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
1:46 pm
Mon May 31, 2004

The Clearing

I have recently read in the New York Times that the percentage of trade fiction purchased by males has dropped from thirty-three to about twenty percent. Gentlemen: if you are going to read one new novel in 2004, let it be this one. You won't be sorry.

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Don Noble
9:07 am
Mon May 17, 2004

Hallowed Bones

Sarah Booth Delaney, an orphan, in her thirties, after an unsuccessful attempt to establish an acting career in New York City, has returned to the family home, Dahlia House, in Zinnia, Sunflower County, in the Mississippi Delta.

Hallowed Bones

Them Bones, Buried Bones, Splintered Bones, Crossed Bones, and now Hallowed Bones?Carolyn Haines? fifth Sarah Booth Delaney mystery novel and her best yet.

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Don Noble
4:58 pm
Mon May 10, 2004

Shebang

It is not unusual for many fiction writers to set their first novels on campus or at least in the town of their artistic birth. Valerie Vogrin, has set her first novel, Shebang, on what I take to be 13th Street of Tuscaloosa, right up from Abernathy's Market.

Shebang

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Don Noble
2:36 pm
Mon April 12, 2004

Inside Alabama

i>Inside Alabama is "a commentary, an extended essay on events and attitudes that I think made and make Alabama what it is today."

Inside Alabama

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Don Noble
2:15 pm
Mon April 5, 2004

A Sunday In June

In A Sunday in May, Perry has produced a "prequel" to Stigmata. This novel takes place again in Johnson Creek, Alabama, south of Union Springs, and chronicles the lives of the Mobley family from 1915 until 1963.

A Sunday In June

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Don Noble
11:22 am
Mon March 29, 2004

Dirty South

Atkins has just published his fourth Nick Travers suspense/mystery novel. The heart of any such series is the sleuth, of course, and Nick, established in the first novel, Crossroad Blues, is quite a creation.

Dirty South

Here's the first thing you need to know about Ace Atkins: Ace is his real name. It is on his birth certificate.

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Don Noble
9:57 am
Mon March 8, 2004

The Ocean Was Salt

Loretta Cobb of Montevallo has watched her husband, Bill, write fiction for the last thirty years, so it's no surprise that after her retirement as Director of the Writing Center there, she took up short story writing herself. Her first collection, The Ocean Was Salt, has now been published, and the ten stories are varied and pleasing.

The Ocean Was Salt

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Don Noble
12:18 pm
Mon March 1, 2004

Slow Way Home

Slow Way Home is rough. It sometimes appears to be a less than final draft of a novel, especially in the final third. Perhaps there was pressure on Morris to publish while there was still word of mouth about A Place Called Wiregrass.

Slow Way Home

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Don Noble
2:05 pm
Mon February 16, 2004

Waiting For April

Waiting for April is Scott Morris's second novel. April is of a mixed nature, a tragi-comedy so to speak--as dark as rape and murder one minute and surprisingly funny the next.

Waiting For April

Waiting for April is Scott Morris's second novel. April is of a mixed nature, a tragi-comedy so to speak--as dark as rape and murder one minute and surprisingly funny the next.

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Don Noble
11:10 am
Mon February 9, 2004

Four Spirits

Forty years and six volumes of fiction after living through the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, AL, Naslund had achieved huge success with the novel Ahab's Wife, and has done in fiction what Diane McWhorter has done in prose: told her version of the story of that time and place.

Four Spirits

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Don Noble
10:19 am
Mon February 2, 2004

Weren't No Good Times

Randall Williams has entitled the book Weren't No Good Times, but readers will be startled by the mellow nature of many of the answers. The book is founded on the oral history project of the Great Depression days when writers interviewed former slaves about their recollections of the Civil War and slavery.

Weren't No Good Times

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Don Noble
9:20 am
Mon January 26, 2004

When the Finch Rises

In the year 2000 Jack Riggs was chosen in Nashville as one of the South's "Emerging New Voices," and now When the Finch Rises has been blurbed by Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Silas House, Fred Chappell, Lewis Nordan, and Clyde Edgerton. In a kind of imprimatur, Edgerton says, "Riggs's up-and-coming days are over. He's here." Well, I don't think so. Not yet.

When the Finch Rises

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Don Noble
9:50 am
Mon January 19, 2004

Redneck Riviera

Dennis Covington of Birmingham showed in 1995 that he belongs on the top shelf of writers of creative nonfiction with the publication of Salvation on Sand Mountain. Covington's readers have been looking forward to Redneck Riviera for almost nine years now, and, sad to say, they will be disappointed.

Redneck Riviera

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Don Noble
10:55 am
Mon January 12, 2004

Willem's Field

Willem is conscious of what he is doing and how he appears to others, but he can't stop himself. First he loses control of his utterances, much like a Tourette's Syndrome victim. He begins to babble, then rage, to yell at the top of his lungs.

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Don Noble
2:56 pm
Fri December 12, 2003

The Spider's Web

At the age of fourteen, in 1954, Greenhaw, and his protagonist alter-ego Thomas Morgan Reed, developed scoliosis, a severe curvature of the spine. In The Spider's Web Thomas must endure a year of excruciating operations and body casts.

The Spider's Web

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