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.

“Stanislavski in Ireland: Focus at Fifty”

Editors: Brian McAvera and Steven Dedalus Burch

Publisher: Carysfort

Press Pages: 245

Price: $37.95

An American girl, Deirdre O’Connell, is the heroine of this unusual history of a Dublin theatre.

Born and raised in the Bronx, of Irish immigrant parents, O’Connell studied acting at the New York Dramatic Workshop and then with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. There she was introduced to The Method, the Stanislavski System, which became the ruling passion of the rest of her life.

The Melody of Secrets

Dec 16, 2013

“The Melody of Secrets”

Author: Jeffrey Stepakoff

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 261

Price: $24.99 (Cloth)

“Pickett’s Charge: A Novel”

Author: Charles McNair

Publisher: Livingston Press

Pages: 331

Price: $30.00 (Cloth), $18.95 (Trade Paper)

In 1994 McNair’s first novel, “Land O’Goshen,” a dystopian novel set in the future, made a nice little stir. McNair’s career was launched.

Now after a 19-year silence while he worked successfully at public relations in Atlanta, McNair is back with a BIG novel, this time exploring, in an epic that unspools over one hundred years, the ideas of time, history, tradition and revenge.

Wittgenstein’s Lolita: Short Stories from William Gay”

Author: William Gay

Publisher: Wild Dog Press

Pages: 64

Price: $10.00 (Paper)

Bursting onto the Southern literary scene in 1998 at the age of 55 with, first, stories and then the novel “The Long Home,” William Gay published four books, three novels and the story collection “I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down.”

“The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindburgh and the Epic Age of Flight”

Author: Winston Groom

Publisher: National Geographic Society

Pages: 464

Price: $30.00 (Cloth)

Winston Groom’s historical nonfiction is increasingly a great reading pleasure. Now a master of this form, he researches extensively, assimilates mountains of material and then tells the stories, smoothly, engagingly.

“Camp Redemption: A Novel”

Author: Raymond L. Atkins

Publisher: Mercer University Press

Pages: 271

Price: $25.00 (Cloth)

Raymond Atkins, an English instructor at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, has a nice little career going.

“The Front Porch Prophet” (2008) won Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel.

His second, “Sorrow Wood” (2009), has won The Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction, given by Mercer University. Sams’ best-known novels are “Run with the Horsemen” (1982) and “The Whisper of the River” (1984).

Guests on Earth

Nov 18, 2013

  “Guests on Earth: A Novel”
Author: Lee Smith
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Pages: 337
Price: $25.95 ( Cloth )

Lee Smith’s seventeenth book of fiction combines the thoroughly imagined with some elements of the traditional historical novel.

The Moon and the Stars; New and Collected Stories

Author: Marian Carcache

Introduction by Don Noble

Publisher: Solomon & George Publishers

Pages: 82

Price: $15.00 (Paper)

Over a period of years I had enjoyed Marian Carcache’s stories in collections like “Belles Lettres,” “Chinaberries and Crows” and “Climbing Mt. Cheaha,” so it was a pleasure to say “yes” when I was asked to write an Introduction for this volume. In this review I will repeat that these 14 stories are clever, insightful, sometimes touching, often very funny.

Local Souls: Novellas

Nov 4, 2013

“Local Souls: Novellas”

Author: Allan Gurganus

Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corp.

Pages: 344

Price: $25.95 (Cloth)

Allan Gurganus, after two big novels, “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” and “Plays Well with Others,” which is set in the early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York, has turned increasingly to the long, long story, the novella. For him, as for Henry James, it is the perfect form, the piece readable in one sitting, perhaps between dinner and bedtime, with no mood-destroying interruptions.

"The Tilted World"

Nov 4, 2013

  “The Tilted World”
Authors: Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 320
Price: $25.99 (Cloth)

In Oxford, Mississippi, Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly both write and teach writing at Ole Miss.

Tom, a novelist, is best known for “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” “Hell at the Breech” and other works of fiction containing considerable violence and cruelty.

She Needed Killing: Book 3 in the Needed Killing Series

Author: Bill Fitts

Publisher: Borgo Publishing 2013

Pages: 363

Price: $12.95 (Paper

Retired from the University of Alabama , Bill Fitts has actually done what so many threaten; he has taken up writing murder mysteries.

Skin in the Game

Oct 7, 2013

“Skin in the Game”

Author: R.P. Finch

Publisher: Livingston Press

Pages: 327

Price: $18.95 (Cloth)

The Livingston Press of West Alabama continues to publish unusual, off-beat fiction. “Skin in the Game” is a debut novel by R.P. Finch, who is himself a bit unusual. Finch holds a doctorate in philosophy from Duke University and a doctor of jurisprudence from UNC Chapel Hill. After practicing law in Atlanta for 30 years Finch, now retired, has produced a clever, downright frantic comic novel that sends up law firms, strip clubs and the mafia.

“Inside the Vault: The Paul W. Bryant Collection”

Author: Taylor Watson; Foreword by Ken Gaddy

Publisher: The Paul W. Bryant Museum

Pages: 122

Price: $29.95 (Cloth)

(Available at the Museum and online at

The Governor’s Lady

Sep 23, 2013

“The Governor’s Lady”

Author: Robert Inman

Publisher: John F. Blair

Pages: 331

Price: $26.95 (Cloth)

Novelist Bob Inman in interviews likes to describe himself as a simple storyteller, without overt pretensions to creating “literature.” This is a seemingly modest declaration but, really, being a first-rate storyteller is a fine achievement, harder than it looks. Indeed it should not look hard at all, and if the story fails to hold the reader’s interest it won’t matter if it is “literature” or not; few will read the book.

Moonrise: A Novel

Sep 16, 2013

“Moonrise: A Novel”

Author: Cassandra King

Publisher: Maiden Lane Press

Pages: 384 

Price: $26.95 (Cloth)

Cassandra King has just published her fifth novel, “Moonrise,” and it is different from anything she has done before.

This is not only exciting, it is risky.

The Road from Gap Creek

Sep 9, 2013

 Don Noble's Book Review on The Road from Gap Creek by Robert MorganEdit | Remove

“The Road from Gap Creek”

Author: Robert Morgan

Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hil

l Pages: 318

Price: $25.95 (Cloth)

 Don Noble's Book Review on “The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman” by Sena Jeter NaslundEdit | Remove

“The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman”

Author: Sena Jeter Naslund

Publisher: William Morrow

Pages: 448

Price: $26.99 (Cloth)

"Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving”
Author:  Jonathan Evison
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Pages: 278
Price: $14.95 (Paper)

Algonquin Books has published the paperback of “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving” with an unusual amount of fanfare and they are right. This is a special, unusual novel and is in its way a literary high-risk adventure.

Pale Blue Light

Aug 12, 2013

“Pale Blue Light”                                                             

By Skip Tucker


NewSouth Books


$27.95 ( Cloth )

392 pp.

They Had No Voice

Aug 5, 2013

"They Had No Voice"
Author: Denny Abbott

Transcript to be added soon.

“Cold War Dixie: Militarization and Modernization in the American South”

Author: Kari Frederickson                                                                

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

Pages: 256

Price: $24.95 (Paper); $ 69.95 (Cloth); $24.95 (Ebook)

“The Broken Places: A Quinn Colson Novel”    

Author: Ace Atkins

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 358

Price: $26.95 (Cloth)


“Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland”

Author: Ace Atkins

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Price: $26.95

Pages: 306

Ace Atkins, Auburn graduate, has just published simultaneously, his own twelfth novel, “The Broken Places,” set in Mississippi, and his second Robert B. Parker Spenser novel, “Wonderland,” set of course in Boston.        

This week Dr. Noble reviews:  Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle that Changed America by Jonathan Rieder

Transcript and audio to follow soon.


This week Don Reviews "The Bookman's Tale" by Charlie Lovett.

Transcript to be posted soon.

“Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”                                                   

Author: Therese Anne Fowler

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 375

Price: $25.99 (Cloth)

“An Accidental Memoir: How I Killed Someone and Other Essays and Stories”
Author: Wendy Reed
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Pages: 208
Price: $24.95 (Cloth)

Wendy Reed is a familiar and respected member of the Alabama literary community, having co- edited two books on Southern women and spirituality for the University of Alabama Press, and been a prize-winning producer/writer on “Discovering Alabama,” not to mention the literary interview show “Bookmark.”

“The Kings and Queens of Roam”
Author: Daniel Wallace
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Pages: 288
Price: $24.00 (Hardcover)

Here in his fifth novel Daniel Wallace has returned to many of the concerns and techniques of “Big Fish,” his first and most widely admired novel.

“He Needed Killing: Book 1 in the Needed Killing Series”

Author: Bill Fitts

Publisher: Borgo Publishing Editions; Electronic Publisher: Smashwords

Pages: 220

Price: $10.95 (Paper)

In September of 2011 Bill Fitts retired from his job as a computer scientist at the University of Alabama and almost at once began his “He Needed Killing” mystery series.

“Southern Bound: A Gulf Coast Journalist on Books, Writers, and Literary Pilgrimages of the Heart”

Author: John S. Sledge

Publisher: The University of South Carolina Press

Pages: 280 $24.95 (Paper)

From 1995 until just last fall, 2012, John Sledge was the editor of the “Mobile Press-Register” Books Page.

“Life After Life: A Novel”
Author: Jill McCorkle
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pages: 352
Price: $24.95 (Cloth)

Jill McCorkle entered the publishing scene with a great splash. In 1984 Algonquin published her first two novels “July 7th” and “The Cheerleader” simultaneously. It was hoped this would create “buzz” and it did. Since then there have been four story collections and three more novels, but it has been 17 years since the last novel so “Life After Life” is long awaited by her fans.