THE BOOK NOOK: My favorite radio interviews of the year

  • Vick Mickunas
  • Contributing Writer
Dec 30, 2017
“Two Paths: America Divided or United,” by John Kasich

In my last several columns, I revealed my favorite books from the past year. In this final installment of 2017 I’m taking a look back to my favorite radio interviews.

As I reviewed 100-plus radio shows produced for WYSO-FM during 2017, I’ll admit that my reasons for choosing certain ones are deeply personal.

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These were the author interviews that are my favorites.

Loudon Wainwright III. His memoir “Liner Notes” delves into his tortured love life and ongoing bouts with depression. Over his long musical career he has had to deal with the legacy of that one big radio hit, a song called “Dead Skunk,” which everybody wants to hear and he really hates to perform. We attended the same high school. Afterward, off the air, we compared notes.

Shuly Cawood. Shuly penned my favorite memoir of 2017. “The Going and Goodbye,” is a luminous collection of essays that burst forth like luscious sunbeams from among the clouds. The sun shined when Shuly showed up.

Lee Child. Every time I get an interview with this superstar author, I feel blessed. I think his new Jack Reacher thriller “The Midnight Line” is his best one yet. In this fourth interview I learned something new: he begins writing each new book on the same date, Sept. 1.

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Don Winslow. This author is one of my literary idols. I had been trying for years to get another interview with him. I finally did for his novel “The Force.” Fabulous book. What more can I say?

Virginia Heffernan. It took me a year to get an interview for her book “Magic and Loss: the Internet as Art.” How often do I get to talk someone who is quick and funny and current and a million times smarter than I am? Wow, what fun!

John Kasich. The first time I interviewed him, he was still Congressman Kasich and we talked about our favorite musical groups. In 2017, Gov. Kasich published “Two Paths: America Divided or United.” This time he confessed there is one photo he never autographs — a picture of him taken with President Nixon while John was a student at OSU. My favorite moment? When the studio phone rang: “Vick, it is for you, it’s the Governor calling.”

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Lyanda Lynn Haupt. The composer Mozart had a pet starling. Lyanda Lynn Haupt wanted to find out what that was like, so she got one and named her Carmen. In her quirky book “Mozart’s Starling,” we learn that these much-maligned creatures are quite wonderful. After the interview Carmen could be heard twittering away in the background.

Philip Kerr. “Prussian Blue” is the biggest and best book yet in my favorite crime series which features the jaded detective Bernie Gunther. Philip comes over from England for annual book tours. I have interviewed him for his last six books. I’m a devoted fan. When I got to the end of this book I noticed my name was in the acknowledgments; I nearly fainted. Gosh.