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
4:09 pm
Thu December 22, 2005

Stop the Presses (So I Can Get Off)

A retired sports writer takes no prisoners and tells all in this memoir.

During his 46 years as a newspaperman, 40 of them with the Birmingham News, Clyde Bolton earned a reputation as a straight-talking reporter.

He covered mainly sports, all the major sports and teams in the state of Alabama and, along the way, wrote 16 books before this one.

Six of those books were novels, the best being Nancy Swimmer; Story of the Cherokee Nation.

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Don Noble
12:15 pm
Thu December 22, 2005

Stop the Presses (So I Can Get Off)

A retired sports writer takes no prisoners and tells all in this memoir.

During his 46 years as a newspaperman, 40 of them with the Birmingham News, Clyde Bolton earned a reputation as a straight-talking reporter.

He covered mainly sports, all the major sports and teams in the state of Alabama and, along the way, wrote 16 books before this one.

Six of those books were novels, the best being Nancy Swimmer; Story of the Cherokee Nation.

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Don Noble
3:18 pm
Mon December 19, 2005

Dancing by the River

A third collection of Faulkner-style stories from an "impressive young writer."

After a fine debut book of stories, The Dry Well, in 2001, and a novel, A Broken Thing, chronicling a failed marriage, in 2003, Marlin ?Bart? Barton is back again with a new book of stories, Dancing by the River.

This talented young man is building a career.

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Don Noble
9:36 am
Mon November 21, 2005

Picture Taker: Photographs by Ken Elkins

These photos, all black and white, are stunning. Engaging, beautifully composed, many telling a story in a flash, this collection is worth anyone's attention.

Picture Taker: Photographs by Ken Elkins

Ken Elkins took photographs for the Anniston Star for decades, thousands and thousands of them--local events, stock car races, beauty pageants, high school football games--and won his share of prizes along the way.

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Don Noble
3:11 pm
Mon November 14, 2005

Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams, by Paul Hemphill

Hank Williams was, in his own way, an enigma. He was also a kind of genius. Hardly educated, a high-school drop-out, neither a reader nor a writer, he was a poet. Hank was writing songs in his teens that will be played for another hundred years.

Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams, by Paul Hemphill

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Don Noble
9:30 am
Mon November 7, 2005

Novel: A Novel

This is a highly self-conscious, playful, post-modern kind of novel, with many digressions and red herrings and no certainty for the reader that anything is "true."

It is very difficult indeed in America to establish a writing career producing only short stories. Few have remained pure. O. Henry, Alice Munro, and Harold Brodskey perhaps come the closest, though others, like Peter Taylor, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, and Katherine Anne Porter have given in and written one or two novels.

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Don Noble
11:59 am
Mon October 31, 2005

Eudora Welty : A Biography.

Was Eudora Welty a reclusive, shy, a provincial, untravelled, unloved, and always at home in Jackson, Mississippi. Much of this is wrong. Welty traveled quite frequently on lecture and reading tours, and accepting many prizes such as the Pulitzer Prize, the Howells Medal and eight O. Henry short story awards. This book has captured her in a way that is accurate, objective, and full of the right kind of intelligent affection.

Eudora Welty : A Biography.

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Don Noble
3:30 pm
Mon October 24, 2005

The Thunder of Angels

On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks took her seat on bus number 2857. When a white passenger boarded, Mrs. Parks was ordered to give up her seat, refused, and was arrested. In this book, the Montgomery bus boycott that lasted 381 days is fully fleshed out, using extensive research.

The Thunder of Angels

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Don Noble
12:42 pm
Mon October 3, 2005

The Last Coach: A Life of Paul

Think you know all there is to know about the life of Paul "Bear" Bryant? Allen Barra assures us that there have been no authoritative biographies.

The Last Coach: A Life of Paul

We all think that we know all there is to know about the life of Paul "Bear" Bryant, but Allen Barra assures his readers that there have, in fact, been no authoritative biographies.

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Don Noble
9:26 am
Mon September 26, 2005

gods In Alabama

This novel vacillates, in a disconcerting way, between being a comedy of manners and misperception and a grim depiction of the sexual violence of small-town teen life.

gods In Alabama

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Don Noble
9:07 am
Mon September 12, 2005

Saints at the River

Ron Rash had a distinguished career as a poet and short story writer before his first novel, One Foot in Eden. This is his second novel, Saints at the River. It's a short book and a good read.

Saints at the River

Appalachian mountain culture, north to south, has been very well served these last few years in fiction and nonfiction.

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Don Noble
9:01 am
Sun September 4, 2005

The Widow of the South

Gone With the Wind meets War and Peace in this meticulously-researched novel.

The Widow of the South

The Widow of the South, a first novel, arrives as the most heavily touted novel of the Fall.

The press package alone is a couple of hours of reading. Warner Books has made Widow their number-one focus, with a $500,000 ad campaign, and at least seven book clubs have chosen Widow as a selection or alternate.

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Don Noble
3:43 pm
Fri September 2, 2005

Here's to You, Jackie Robinson

How two men, one on a national stage and one in a small town in Alabama, both helped the cause of race relations in America

Here's to You, Jackie Robinson

Despite the title, the heart of this book is the story of Jesse Norwood, who, by all accounts, was a great human being.

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Don Noble
10:16 am
Mon August 22, 2005

Tartts: Incisive Fiction From Emerging Writers

A collection of quirky, yet commendable, short stories. Perfect end-of-summer reading.

Tartts: Incisive Fiction From Emerging Writers

In a contest named after Livingston folklorist Ruby Pickens Tartt, Joe Taylor of UWA's Livingston Press put out a call for collections of short stories by writers who had never published a collection and received 153 manuscripts in the mail.

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Don Noble
11:46 am
Tue July 19, 2005

As Hot As It Was, You Ought to Thank Me

A novel about growing up in the literally and figuratively hot South.

As Hot As It Was, You Ought to Thank Me

The most famous unreliable narrator in American fiction is Mark Twain?s Huckleberry Finn.

Huck is not a liar and, unlike an Edgar Allen Poe unreliable narrator, who tells the reader in the first few sentences that he is an alcoholic or caught for years in the trammels of opium, Huck means to tell you the truth.

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