Vick Mickunas

Host - Book Nook

Vick Mickunas created the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1200 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.

Ways To Connect

Human beings put a lot of stress on the natural world. Our environment is adversely impacted by the pollution that we create and the animal and plant species that we have pushed to the brink of extinction.

Fortunately there are still occasions to celebrate good news about our natural world. A new book, "The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival," is the story of how a pristine wonder of nature, Monterey Bay, California, was practically ruined by over-fishing and pollution and how that degradation has slowly been reversed,

Whenever I find a really good book to read I think of things that I would like to ask the author; what gave you the idea to write this? What life experiences inform your writing? How did you find a publisher? And so on.

Many of my questions are purely theoretical. OK, call them fantasy. Perhaps the author is no longer living. Or she doesn't speak English. Simply too famous to do any interviews? I can still imagine the questions I would like to ask....President Clinton, I know it is none of my business, but...

Bill Richardson was sent to Korea 60 years ago to fight in the Korean War. He was captured behind enemy lines and spent the next 34 months in a number of prisoner of war camps. Most of the men who were with him in those camps didn't live to talk about it.

After all this time Bill Richardson decided he was ready to write a book about his experiences in Korea. It is an amazing story of grit, determination, and endurance. The author is now 81 years old. The Korean War and that generation of soldiers who fought there are slowly fading from memory.

North Korea has been in the news quite a bit recently. It could be the most mysterious country in the world. James Church knows North Korea quite well. He has been there on numerous occasions.

In the second part of my interview with Ralph Keyes we discuss why we do it - why we use so many euphemisms. We have some very good reasons and some bad ones.

We say and hear euphemisms every day. They enhance our conversations but they also can disguise what we really are trying to say.

Ralph Keyes is the author of 16 books. A graduate of Antioch College, Keyes hosted a music show on WYSO back in 1962. He is on the board of the Antioch Writer's Workshop. He lives in Yellow Springs.

Euphemistic language is a staple of polite conversation. We use euphemisms to dance around delicate subjects. We say someone has "passed away" when we don't wish to say that they have died. We refer to the "restroom" when we don't want to say that we are headed off to the toilet. The term "friendly fire" is a military euphemism for the unfortunate occasions when soldiers have killed their fellow soldiers by mistake.

Only two American presidents have ever endured an impeachment trial: Andrew Johnson, and Bill Clinton. One other president, Richard M. Nixon, resigned from office before the terms of his impeachment could be drawn up.

Andrew Johnson was Abraham Lincoln's Vice President. After Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson became President. Those were strange times. Lincoln was a Republican. Johnson had been the only southern U.S. Senator who opposed the secession by the southern states which led to the Civil War. Johnson was a southern Democrat. He didn't have any major quibbles with slavery.

Tony Shaffer's publisher was all set to release his memoir when the Department of Defense stepped in and demanded that the entire first edition be destroyed. They pulped it.

This action was most unusual in light of the fact that Shaffer, a former US intelligence agent in Afghanistan, had previously obtained all the proper clearances to publish his book. The DOD then proceeded to censor significant portions of it. The book was eventually published in a heavily redacted version. Why is the DOD so worried about what Shaffer has to say?

Amanda Hesser spent the last six years sifting through the archives of the New York Times to search out the best food recipes that have appeared in that newspaper over the past 150 years. The result is "The Essential New York Times Cookbook-Classic Recipes for a New Century." This massive cookbook could be destined to become a classic.

Most WYSO listeners are probably familiar with the work of Bill Felker. Bill is the creator of the WYSO program "Poor Will's Almanack."

Bill has been observing the natural world for decades. His observations, reflections, meditations, and anecdotes appear regularly in a number of publications including the Yellow Springs News.

Every year he publishes a new edition of "Poor Will's Almanack." His 2011 edition was just published. In this Book Nook interview Bill explains his process for devising these annual almanacks.

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