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.


12:03 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Zelda Fitzgerald: The Tragic, Meticulously Researched Biography of the Jazz Age’s High Priestess

“Zelda Fitzgerald: The Tragic, Meticulously Researched Biography of the Jazz Age’s High Priestess”

Author: Sally Cline

Publisher: Arcade Publishing

Pages: 492

Price: $16.95 (Paper)

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was a charismatic, vivacious, beautiful, enigmatic, creative, deeply disturbed woman. Several full-length biographies have attempted to explain her. Before she ever met F. Scott Fitzgerald in Montgomery she was already famous/notorious in Alabama for her wit, physical daring and risqué behavior.

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1:56 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

The Silent Season of a Hero: The Sports Writing of Gay Talese

“The Silent Season of a Hero: The Sports Writing of Gay Talese”

Editor: Michael Rosenwald

Publisher: Walker & Company

Pages: 308

Price: $16.00 (paper)

Readers today may think of Gay Talese as the immersion journalist who hung out with the Bonnano Mafia family and published “Honor Thy Father,” or the writer who explored America’s sexual mores and reported back in “Thy Neighbor’s Wife,” or the historian of the “New York Times,” in “The Kingdom and the Power.”

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1:42 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Year of the Pig

“Year of the Pig”

Author: Mark J. Hainds

Publisher: University of Alabama Press

Pages: 272

Price: $16.95 (Cloth)

Mark Hainds, a research assistant with Auburn University stationed at the Solon Dixon Forestry Center in Andalusia, Alabama, set himself a challenge. Within the period of one year, 2007 (that is, the “Year of the Pig” on the Chinese calendar), he would hunt and kill wild, feral pigs in at least ten states.

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1:31 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

The Node

“The Node”

Author: Tito Perdue

Publisher: Nine-Banded Books

Pages: 258

Price: $12.00 (paper)

Tito Perdue of Centerville, Alabama, now the author of seven published novels, has a small readership but has received a few extraordinary reviews over the years. His fiction is disturbing, difficult to categorize, even to describe.

Perdue’s voice is singular and original. One does not have the feeling reading “The Node” that he is imitating or even much influenced by previous writing.

And, to the best of my knowledge, no one is imitating him.

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1:15 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby: A Spenser Novel

“Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby: A Spenser Novel”

Author: Ace Atkins

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 310

Price: $26.95

Robert B. Parker was a major detective fiction franchise, having published 49 Spenser novels, 9 Jesse Stone novels, 6 Sunny Randall novels and 14 other miscellaneous books.

His fans were certainly dismayed when Parker died in January of 2010. Would there be no more Parker books? He did not leave piles of completed manuscripts, as Barbara Cartland is said to have done.

No need for concern.

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3:48 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Old Havana: Spirit of the Living City

“Old Havana: Spirit of the Living City”

Author: Photographs by Chip Cooper and Nestor Marti

Publisher: The University of Alabama Press

Pages: 208

Price: $49.95 (Cloth)

First things first.

Describing a book of photographs in words is a tricky and probably thankless task. So let me begin simply. This is an absolutely beautiful book. You could take any page in the book, have it framed and hang it proudly on your wall.

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3:34 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Creatures of the Night: In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Demons

Creatures of the Night: In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Demons

Author: Gregory L. Reese

Publisher: I.B. Tauris & Co.

Pages: 208

Price: $17.00 (Paper)

The author of this volume, Dr. Gregory Reese, is an old hand at explaining the unusual and the paranormal. Reese, who has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, is the author, previously, of “Weird Science and Bizarre Beliefs,” “UFO Religion: Inside Flying Saucer Cults and Cultures” and, perhaps most intriguing of all, “Elvis Religion: The Cult of the King.”

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3:27 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Austin and Emily: Sometimes Love Is Blind…and Deaf…and Dumb

“Austin and Emily: Sometimes Love Is Blind…and Deaf…and Dumb”

Author: Frank Turner Hollon

Publisher: MacAdam/ Cage

Pages: 294

Price: $20.00 (Paper)

Frank Turner Hollon, an attorney in Baldwin County, Alabama, has been a steady producer of dark, painful novels, usually involving betrayal and often death. With books such as “The Point of Fracture” and “Blood and Circumstance” he generated a loyal readership.

After a while, I left that group, thinking Hollon was repeating himself, writing too fast and too thin.

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3:19 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Shiloh: 1862

“Shiloh: 1862”

Author: Winston Groom

Publisher: National Geographic

Pages: 443

Price: $30.00 (Cloth)

Alabama author Winston Groom has had a remarkable spring of 2012.

His novel “Forrest Gump” was reissued in a 25th anniversary edition, and now his sixteenth book, his third study of a Civil War battle, has been published. This is a highly detailed narrative and the reader had better want to learn a lot about the Battle of Shiloh, April 6th and 7th, 1862.

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3:07 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Crater: A Helium-3 Novel

“Crater: A Helium-3 Novel”

Author: Homer Hickam

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Pages: 311

Price: $14.95 (Cloth)

Over the years Homer Hickam of Huntsville has tried his hand at several genres. He’s done straight nonfiction with books like “Torpedo Junction,” series fiction with his WWII Josh Thurlow of the U.S. Coast Guard books, and of course his several volumes of memoir, set in West Virginia, beginning with “Rocket Boys.”

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2:53 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones

“Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones”

As Told to Albert Murray

Editor: Paul Devlin

Afterword: Phil Schaap

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Pages: 172

Price: $18.95 (Paper)

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Literary Reviews
3:35 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Over Time: My Life As a Sportswriter

New York Times

Author: Frank Deford

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

Pages: 354

Price: $25.00

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4:19 pm
Mon February 21, 2011

Fascinating Foods from the Deep South: Favorite Recipes from the University Club of Tuscaloosa

As Camille Elebash explains in her Foreword, Alline Van Duzor was brought to Tuscaloosa from Atlanta in 1946 to manage the then-new University Club. Van Duzor did just that, for 15 years. In 1962, right after her retirement, she published the original edition of this volume, containing the recipes for the dishes produced in her kitchen.

Audio ?2011 Alabama Public Radio

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4:13 pm
Mon February 21, 2011

Hadacol Days : A Southern Boyhood

Clyde Bolton is one of Alabama's best-known and admired writers. His new book, "Hadacol Days," seems much less edgy, lively and immediate. It is of course smoothly told?Bolton knows how to write?but the story seems a distant overview, more a summary than an analysis, pleasant and nostalgic, a report about an age when it was still safe to hitch-hike.

Audio ?2011 Alabama Public Radio

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3:44 pm
Mon February 21, 2011

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel

In this novel, "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" we have an exploration of the issue of race in Mississippi that certainly brings to mind the tangled family patterns, with absolute separation of the races combined with miscegenation, leading inevitably to catastrophe, that one finds in Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom" or "Go Down, Moses."

Audio ?2011 Alabama Public Radio

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