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.

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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.

The audience that obsesses over our media driven pop culture possesses an insatiable appetite. The celebrities who become the focus of all that attention are sometimes devoured in the process. The list of victims is long. The pressures of being a celebrity can be enormous. Say goodbye to your privacy. Guard your sanity. The paparazzi are lurking at every turn.

Home brewing has been enjoying a surge in popularity recently. There are many ways to approach the production of home brew. Jereme Zimmerman takes the down home route in his new guide to home brewing, "Make Mead Like a Viking - Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented Honey-Based Wines and Beers."

Paul Dickson returned to the program to discuss his nifty book about Prohibition and how the banning of liquor consumption in the United States ended up creating an alcoholic Renaissance of sorts as consumers of these illicit beverages were forced to go underground in a movement that created massive demand and the speakeasy culture of the Roaring Twenties.

Some young couples in rural areas of Bosnia in the former Yugoslavia still practice a custom which has been known in that region for centuries, they elope. These elopements are somewhat unique in the way that they are carried out and according to Keith Doubt the author of  "Through the Window - Kinship and Elopement in Bosnia-Herzegovina" the results are often empowering for the participants and their families.

Shortly after the Japanese made their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 they invaded the Philippines. Those islands had been under American control since the Spanish American War and the US forces there were ill prepared to repel the invasion. The Philippines fell quickly to the Japanese.

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.

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