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.


12:00 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald


“Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”                                                   

Author: Therese Anne Fowler

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 375

Price: $25.99 (Cloth)

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Book Reviews
9:10 am
Mon June 3, 2013

A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells' Story of Survival

"A Rare Titanic Family:  The Caldwells' Story of Survival"

By: Julie Hedgepeth Williams

Audio and text to be added soon.

Book Reviews
9:38 am
Mon May 20, 2013

An Accidental Memoir: How I Killed Someone and Other Stories

“An Accidental Memoir: How I Killed Someone and Other Essays and Stories”
Author: Wendy Reed
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Pages: 208
Price: $24.95 (Cloth)

Wendy Reed is a familiar and respected member of the Alabama literary community, having co- edited two books on Southern women and spirituality for the University of Alabama Press, and been a prize-winning producer/writer on “Discovering Alabama,” not to mention the literary interview show “Bookmark.”

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Book Reviews
12:00 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Opening the Doors by B. J. Hollars

“Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa”
Author: B.J. Hollars
Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
Pages: 288
Price: $29.95 (Cloth)

Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous stand in the schoolhouse door took place on June 11, 1963, at Foster Auditorium, nearly fifty years ago.

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Book Reviews
12:00 am
Mon May 6, 2013

"The Kings and Queens of Roam" by Daniel Wallace

“The Kings and Queens of Roam”
Author: Daniel Wallace
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Pages: 288
Price: $24.00 (Hardcover)

Here in his fifth novel Daniel Wallace has returned to many of the concerns and techniques of “Big Fish,” his first and most widely admired novel.

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Arts & Life
12:00 am
Mon April 29, 2013

He Needed Killing: Book 1 in the Needed Killing Series

“He Needed Killing: Book 1 in the Needed Killing Series”

Author: Bill Fitts

Publisher: Borgo Publishing Editions; Electronic Publisher: Smashwords

Pages: 220

Price: $10.95 (Paper)

In September of 2011 Bill Fitts retired from his job as a computer scientist at the University of Alabama and almost at once began his “He Needed Killing” mystery series.

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Arts & Life
12:00 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Southern Bound: A Gulf Coast Journalist on Books, Writers, and Literary Pilgrimages of the Heart

“Southern Bound: A Gulf Coast Journalist on Books, Writers, and Literary Pilgrimages of the Heart”

Author: John S. Sledge

Publisher: The University of South Carolina Press

Pages: 280 $24.95 (Paper)

From 1995 until just last fall, 2012, John Sledge was the editor of the “Mobile Press-Register” Books Page.

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Don Noble
12:00 am
Mon April 8, 2013

"Life After Life: A Novel" by Jill McCorkle

"Life After Life" by Jill McCorkle

“Life After Life: A Novel”
Author: Jill McCorkle
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pages: 352
Price: $24.95 (Cloth)

Jill McCorkle entered the publishing scene with a great splash. In 1984 Algonquin published her first two novels “July 7th” and “The Cheerleader” simultaneously. It was hoped this would create “buzz” and it did. Since then there have been four story collections and three more novels, but it has been 17 years since the last novel so “Life After Life” is long awaited by her fans.

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Arts & Life
8:40 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City

Why We Are Here

“Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City”
Authors: Edward O. Wilson and Alex Harris
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation (W. W. Norton & Company)
Pages: 228
Price: $39.95

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Arts & Life
8:34 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Crossing On The Paris

Crossing On The Paris

“Crossing on the Paris: A Novel”
Author: Dana Gynther Publisher: Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster
Pages: 314
Price: $15.00 (Paper)

The date is June 15, 1921, Le Havre, France. Three women who have never met are captured by the ship’s photographer as they mount the gangplank for the maiden voyage of the French luxury liner “Paris.”

The “Ship of Fools” motif in fiction, most famously exploited in the novel by Katherine Anne Porter, is time honored and very useful.

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Arts & Life
12:00 am
Mon March 11, 2013

“Wash”: A Novel

“Wash”: A Novel

By Margaret Wrinkle

Atlantic Monthly Press

New York


$25.00 (Cloth)

408 pp.

Make no mistake, “Wash” is a big, ambitious, demanding, novel, long but never plodding. Margaret Wrinkle, a Birmingham native, has done a prodigious amount of research and then put it in the service of a vivid imagination and a lyrical prose style.

“Wash” is a most impressive debut performance.

The novel is set mainly on the Richardson plantation “two days’ ride northeast of Nashville” in the year 1823, with long flashbacks.

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Arts & Life
12:00 am
Mon March 4, 2013

In Love with Defeat: The Making of a Southern Liberal

“In Love with Defeat: The Making of a Southern Liberal”

Author: H. Brandt Ayers

Publisher: NewSouth Books

Pages: 336

Price: $29.95 (Cloth)

H. Brandt Ayers, Brandy to his friends, has been publisher of the family-owned “Anniston Star” since returning home from Washington D.C. and taking over from his father, Col. Harry Ayers, in 1963. Now 78 years old, Ayers has published his memoirs.

“In Love with Defeat” runs along two parallel tracks.

First, it is an autobiography, a richly anecdotal look at Alabama’s last half century.

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Book Reviews
12:00 am
Mon February 25, 2013

The Book of Neil

“The Book of Neil”
Author: Frank Turner Hollon
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage
Pages: 223
Price: $20.00 (Cloth)

Prolific Baldwin county attorney/novelist Frank Turner Hollon has, this time out, written a fable. It is a familiar story, one that has been exploited in fiction and films, serious and satirical.

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Book Reviews
12:00 am
Mon February 18, 2013

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

“The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks”

Author: Jeanne Theoharis

Publisher: Beacon Press

Pages: 304

Price: $27.95 (Cloth)

The author of this new biography of Rosa Parks begins by addressing an obvious concern: don’t we already know, if not all there is to know, then at least all we need to know, about the life of Rosa Parks?

Her answer is a convincing no.

First, the two biographical accounts that have been done are incomplete for different reasons.

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Book Review
2:56 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Eden Rise: A Novel

“Eden Rise: A Novel”

Author: Robert J. Norrell

Publisher: NewSouth Books

Pages: 288 pp.

Price: $27.95 (Cloth)

Robert J. “Jeff” Norrell is already well known to students of Southern Studies. Norrell, who taught at UA and is now professor of history at the University of Tennessee, has won acclaim with books on Booker T. Washington, the civil rights movement in Tuskegee, several volumes on the history of the state of Alabama, race relations in America in the twentieth century and half a dozen others.

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