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.

The U.S. Postal Service has played a significant role in the history of our country. In her book "How the Post Office Created America-a History" Winifred Gallagher enumerates the many major impacts that our U.S. Mail has had upon the growth and development of our infrastructure, our industries, and our educational opportunities.

Long-time NPR commentator Frank Deford began contributing his commentaries to National Public Radio in 1980. In May of this year he turned in his last radio piece for Morning Edition. He died later that month.

Deford made a couple of appearances in the Book Nook over the years. Here's an interview Frank did with me in July, 2000. His dulcet tones will be missed.

We are living in the age of the "selfie." Some of us are self-absorbed. President Trump epitomizes the "selfie" lifestyle. It's really all about him. This is the perfect moment for a humorous novel featuring a protagonist who is dealing with all the stress and pressure of modern life and not handling it too well.

"Who is Rich" by Matthew Klam is set during the summer of 2012. That seems like a zillion years ago. Barack Obama was running for re-election and his opponent was Mitt Romney. In retrospect those seem like innocent times.

Virginia Heffernan grew up with the Internet. She was on-line before any of us were. In this interview she explains how that happened and how her zealous participation in that strange and sometimes magical world has been a transporting endeavor.

I wanted to interview Virginia when this book first came out last year but I wasn't able to make that happen. Fortunately when books are issued again as paperbacks we obtain second chances to discover them. I persevered. Virginia agreed to an interview.

Don't you love it when somebody has the good grace to go out at the top of their game? It can be depressing to watch former star performers embarrassing themselves because they didn't know when to quit. We have all seen them, the baseball players who strike out on pitches they used to hit or the lead singer who wrote the lyric "I hope I die before I get old" still out there on stage 50 years later gamely strumming away. Some writers keep plodding along, putting out books long after inspiration has faded.

This book is the debut in a new crime fiction series set in Columbus. Roxane Weary is a private eye with lots of issues. Her dad was a hard drinking cop who died recently while fighting crime. The two of them didn't get along. His sudden death has left his daughter with unresolved "Daddy" issues. He drank a lot. So does she. Her love life is a mess, too. Her father's demise has even served to complicate that aspect of her existence. Business is bad.

Antioch College

In 1968 an eighteen-year-old youth named Bill Newman arrived in Yellow Springs to begin his freshman year at Antioch College. Bill's first Antioch co-op education experience took place in New York City. He was supposed to return to Antioch after three months but the experience he was having in New York was so thrilling and important to him that he ended up staying away for nine months.

There are quite a few memoirs being published. Every famous rock star from 50 years ago seems to have written one. At least, the ones who are still alive. Many of the memoirs that are coming out were penned by people who never have had a hit on the Top 40. People like you and me. We have stories to tell, too!

This is a time when some of us are feeling desensitized. The 24 hour news cycle churns out the latest shocking and outrageous reports. There's a blurring sensation that takes place. Books can give us a sanctuary, temporary cocoons to shelter us from all of this brouhaha.

Over the years that I have been hosting this program I cannot recall ever feeling like I could declare that a particular book is the hottest book of the summer. Well, I'm pleased to be able to finally say that this is it; "The Force" by Don Winslow is the hottest book of the summer and perhaps will prove to be the hottest book of 2017.

Peter James returned to the program to talk about his latest novel in his series that features his police detective Roy Grace. The previous dozen books in the series are fast paced thrillers and we usually knew who the killers were and spent most of our time wondering how Roy was going to apprehend them. In this latest book in his "Dead Series" Peter James has constructed his first absolute who-dunnit Roy Grace mystery. A woman has been found dead in the bathtub. We don't know who the murderer is in this one and the author tosses out lots of red herrings along the way to confuse us.

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