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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Two of my favorite crime writers hail from Scotland. Ian Rankin lives in Edinburgh and his stories are mostly set there. Denise Mina lives in Glasgow and her stories are often set there. But her latest one, "Blood, Salt, Water," is set in another town entirely, a place called Helensburgh. This community is located in a beautiful spot right on the oceanfront. It was once the playground for millionaires. The mouldering ruins of their Victorian mansions are now rotting high up on the hillsides.

This surreal novel is set in a trailer park in the Mojave Desert. The author, R.A. Morean, is quite familiar with this locale. She used to live in the area. This is one of the most otherworldly and bizarre books that I have read in a long time. It defies genre. Fortunately I was able to interview the author about it and her insights and confessions really helped me to understand the story more clearly.

James Lee Burke returned to the program to talk about his latest novel "House of the Rising Sun." Burke turned 79 in December and while he may be slowing down ever so slightly he is still producing some of the greatest stories of our generation.

This latest book is the second one in a planned trilogy. The story was inspired in part by the escapades of one of Burke's ancestors on his mother's side of the family. But as he made clear in this interview; the story is fiction and all the characters are fictional.

In 1999 John Glenn published a book called "John Glenn: a Memoir." Glenn never intended to write down his life story but he changed his mind after deciding that some tape recordings he made for his grandchildren might merit a larger audience. Glenn and his wife Annie made the recordings so that their grandkids could know more about their lives.

Karl Rove was the man who engineered the election victories of George W. Bush. It was Rove who worked behind the scenes to get his candidate elected Governor of Texas and then to two terms as the President of the United States. This man lives and breathes politics.

The Rolling Stones are a legendary rock and roll band. After 50 years they are still touring, making albums, and playing their many hit songs. A few years ago the Stones guitarist Keith Richards published a well received memoir. There was one former Rolling Stone who didn't get mentioned very much in Keith's book, a guy named Brian Jones.

Rita Gabis had fond memories of her Lithuanian grandfather. She knew that he had come to America as an adult and that he had lived in Lithuania during World War II. After he died she began to want to know more about his life. In particular, she was interested in what he had done during the war. Her grandfather had been a policeman and he had maintained his police duties during the German occupation of Lithuania.

In 1996 Robert Crais embarked on his first national tour for his novel "Sunset Express." He came through Dayton and stopped by the WYSO studios for a live interview on the Book Nook. That was his 5th novel. He was really just getting started as a novelist following a successful stint as a Hollywood screen writer for programs like "LA Law" and "Hill Street Blues."

Has our society got you down? Is our culture depressing you? Have you been unlucky in love? Are you tired of feeling like somebody's punching bag? I have just the book for you. The eminently quotable Cheryl Strayed has put together a self-help book called "Brave Enough." You might know Strayed as the writer who brought us the mega-memoir "Wild." She has a terse, pithy, and succulent mode of expression.

Perhaps you spurn the "self-help" category? I know that I do. Don't ignore this book. This is an inspiring collection of Cheryl's most resonant quotes. Here's an example:

If you enjoy reading from the genre readers call cozy mysteries then I would suggest that you check out the wonderful series featuring the Victorian detective Charles Lenox. Charles Finch has crafted a delightful group of page turners that are perfect for those cold winter nights with a cat in the lap and a hot cup of tea close at hand. A steaming fire in the grate, if you have one, could make it almost heavenly.

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