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.


Book Review
8:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

On a Darkling Plain

“On a Darkling Plain: Stories of the Great Depression”
Author: Betty Jean Tucker
Publisher: Livingston Press
Pages: 162
Price: $17.95 (Paper)

Everybody loves a book that comes with a back story. In his very fine Introduction to “On a Darkling Plain,” Alabama literary critic Norman McMillan tells us of a 19-year-old student at Alabama College who, in 1951, published in “The Montevallo Review” her first story, “My Sister Callie.”

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Book Review
8:58 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Gruesome: A Novel Drawn from True Crime

“Gruesome: A Novel Drawn from True Crime”

Author: Donald Brown
Publisher: Borgo Publishing
Pages: 197
Price: $10.95 (Paperback)

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Alabama Scoundrels

“Alabama Scoundrels: Outlaws, Pirates, Bandits & Bushwhackers”
Authors: Kelly Kazek & Wil Elrick
Publisher: The History Press
Pages: 126
Price: $19.99 (Paperback)

“Alabama Scoundrels” is a short book, 122 pages, brief sketches of 22 Alabama miscreants. Most of the scoundrels of the title are criminals, usually killers of some type and usually nineteenth century, although a few go back further, to before statehood in 1819, when Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee

“The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee”
Author: Marja Mills
Publisher: The Penguin Press
Pages: 278
Price: $27.95 (Hardcover)

Before describing or evaluating this book, one must first express astonishment that it exists at all.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

The White Lie

“The White Lie: A Novel”
Author: Philip Shirley
Publisher: Mindbridge Press
Pages: 276
Price: $15.95 (Paperback)

Philip Shirley, originally an Alabamian, has had a highly successful career in advertising and public relations in Jackson, Mississippi. Nevertheless, from time to time, Shirley has made forays into writing other than copyrighting: “Endings,” a volume of poetry, “Sweet Spot: 125 Years of Baseball and the Louisville Slugger,” a nonfiction work, and the respectable fiction debut, “Oh Don’t You Cry for Me,” a volume of short stories.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

The Newspaper Boy

"The Newspaper Boy: Coming of Age in Birmingham, Alabama, During the Civil Rights Era"
Author: Chervis Isom
Publisher: The Working Writer Discovery Group
Pages: 359
Price: $27.95 (Hardcover)

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

A Time to Reap

  “A Time to Reap: A Novel”
Author: William Cobb
Publisher: SixFinger Publishing
Pages: 268
Price: $18.99 (Paperback)

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Birmingham Then and Now

  “Birmingham: Then and Now”
Author: Todd Keith
Publisher: Trafalgar Square Publishing
Pages: 144
Price: $19.95 (Hardback)

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Waffle House Rules


  “Waffle House Rules”
Author: Joe Formichella
Publisher: River’s Edge Media
Pages: 183
Price: $16.00 (Paperback)

Joe Formichella has had considerable success with a book on a black baseball league in Pritchard, Alabama, “Here’s to You, Jackie Robinson,” and a first novel, “The Wreck of the Twilight Limited,” nearly a true-life novel about the catastrophic 1993 Amtrak train wreck on a bridge over Bayou Canot north of Mobile.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division

  “Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division”
Author: Nimrod Frazer, with a Foreword by Edwin C. Bridges
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Pages: 344
Price: $34.95 (Hardback)

On May 9, 1919, the 167th Infantry Regiment, the Alabama regiment, of the 42nd Division returned from Europe in triumph. They were to be mustered out in Camp Shelby, Mississippi, but their three special troop trains stopped for celebrations in Huntsville, Decatur, Anniston, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile.

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Book Review
9:24 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Booty Bones

  “Booty Bones: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery”
Author: Carolyn Haines
Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group, Minotaur Books
Pages: 355
Price: $24.99 (Hardback)

Carolyn Haynes has now published 14 Sarah Booth Delaney “Bones” mysteries over the past 15 years.

What started as a series set at Dahlia House, in Sunflower County, Zinnia, in the Mississippi Delta, has done some travelling.

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Book Review
9:14 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist

  “Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist: A Memoir”
Author: Tim Parrish
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi: Willie Morris Books in Memoir and Biography
Pages: 263
Price: $28.00 (Hardback)

A river of books has come out of the civil rights moment: large-scale general histories like Taylor Branch’s three volume “America in the King Years” and more focused studies such as Diane McWhorter’s investigation of the Movement in Birmingham, ”Carry Me Home.”

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Book Review
9:08 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Come Landfall: A Novel

  “Come Landfall: A Novel”
Author: Roy Hoffman
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Pages: 232
Price: $29.95 (Cloth)

The novels of Roy Hoffman seem to flow from two sources.

First, as a writer for the “Mobile Press-Register,” Hoffman wrote scores of stories, profiling the citizens of the city. Character sketches of interesting though not conventionally important people were a specialty. In doing this work he of course came to realize more fully than most how multi-ethnic the population of Alabama actually is.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Lion Plays Rough: A Leo Maxwell Mystery

  “Lion Plays Rough: A Leo Maxwell Mystery”
Author: Lachlan Smith
Publisher: The Mysterious Press: An Imprint of Grove/Atlantic
Pages: 246
Price: $24.00 (Cloth)

Just last year, 2013, Lachlan Smith, a Birmingham attorney practicing civil rights and employment law, published his debut thriller, “Bear Is Broken.” Smith was well prepared to write that novel, having studied writing at Stanford and Cornell and then getting a law degree from UC Berkeley in 2009.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Brother Sid: A Novel of Sidney Lanier

  “Brother Sid: A Novel of Sidney Lanier”
Author: May Lamar
Publisher: The Donnell Group
Pages: 265
Price: $22.95 (Cloth)

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