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

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.

Ammon Shea returns to the Book Nook for a third interview. On his initial visit Shea discussed "Reading the OED," a memoir recounting his marvelous dictionary marathon. Fueled by his love of language and massive volumes of espresso, Shea read the entire unabridged Oxford English Dictionary over the course of one year.

Julie Klam felt lost. She wasn't living the life that she wanted to live. Her job wasn't very exciting. The men she was dating were not that interesting. She felt at loose ends. Then one night she had the dream. It was a dream about Otto, a Boston terrier.

Klam's dream was the impetus for a search that led Klam to her dreamed of dog. They found one another. Klam's connection with Otto opened her heart to the potential of a happier existence.

Katrina Kittle's fourth novel, "The Blessings of the Animals" is the story of a marriage. As the book opens Cami Anderson's marriage is falling apart. Anderson, a veterinarian, seeks refuge in her work. She discovers that her animal companions can be more dependable and affectionate than some of her human companions have been.