Book Nook

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

Vick Mickunas created the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1300 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities.

He has interviewed historians (Studs Terkel, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin), politicians (Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, John Kasich), movie stars (Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Peter Ustinov), astronauts (John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan), diplomats (Richard Holbrooke, Jose Ramos Horta), humorists (Garrison Keillor, Dave Barry, Sarah Vowell), and music legends from bands like The Animals, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones.

Vick has interviewed some of the leading writers of our time, people like Amy Tan, Denise Mina, Pat Conroy, James Lee Burke, Donald Ray Pollock, Ian Rankin, Andre Dubus III,  Joe Hill, Kate Atkinson, and Gary Shteyngart.

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 first time I interviewed Robert Crais on WYSO he was on his first national book tour. That was about 16 years ago, Crais had quit a successful career as a writer for TV shows like Hill Street Blues and LA Law to try out his hand writing novels.

February 6, 2011 is the 100th birthday of former President Ronald Reagan. To mark the centennial of his father's birth his youngest child, Ron Reagan, has written a memoir that reflects his own unique perspective on a man who has been written about many times before.

Ronald Reagan has become an iconic figure for many Americans. He is frequently quoted and emulated by politicians who range across the political spectrum, from Sarah Palin to the current occupant of the Oval Office, President Barack Obama.

This second novel in a futuristic trilogy imagines an America where immigration reform has taken a dangerous turn. In "House Divided" the Latino residents of America have been confined to quarantine zones and a civil war is being waged between the US military and some underground guerilla groups who are fighting on behalf of various constituencies within the Latino community.

In this interview the author discussed how he imagined this disturbing scenario and how he has made the transition from advertising executive to novelist.

Human beings put a lot of stress on the natural world. Our environment is adversely impacted by the pollution that we create and the animal and plant species that we have pushed to the brink of extinction.

Fortunately there are still occasions to celebrate good news about our natural world. A new book, "The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival," is the story of how a pristine wonder of nature, Monterey Bay, California, was practically ruined by over-fishing and pollution and how that degradation has slowly been reversed,

Whenever I find a really good book to read I think of things that I would like to ask the author; what gave you the idea to write this? What life experiences inform your writing? How did you find a publisher? And so on.

Many of my questions are purely theoretical. OK, call them fantasy. Perhaps the author is no longer living. Or she doesn't speak English. Simply too famous to do any interviews? I can still imagine the questions I would like to ask....President Clinton, I know it is none of my business, but...

Bill Richardson was sent to Korea 60 years ago to fight in the Korean War. He was captured behind enemy lines and spent the next 34 months in a number of prisoner of war camps. Most of the men who were with him in those camps didn't live to talk about it.

After all this time Bill Richardson decided he was ready to write a book about his experiences in Korea. It is an amazing story of grit, determination, and endurance. The author is now 81 years old. The Korean War and that generation of soldiers who fought there are slowly fading from memory.

North Korea has been in the news quite a bit recently. It could be the most mysterious country in the world. James Church knows North Korea quite well. He has been there on numerous occasions.

In the second part of my interview with Ralph Keyes we discuss why we do it - why we use so many euphemisms. We have some very good reasons and some bad ones.

We say and hear euphemisms every day. They enhance our conversations but they also can disguise what we really are trying to say.

Ralph Keyes is the author of 16 books. A graduate of Antioch College, Keyes hosted a music show on WYSO back in 1962. He is on the board of the Antioch Writer's Workshop. He lives in Yellow Springs.

Euphemistic language is a staple of polite conversation. We use euphemisms to dance around delicate subjects. We say someone has "passed away" when we don't wish to say that they have died. We refer to the "restroom" when we don't want to say that we are headed off to the toilet. The term "friendly fire" is a military euphemism for the unfortunate occasions when soldiers have killed their fellow soldiers by mistake.

Only two American presidents have ever endured an impeachment trial: Andrew Johnson, and Bill Clinton. One other president, Richard M. Nixon, resigned from office before the terms of his impeachment could be drawn up.

Andrew Johnson was Abraham Lincoln's Vice President. After Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson became President. Those were strange times. Lincoln was a Republican. Johnson had been the only southern U.S. Senator who opposed the secession by the southern states which led to the Civil War. Johnson was a southern Democrat. He didn't have any major quibbles with slavery.

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