WYSO

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.

Over the years that I have been hosting the show I have featured quite a variety of biographies. I have had the opportunity to interview the writers of some highly regarded works. I had David McCullough on the program for his biographies of John Adams and the Wright Brothers. Scott Berg appeared to talk about his biography of Woodrow Wilson. In 1999 I had a chance to discuss "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr." with Ron Chernow. This fascinating book about a man who was once the richest man in the world is an impressive piece of scholarship.

William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg were leading figures in what became known as the Beat Generation. Burroughs was best known as a writer who wrote experimental novels like "Naked Lunch." Ginsberg was well known as a poet. His poem "Howl" was instrumental in overturning the legal definition of obscenity.

The late Lloyd Ostendorf was considered to be one of the leading experts on photographic images of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln lived during a time when photography was still in its infancy and even though he was the most famous person in America at one time very few genuine photos of Lincoln are known to exist.

2018 has been a great year for taking this program out on the road to bring you author interviews presented before live audiences. We headed over to the Jewish Community Center in Centerville to record an interview with Sally Kohn for her extraordinary book "The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity."

Once upon a time Dayton attracted numerous well known authors who came to town for book signing events. Some weeks there would be multiple big name scribes passing through. We almost took it for granted. Almost. A number of factors have contributed to Dayton's relegation to becoming just a literary hub in fond memory only. Suffice it to say that 23 years ago an author with the stature of Amy Tan came through our area on a book tour and she came out to the station in Yellow Springs to appear on the program for a live interview.

If you watched the PBS program the "Great American Read" then you know about some of the novels that were included on their list of the 100 best loved works of fiction in America. I was pleasantly surprised to see that out of the 30 books that made their list which have been issued since this program went on the air in 1994 a number of the authors of those titles have appeared on this radio show.

In 1998 a small publisher in New York sent me a copy of a new novel by Peter Ustinov. I had admired Ustinov's work as an actor in a number of films but I had never realized that he had done so many other things including the authorship of numerous books.

So I contacted his publisher and asked if he would be doing any interviews? I knew it was a long shot but hey, if you don't try how can you ever fail? I assumed that another failure would be mine and sure enough his publicist informed me that Ustinov lived in Switzerland and that an interview would not be possible.

Linda Schmitmeyer did a very brave thing; she wrote a memoir detailing her family's decades-long ordeal dealing with her husband's mental illness. Linda, her husband Steve, and their children lived through it and they stayed together as a family. If anything it has made them stronger.

This is a powerful and very personal story that will provide strength and inspiration to those who are dealing with their own mental illness or that of a loved one.

21 years ago an author came through Dayton on book tour. He was traveling with his wife. They were driving from city to city-he doesn't fly. James Lee Burke had just published "Cimarron Rose," the first book in a new series he was writing that featured Billy Bob Holland.

I had no idea when Jim walked into the studio that this interview would mark the genesis of what has become a long running conversation. 21 years later I have interviewed James Lee Burke more times than any other author.

Laird Hunt returned to the program to discuss his final book in a quartet of novels. Hunt did not set out to write a horror story but after you read 'In the House in the Dark of the Woods" I think you'll agree that is exactly what he has done.

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