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.

Chris Hedges returned to the program to discuss his latest book. Over the years that I have been interviewing him I have discovered that his books are serious critiques of our society. He is thoughtful, articulate, and determined. This latest book is one of the most essential books that I have read in many years. Hedges speaks his truth and that can be profoundly depressing.

For decades Alan Cheuse was the book reviewer on National Public Radio's program All Things Considered. When I recorded this interview Cheuse had already booked 20 years on the program and had reviewed hundreds of titles. Cheuse was passionate about books and particularly works of fiction.

Cheuse continued his work for NPR until just a few years ago when he was involved in a tragic traffic accident in California. He eventually succumbed to his injuries. He was 75.

In this interview we talked about his exquisitely literary life. "Listening to the Page" was his memoir.

Sara Bir returned to the program to discuss her cookbook of recipes from all over Ohio. We live in a big state with varied cuisines. The food you'll find in Cleveland will be quite different from what you might discover to eat in Cincinnati. And then there are all those places in between. The author did a great job of assembling a wide variety of recipes that reflect the diversity and culinary excitement that you can find in Ohio.

Try to picture a scenario in which the United States has been taken over by corporations and that corporate power rules the land. Imagine that many of our leaders are being complicit with our corporate overlords and that corruption, shady deals, and money laundering have become the hidden hallmarks of power. In this fictional world Donald Trump is still our president but just about everything else is different. I realize this seems absurd and inconceivable.

Dylan Taylor-Lehman moved to our area and became a reporter for the Yellow Springs News. His experiences as a journalist provided him with some insights into life in this unusual small town. Ohio is a state that has a form of government by townships. Dylan was sent to cover a meeting of the Miami Township Board of Trustees. Yellow Springs is located in Miami Township.

I did not know it at the time but I began heading down the path to recording this interview with John Straley when I was in the third grade. I remember it like it happened yesterday. We had eaten lunch in the cafeteria at St. Augustin's School in Des Moines. Then I went out to play during recess with my best pal. His name was Jimmy Percival. We were over admiring the rose bushes blooming in front of the convent when an older kid, a fourth grader we didn't know came running over to us and starting beating up my buddy, Jimmy.

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."

Reading books can be such a joyful experience. There are so many things to like about it. One of my favorite things is discovering a writer who has just published her first book and realizing that their work is something special. Then I have the eager anticipation ahead of waiting for them to write many more!

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.

"Mississippi Blood" by Greg Iles
Original recording made in 2017

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