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 presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public LibraryClark County Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

22 years ago a relatively unknown poet became a publishing sensation after she released her first memoir. Frances Mayes had written about her experiences renovating an ancient villa in the Tuscany region of Italy. That book, "Under the Tuscan Sun,  became a massive blockbuster best-seller. The paperback remained on the best-seller list for years.

Laura Lippman's latest novel is a standalone noir that pays tribute to the work of the legendary James M. Cain. Lippmann got the theme for this one in part from a newspaper story that ran during her days as a journalist in Baltimore. During this interview she tiptoed around what that news story was actually about because knowing what it discussed would have been a bit of a spoiler

It is always a pleasure to interview an author who is making a literary debut with the publication of that first book. It is even more special when that author is someone you remember as a youth rambling the streets of your own town. Recently I had that experience when I conducted this interview with Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

Here's the review of his novel that I wrote for the Cox Ohio newspapers:

T.J. Turner returned to the program to discuss the second book in his series that imagines an alternate history of our American Civil War. In the first book "Lincoln's Bodyguard," the author created a story line in which President Abraham Lincoln was not assassinated at Ford's Theater in April, 1865. Instead, Lincoln had been saved by his bodyguard who is also the main protagonist in the first book and in this new one "Land of Wolves."

It was around this time of year in 1996 that Thomas Cahill came through the area on a tour to publicize his book "How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe." It was right before St. Patrick's Day and since the man known as Patrick was the central figure in Cahill's history of early Ireland it seemed quite appropriate.

Paul Goldberg returned to the program to discuss his latest darkly humorous novel "The Chateau." His protagonist is a journalist named Bill who is about to lose his long-time gig as a science reporter for the Washington Post. Right at about that same moment he hears that his former college roommate, a plastic surgeon in Florida, has just made a fatal plunge from atop a tall building.

Years ago I spent a lot of time browsing through record bins looking for the next LP that was going to change my life forever I would pause to admire the cover art on record albums. The titles were another thing to consider. If I liked the cover and/or the title I would frequently purchase those LPs even if I had never heard of the recording artists. This willingness to encounter the unknown sounds hidden within those album jackets often paid off splendidly. I happened upon some amazing recordings by doing so.

In this third volume in the author's "Orphan X" series Evan Smoak is living an undercover existence. He's hiding out because the highly trained assassins of the top secret government Orphan Program are looking for him. As Orphan X, Smoak was once a member of that organization. Now he's vanished and hoping to live a life that is more about performing good deeds instead of committing assassinations.

I don't usually get nervous before an interview. I have found that if I have read the book and I'm well prepared that my nerves are usually not an issue. I wasn't nervous before my interview with Donald Trump. When I interviewed Ohio Governor John Kasich last year I felt totally relaxed. Perhaps that was because I had interviewed him before? I wasn't nervous before I interviewed Charlton Heston. Even though he had a reputation for being somewhat stern I wasn't concerned about that.

Alafair Burke returned to the program to talk about her new mystery novel "The Wife." I hereby declare that Alafair has written the most prescient novel of 2018. Here's a portion of my review that ran in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

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