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
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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Don Noble
1:49 pm
Mon October 18, 2004

Herman Melville's Whaling Years

It may seem odd, at first blush, to review a book on Melville's years aboard a whaling ship in a radio space devoted to Southern literature and, usually, Alabama literature.

Herman Melville's Whaling Years

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Don Noble
10:10 am
Mon October 4, 2004

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer

In Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, it first it looks as if Warren St. John is immersing himself, studying the motor home fans, the enthusiasts who move from Alabama game to Alabama game, Saturday after Saturday.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer

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Don Noble
3:58 pm
Mon September 27, 2004

Chicken Dreaming Corn

There have been many pieces of the southern cultural puzzle missing, and now Roy Hoffman is adding his piece of that puzzle. there have been many pieces of the southern cultural puzzle missing, and now Roy Hoffman is adding his piece of that puzzle.

Southern fiction has undergone a steady metamorphosis, a steady evolution since its beginnings, when it was mainly the novel of the plantation. These novels of the lives of the white planters at first were southern fiction, reaching its apotheosis, of course, with Gone with the Wind.

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Don Noble
10:28 am
Mon September 13, 2004

Cadillac Beach

Cadillac Beach is Tim Dorsey's sixth novel, and it is much like the previous five. They are satires, but of the most extravagant, over-the-top variety.

Cadillac Beach

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Don Noble
4:36 pm
Mon September 6, 2004

Grass Widow

In September of 1933, Viola Goode Stroud of Camden, Alabama returned home, with a small son and a load of trouble.

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Don Noble
9:53 am
Mon August 30, 2004

Cradle of Freedom

Why was Alabama so important? Because Birmingham was understood to be the most segregated city in America and the meanest--the toughest nut to crack.

This is Don Noble's 100th book review for Alabama Public Radio.

Cradle of Freedom

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Don Noble
4:42 pm
Wed August 25, 2004

Hell at the Breech

...where armed men, living on what was still a kind of a frontier and still chafing from the humiliation of their defeat in the Civil War, set out to assassinate, hang, bushwhack, burn, and torture one another and any women, children, or black families who happen to be in the line of fire.

Hell at the Breech

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