Don Noble's Book Reviews

Mondays at 7:35 a.m and 4:44 p.m.

Recently retired as English professor at The University of Alabama, Dr. Noble's  specialties are Southern and American literature.  He also hosts Bookmark on Alabama Public Television.

Don Noble's reviews can be heard most Mondays at 7:35am and 4:44pm.  and have been made possible in part through grants from the Alabama State Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To listen to the audio version of Dr. Noble's reviews, just click on the book title to be taken to the full page.  Audio is found either at the very beginning of the transcript or at the bottom of the page.

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Don Noble
1:14 pm
Mon August 14, 2006

Between, Georgia

Joshilyn Jackson, after only one year from publishing gods in Alabama, is back. Although the population of Between, Georgia is tiny, the reader may rest assured that the inhabitants have gigantic eccentricities.

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Don Noble
2:39 pm
Mon August 7, 2006

Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans

War is nearly the perfect subject, as Tolstoy and Hemingway, to name a couple, have shown. And the War of 1812, in particular, is a fine choice.

Right from his first book, Winston Groom has been taking his readers on a march through America?s wars, from the Civil War through the war in Vietnam. I am told that there is another book coming set during the war with Mexico. That will leave Groom only the American Revolution and the Spanish American War, of our major wars, to hit for the cycle.

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Don Noble
12:56 pm
Mon August 7, 2006

Noble Reviews Patriotic Fire

Don Noble reviews Patriotic Fire by "Forrest Gump" author Winston Groom.

Text version coming soon. Click the MP3 link above to listen to the review.

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Don Noble
2:23 pm
Mon July 31, 2006

In Search of Willie Morris

Larry L. King takes up the challenge of answering the question (What happened to Willie Morris?) in this volume which is partly a researched biography of Morris and partly a memoir of Willie by King. This is no whitewash.

In the spring of 1967, at the tender age of thirty-two, Willie Morris became the editor-in-chief of Harper?s, America?s oldest magazine. Harper?s was 117 years old and Willie was only its eighth editor. It was the apex of his career.

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Don Noble
9:29 am
Mon July 24, 2006

The One That Got Away: A Memoir

Howell Raines has been fishing all his life, and it is such an important, meaningful activity for him that he has used it twice as a controlling metaphor for recounting his life in memoir.

Howell Raines has been fishing all his life, and it is such an important, meaningful activity for him that he has used it twice as a controlling metaphor for recounting his life in memoir.

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Don Noble
4:05 pm
Mon July 17, 2006

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

Mockingbird is a fine biography of Nelle Harper Lee from her birth in 1926 to the age of forty and makes good reading.

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Don Noble
2:38 pm
Mon July 10, 2006

Hugo Black of Alabama: How His Roots and Early Career Shaped the Great Champion

The first thing to be said about this volume is that it takes the reader through Hugo Black's life only until the age of forty, until l926. This is unfortunate, since our strongest interest is in Black as the country's most liberal justice, the Alabamian who voted for the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing public school segregation.

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Don Noble
4:53 pm
Mon July 3, 2006

The Summer We Got Saved

Devoto recreates in her three novels the life -- the daily, ordinary life -- of her fictional Bainbridge, Alabama, in the northwest corner of the state, between the Tennessee River and the Tennessee border.

Pat Devoto is a historical novelist, not in the sense that Irving Stone was, who wrote, for example, The Agony and the Ecstasy, set in the Italian Renaissance, but Devoto writes of the semi-recent past, Alabama in the forties and fifties, living memory for many of us.

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Don Noble
10:18 am
Mon May 29, 2006

The Mermaid Chair

Sue Monk Kidd has become a publishing and cultural phenomenon, and her newest book, The Mermaid Chair, is solidly on the best-seller lists.

On the evening of March 29, Sue Monk Kidd spoke to a sold-out house in Homewood, Alabama. Ms Kidd was given the key to the city of Homewood at the end of her presentation. There were two men in the audience of approximately 600.

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Don Noble
3:58 pm
Mon May 22, 2006

Gather at the River: Notes from the Post-Millennial South

This volume, a finalist last year for the National Book Award for critical writing, is a collection of essays previously published in several publications. All are concerned with Southern culture in one way or another, and although a reader may not agree with all of Crowther's positions, he is always a writer to be taken seriously.

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Don Noble
9:03 am
Mon May 15, 2006

Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe IV

Brewer's series of books are a true grab bag--fiction, nonfiction, poetry-some of it reprinted and some of it original, and, of course, some of the thirty-two pieces are wonderful, some not.

As the title indicates, this is volume four in the series of collections of Southern writing Sonny Brewer is editing. Blue Moon books are meant to compete with the annual New Stories from the South volumes edited by Shannon Ravenel and put out by Algonquin, but there are important differences.

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Don Noble
11:07 am
Mon May 8, 2006

His Lovely Wife

Elizabeth Dewberry is a native of Birmingham, and her first two, very successful novels, were set there, with the third set in New Orleans. His Lovely Wife is set in Paris at the time of of Princess Diana's death.

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Don Noble
2:08 pm
Mon May 1, 2006

White Shadow

Having established his readership, Atkins could have gone on with this series indefinitely, and I am sure his publishers wanted him to, but he has instead written a stand-alone thriller, White Shadow.

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Don Noble
1:05 pm
Mon April 24, 2006

Sideshow

Even though many of these ten stories originally appeared in very fine journals such as The Southern Review and Carolina Quarterly, there has been a little buzz about how Sidney Thompson of Fairhope, Alabama, was having trouble publishing them as a collection. These are good stories, but they are also odd and disquieting stories.

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Don Noble
1:00 pm
Mon April 17, 2006

A Writer's Life

A Writer's Life, all 430 pages of it, is the story of several false starts, books begun but not finished, from l992 until the present. Talese may have been suffering from an ailment we might call "perfectionist's block."

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