Don Noble

Program Host: Book Reviews

Dr. Noble is the host of APR's book review series as well as host of BOOKMARK which airs on Alabama Public Television.  A widely published scholar specializing in American and Southern literature, Dr. Noble received the Eugene Current-Garcia Award as Alabama's distinguished literary scholar for the year 2000 and was nominated for a Regional Emmy Award in 2006 and 2011.  In addition he is on the planning committee of several literary conferences.

Dr. Noble's book reviews air during Morning Edition and feature works primarily by Alabama writers.  His reviews focus on why these writers are concerned with their particular subjects and how they succeed or fail  in addressing issues of concern to Alabama readers.

“Work Like Any Other: A Novel”

Author: Virginia Reeves

Publisher: Scribner   

Pages: 260

Price: $25.00 (Hardcover)

“My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible and Other Stories”

Author: Gregg Cusick

Publisher: Livingston Press    

Pages: 172

Price: $30.00 (Hardcover)

“Crazy in Alabama”

Author: Mark Childress

Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons   

Pages: 383

Price: $15.00

“Miss Jane: A Novel”

Author: Brad Watson

Publisher: W. W. Norton   

Pages: 267

Price: $25.95 (Hardcover)

It was 1996 when Watson published “Last Days of the Dog-Men,” which won the Sue Kaufman Award; 2002 for his novel, “The Heaven of Mercury,” runner up for the National Book Award; and 2010 for the story collection “Aliens in the Prime of their Lives,” a finalist for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction—an average of 7 years between books.

“Raw. Vegan. Not Gross: All Vegan and Mostly Raw Recipes for People Who Love to Eat”

Author: Laura Miller

Publisher: Flatiron Books   

Pages: 211

Price: $25.99 (Hardcover)

A few weeks ago I reviewed “Lulu’s Kitchen,” a cookbook by Lucy Buffett featuring recipes from her restaurant at Gulf Shores. Buffett wrote that the general philosophy at Lulu’s was “Fried. Died. And Gone to Heaven” and her menu used to include “rice pilaf and steamed vegetables, but we threw away more than we sold.”

This book, “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.” is not like that book.

“Lulu’s Kitchen: A Taste of the Gulf Coast Good Life”

Author: Lucy Buffett, Foreword by Jimmy Buffet

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing   

Pages: 264

Price: $19.99 (Paperback)

“Lulu’s Kitchen” is a revised edition of “Crazy Sista Cooking” which Lucy Buffett had self-published some time ago.

“The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls”                                    “The After Party”

Author: Anton DiSclafani                                                                      Author: Anton DiSclafani

Publisher: Riverhead Books                                                                 Publisher: Riverhead Books

Pages: 388                                                                                                     Pages: 384

Rock-a-Bye Bones: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery”

Author: Caroline Haines

Publisher: Minotaur Books ( St. Martin’s Publishing Group )

Pages: 344   

Price: $25.99 (Hardcover)

“Rock-a-Bye Bones” is the 16th in the series, and I think I have read and reviewed them all.

“All the Governor’s Men: A Mountain Brook Novel”

Author: Katherine Clark   

Foreword by Pat Conroy

Publisher: University of South Carolina Press

Pages: 238

Price: $29.99 (Hardcover)

“Half- Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life”

Author: Edward O. Wilson   

Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation

Pages: 212

Price: $15.95 (Hardcover)

It is arguable that Edward O. Wilson, a native Alabamian who graduated from UA before his Ph.D. at Harvard, had his career at Harvard, is now Professor Emeritus and has over the years won two Pulitzer Prizes, is the most important biologist alive today.

Attention should be paid.

“Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews”

Author: Ted Geltner   

Foreword by Michael Connelly

Publisher: The University of Georgia Press

Pages: 448

Price: $32.95 (Hardcover)

When the writer Harry Crews died on March 28, 2012, his many fans were grieved and some were surprised, believing that Crews had died years earlier. Many who knew of his wild man lifestyle were surprised he had made it that long. But Harry Crews, with his karate, body-building, Mohawk haircut and tattoos, was a very tough guy, or at least appeared to be.

“Dimestore: A Writer’s Life”

Author: Lee Smith  

Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Pages: 200

Price: $24.95 (Hardcover)

Readers of Lee Smith’s many novels know of her love for the home place, the town of Grundy and the surrounding Appalachians in the southwest corner of Virginia.

“Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul”

Author: James McBride  

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Pages: 232

Price: $28.00 (Hardcover)

“The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge: A Memoir in Dog Years”

Author: Rheta Grimsley Johnson    

Publisher: John F. Blair, Publisher

Pages: 224

Price: $26.95 (Hardcover)

“Panther’s Prey: A Leo Maxwell Mystery”

Author: Lachlan Smith                                                      

Publisher: Mysterious Press/Grove Atlantic

Pages: 256

Price: $24.00 (Trade Cloth)

Lachlan Smith, now a practicing attorney in Birmingham, studied writing at Stanford and then went to law school at Berkeley. Despite his training in literary fiction, Smith opted for the faster paced legal thriller genre, combining his interests.

“A Window on Eternity: A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park”

Author: Edward O. Wilson                                     

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 141

Price: $30.00 (Hardcover)

Professor Moses Herzog, the protagonist of Nobel laureate Saul Bellow’s 1964 novel, is desperately concerned about the dangers of atomic warfare. Herzog compulsively writes letters to Eisenhower, Stevenson, others, stressing the importance of disarmament.

“The Opposite of Everyone”

Author: Joshlyn Jackson   

Publisher: William Morrow

Pages: 291

Price: $26.00 (Hardcover)

“Apprehensions and Convictions: Adventures of a 50-Year-Old Rookie Cop”

Author: Mark Johnson   

Publisher: QuillDriver Books

Pages: 344

Price: $18.95 (Hardcover)

Most new police officers are in their twenties, with some college behind them or perhaps a few years in the military.

“Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town”

Author: Ellen Griffith Spears        

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

Pages: 464

Price: $39.95 (Hardback); $27.95 (Paper)

“My Father, the Pornographer”

Author: Chris Offutt   

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 261

Price: $26.00 (Hardcover)

Seriously, how could you not at least browse a book entitled “My Father, the Pornographer”?

In a world flooded with memoirs, this one certainly promised to be unusual, and it is.

“Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush”

Author: Jon Meacham   

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 836

Price: $35.00 (Hardcover)

Jon Meacham is in a small group of elite presidential biographers, the group including Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, David McCullough and a few others. He has written of the friendship of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill and biographies of Thomas Jefferson, “The Art of Power,” and Andrew Jackson, “American Lion,” which won the Pulitzer Prize.

“Adiós Hemingway”

Author: Leonardo Padura Fuentes    

Translated from the Spanish by John King

Publisher: Grove/ Atlantic, Inc.

Pages: 229

Price: $13.00 (Paperback)

On the afternoon of January 21 I went to ten Hoor Hall on the UA campus to hear a talk by Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura Fuentes (often referred to as Leonardo Padura).

“American Housewife: Stories”

Author: Helen Ellis    

Publisher: Doubleday

Pages: 185

Price: $24.00 (Hardcover)

Tuscaloosa native Helen Ellis had a great success with her comical debut novel “Eating the Cheshire Cat,” set on the University of Alabama campus—partly in a sorority house—with its explosive climax on the football field during a half-time show.

“Cries for Help, Various”

Author: Padgett Powell

Publisher: Catapult

Pages: 182

Price: $ 16.95 (Paperback)

In a recent reading in Nashville, Padgett Powell introduced his stories by claiming that they were the beginnings of novels that had petered out and that the volume should have been called “Cries for Help, Failures,” but his publisher didn’t think labelling them as failed novels would help sales.

“Saban: The Making of a Coach”           

Author: Monte Burke

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 324

Price: $27.00 (Hardcover)

There is a good case to be made for not writing biographies until the subject is dead. Feelings are inevitably hurt. The subject’s family and friends may learn things they don’t need to know.

“The Impossible Craft: Literary Biography”

Author: Scott Donaldson   

Publisher: The Pennsylvania State University Press

Pages: 284

Price: $39.95 (Hardcover)

Scott Donaldson has been for years one of our foremost American literary biographers.

He has written lives of three poets—Archibald MacLeish, Edwin Arlington Robinson and Winfield Townley Scott—but is best known for his biographies of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Cheever.

“Visions of the Black Belt: A Cultural Survey of the Heart of Alabama”

Author: Robin McDonald and Valerie Pope Burnes

Publisher: University of Alabama Press

Pages: 242

Price: $39.95 (Hardcover)

“Visions of the Black Belt” is a gorgeous, oversized coffee table book and it will, properly, be bought for the photos, but before talking about the photography, let me urge people to be sure to read the text.

“My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South”

Author: Rick Bragg  

Publisher: Oxmoor House, Time Inc. Books

Pages: 251

Price: $27.95 (Hardcover)

Rick Bragg’s last book, his best-selling biography of Jerry Lee Lewis, was an exhausting enterprise. Bragg spent two summers interviewing Lewis, researched widely, and in the writing—476 pages—had the struggle of presenting Lewis’ drinking, drug use, multiple marriages and generally violent nature in a text that was accurate and fair and still readable and pleasing in the Rick Bragg style.

“The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II”

Author: Winston Groom  

Publisher: National Geographic Books

Pages: 512

Price: $30.00 (Hardcover)

“The Generals,” Groom’s tenth volume of military history, tells the stories of George Patton, George Marshall and Douglas MacArthur.

It was only two years ago that Winston Groom published “The Aviators,” the story of three pioneers: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindberg.

“Wherever There Is Light”

Author: Peter Golden 

Publisher: Atria Books, Simon and Shuster

Pages: 353

Price: $25.00 (Hardcover)

“Wherever There Is Light” is a truly ambitious novel. In the course of its 353 pages Golden moves his readers through three generations, forty years, one adventure after the next, as his characters play their parts in several of the major historical events of the mid-20th century.

Pages