his final book, "Late Bloomers." In that book Gill celebrated individuals who had blossomed after reaching middle age or even later.

Dave Robicheaux is a character James Lee Burke imagined many years ago. When Burke tried to find a publisher for what became the first book in this series about a troubled Louisiana lawman the response was a blizzard of rejection slips. But the author is steadfast and a bit stubborn and he never gave up. All these years later he is recognized as the writer who invented this type of character in the crime fiction genre, a character that is often imitated but never surpassed.

One of the most impressive works of non-fiction that I read during 2017 was the book "Glass House - the 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town" by Brian Alexander. Alexander's hometown of Lancaster, Ohio has seen the once vital industrial core of the community withering. Like many towns in the region known as the Rust Belt Lancaster's manufacturing base has shriveled and this once vibrant little town has been dealing with the aftermath of this decline in local employment and all the incipient problems which have been the result of this slow decay.

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