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

Téa Obreht has written one of the most highly anticipated novels of the year. "The Tiger's Wife" is a mingling of 3 seemingly unrelated threads; a mythic legend about a tiger that escapes from a zoo during a war, a folk legend about a man who cannot die, the "deathless man," and the author's grief over the death of her grandfather.

Chang-rae Lee's ambitious novel "The Surrendered" is a sprawling, cinematic journey across time. Readers are transported to Manchuria in the early 1930's, Korea in the early 1950's, and modern day New Jersey and Italy.

Lee has imagined 3 main characters here , a missionary, a Korean War orphan, and a GI. Their lives become intertwined through tragedy and haunting circumstance. The author is a masterful storyteller. In this interview he describes how he crafted this work and how he chose to become a writer.

Lucrecia Guerrero grew up in Nogales, Arizona, right along the border with Mexico. That border land area has always exerted a powerful influence on her writing. Ten years ago she published a collection of short stories, "Chasing Shadows." These otherworldly, atmospheric tales served notice that Guerrero is a writer who possesses extraordinary talent.

When Stacy Pershall was growing up in a small town in Arkansas she never felt like she fit in. She tried to blend in. She became active in her church. That didn't work out. The kids at school made fun of her. That really hurt. Her first boyfriend was not kind either. He told her that she needed to lose some weight.

The first time I interviewed Robert Crais on WYSO he was on his first national book tour. That was about 16 years ago, Crais had quit a successful career as a writer for TV shows like Hill Street Blues and LA Law to try out his hand writing novels.

February 6, 2011 is the 100th birthday of former President Ronald Reagan. To mark the centennial of his father's birth his youngest child, Ron Reagan, has written a memoir that reflects his own unique perspective on a man who has been written about many times before.

Ronald Reagan has become an iconic figure for many Americans. He is frequently quoted and emulated by politicians who range across the political spectrum, from Sarah Palin to the current occupant of the Oval Office, President Barack Obama.

This second novel in a futuristic trilogy imagines an America where immigration reform has taken a dangerous turn. In "House Divided" the Latino residents of America have been confined to quarantine zones and a civil war is being waged between the US military and some underground guerilla groups who are fighting on behalf of various constituencies within the Latino community.

In this interview the author discussed how he imagined this disturbing scenario and how he has made the transition from advertising executive to novelist.

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.