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

Robert Morgan is one of our great literary stylists. His latest novel, "Chasing the North Star," is the story of a slave who escapes from his life of servitude in South Carolina in 1850. Jonah Williams is young and somewhat innocent as he heads north with the hope of reaching Canada and freedom. Along the way he encounters another slave named Angel in North Carolina.

Robin Yocum grew up in a small eastern Ohio town known as Brilliant. What remains of the place is still there but the glass factory that gave Brilliant a name closed down long ago. Brilliant has become just another one of those formerly prosperous Rust Belt communities.

As we count down the final days of Barack Obama's last term in office we can take a moment to reflect on what has transpired over the past eight years. How has America changed? What has gotten better? What has actually gotten worse?

Wittenberg professor Julius Bailey reflects on some of these matters in his new book "Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams - the Age of Obama and Beyond." Has the the election of our first black president helped us to move beyond racism? Or, have our racial issues simply been more painfully apparent?

Back in the 1980's Philip Kerr wrote several detective novels which featured Bernie Gunther, a homicide detective in 1930's Berlin. Then he stopped. It was many years before Kerr wrote another Bernie Gunther book. I'm so glad that he picked this series back up again. This is one of my favorites.

If a book doesn't attract a readership when it is released as a hardcover it can get another chance to get noticed when it is issued again as a paperback. After that if a book hasn't obtained a following it will usually fade into obscurity and the remainder bins. 

Seldom does a book obtain a third chance especially twenty years after it was first published. The book 'Dark Debts" by Karen Hall is that rare exception. But then it was a best seller the first time around. Here's a review of it that I wrote for the Cox Ohio newspapers:

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.