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.


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!

The Jumper

Oct 7, 2014

“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.

Thelonius Rising

Sep 29, 2014


“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.


“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)


Sep 15, 2014


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

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.


“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.


Sep 1, 2014


“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.


"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.

“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)

On a Darkling Plain

Aug 11, 2014

“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.”

“Gruesome: A Novel Drawn from True Crime”

Author: Donald Brown
Publisher: Borgo Publishing
Pages: 197
Price: $10.95 (Paperback)

Alabama Scoundrels

Jul 28, 2014

“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.

“The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee”
Author: Marja Mills
Publisher: The Penguin Press
Pages: 278
Price: $27.95 (Hardcover)

Before describing or evaluating this book, one must first express astonishment that it exists at all.

The White Lie

Jul 14, 2014

“The White Lie: A Novel”
Author: Philip Shirley
Publisher: Mindbridge Press
Pages: 276
Price: $15.95 (Paperback)

Philip Shirley, originally an Alabamian, has had a highly successful career in advertising and public relations in Jackson, Mississippi. Nevertheless, from time to time, Shirley has made forays into writing other than copyrighting: “Endings,” a volume of poetry, “Sweet Spot: 125 Years of Baseball and the Louisville Slugger,” a nonfiction work, and the respectable fiction debut, “Oh Don’t You Cry for Me,” a volume of short stories.

The Newspaper Boy

Jul 7, 2014

"The Newspaper Boy: Coming of Age in Birmingham, Alabama, During the Civil Rights Era"
Author: Chervis Isom
Publisher: The Working Writer Discovery Group
Pages: 359
Price: $27.95 (Hardcover)

A Time to Reap

Jun 30, 2014

  “A Time to Reap: A Novel”
Author: William Cobb
Publisher: SixFinger Publishing
Pages: 268
Price: $18.99 (Paperback)