Books

Ricky Skaggs has enjoyed a long career as one of the best mandolin players on the planet. He has been playing since he was a small boy. At an early age he met many of his musical idols; Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Ralph Stanley. He decided that it was finally time to tell his story. And what a story he has to tell in this memoir "Kentucky Traveler - My Life in Music."

Vicki Carr has been investigating suspicious fires in the Dayton area for many years. Her thorough understanding of arson informs her debut novel "Flashover."

As the story begins a building is burning and this blaze has many telltale indications that it was intentionally set. Fire investigator Carly Crinshaw is on the case and we quickly find ourselves engulfed in her investigation.

Wayne Koestenbaum writes widely and he thinks deeply. This latest collection of essays takes readers to some unexpected places. A random sampling of some of his essay titles from this collection might give you a sense of some of the areas that he explores here: "Heidegger's Mistress," "Susan Sontag, Cosmophage," "Privacy in the Films of Lana Turner," "Cary Grant Nude," and "Debbie Harry at the Supermarket."

Koestenbaum's insights can range from scintillating to provocative. Fortunately he's also quite entertaining. Please listen to this interview and see you if you don't agree.

Jeff Epton recently released "Wild Once and Captured," a collection of his poetry. Epton's poems radiate a golden glow. Each one is like a highly polished bit of amber. These poems capture and preserve his musings on beauty, determination, and struggle.

Author, essayist and poet Wendell Berry has been named winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's lifetime achievement award. The award recognizes his steadfast promotion of the need for people to live in harmony with their environment.

The 79-year-old Kentucky-based writer of works highlighting the benefits of a simpler life backs up his words with his actions. He speaks out against strip-mining and other development he says damages the land. Meanwhile, he keeps a garden, raises sheep and lives largely technology-free on a hilly farm.

Almost twenty years ago I had a life changing experience. An author walked in to the studio for an interview. I had loved his book and was looking forward to meeting him. When he passed through the airlock the first thing I noticed about him was a twinkle in his eye.

Nearly a century ago, during The Great Depression, there was rash of rare book thefts from libraries in New England and across the Midwest. Book thieves were stealing obscure treasures and then selling them to unscrupulous book dealers. The book sellers would try to conceal the provenance of these rarities by removing identifying markings so that they could then resell them to collectors. Some of these merchants operated in Manhattan in an area where there was a heavy concentration of rare book dealers. This area was known as Book Row.

Almost every day someone will ask me if I have read any good books lately?  I always respond in the affirmative. Anybody who has asked me that question during the past month has received the same response. I tell them that "The Son" by Philipp Meyer is the finest novel that I have read in a long time.

Mardi Jo Link's marriage had fallen apart. She was determined to keep the rest of her life together for her three sons. This meant paying the bills, scrimping and economizing, and trying to obtain another mortgage on their acreage in northern Michigan. It wasn't going to be easy.

Link tells her story in her memoir "Bootstrapper - from Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm." Link was making a living as a freelancer writing in the genre known as "true crime." Her income was unpredictable.  How could she find ways to conserve?

After a dozen excruciating years American forces are now in the process of finally pulling out of Afghanistan. So after all of this time what do we really know about this mysterious country and the people who live there? Probably not as much as we might think.

Anna Badkhen began reporting from Afghanistan right before the invasion.  She has written extensively about her experiences there. In her latest book, "The World is a Carpet - Four Seasons in an Afghan Village," Badkhen describes the time that she spent visiting a remote village in the desert.

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