Book Nook

Book Nook


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 Monster's Daughter, by Michelle Pretorius

When Michelle Pretorius was growing up in South Africa she led a very insulated existence. That was just the way it was back in those days and she didn't realize until later that she had missed out on a lot. She also began to understand that her knowledge about the history of her country was not that good. As she researched South Africa's past she decided that some of that history could become the launching point for a wildly imaginative novel. In "The Monster's Daughter" Pretorius has made her sparkling debut. The book unfolds along two alternating timelines. The author's fictional pendulum swings back and forth between a murder investigation that is taking place in a small town in rural South Africa and a slowly accelerating storyline that surges across the 20th Century. That storyline opens as a series of hideous experiments were taking place over a century ago during that nation's Boer War.In this interview the author describes how a real person, a Nazi, was the inspiration for her

Book Nook: An Interview With Chris Tebbetts

Chris Tebbetts grew up in Yellow Springs. When he was in high school he worked as a page for the Yellow Springs Library. Chris is a novelist who has written a number of books for middle grade readers. Chris has found a niche as an author who collaborates with other writers. His best known partnership is as the co-author on a series for middle school readers with the novelist James Patterson. In this interview Chris talks about what it was like to grow up in Yellow Springs and how he became a writer. Chris was back in the area to teach at the Antioch Writer's Workshop. He currently resides in Vermont. The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by six local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene County Public Library, Washington-Centerville Public Library, MidPointe Library System, Clark County Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

The Best of the Book Nook: A Conversation with Ed McBain for His Novel, "Money Money Money"

Original air date September 10, 2001. Over the years that I have been hosting this program I have had numerous opportunities to interview legendary novelists. I have learned that when such an opportunity presents itself I must do whatever I can to make it happen because I might never get another chance to speak to a particular writer.One perfect example was Ed McBain. Ed McBain was the best known pen name for the author named Evan Hunter. Hunter as McBain paid a visit to the WYSO studios for a live interview at 2 o'clock on a Monday afternoon. The date was September 10, 2001. Less than 24 hours later the world changed forever as the World Trade Center attacks took place that following morning in New York City, Ed McBain's beloved home town.Evan Hunter aka Ed McBain had flown to Chicago on the morning of 9/11 from Dayton. All the airports were shut down after he arrived and he got stranded there while his book tour was cancelled. Here in Yellow Springs WYSO had suspended all regular

The Best of the Book Nook: A Conversation with Ed McBain for His Novel, "Money Money Money"

Book Nook: How the Post Office Created America, by Winifred Gallagher

When I was in kindergarten I fell in love with postage stamps and became a passionate stamp collector. This early hobby turned me into a huge admirer of the United States Post Office. A small boy trying to build a stamp collection had to be creative. Des Moines had many tall buildings and a number of them were the home offices for insurance companies. My dad worked at one of them so I was aware that these buildings contained many floors filled with secretaries at desks laboring at typewriters. There were hundreds of desks with many young women seated nearby. Each desk had a waste basket and those trash receptacles were this budding philatelist's Nirvana.Each wastebasket was filled with discarded envelopes and every single one of those envelopes had small treasures affixed to the corners; U.S. postage stamps. I would walk up to a desk, my head was barely high enough to peer over at the secretary sitting there with her perm and her smoldering cigarette. I would say; "hi, do you mind if

Book Nook: The Whore Next Door, by Annie Campbell

Have you ever considered writing your memoir? Have you had an interesting life? Do you believe you can express yourself in print in a compelling way? And what if you had to illustrate every chapter of your memoir with a painting that you created to depict the events that you were describing? Now that would be difficult, wouldn't it?Annie Campbell recently published her memoir, "The Whore Next Door." This book is a revelation. Campbell's pithy prose details a compelling life story. During the 1960's Campbell was feeling the sweet bloom of youth while living her life to the fullest. The things she experienced, the people she met, and the adventures she had are described with a beguiling frankness. This book draws the reader in.Campbell's water color paintings illustrate each chapter. Her prose is candid and entertaining. Her paintings are magnificent. This is one of the most beautiful books I have read in years. You can view her artwork at The Book Nook on WYSO is made

Book Nook: Burn What Will Burn, by C.B. McKenzie

If you have been listening to this program for a while you know that I'm quite fond of a good detective novel. "Burn What Will Burn" by C.B. McKenzie is one of the more unusual detective novels that I have read lately because it has the detective novel vibe but there really are not any detectives involved.As the book begins the protagonist, Bob Reynolds, has stumbled upon the requisite crime novel corpse floating in the water. As C.B. McKenzie describes this event in our interview Bob would prefer to push that thing right back into the water and pretend he had never seen it. Bob doesn't even qualify as a reluctant investigator because he doesn't want anything to do with it.This one is set in the backwoods of Arkansas and it is a yarn. McKenzie is a gifted storyteller with a distinctive voice. This book is funny and compact and extremely entertaining. And as the author admits during our conversation, this was just one of many unpublished novels he has lying around the place. His next

The Best of the Book Nook: A Conversation with Studs Terkel

The first time I heard the name Studs Terkel it caught my attention. Such a distinctive name. My father was talking about him. Dad was from Chicago and that is the city that will always be associated with Studs.Over the years Studs Terkel became one of my heroes. He was a perceptive interviewer, writer, historian, radio host, progressive, public intellectual, and raconteur. I never dreamed that one day I would be interviewing the great interviewer himself.As you listen to this program you will be amazed. It was recorded when Studs was 89. His intellect and his humor were razor sharp. I sat back and enjoyed it. If you ever had a conversation with Studs you quickly realized that he would be the one doing most of the talking. And that was a marvelous thing to behold. The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by six local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene County Public Library, Washington-Centerville Public Library, MidPointe Library System, Clark County Public Library, Dayton

Book Nook: The Heavenly Table, by Donald Ray Pollock

Readers love to try to pigeonhole books and authors. So do reviewers. We seem to need to have some points of reference. Someone will claim that a writer is like Hemingway or Faulkner or heaven forbid, Cormac McCarthy. They want to have definable genres that people can recognize. This novel is crime fiction. That one is chick lit. Or maybe this is grit lit? Chick lit veering into grit lit?While categories are helpful I think that we often go too far down that road. Some writers are unlike any others. Donald Ray Pollock is one of those. I have only one category for Don; he's my favorite living Ohio author. He still lives here. His new book is magical. Here's the review I wrote for the Cox Ohio newspapers:Our world provides instant gratifications. Some of us desire much and want it right away. Do you recall the days before we could even get on-line? Before dial up modems? That slower, gentler society. Not too long ago really.Good things come to those who wait. Most of my favorite writers

Book Nook: The Rivers Ran Backward - the Civil War and the Remaking of the Middle American Border

When we look back at the Civil War period of American History we often have a tendency to examine things that we consider to have been clear cut. For example; Ohio was a free state or Kentucky was a slave state. In his book "The Rivers Ran Backward - the Civil War and the Remaking of the Middle American Border" Christopher Phillips makes the case that things were not really like that in the border states between the Union and the Confederacy. Rather than divisions that could be described as black or white, slave or free, there were infinite shades of gray (and blue).A slave who escaped and crossed the Ohio River into Ohio or Indiana wasn't going to feel that jubilant, yet. Perhaps if that slave made it to Canada there would finally be some sense of relief. According to Phillips there were actually numerous people still being held in bondage in supposedly free states and slave hunters operated freely there, recapturing escaped slaves and returning that "lost property" back to the South

Book Nook: The Rivers Ran Backward - the Civil War and the Remaking of the Middle American Border

Book Nook: As Good As Gone, by Larry Watson

Over the years that I have been hosting this program I have witnessed a lot of changes on the book publishing landscape. Technology has had an impact. Electronic books are now popular. Almost anybody can publish a book now if they want to do so. Book publishing has been going through consolidations. Back in the 1990's there were many more authors who went out on book tours. We used to get several passing through the WYSO studios each week for live interviews. Those days are gone.One author who appeared on the program a number of times back in the day was Larry Watson. He came through on book tours. He was publishing a lot of great books. Time marches on.The last time I had Larry Watson on the program was for a phone interview 16 years ago for his novel "Laura." He's still writing books. I'm still interviewing authors. His latest novel "As Good As Gone" reminds me of some of his greatest work from the 1990's. When I realized how long it had been since my last interview with him I felt

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