Book Nook

Book Nook

From WYSO

Vick Mickunas created the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1200 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities.He has interviewed historians (Studs Terkel, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin), politicians (Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, John Kasich), movie stars (Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Peter Ustinov), astronauts (John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan), diplomats (Richard Holbrooke, Jose Ramos Horta), humorists (Garrison Keillor, Dave Barry, Sarah Vowell), and music legends from bands like The Animals, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones.Vick has interviewed some of the leading writers of our time, people like Pat Conroy, James Lee Burke, Richard Ford, Virginia Hamilton, Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, Tom Robbins, T.C. Boyle, and Gary Shteyngart.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.More from Book Nook »

Most Recent Episodes

Book Nook: The Butcher's Hook, by Janet Ellis

I read a lot of crime novels and some of them are very good. Occasionally I'll read one that completely dazzles me. "The Butcher's Hook" by Janet Ellis is one of those books that made me perspire with shock and astonishment. And this is her literary debut! Amazing. The story takes place in Georgian England. A young woman named Anne Jaccob is living a rather tedious life with her parents. Her mother is a ghost-like presence-the house has been in a state of depression and mourning for a while due to the death of Anne's younger brother, a toddler who had been their father's pride and joy as well as his only male heir. Anne's mother has recently had another child, another daughter, but Anne has no feelings of warmth toward her new sister. Their father is also fairly unenthusiastic about this non-male addition to the household. Meanwhile Anne, who is 19, is spending a lot of time fantasizing about men and thinking about sex. Anne's passions become the driving force in this novel. She

Book Nook: Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, by Brad Ricca

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. Grace Humiston solved some sensational crimes and that his how she acquired that moniker. But who was she, really? The author Brad Ricca delved into the historical records to find out more about this mysterious woman. He has written this fascinating book about her exploits. But in the end the woman known as Mrs. Sherlock Holmes remains shrouded in mystery. And somehow that seems appropriate. The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene County Public Library , Washington-Centerville Public Library , Clark County Public Library , Dayton Metro Library , and Wright Memorial Public Library .

Book Nook: Substance-Inside New Order, by Peter Hook

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. This book is massive. Hooky, as he is known, takes readers deep inside the history of the group. We discover the highs, the lows, and a lot of debauched times along the way. This could be the music memoir of 2017. The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene County Public Library , Washington-Centerville Public Library , Clark County Public Library , Dayton Metro Library , and Wright Memorial Public Library .

Book Nook: An interview with Harry Campbell, Rare Book Conservator at the Ohio State University

The Book Nook is an author interview program. Over the years almost every guest I have featured on the show has had a new book out. On occasion I'll interview a guest who doesn't have a book. I will do this because I think our listeners will enjoy the interview and hopefully, a change of pace. A number of years ago I interviewed a woman who called herself Julia Butterfly. She had not written a book. But I was holding out hope that she would because she was doing a very interesting thing at the time. When I interviewed her she was up in a tree. I'm not kidding. You see she was an environmental activist and she was staging a protest. A lumber company in northern California had been preparing to cut down an ancient redwood tree. Julia was protecting the tree. She had sneaked up into the canopy and was living up there. And I really wanted to talk to her about that experience. So I did. Now normally I eschew cell phone interviews because they usually have significant audio impairments. They

Book Nook: An interview with Harry Campbell, Rare Book Conservator at the Ohio State University

The Best of the Book Nook: A Memorial Tribute to Eugene Cernan

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! Buzz Aldrin has made two appearances on WYSO. He was the second man on the moon. He's quite famous for that. Buzz can be somewhat combative. Some years ago he encountered a fellow who insisted that the entire moon landing had been an elaborate hoax. Buzz responded by taking a swing at that naysayer. Buzz Aldrin gave that doubter a hearty smack in the nose. By the time Eugene Cernan landed on the surface of the moon it had become a lot less memorable to accomplish that feat. It didn't garner the attention of a John Glenn in orbit around the earth or a Buzz Aldrin heading out onto the lunar surface. But Cernan's feat was no less spectacular. And he was the last human being to do it.

Book Nook: Baby Birds - An Artist Looks Into the Nest, by Julie Zickefoose

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. Nobody had ever attempted a study like this one. Why? Because Julie Zickefoose is apparently the only person with this kind of ambition and talent and perseverance. She's also a fabulous writer. After you read about her baby birds you'll have a much better understanding of these feathered marvels. Julie's devotion to birds and to her studies of them is uplifting and vastly informative. Prepare to take flight. The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene County Public Library , Washington-Centerville Public Library , Clark County Public Library , Dayton Metro Library , and Wright Memorial Public Library .

Book Nook: Baby Birds - An Artist Looks Into the Nest, by Julie Zickefoose

The Best of the Book Nook: A Memorial Tribute to Nat Hentoff

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. As I riffled through the stacks I discovered a pile of ten inch, 33 1/3 RPM platters from the 1950's. I cued up a record called "Jazz from Storyville" and as I sank into the vibe that was emanating from those waxy grooves I perused the liner notes. They had been written by a guy named Nat Hentoff. I made a mental note: this cat knows his jazz. Years went by. I kept seeing his name on liner notes and on essays. I became an admirer of his prose. Many years later I had an opportunity to interview him on the radio. I did not pass up that chance. By then I had recognized that Nat Hentoff was one of our great cultural critics. He was an expert on jazz and the First Amendment. He was also a bit of a

Book Nook: Burning Bright, by Nick Petrie

Lee Child is one of the most generous writers around. He is an advocate for other writers. He provides enthusiastic blurbs for books he has enjoyed reading. A blurb from Lee Child can really give an unknown author a boost. I have Lee Child to thank for turning me on to a writer named Nicholas Petrie. Lee returned to the program recently and I quizzed him about books that he has really liked. He responded with a hearty endorsement of the work of Nick Petrie. I tracked down Nick's first novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And when Nick's second offering, "Burning Bright" was slated to be released I was on the case. We recorded this interview with Nick before the book had actually come out. And what a book it is. In this sophomore effort featuring the troubled military veteran Peter Ash readers encounter a shadowy organization that is trying to harness the technology of artificial intelligence to perpetrate evil deeds. Oh, and Peter develops a love interest in this one. There's a chase

Book Nook: The Great Forgetting, by James Renner

Over the years I have had the opportunity to interview authors at various stages in their careers. Some of the writers that I have interviewed have gone on to become spectacularly successful. Nicholas Sparks comes to mind. When I interviewed him for "The Notebook," his first book, he seemed slightly dazed by the positive early reviews and he was reluctant to believe that fame was in his future. Well, he has sold a gazillion books since our first interview and he quit his day job as a pharmaceutical salesman many years ago. The first time James Renner appeared on the program he was relatively unknown. This writer from Akron is now poised to take a leap out of obscurity. As you listen to this interview you'll discover that his first novel could become much better known in the near future. I'm happy for him. His second novel is also brilliant. Here's my review of it which appeared in the Cox Ohio newspapers: I have a deep affection for paperback books. I like them for obvious reasons —

Book Nook: Sowing, by Angie Grigaliunas

Angie Grigaliunas has created a stunning imaginary world in her dystopian fantasy novel "Sowing." This is the first book in her "Purification Era" series. She is still planning the series and during this interview she stated that it will probably take at least eight books to complete it. In "Sowing" a city is being brutally ruled by a group known as the Hulcondans. Groups of rebels are plotting to overthrow this regime. These rebels are being hunted down and any insurrection will be violently suppressed. Two characters, the sisters Ariliah, and Rabreah, are being inexorably drawn into the intrigues that are unfolding in the city as the rebels are plotting their revolutions. Readers who become immersed in this world are going to look forward to each successive entry in the series. I would not be surprised if major publishers start paying attention. This series has some great potential. The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene

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