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.

Scott Raab is a hardcore Cleveland sports fan. He endured decades of torture watching Cleveland's football, basketball, and baseball franchises failing to win championships year after year. When local basketball legend LeBron James signed on with the Cleveland Cavaliers Raab was confident that Cleveland's long history of sports failure would soon be over. But it wasn't. If anything it only got worse.

Writing a novel can be an arduous endeavor. "Crossing the Street" by Molly Campbell went through numerous rewrites before the author felt that she had gotten it right. This is the story of Beck Throckmorton. Beck works as a barista at Starbucks-this is merely a cover for her real occupation writing steamy erotica that she publishes.

Professional forecasters have wonderful jobs, don't they? Weather forecasters can be completely wrong about the weather and they still get to keep their jobs. Political pundits and pollsters can be absolutely wrong about the outcomes of elections and they will be back the next day with more polls and predictions. Nice work, right?

"Two Paths - America Divided or United" by John Kasich

Last year our Ohio Governor John Kasich mounted an unsuccessful campaign to try to secure the nomination to become his party's candidate in our 2016 presidential election. The political neophyte and outsider candidate Donald Trump steamrolled his opposition and went on to win the race for the presidency. Throughout the GOP primaries John Kasich distinguished himself as a voice of reason during candidate debates.

Every day I try to learn something new. Hopefully this process will keep my mind sharp-I plan to continue doing it. In 1994 I conducted what was to become my first interview in what would later be known as "The Book Nook." It wasn't actually a show yet. It was just my first interview with an author. After I had conducted a few more author interviews at random times on random days during the music program that I was hosting every weekday on WYSO I thought that I had better come up with a name for the interview segments. I started calling it "The Book Nook on Afternoon Excursions."

Johnny Earl was a star athlete in high school but he hasn't accomplished too much since. His attempts to play professional baseball fizzled. He got involved with illicit drugs. He went to prison. And while he was incarcerated he made the mistake of letting his gigantic neo-Nazi cellmate know about the stash of drug money that he had hidden away before they locked him up.

Paul Dickson is one of the most prolific writers I know. He has written over sixty books. His most recent one, "Leo Durocher - Baseball's Prodigal Son," is the biography of one of the most colorful and controversial baseball personalities of the 20th century.

Malcolm Mackay lives on a remote island in Scotland. The crime rate where he lives in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis is almost non-existent. Most of the crimes that do occur in the area have taken place exclusively in Mackay's imagination. He writes crime novels and they are populated by criminals who are running rampant in the Scottish city of Glasgow. In Mackay's novels the police make an occasional appearance but they usually are not doing that much to prevent crime. In some instances they are permitting some bad things to happen. Looking the other way. Getting paid off.

People will ask me; "what was your favorite author interview?" or "what is your favorite book?" I cannot answer those questions. When it comes to crime novels I have many favorite writers. If I felt obligated to admit which writers I think are at the very top of their game in that genre right now I would name Philip Kerr along with a few others.

Kerr's latest novel "Prussian Blue" features his noir detective Bernie Gunther. This is the 12th book in this series.  I'm pleased to report that "Prussian Blue" is also the best Bernie Gunther book so far.

Greg Iles has published the highly anticipated third book in his monumental "Natchez Burning" trilogy. Over the course of these three books and 2300+ pages Iles has taken readers through a complex and expansive tale of racial tensions that played out over the course of decades in Natchez, Mississippi. These three novels are a massive and memorable work of the author's imagination. This final book went straight to #1 on the lists of best-selling fiction.

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