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

Harold Holzer has dedicated much of his life to the study of one of our greatest presidents. Abraham Lincoln. Holzer has written many books about Lincoln and his recent book "Lincoln and the Power of the Press - the War for Public Opinion" was the one that finally delivered the ultimate honor for a Lincoln scholar. Holzer won the Lincoln Prize for it. 

Holzer writes exceptional books and he's an absolute delight to interview. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean as you listen to this one.

Crime novels are my mind candy. They provide lovely venues for escapism. When one is immersed in a good page turning mystery with lots of twists and surprises the worries of the world can just melt away for a bit. They offer a pleasant distraction.

And there are so many varieties to choose from. Many crime novels feature villains who are sociopaths. There are crime novels where the protagonists are criminals. There are thrillers with cops and detectives and private eyes. There are legal dramas with attorneys and prosecutors. One never knows what to expect next.

Kathi Reed makes her literary debut with this crime novel set in Cincinnati. Reed's sleuth, Annie Fillmore, is a mortgage loan officer at a big bank. She also has an uncanny talent for showing up right when murder victims are being discovered. In this case the dead body belongs  to her boss. Gosh, who  would  want to kill the most reviled man in the building? Lots of suspects. Very few clues. The cops want Annie to keep her nose out of this case.  But Annie just cannot stay away.

Chris Woodyard is the grand dame of "Haunted Ohio." Woodyard's dedication and devotion to unearthing the spookiest stories and superstitions have kept readers horrified,entertained and enthralled  for decades. For her latest collection Woodyard has excavated reams of creepy material from periodicals of the Victorian era. The Victorians could seem a bit obsessive about death.

These articles range from strange to bizarre, from chilling to mildly disturbing. Her passion for this  work shines through in her books  and in this interview.

Over the years that I have been conducting radio interviews I have had the opportunity to speak to some people who were in unusual locations. Cell phones are to blame. Back in the 1990's I called a woman who was living in a tree.  Julia Butterfly was perched high atop a redwood tree named Luna. A logging company in northern California was planning to chop the tree down. Julia had been living up in the tree for months to keep that from happening!

Do you like to read books that leave you feeling slightly uneasy? "Her" by Harriet Lane is a book that on the surface might appear to be the story about a friendship between two women who live in a London suburb. But after you have been reading it for a while you'll start to feel that there's something much more sinister going on here. 

Some writers put out a book every year. That's actually very hard to do, unless you are James Patterson who seems to put out a new book every five minutes. Then there are the authors who take their time. They are doing their research. They are making certain that everything is just right. Amitav Ghosh is one of those rare writers who seems to vanish for a few years as he is burrowing in to his current project. I waited a long time for him to finally publish his novel "Flood of Fire." It was well worth the wait.

Anna Badkhen is one of my favorite writers. Her latest book is one of my favorite books of the year. My interview with Anna is one of my favorite interviews this year. I cannot wait for her next. Here's my review of her current book which ran in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

Baseball is a sport that is obsessed with statistics. Baseball statisticians measure and quantify almost every possible aspect of how the game is played. But there are some things that cannot be measured with numbers.  In "Intangiball - the Subtle Things That Win Baseball Games" Lonnie Wheeler explores these mysterious aspects of the game and studies certain players of the past and present who seem to have possessed these unmeasurable attributes which have allowed them to excel beyond any statistician's quantifiable predictions of how the sport can be played.

Ian Rankin's detective John Rebus is one of the most reliable sleuths in modern fiction. Rebus can be a rebel and a curmudgeon. He loves a good single malt scotch whisky and his collection of classic record albums. Fans of this series have endured some shocks. A few years ago John Rebus was forced to retire. Rankin's readers were stunned. How could this be? Fortunately the author relented and Rebus is back. He's working on some cold cases in Edinburgh. Or at least, that was the plan. Rebus isn't too keen on following orders.