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Book Nook: If I Live to Be 100: Lessons from the Centenarians, by Neenah Ellis


Some years before Neenah Ellis came to WYSO to become our station manager she passed though our region on a publicity tour for her book "If I Live to Be 100: Lessons from the Centenarians." I liked the book so much that I had her on the program twice, once for the initial hardcover release, then again when it came out the following year in paperback.

This collection of interviews that Neenah conducted with Americans who had been living for over a century was originally conceived to be a radio series for National Public Radio. Shortly after NPR began airing the series she was contacted by a publisher. They asked her if she would consider adapting some of the content in this oral history project and transforming it into a book. She agreed to do that and with this next project in mind she continued to record new interviews for the radio series while also planning out the book that she would be writing following the conclusion of the radio broadcasts.

The original book was a best-seller. It has remained in print for all of these years. Recently her publisher inquired about releasing a new hardcover version of the book. With the publication of this beautiful new edition I asked Neenah if she would be willing to do another interview and she agreed to do so.

I went back and looked through the interviews I have conducted since I talked to my first author on WYSO back in 1994. I wondered, had I ever interviewed an author three times for the same book? There are a number of books that I have featured twice. I eventually determined that this interview would be the first occasion in which I did a third interview for the same book. I guess you could ascertain that I really like Neenah's book? It is true, I really do!

Neenah Ellis and Vick Mickunas at WYSO for their first interview.
Credit courtesy of Vick Mickunas
Neenah Ellis and Vick Mickunas at WYSO for their first interview.

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

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. 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.