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 six local library systems in southwest Ohio:  the Greene County Public LibraryWashington-Centerville Public Library, MidPointe Library SystemClark County Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

Manhattan was once a place where ordinary people could afford to live. People with dreams. People with low paying jobs. Even starving artists. Molly Prentiss has set her debut novel in New York City as the 1970's are ending. Her book is populated by distinctive characters from the period; a barmaid who has followed her dreams and moved to the city from the wilds of Idaho, an art critic for the New York Times who has a rare perceptive gift, and a struggling painter who has fled the Dirty Wars in his native Argentina.

Can you name the original 13 British colonies that then became the United States? Okay, can you name what was once considered to be a potential 14th colony? Did you say Canada? You are well informed. Apparently the US has had designs upon Canada for years and according to Steve Berry those plans to annex Canada continued right up until World War Two.

The "Prey" series by John Sandford is one of the most popular crime fiction series around. The books sell and sell and sell. There's a good reason for that- they are really good books.

As we scan the world around us we can focus on many troubling things that are happening. Just to name a few that spring from the forefront of my perceptions at this moment: climate change, the horrifying situation in Syria, and the wanton destruction of precious cultural treasures by groups that justify their violence somehow through their warped concepts of what is unacceptable to them.

Amit Majmudar was recently named the Poet Laureate of Ohio. Many states have poets who occupy these honorary positions in their states. Ohio had never had one before. Amit Majmudar is our very first one. His term began in January and he'll hold the post for two years.

In this interview Amit reveals how all this came about and he reads a number poems from his enchanting new collection "Dothead." Amit Majmudar is a nuclear radiologist in Columbus. He writes some splendid poetry. Enjoy.

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:

Pages