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.

By the 1830's the state of Ohio had been completely settled except for one very inhospitable area in northwest Ohio known as the Great Black Swamp. In Tracy's Chevalier's latest historical novel "At the Edge of the Orchard" we encounter the Goodenough family. They have moved to Ohio from Connecticut and settled in the only place available to them, the mosquito infested muck of those swamps.

Every once in a while a novel comes along that is so entertaining that you hope that every crime fiction lover on the planet will read it. "The Passenger" by Lisa Lutz is that sort of book. Her story is filled with tricky twists that are elegantly paced. I'm in this happy quandary when it comes to talking about this one. I do want you to read it for yourself.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is our community-wide BIG READ selection this year and it was an excellent choice. The author came to Dayton for the kick-off of this year's BIG READ and when you listen to this interview you'll discover how she first found out about the orphan trains (they really existed) and why she decided to write the novel when she did. As it turned out her window of opportunity for conducting interviews with actual orphan train riders was closing fast. There are very few of them still living today.

Jean Taylor is "the widow" of the title and she's also our unreliable narrator. As the story begins Jean is newly widowed-her husband has just been run over by a bus. Jean is in great demand, the tabloid press is camped out at her house hoping for an interview. Glen, Jean's late husband, had been acquitted in a trial after being accused of abducting a small child from her front yard. The child was never seen again and even though Glen was the leading suspect it could not be proved that he actually did it.

Ausma Zehanat Khan returned to the program to talk about her novel "The Language of Secrets," her second book in a crime series which features Detective Esa Khattak of Canada's Community Policing Section and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty. Their usual beat is metropolitan Toronto but as the story opens they have been asked to investigate a murder that has taken place in a remote wilderness area outside the city.

George Hodgman's memoir "Bettyville" was my favorite work of non-fiction last year. The interview that I did with George last year was one of my favorite interviews of 2015. I had been eagerly anticipating the paperback release of "Bettyville" in hopes of obtaining another Book Nook double dip, a second interview with George. I love this book. George is an amazing writer.

Here it is:

Ian Rankin's series of crime novels featuring his sleuth John Rebus is one of my all-time favorites. His latest Rebus novel is one of the best ones yet. Here's my review that ran recently in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

Ian Rankin’s latest John Rebus detective novel, “Even Dogs in the Wild,” is out now and it is sensational.

In 1953 Stalin the long-time Soviet dictator was ailing. He still maintained his grip on the levers of power but he was fading fast. Death was just around the bend. Paul Goldberg has set his imaginative new novel "The Yid" in the USSR in 1953. There were rumors that Stalin had a plan to exile the Jewish population to Siberia. This might have actually happened. Stalin died before it ever happened. Goldberg has taken this rumor and embroidered it into the basis for a fantastic tale of some rebellious Jews who decide to do something about Stalin's evil plan.

The audience that obsesses over our media driven pop culture possesses an insatiable appetite. The celebrities who become the focus of all that attention are sometimes devoured in the process. The list of victims is long. The pressures of being a celebrity can be enormous. Say goodbye to your privacy. Guard your sanity. The paparazzi are lurking at every turn.

Home brewing has been enjoying a surge in popularity recently. There are many ways to approach the production of home brew. Jereme Zimmerman takes the down home route in his new guide to home brewing, "Make Mead Like a Viking - Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented Honey-Based Wines and Beers."

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