150 years ago the Civil War was raging and the United States was far from united. 1862 had been a rough year for President Abraham Lincoln. The Union Army was in retreat, losing battles and making strategic blunders. Lincoln had a lot on his plate.

Over the years that the Book Nook program has been airing on WYSO we have had some rather unusual guests. There was the wine expert who insisted on pouring glasses of wine while  live in the studio. The sound of gurgling vintages added a whole new dimension to that broadcast. Some guests have arrived in a rather jolly state after imbibing their lunches in the village nearby.

Peter James returns to the program with the latest installment in his crime series that features Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. These thrillers are set in the English seaside city of Brighton. In this one,
"Not Dead Yet," Brighton is providing the setting for a Hollywood film and Roy Grace is in charge of the security detail assigned to safeguard a major recording star named Gaia Lafayette. She is starring in the movie.

If you have ever read the New Yorker magazine you have probably seen the distinctive cartoons of Victoria Roberts. Hundreds of her whimsical cartoons have appeared there over the last 25 years. Roberts recently put out a new book, "After the Fall." As you might expect it is also profusely illustrated.

Roberts spent many years deciding how to tell this story. Then it finally came to her. "After the Fall" is the story of an affluent family in New York City that has suddenly fallen upon hard times. The family becomes homeless and begins living outdoors in Central Park.

Long before there was a WalMart and many of the other discount store chains that we know today there was the A&P chain of grocery stores. Marc Levinson initially approached this writing project with the intention of writing a biography about the two brothers, George and John Hartford, who guided the A&P through many decades and changes. When Levinson began his research he quickly changed course after he realized that George, the older brother, had led such a secretive life that he wasn't a substantial enough subject for a biography.

Martha Moody's futuristic novel "Sharp and Dangerous Virtues" is set mostly in the Dayton area. The year is 2047 and a foreign army has invaded from the north. That army now occupies Cleveland and threatens to move further south.

The area between Dayton and Cleveland is now a huge agricultural region that has been sealed off from the rest of the country. In this region known as the Grid the Gridians raise the crops that feed the nation. In their seclusion the Gridians have gotten a little bit weird.

Texas-born Eric Blanchard moved to Dayton two years and has been active in the writing community ever since.  Blanchard writes mainly free-verse poetry and says that often the ideas for his poems find him.  Eric Blanchard sat down with Conrad Balliet to talk about finding the inspiration for his work and to share some poetry.

Two years ago Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones published a memoir that became a huge best-seller. Now every time one looks there's another memoir or biography by or about a music star. Just in the past few months there have been books published by Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Pete Townsend, Kenny Rogers, Betty Lavette, and many more.

Richard Cohen has had it with the family dog. Jasper, the mutt in question, drives Cohen around the bend. Jasper barks all the time and the sound of that bark is lacerating. This dog is in constant motion, barking, scurrying around the house, and when Cohen's spouse the TV star Meredith Vieira is home, Jasper is fiercely protective of her. He won't let Cohen near her.


 The Book Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism is a collection of interviews between economist Richard Wolff and David Barsamian, host of Alternative Radio. Barsamian recently visited Yellow Springs and spoke with Andy Valeri, host and producer of UnCommon Sense TV Media, and occasional co-host of "Around The Fringe" here on WYSO.


Alterntiave Radio airs Wednesday nights at 11 on WYSO.