Book Nook

Saturday, 7-8am and Sunday, 10:30-11am

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities.

He has interviewed historians (Studs Terkel, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Gary Wills), politicians (Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, John Kasich, Donald Trump), pundits (Karl Rove, Ann Coulter, Ralph Nader, Christopher Hitchens), movie stars (Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Peter Ustinov), romance writers (Nora Roberts, Janet Dailey), astronauts (John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan), diplomats (Richard Holbrooke, Jose Ramos Horta), humorists (Bill Bryson, Garrison Keillor, Dave Barry, Sarah Vowell), food writers (Amanda Hesser, Michael Ruhlman, Judith Jones), poets (Galway Kinnell, Frances Mayes, Billy Collins), crime writers (P.D.James, James Lee Burke, Robert Crais, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, Philip Kerr), and music legends from bands like The Animals, Joy Division, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones.

Vick has interviewed some of the leading writers of our time, people like Pat Conroy, Aleksandar Hemon, Anne Lamott, Donald Ray Pollock, Tom Robbins, Kate Atkinson, Gary Shteyngart, and Amy Tan.

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.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public LibraryClark County Public Library, Dayton Metro LibraryWright Memorial Public Library, and Microsun Lamps.

In November of 1978 the Reverend Jim Jones instigated the mass suicide of over 900 of his followers at Jonestown in the remote jungles of Guyana in South America. Twenty years later Deborah Layton who had been a member of the cult leader's inner circle published a memoir about her experiences in the People's Temple.

The last time Tim Johnston appeared on the program was in 2015 as he was publishing his novel "Descent." That book catapulted the author from the virtually unknown category to the watch out, this guy is a literary force designation. Wow, what a story.

So how does a writer top that? Well, Tim's new novel "The Current," is equally compelling and even though I think "Descent" is a tremendous story this new one is in my humble opinion, even better!

John Thorndike returned to the show to talk about his latest novel "A Hundred Fires in Cuba." Thorndike has set his story with the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution during the late 1950's. This book begins as a love story about a photographer who has a brief affair with a Cuban man in New York City during the mid 1950's. Their relationship is cut short when he is deported. The story resumes in Cuba as the Revolution is underway and the photographer is living with her new husband and her daughter by the fellow with whom she had had that brief liaison on New York.

Robert Crais returned to the program in 1999 to discuss a book that represents a pivot point in his career. His previous books featuring the Los Angeles based PI Elvis Cole had been almost light hearted in comparison to the novels that were to follow. The publication of his book "L.A. Requiem" twenty years ago marked a sea change in this series and even in the characterizations of Elvis Cole and his sidekick Joe Pike.

The newspaper industry has been in a funk for decades. While some major newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal continue to prosper in this difficult climate many others are enduring challenges. In small towns across America local newspapers have been fighting to survive as area businesses have shut down, populations have shrunk, and advertising bases are dwindling. Newspaper circulation can be challenging.

James Lee Burke returned to the program to talk about his latest novel in his landmark series featuring Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux. Burke had not written any Robicheaux novels in a number of years while he focused on some other projects. He returned last year with a new book about this remarkable literary character with the eponymous "Robicheaux."

This is the debut novel by an author who goes by the name Jess Montgomery. If you read the book you might think, gosh, this is quite the polished work by a first-time author. Well, I'll let you in on a secret; this is the first novel by the writer known as Jess Montgomery but that is actually the new pen name for an author who has published a number of previous books.

Dave Barry is one of those humorists who is always on. He's relentless. He never stops cracking jokes. In this interview Dave had some fun talking about this book that was on the cutting edge of computer technology when it came out in 1997. The world of computing has changed a lot since then and Dave's descriptions of what seemed high tech 22 years ago now seem rather quaint.

Jon Hassler was considered to be the dean of Minnesota writers. He wrote stories about life in small towns in Minnesota and a number of novels that lampooned academia. It was a subject he knew well, he had been a college professor for many decades in small towns in Minnesota. His novel "The Dean's List" was a sequel to his popular book "Rookery Blues" and it was yet another farcical send-up of academic life.

Professor Hassler came out to see us that day in Yellow Springs. When I listened back to this interview after all of these years I recalled that he had offered some reading suggestions. One of them was for "The Collected Short Stories" of the Irish writer William Trevor. 22 years after Jon Hassler gave me that reading suggestion I finally followed up on it and obtained a copy. I'm reading it now. He was right, Trevor's stories are superb and they remind me a little bit of Hassler's fiction. I can see now why he liked them. Jon Hassler died in 2008.

Vick Mickunas

We closed out the year with some of my favorite interviews for works of fiction during 2018. I chose excerpts from three interviews that were some of my most enjoyable conversations about some of my best loved novels. One interview was actually recorded in December of 2017. The book came out in January of 2018 and we aired it then. My guest was an author who has appeared on this program more times than any other writer. The first time I interviewed him was in 1997. He came out to Yellow Springs to do that interview. This author used to do extensive book tours but he doesn't tour any more.