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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Books
10:46 am
Thu February 17, 2011

Time: A Novel

It is unlikely that Roger Reid will soon quit his day job. Along with Doug Philips and Wendy Reed, he recently shared a regional Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Writing for the "Alabama in Space" episode of the very successful, long-running series "Discovering Alabama."

Audio ?2011 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
9:35 am
Thu February 17, 2011

"Billion-Dollar Kiss"and "Fireworks Over Toccoa: A Novel"

"Billion-Dollar Kiss" gives a long, knowledgeable insider's look into the lunatic bin known as the Writers Room, glimpsed in "30 Rock," and the process and huge pressures of a weekly show. The dialogue in "Fireworks over Toccoa" is unimpeachable and each scene is drawn as camera-ready for the folks at Hallmark or Lifetime as a seasoned television professional can make it.

Audio ?2011 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
9:17 am
Thu February 17, 2011

Family Meeting: A Novel

When a writer wishes to have a number of characters reveal their stories, some structuring device must be found. Through an omniscient narrator, DeMott makes the reader privy to the conversations at the actual meetings of the family and to the various private conversations of the participants.

Audio ?2011 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
11:30 am
Tue February 15, 2011

Adam & Eve: A Novel

Naslund has tended to be over the years a kind of historical novelist. Although the novel is not science fiction, exactly, in order to have a chance, it needs to be read in a flexible, imaginative way.

Audio ?2011 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
10:11 am
Tue February 15, 2011

Family Meeting: A Novel by Miles DeMott

When a writer wishes to have a number of characters reveal their stories, some structuring device must be found. Chaucer has a group of pilgrims entertain each other on the road to Canterbury. Boccaccio puts a group of people in northern Italy in a country house to wait out the plague, and their stories constitute "The Decameron." Miles DeMott has chosen a different and thoroughly modern way.

Audio ? 2010 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
2:46 pm
Mon September 27, 2010

Nature Journal by L. J. Davenport

L. J. (Larry) Davenport, Professor of Biology at Samford University, may be known to some for his engaging and humorous talks at the West Blocton Cahaba Lily Festival each spring, and to many more for his quarterly nature columns in Alabama Heritage magazine.

Audio ?2010 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
3:31 pm
Mon September 20, 2010

The Grace of Silence: A Memoir by Michele Norris

The name Michele Norris will of course be familiar to NPR listeners. Often teamed with Steve Inskeep, Norris is a well-known NPR reporter. Usually these radio personalities are just voices to us, without even faces to go with them, never mind life stories, but Norris has written what is, more or less, a memoir.

Audio ?2010 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
11:32 am
Mon September 13, 2010

Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations by Howard Jones

You can't swing a cavalry saber in these parts without striking someone who thinks of himself as a Civil War buff, an amateur expert on the War Between the States. Yet as Howard Jones reminds us in his Epilogue, "Historians of Blue and Gray diplomacy remain small in number particularly compared with the military and political historians [amateur and professional] of the conflict. Battles, generals and politicians all helped to determine the outcome of the war; but so did diplomats."

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Books
1:58 pm
Mon September 6, 2010

The Typist by Michael Knight

Michael Knight of Mobile, Alabama is putting together a remarkably successful career, almost a model. He began with a volume of stories, Dogfight and Other Stories, and a novel, Divining Rod, both in 1998. There was then a second volume of stories, Goodnight, Nobody, in 2003 and a pair of novellas, The Holiday Season, in 2007. It is widely understood that the lead story in Goodnight, Nobody, entitled "Birdland," is being made into a feature film with Robert Duvall. Here's hoping.

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Books
11:26 am
Mon August 30, 2010

Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation by Barbara A. Baker

It might better have been titled "An Introduction to Albert Murray," because without doubt Murray, who is still alive at 94 and living in Manhattan, is the most important Alabama writer that few Alabamians know much about.

Audio ?2010 Alabama Public Radio

Do not be put off by the academic-sounding title. This is a highly readable collection, accessible and of interest to the common reader.

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Books
4:33 pm
Mon August 23, 2010

Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham

It occurred to me as I was reading through Leaving Gee's Bend that in all the young adult books I have read in the last couple of years,...the authors have been men and their protagonists boys.

It occurred to me as I was reading through Leaving Gee's Bend that in all the young adult books I have read in the last couple of years, by authors such as Brent Davis, Watt Key, Ted Dunagan and Peter Huggins, the authors have been men and their protagonists boys.

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Books
12:14 pm
Mon August 16, 2010

They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat by Lewis Grizzard

In this volume, which was a New York Times best-seller and sold 100,000 copies when published in 1982, when Grizzard was only 37, he tells of how he had earlier learned he had a problem, the up side of which, he says, was being given "a reprieve from the mud and blood of Vietnam," and describes the then-revolutionary procedures which would prolong his life.

Audio ?2010 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
11:23 am
Mon August 9, 2010

Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger: New and Selected Stories by Lee Smith

When I first held this volume I was disappointed to see it contained only seven new stories with another seven "selected" from previously published works. Like Smith fans everywhere I already own Cakewalk, Me and My Baby View the Eclipse and News of the Spirit. But disappointment soon turned to gratitude as I reread Smith's story of heartbreak and healing, "Bob, a Dog" and then to the delight of reunion with one of my favorite short stories of all time, "Intensive Care."

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Books
4:43 pm
Mon August 2, 2010

Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life by Kelly Cherry

Ms. Cherry is the author of 27 previous volumes of fiction, essays, poetry and translations from Greek and Latin. This is a mature, accomplished writer who shares in these essays, Girl in A Library, a variety of memories of her own life as a woman writer and a variety of opinions on which women writers we might pay more attention to.

Audio ?2010 Alabama Public Radio

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Books
3:05 pm
Mon July 26, 2010

The Simian Transcript by David Kopaska-Merkel

In 2008 in this space I commented on Kopaska-Merkel's first collection, Nursery Rhyme Noir. That volume was a retelling, in the form of hard-boiled detective fiction, of the murky, mysterious stories of Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Little Bo Peep and others. Those short- shorts were odd, but the volume was held together by the Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

Audio ?2010 Alabama Public Radio

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