Don Noble's Book Reviews

Mondays at 7:45 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 7:45am 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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Credit Alabama State Council on the Arts

Dr. Noble's Book Reviews are made possible in part with a grant from The Alabama State Council on the Arts, with the support of The University of Alabama, and from the generous support from our listeners.  Thank you!

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

“The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion”
Author: Fannie Flagg
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 367
Price: $15.00 (paper)

“The All Girls Filling Station’s Last Reunion” is Fannie Flagg’s ninth novel and her fans are going to love it.

Descriptions of this novel by reviewers and by Flagg’s friends Mark Childress, Pat Conroy and Carol Burnett include: funny, quirky, charming, kind, entertaining, page-turner, sunny, witty, warm-hearted and of course, heartwarming. And it’s true.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon November 3, 2014

The Resurrectionist

  

“The Resurrectionist”
Author: Matthew Guinn
Pages: 284
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.
Price: $25.95 (Cloth)

To begin at the beginning: a resurrectionist is a body snatcher, a person who digs up newly buried bodies in a graveyard and delivers them to a medical school for students to work on and learn from in anatomy class.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon October 27, 2014

An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H.L. Mencken

    

“An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Art of H. L. Mencken”
Author: Hal Crowther
Publisher: The University of Iowa Press; Muse Books: The Iowa Series in Creativity and Writing
Pages: 92
Price: $16.00 (Paper)

The Iowa Muse Series is not full-fledged biography or literary criticism. These short books are actually extended essays that attempt to explain the very essence of the writer under consideration. Previous subjects have been as varied as Wordsworth, Blake, Keats and the James brothers, William and Henry.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon October 13, 2014

The Death of Santini

    

“The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son”
Author: Pat Conroy
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 336
Price: $28.95 (Cloth)

This is not exactly an autobiography, although Conroy’s life story gets told. But then, as his prologue says: “I’ve been writing the story of my own life for over forty years....My stormy autobiography has been my theme, my dilemma, my obsession….”

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Book Review
10:10 am
Tue October 7, 2014

The Jumper

“The Jumper: A Novel”
Author: Tim Parrish
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Pages: 287
Price: $26.95 (Paper)

Raised in blue-collar Baton Rouge, after LSU and an MFA in fiction writing at Alabama, Tim Parrish has had his teaching career at Southern Connecticut State University. But in his writing, Parrish has never left the neighborhood in Baton Rouge where he was raised.

Through three books in three genres he has returned to this seething, rather toxic place.

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Book Review
9:14 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Thelonius Rising

    

“Thelonious Rising”
Author: Judith Richards
Publisher: River’s Edge Media
Pages: 317
Price: $19.00 (Paper)

Judith Richards of Fairhope, Alabama, is a veteran novelist with a considerable track record. Since her first novel, “The Sounds of Silence,” in 1977 she has published five more, to considerable acclaim.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey

    

“13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey” (Commemorative Edition)
Author: Kathryn Tucker Windham and Margaret Gillis Figh, with a new Afterword by Dilsy Windham Hilley and Ben Windham
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Pages: 124
Price: $29.95 (Hardcover)

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Halley

    

“Halley”
Author: Faye Gibbons
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Pages: 208
Price: $21.95 (Hardcover)
208

Faye Gibbons is an old pro at children’s and Young Adult writing. An Auburn graduate and author of more than a dozen books, she won the Georgia Author of the Year award in 1983 for “Some Glad Morning” and the Alabama Author Award for “Night in the Barn” in 1998, given by the Alabama Library Association.

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Book Reviews
8:00 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How The Swampers Changed American Music

    

“Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How The Swampers Changed American Music”
Author: Carla Jean Whitley
Publisher: The History Press
Pages: 160
Price: $19.99 (Paper)

Towards the end of her short history of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, “Birmingham Magazine” managing editor Whitley discusses the new documentary “Muscle Shoals” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

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Book Review
8:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Next

 

“Next: D-Bow’s High School Hoops”
Author: Kevin Waltman
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Pages: 287
Price: $11.95 (Paper)

Sports fans know that what football is to Alabama culture, basketball is to Indiana culture: passion, obsession, madness, religion.

Pop culture images of Indiana basketball, however, as opposed to the images of the NBA, show white small-town Hoosiers at play, coached by Gene Hackman. Although blond Larry Byrd, of French Lick, Indiana, has been retired for some time, he is still the model for Indiana hoops.

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Book Review
7:48 am
Mon August 25, 2014

The Island Called Paradise: Cuba in History, Literature, and the Arts

    

"The Island Called Paradise: Cuba in History, Literature, and the Arts"
Author: Philip D. Beidler
Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
2014, Tuscaloosa, AL
$34.95 (Cloth)
193 pp.

Over a long career, Beidler has written analyses of early American and Alabama literature, sweeping appraisals of the war literature of WWII and Vietnam, a number of powerful personal essays based on his experiences as a lieutenant in Vietnam and, most lately, outraged appraisals of American political leadership.

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Book Review
9:42 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Truman Capote: A Literary Life at the Movies

“Truman Capote: A Literary Life at the Movies”

Author: Tison Pugh
Publisher: The University of Georgia Press
Pages: 287
Price: $79.95 (Cloth); $28.95 (Paper)

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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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