Interviews

Olen Steinhauer is my favorite writer of espionage novels. There, I said it. His "Tourist" series featuring Milo, his reluctant spy has catapulted the author to the front of the queue. He has no peers in my view. Sorry, Daniel Silva.

The crime fiction department used to be a mystery to me. I didn't read many crime novels until I started interviewing authors on this program back in 1994. Ever since then I have been making up for lost time. I read two or three crime novels a week. And I do interview some of the authors. But most of those books are just for me. My guilty pleasures.

courtesy of Antioch College

Mark Roosevelt is an avid reader. He reads widely and deeply. Books are an important part of his life. In this essay collection Roosevelt reflects upon his reading life and offers readers some insights into some of the things which have stoked his passion for great literature.

Mark Roosevelt is the president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, which holds WYSO's license.

About ten years ago Lynne Truss published a book called "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation." The book was a smash hit, a best-seller, and ever since then I have wanted to interview her. I thought it would probably never happen. But I never gave up and suddenly I heard that she had a new book out and that she was actually on tour in the US. This was a rare opportunity because her books always come out in the United Kingdom but they don't always find US publishers. And she hardly ever tours the US. I could not pass this chance up.

Steve Berry's novels tend to be complex puzzles. His latest thriller in his Cotton Malone series is based upon Berry's research into the 16th Amendment. Are you familiar with that piece of legislation? Our national income tax system is the direct result of it. For it to have become a law it had to be ratified by a certain of states. So of course that happened, right? This book might plant some doubts in your mind about those long ago ratifications, were they enacted properly? That is merely one thread in this complicated story. The action is fast-paced, violent, and confusing.

Elizabeth Berg's latest novel is a work of historical fiction based upon the life story of the 19th century French novelist George Sand. Sand was one of the best-selling authors of her time. She was a prolific writer and was also the subject of scandal, rumor, and innuendo. In this fictional biography Berg seems to have formed an almost psychic bond with her subject. Sand comes back to life upon these pages. She was driven to do some things that society condemned. She had many love affairs and some of them ended in tragedy.

Once or twice a week I attend a meeting. It takes place in my recliner, usually late a night. I feel compelled to attend. Let's call this meeting to order. Repressing my guilt I open the next book and smile as I say say to myself again: hello, I'm Vick, and I'm a crime fiction junkie.

Before I fell in love with books I had to fall in love with language. And what is language? Words, I fell in love with words. The sounds of words. Their meanings. Certain words have incredible potency. Many exquisite sounding words are names. Place names. The names of people and things. Years ago I was interviewing Professor Harold Bloom. This was our second interview and we had established a slight rapport. Bloom has be our most dignified and intellectual cultural critic.

This new guy, Pope Francis, is really starting to shake things up. Unlike some previous popes who I won't mention by name Francis is addressing real issues, things like climate change, economic injustice, and the sexual abuse scandals that have been the long ignored elephants at the Vatican for centuries. Gary Wills is optimistic that Pope Francis will have a very positive impact. Wills is our leading scholar of things Catholic and his prose is direct, pithy, and clear.

George Hodgman was living his life in New York City. Hodgman had been working in publishing for years-he had come a long way from his roots in a small town in Missouri. Then he went back home for his mother's birthday and he stayed. His mother Betty had been fiercely independent for years but on this visit her son had noticed that time was beginning to catch up with her. Although his mother would have probably denied it, she needed her only child to stick around this time, to look out for her. 

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