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.

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Don Noble
2:50 pm
Mon February 21, 2005

The Same Sweet Girls

Six fading Southern belles commiserate and reevaluate their lives and loves in Alabama.

The Same Sweet Girls

There has been a buzz concerning King?s third novel, The Same Sweet Girls, for a couple of years, although it has only been released for a few weeks.

Why, you might ask?

First, there was a large advance, always provoking talk, envious and otherwise.

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Don Noble
2:49 pm
Mon February 14, 2005

Monday Mourning

The seventh installment in the "Temperance Brennan" mystery series is anything but trite.

Dr. Kathy Reichs is a professor of anthropology at UNC-Charlotte, with a PhD from Northwestern University.

Dr. Reichs is also, more importantly, both a forensic anthropologist for the state of North Carolina and the Canadian equivalent in Montreal for the Province of Quebec.

As part of Dr. Reichs? work, she examines bones and other remains and offers expert testimony in court.

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Don Noble
1:26 pm
Mon February 7, 2005

Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller

An unrepentant self-examination of Marshall Chapman's unconventional life.

I have been meaning to read singer and songwriter Marshall Chapman's memoir for over a year.

Now I have and I am glad.

It is an unusual book, well-written and a real page-turner.

Lee Smith, an old friend of Chapman, has written the Foreword and tells us how the book came to be.

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Don Noble
10:22 am
Mon January 31, 2005

The Weatherman

A TV weatherman wages war against his murderous cousin, who's campaigning to be Alabama's Attorney General.

Clint McCown is one of those writers who has not yet, but very well might, break through into real fame and fortune.

The Weatherman is his fifth book, his third novel.

McCown was raised in Homewood, Alabama, and shortly after college at Wake Forest University came to Tuscaloosa and studied for 18 months in the MFA program.

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Don Noble
2:24 pm
Mon January 10, 2005

A Dream of Freedom

This painstakingly detailed account of the Civil Rights Movement opens up that part of history to young adult readers.

For her study of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Carry Me Home, published in 2001, Diane McWhorter was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for history.

That fairly narrow-focus study was a labor of nearly 20 years, and in the course of researching that book, McWhorter learned an immense amount about the movement that she could not fit into Carry Me Home.

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Don Noble
11:18 am
Mon December 27, 2004

Hearts of Dixie

A profile of 50 of the state's most colorful characters, with introductions by other notable natives.

Hearts of Dixie is, as the title suggests, 50 mini-biographies of Alabamians of the 20th, 19th, and, in a very few cases, the 18th century.

I began leafing through this oversized book?it approaches being a coffee-table book?and looking at the many pictures. Each entry has a full-page photo, usually very good, and a few smaller accompanying photos.

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Don Noble
4:59 pm
Mon December 20, 2004

The Blessings of Hard-Used Angels

This collection of short stories from an Alabama attorney portrays "society's underclass."

John Cottle?s debut volume of short stories comes with a very impressive endorsement.

These stories are the winning manuscript in the 2003 George Garrett Fiction Award competition held by the Texas Review Press and were chose by Garrett himself, a man of unimpeachable experience and taste.

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Don Noble
9:26 am
Thu December 16, 2004

Christmas in the South: Holiday Stories from the South's Best Writers

These are pretty good stories, and they are, in a painfully realistic way, Christmas stories.

This volume of holiday stories presents me with a dilemma. If the stories had been really sentimental, sappy, cloying, filled with heartwarming goo, Christmas miracles, touched by an angel, etc., etc., I would have complained bitterly. But they're really not. They are so unsentimental I found myself feeling a little dismayed and depressed.

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Don Noble
3:47 pm
Mon December 6, 2004

Wonderdog

The protagonist of Inman Majors' second novel, Wonderdog, is Devaney "Dev" Degraw, who is an unhappy, and at present unsuccessful, attorney in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and also the son of the governor of Alabama. Dev is going through an especially tough time.

Wonderdog

There is no greater virtue a novel can have than a great opening paragraph:

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Don Noble
3:06 pm
Mon November 29, 2004

Standing in the Rainbow

It is often useful to begin with the title. In the novel, a family drive to the end of the rainbow and then stand in it, where it touches the ground. I am assured that this can actually be done. In any case, it is a metaphor.

Standing in the Rainbow

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Don Noble
1:53 pm
Mon November 22, 2004

Frank Stitt's Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar

This commentary on Frank Stitt's Southern Table is the first in this spot about a cookbook. But this book is in fact more than just recipes; there's a good deal of text here, about Frank Stitt's life, his father and mother, education, and philosophy and about Southern food and farming.

Frank Stitt's Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar

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Don Noble
2:10 pm
Mon November 15, 2004

Just Beneath My Skin: Autobiography and Self-Discovery

In her first memoir, All the Lost Girls, Foster told of her mother, as a girl, having been raped by her own brother. Now Foster has written volume two: Just Beneath My Skin, a linked collection of autobiographical essays.

Just Beneath My Skin: Autobiography and Self-Discovery

The typical memoir is the memoir of childhood. The writer tells of her or his growing up and the forces that shaped him. More often than not that there is some real unpleasantness.

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Don Noble
1:27 pm
Mon November 8, 2004

The Circus in Winter

You pick up a book about the circus and you think, man, this has just got to be fun, and usually it is. The Circus in Winter is such a book.

The Circus in Winter

There are certain subjects for fiction that seem intrinsically right, that just have to work. You pick up a book about the circus and you think, man, this has just got to be fun, and usually it is. The Circus in Winter is such a book.

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Don Noble
3:56 pm
Mon November 1, 2004

Fierce: A Memoir

Barbara Robinette Moss's memoir Change Me into Zeus's Daughter (2000) was compared by critics to Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, and I must admit that for sheer misery, it can compete. Moss, raised mainly in Calhoun County, Alabama, was one of eight children of a violent, alcoholic father, S. K. Moss, and his thoroughly traumatized wife, Barbara's mother, Dorris. S. K. spent most of his pay, week after week, in the bars.

Fierce: A Memoir

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Don Noble
3:52 pm
Mon October 25, 2004

The City of Churches

September of 2003 marked the 40th anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing during which four young girls were killed. It is appropriate, then, that this fictionalized account of those days be released at this time, yet is also unfortunate.

The City of Churches

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