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 Library, MidPointe Library SystemClark County Public Library and the Dayton Metro Library.

Some writers put out a book every year. That's actually very hard to do, unless you are James Patterson who seems to put out a new book every five minutes. Then there are the authors who take their time. They are doing their research. They are making certain that everything is just right. Amitav Ghosh is one of those rare writers who seems to vanish for a few years as he is burrowing in to his current project. I waited a long time for him to finally publish his novel "Flood of Fire." It was well worth the wait.

Anna Badkhen is one of my favorite writers. Her latest book is one of my favorite books of the year. My interview with Anna is one of my favorite interviews this year. I cannot wait for her next. Here's my review of her current book which ran in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

Baseball is a sport that is obsessed with statistics. Baseball statisticians measure and quantify almost every possible aspect of how the game is played. But there are some things that cannot be measured with numbers.  In "Intangiball - the Subtle Things That Win Baseball Games" Lonnie Wheeler explores these mysterious aspects of the game and studies certain players of the past and present who seem to have possessed these unmeasurable attributes which have allowed them to excel beyond any statistician's quantifiable predictions of how the sport can be played.

Ian Rankin's detective John Rebus is one of the most reliable sleuths in modern fiction. Rebus can be a rebel and a curmudgeon. He loves a good single malt scotch whisky and his collection of classic record albums. Fans of this series have endured some shocks. A few years ago John Rebus was forced to retire. Rankin's readers were stunned. How could this be? Fortunately the author relented and Rebus is back. He's working on some cold cases in Edinburgh. Or at least, that was the plan. Rebus isn't too keen on following orders.

99% of the interviews I book on this program are arranged via e-mail. I communicate with publicists and authors through the convenient e-mail medium and that is my preferred mode of communication. Now and then there are exceptions to that method of procuring an interview with an author. Here's a memorable example: I was in downtown Yellow Springs at one of my usual haunts, the Underdog Cafe. A gentleman approached me and said; "hey, Vick, how are you doing?" I looked at this fellow and thought; he looks familiar, how do I know him? Sensing my befuddlement he proceeded to identify himself.

Americans of a certain age might recall that the psychedelic drug LSD was once the subject of some extremely negative press coverage. During the late 1960's the press was filled with horror stories about LSD. Supposedly LSD usage could lead to insanity or even worse. But that was then. Public opinion and the media coverage of LSD has shifted and changed over the years. 

Beth Macy returned to the program for the paperback release of her phenomenal investigative study of the collapse of the US furniture industry which once thrived in states like Virginia. Macy was working on a newspaper story about displaced workers when she heard about a man who had managed to keep his furniture factory running after he fought back against the flood of cheap imported furniture that had put so many American factories out of business.

The cartoonist Ted Rall has written a graphic biography of the fugitive Edward Snowden. Snowden infamously leaked the documentation that the National Security Agency is conducting a massive surveillance campaign that raises many privacy issues for average Americans. Snowden is still on the lam. Is he a villain? Or, a hero? You decide. Ted Rall grew up in Kettering.

Julia Keller's gritty crime series featuring the West Virginia prosecutor Bell Elkins continues in "Last Ragged Breath" as a man who wants to develop a luxury resort in Bell's hardscrabble county is found murdered. The leading suspect is a reclusive hermit who just wants to be left alone with his pack of rescued dogs. Bell is leading the prosecution but something about this case just doesn't smell right. Bell finally gets to the bottom of things. Some secrets are harder and blacker than the coal that once powered the economy of that region

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima in Japan in 1945. Shortly thereafter another bomb was detonated over the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Our war with Japan ended shortly thereafter.

Much has been written about what happened at Hiroshima. Much less has been said about Nagasaki. Susan Southard conducted extensive interviews with some residents of Nagasaki who survived that nuclear blast.

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