WYSO

Books - Non-Fiction

By the time he was in the fourth grade my older brother had amassed quite a collection of comic books. I was in the second grade then and early in the mornings while my brother was still asleep I would sneak a few comics out of his stash and huddle up next to the heat vent and read them until it was time for breakfast and then our walk to school. I truly enjoyed those moments and it was always a bit crushing when my father, who was my hero, would notice me there, absorbed in my reading, and he would often make scornful comments like; "you'll never find a job reading comic books."

Most of you are familiar with the expression "the third time's the charm." But what does that mean, exactly? Well, in the case of Mark Bernstein it means that I have interviewed him three different times for the same book and that on the third try we finally got things right. Actually, that isn't entirely true. Here's what happened: we got things right during the previous century when his book "Grand Eccentrics - Turning the Century: Dayton and the Inventing of America" was originally issued in 1996 and I interviewed him for the first time.

Bill Felker, the host of Poor Will's Almanack on WYSO returned to the Book Nook to discuss his latest project. Recently Bill decided to engage in another book publishing venture in addition to his annual almanacks. Over the years Bill has been keeping meticulous daily journals of his thoughts, observations, and meditations. Bill decided to take his voluminous daily records and compile them into monthly editions that are now available for readers to peruse and savor.

One century ago Dayton, Ohio was a hotbed of industry and innovation. In his book "Grand Eccentrics - Turning the Century: Dayton and the Inventing of America" Mark Bernstein looked back at some of the men who were instrumental in making this area a thriving place during that period.

One of the stranger trends in publishing recently has been the spate of self-help books espousing Scandinavian lifestyle advice based upon practices that are embedded in the cultures of countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and most recently, Finland.

If you are a regular reader of the New York Times you have surely read the writing of Richard Sandomir. He has been with that newspaper for many years. I have always wanted to interview him and I finally got the opportunity with the publication of the paperback edition of his book "The Pride of the Yankees - Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic."

When Sara Bir takes daily strolls though her neighborhood in southeast Ohio she keeps an eye out for delicious foods. These foods are all around us but most of us don't bother to notice them. Sara is a fruit forager. She finds all kinds of tasty things that are growing right out there in the open and many of these delectable treats end up as food for wildlife or they are wasted by being left to rot on the ground.

Over the years that I have been interviewing authors on WYSO I have made some observations about writers. One thing I have noticed is that there are a variety of trajectories that a person's career can take. I have interviewed many people who were just starting out and in most cases, barely being noticed. Then we can go to the other end of that potential trajectory to find the writers who have had that one big book, now years in the past, still hoping to rise to those heights once again and sometimes, with bitterness, bemoaning the declines of their careers.

In Rebels and Underdogs: The Story of Ohio Rock and Roll, author Garin Pirnia explores the past and present of Ohio's modern rock scene city by city.  With a chapter devoted to Dayton, Pirnia delves into several seminal rock bands.  She spoke with Kaleidoscope host Juliet Fromholt about how Dayton fits into the state's larger musical picture.

Rebels and Underdogs: The Story of Ohio Rock and Roll is available now.

William T. Vollmann has now published the second half of his massive Carbon Ideologies. Volume Two is called "No Good Alternative" and in this one the author continues his examination of our energy consumption and the growing concerns that our fossil fuel usage is ultimately going to cause drastic changes in the world as we know it.

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