WYSO

Book Nook

Saturday, 7-8am and Sunday, 10:30-11am

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.

He has interviewed historians (Studs Terkel, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Gary Wills), politicians (Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, John Kasich, Donald Trump), pundits (Karl Rove, Ann Coulter, Ralph Nader, Christopher Hitchens), movie stars (Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Peter Ustinov), romance writers (Nora Roberts, Janet Dailey), astronauts (John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan), diplomats (Richard Holbrooke, Jose Ramos Horta), humorists (Bill Bryson, Garrison Keillor, Dave Barry, Sarah Vowell), food writers (Amanda Hesser, Michael Ruhlman, Judith Jones), poets (Galway Kinnell, Frances Mayes, Billy Collins), crime writers (P.D.James, James Lee Burke, Robert Crais, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, Philip Kerr), and music legends from bands like The Animals, Joy Division, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones.

Vick has interviewed some of the leading writers of our time, people like Pat Conroy, Aleksandar Hemon, Anne Lamott, Donald Ray Pollock, Tom Robbins, Kate Atkinson, Gary Shteyngart, and Amy Tan.

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.

The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio:  the Greene County Public LibraryWashington-Centerville Public LibraryClark County Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

In 1929 the Soviet dictator Stalin began the process of what was known as the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union. There was a lot of resistance to this effort especially in the breadbasket region of the Ukraine. Stalin was determined to crush the Ukrainian nationalist movement and his agricultural policies served to do this quite effectively. As Anne Applebaum describes it in her book "Red Famine - Stalin's War with Ukraine" during the period 1931 to 1933 over five million Ukrainians starved to death.

John Sandford returned to the program to talk about his latest offering in the series that features his crime investigator Virgil Flowers. John has appeared on the program a half dozen times over the years and while we do spend a lot of time discussing each book and the story lines we also have had some conversations that have taken us to some other interesting places. In an interview many years ago John talked about something he enjoyed doing in his spare time; conducting archaeological digs in Israel.

If you ask me to name my favorite writers to interview Julie Klam would be high on the list. In her latest book Julie delves into our cultural obsession with celebrities. Have you ever wondered why some of us seem to be so fascinated by people who spend most of their time trying to impress us with their talent, their beauty, their conspicuous consumption, their wealth, or their celebrity? Julie peels back the layers of our attractions to these people to uncover the roots of our interest and she shows how this cult of celebrity has grown and mutated over the years.

14 years ago I booked an interview with an author who had just published his first book. Gary Shteyngart was on book tour for the paperback release of "The Russian Debutante's Handbook" and he came out to Yellow Springs for a live interview. I had really enjoyed the book and was looking forward to meeting him. Gary arrived and from the very start of our exchange that day I realized that I was in the presence of one of our great humorists.

Fourteen years ago Calvin Trillin came out to Yellow Springs to do a live interview with me. I had not listened to the recording we made that afternoon until just recently and had forgotten how much fun we had had that day talking about food. I have had a number of food writers on the show over the years but I cannot think of any other guest who indulges in various gustatory delights with such gusto and obvious pleasure as Trillin does.

Now and then a listener will ask me how I go about obtaining interviews with authors? The majority of the interviews that I book, probably 90%, are obtained by contacting publicists who work for the publishers of particular books. The most competent publicists will often send me advance copies of books that they think might be of interest to me. That gives me time to read books before they are actually available to the public.

Back in 2003 I was contacted by a book publicist in New York who wondered if I would be interested in interviewing a writer from Scotland who was going to be coming through Dayton on book tour? The author's name is Ian Rankin-he is the creator of a series of crime novels featuring an Edinburgh police detective, Inspector John Rebus. I had heard of the series but I had not read any of the books yet.

A new book by James McBride is an event. The last time he appeared on this program he had just published his novel "The Good Lord Bird." That extraordinary book went on to win the National Book Award. If you have not read it, you are missing out.

When the Irish writer Nuala O'Faolain was in her fifties she published her first book. It was a memoir called "Are You Somebody?" She came out to WYSO for an interview during her book tour. Her memoir is breathtakingly fabulous. And so was she. We had a lovely chat that day. I never expected to see her again. But fortunately I did see her again and we had more interviews.

Every writer fantasizes about writing a book that finds a massive readership. A book that sells and sells. A book that perches atop best seller lists for months or even years. For Bill Bryson that book was "A Walk in the Woods." This whimsical travel story which recounts Bryson's adventures hiking the Appalachian Trail with his buddy Steven Katz sold millions of copies. It made Bryson's career.

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