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.

Ways to Connect

Do you enjoy a good glass of wine? Do you consider yourself to be a sophisticated wine imbiber? Okay, see if you can answer this question; what is the world's most ancient wine culture? I'll bet you don't know the right answer to that question, do you?

Adrian McKinty is my favorite Irish crime writer. I have wanted to interview him for years. This interview took a long time to happen. Years, actually. McKinty is the author of a series that is set in Northern Ireland during the period known as The Troubles.

During this interview the author explains how difficult it was to write these books. He had been discouraged in doing so because people kept telling him that nobody wanted to read about that dark period or remember it. But McKinty persevered. I'm so glad that he did.

By the 1830's the state of Ohio had been completely settled except for one very inhospitable area in northwest Ohio known as the Great Black Swamp. In Tracy's Chevalier's latest historical novel "At the Edge of the Orchard" we encounter the Goodenough family. They have moved to Ohio from Connecticut and settled in the only place available to them, the mosquito infested muck of those swamps.

Every once in a while a novel comes along that is so entertaining that you hope that every crime fiction lover on the planet will read it. "The Passenger" by Lisa Lutz is that sort of book. Her story is filled with tricky twists that are elegantly paced. I'm in this happy quandary when it comes to talking about this one. I do want you to read it for yourself.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is our community-wide BIG READ selection this year and it was an excellent choice. The author came to Dayton for the kick-off of this year's BIG READ and when you listen to this interview you'll discover how she first found out about the orphan trains (they really existed) and why she decided to write the novel when she did. As it turned out her window of opportunity for conducting interviews with actual orphan train riders was closing fast. There are very few of them still living today.

Jean Taylor is "the widow" of the title and she's also our unreliable narrator. As the story begins Jean is newly widowed-her husband has just been run over by a bus. Jean is in great demand, the tabloid press is camped out at her house hoping for an interview. Glen, Jean's late husband, had been acquitted in a trial after being accused of abducting a small child from her front yard. The child was never seen again and even though Glen was the leading suspect it could not be proved that he actually did it.

Ausma Zehanat Khan returned to the program to talk about her novel "The Language of Secrets," her second book in a crime series which features Detective Esa Khattak of Canada's Community Policing Section and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty. Their usual beat is metropolitan Toronto but as the story opens they have been asked to investigate a murder that has taken place in a remote wilderness area outside the city.

George Hodgman's memoir "Bettyville" was my favorite work of non-fiction last year. The interview that I did with George last year was one of my favorite interviews of 2015. I had been eagerly anticipating the paperback release of "Bettyville" in hopes of obtaining another Book Nook double dip, a second interview with George. I love this book. George is an amazing writer.

Here it is:

Ian Rankin's series of crime novels featuring his sleuth John Rebus is one of my all-time favorites. His latest Rebus novel is one of the best ones yet. Here's my review that ran recently in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

Ian Rankin’s latest John Rebus detective novel, “Even Dogs in the Wild,” is out now and it is sensational.

In 1953 Stalin the long-time Soviet dictator was ailing. He still maintained his grip on the levers of power but he was fading fast. Death was just around the bend. Paul Goldberg has set his imaginative new novel "The Yid" in the USSR in 1953. There were rumors that Stalin had a plan to exile the Jewish population to Siberia. This might have actually happened. Stalin died before it ever happened. Goldberg has taken this rumor and embroidered it into the basis for a fantastic tale of some rebellious Jews who decide to do something about Stalin's evil plan.

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