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Books - Non-Fiction

Brian Alexander is a writer who is based in San Diego. He grew up in Lancaster, Ohio. Alexander had been considering his next book project when he paid a visit to his old hometown. He was astonished to discover that this once thriving community had fallen on hard times. The manufacturing base in Lancaster has been in decline for some time. Alexander realized that his next book project should to be an investigation of what happened to this sweet little town.
 

Have you ever heard of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes? I had not either. I had always assumed that our fictional sleuth was a devoted bachelor. Well, back in the early years of the 20th century there was a real living person who acquired the nickname "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes." Her name was Grace Humiston and she lived in New York City, not London.
 

Peter Hook returned to the program to discuss his latest music memoir. Some listeners will recall that Peter joined us a few years ago to talk about his Joy Division book. After Joy Division's vocalist Ian Curtis killed himself 37 years ago the band reformed as the New Order and Peter Hook carried on as their bassist for many years. New Order enjoyed great commercial success but as Peter relates in this new book their fame came with a heavy cost.

We have had some famous astronauts on the program. John Glenn made an appearance that became the longest interview in the history of the Book Nook. It ran over an hour. I rolled over NPR's news headlines at the top of the hour because I was still talking to John on the telephone and it was a live interview!
 

Nobody had ever done this before. Julie Zickefoose spent years drawing pictures of baby birds from life. She studied these tiny creatures as they developed in the nest. Each day she would create new portraits of these delicate nestlings. Her paintings of birds are magnificently rendered.
 

Many years ago I was spending a quiet Saturday afternoon inside a music listening room at my high school. There were shelves jammed with old record albums in there along with a turntable and a set of headphones. For a young music buff who was just discovering jazz that was my version of heaven.
 

Did you realize that over the last several decades millions of people around the world who have been living in poverty have seen their standards of living improve? It is true. One large factor in this improvement has been due to the surging economy of China as millions of Chinese have been able to see their economic standings rise. This has been happening in many other countries as well.

Some people assume that I know a lot about farming because I'm from Iowa. I don't. I'm a city boy and for me cattle and cornfields were mostly just a passing blur as my parents sped along the interstate highway. Years later I conducted a lot of market research for the agricultural industry. I interviewed hundreds of farmers. That experience helped me to become a better interviewer but the things I learned about farming were mostly related to the way agriculture is now being conducted in America with monoculture crop rotations; corn, then soybeans. Herbicides. Pesticides.

Beth Macy was scrolling through her Facebook feed when she saw the photo. It was a picture that had been taken nearly a century ago, a photograph of two brothers. Macy recognized them. They were the Muse Brothers, George and Willie. Over a century ago the brothers had been taken away from their home and family and then were made to perform as freaks in a circus sideshow.
 

71 years ago the United States of America made the top secret decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan. The first bomb exploded above the Japanese city of Hiroshima. A short time later a second bomb was detonated over the city of Nagasaki. World War Two ended soon thereafter as Japan surrendered.
 

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