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LA Review of Books

Books & Literature

The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts. The Los Angeles Review of Books magazine was created in part as a response to the disappearance of the traditional newspaper book review supplement, and, with it, the art of lively, intelligent long-form writing on recent publications in every genre, ranging from fiction to politics. The Los Angeles Review of Books seeks to revive and reinvent the book review for the internet age, and remains committed to covering and representing today’s diverse literary and cultural landscape.

The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts. The Los Angeles Review of Books magazine was created in part as a response to the disappearance of the traditional newspaper book review supplement, and, with it, the art of lively, intelligent long-form writing on recent publications in every genre, ranging from fiction to politics. The Los Angeles Review of Books seeks to revive and reinvent the book review for the internet age, and remains committed to covering and representing today’s diverse literary and cultural landscape.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Description:

The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts. The Los Angeles Review of Books magazine was created in part as a response to the disappearance of the traditional newspaper book review supplement, and, with it, the art of lively, intelligent long-form writing on recent publications in every genre, ranging from fiction to politics. The Los Angeles Review of Books seeks to revive and reinvent the book review for the internet age, and remains committed to covering and representing today’s diverse literary and cultural landscape.

Language:

English


Episodes

Ottessa Moshfegh's "Lapvona"

6/24/2022
Author Ottessa Moshfegh returns to speak to Kate Wolf about her latest novel Lapvona. The book is set in a medieval village of the same name; a place beset by violence and extreme cruelty. Its ruler is the loutish overlord Villiam, who engineers massacres of Lapvona’s inhabitants whenever dissent grows and steals their water during a deadly drought. Villiam’s distant relative is Jude, a shepherd who beats his son Marek and lies about the fate of Marek’s supposedly deceased mother. Marek...

Duration:00:43:15

Nell Zink's "Avalon"

6/17/2022
Author Nell Zink joins Eric Newman and Kate Wolf to talk about her latest novel, Avalon. The book is a coming of age novel centered on Bran, a young woman abandoned by her parents, left to fend for herself on a Southern California farm where she helps raise and sell exotic plants amid the looming presence of a biker gang. When Bran meets Peter, a college student thick on theory and philosophy, she glimpses the possibility of a lush new world of ideas and possibility. The two share a tortured...

Duration:00:40:33

Renee Gladman's "Plans for Sentences"

6/10/2022
Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by the revered writer and artist Renee Gladman to speak about her latest book, Plans for Sentences. Plans for Sentences is a collection of ink and watercolor drawings paired with texts, each duo labeled as a “figure,” making 60 figures in all. The drawings combine the loops and scribbles of words and letters with the lines of cityscapes and buildings. The text meanwhile outlines what the titular “sentences” of the book will do. Together, Gladman seems to...

Duration:00:42:19

Elif Batuman's "Either/Or"

6/3/2022
Novelist and New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman joins Kate Wolf to discuss her latest book, Either/Or. A sequel to 2017's The Idiot, the novel follows Batuman’s protagonist Selin in her sophomore year at Harvard University in 1996. Endearingly sincere in her efforts to understand the world around her, Selin turns most often to the books she reads for her literature major to do so, especially the titular work by Kierkegaard, which allows her to consider the merits of an aesthetic life...

Duration:00:44:24

Shelly Oria's "I Know What’s Best for You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom"

5/27/2022
Author Shelly Oria returns to speak with Kate Wolf about her latest anthology, I Know What’s Best for You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom. The book compiles a range of fiction, essay, poetry, plays, and comics by twenty-eight contributors that offer perspectives on reproductive rights, health care, bodily autonomy, and family making, among many other things. It was published in collaboration with the Brigid Alliance, a nationwide service that arranges and funds confidential and personal...

Duration:00:51:37

Hernan Diaz's "Trust"

5/20/2022
Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher speak with writer Hernan Diaz about his latest novel Trust, which tells a single story from multiple perspectives, or rather revisions. Trust brings into focus both how storytelling itself, as well as the narratives American culture tells about wealth and money, shape and distort our world. The conversation moves from the traditions of the 19th century American novel, the vagaries of capital and how Diaz put together this nesting doll-like novel. Also, Celia...

Duration:00:39:02

Celia Paul's "Letters to Gwen John"

5/13/2022
Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by acclaimed artist and writer Celia Paul to speak about her latest book Letters to Gwen John, an epistolary memoir addressed to the Welsh painter Gwen John, who lived and worked in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th century. Paul explores the connections between herself and John, who was a passionate defender of her own artistic practice, as well the lover of a much older, much more established man, the sculptor and painter Auguste Rodin. In her...

Duration:00:44:25

Douglas Stuart's "Young Mungo"

5/6/2022
Author Douglas Stuart joins Eric Newman to talk about his new novel Young Mungo. Stuart's previous work, Shuggie Bain, won the 2020 Booker Prize and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Young Mungo is a coming of age novel about a young Protestant boy, growing up in working class Glasgow, who finds friendship and love with a Catholic boy who lives nearby. Together, they form a bond that promises to heal the wounds inflicted by family, class, and culture,...

Duration:00:38:13

Margo Jefferson's "Constructing a Nervous System"

4/29/2022
Writer and critic Margo Jefferson joins Kate Wolf to speak about her latest book, Constructing A Nervous System: A Memoir. A formally inventive and exacting assemblage of personal history and deliberation that delves into Jefferson’s familial legacy, her battles with depression, and the oppressive construct of the model minority, the book is also a cultural reflection. It touches on such subjects as Ella Fitzgerald, Bud Powell, Ike Turner, and Willa Cather, especially as they manifest in the...

Duration:00:47:35

Andrey Kurkov's "Grey Bees"

4/22/2022
On this special LARB Book Club edition of the Radio Hour, Boris Dralyuk and Lindsay Wright are joined by Andrey Kurkov, one of Ukraine's leading literary figures. Kurkov was raised in Kyiv and, until very recently, was based in the city. Kyiv is not only the setting of some of his most beloved novels, like Death and the Penguin, but also the position from which he has chronicled his nation's journey towards democracy in works like the Ukraine Diaries, his firsthand account of the 2014...

Duration:00:39:03

Patti Smith's "The Melting"

4/15/2022
Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher speak with musician, author, artist and all-around legend Patti Smith about her latest work, The Melting, an extended piece of prose she began releasing last spring in serial form via the Internet platform Substack. The Melting, started in the early days of the pandemic, finds Smith alone in her apartment, her world tour having just been canceled. As she yearns for the freedom of travel while stuck at home, her living space begins to yield to other spaces: dreams,...

Duration:00:49:11

NoViolet Bulawayo's "Glory"

4/8/2022
NoViolet Bulawayo joins Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about her latest novel, Glory, which explores the waning days and political ouster of Robert Mugabe, the authoritarian leader who controlled NoViolet’s home country of Zimbabwe for nearly four decades before he was overthrown in a coup spearheaded by his Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Allegorized as animals — in the style of George Orwell’s Animal Farm — the major players in Mugabe’s ouster and a chorus of citizens tell the...

Duration:00:35:03

John Markoff's "Whole Earth" and Ulysses Jenkins's "Without Your Interpretation"

4/1/2022
This week it’s a LARB Radio doubleheader. In the first half of the show, Kate Wolf talks with John Markoff about his latest book, Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand. Brand is probably best known as the creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, a countercultural magazine he published regularly between 1968 and 1972, and then infrequently up until 1998. With influences ranging from the Beat poets whom Brand met as a youth in San Francisco to his experimentation with LSD, the wisdom of...

Duration:01:03:17

Danielle Lindemann's "True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us"

3/25/2022
Danielle Lindemann joins Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about her latest book, True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us. Drawing on the ideas of major thinkers in modern sociology, including Emile Durkheim, Michel Foucault, and others, the book explores how reality TV both reflects and reproduces real-world social tensions, inequities, and slippages around class, race, gender, sexuality, and other categories of being. Rather than merely trash TV — or perhaps in addition to being trash...

Duration:00:33:54

Adam Phillips's "On Wanting to Change" and "On Getting Better"

3/18/2022
Adam Phillips joins Kate Wolf to discuss his two latest books, both published this year, On Wanting to Change and On Getting Better. The series looks at the very human impulse toward transformation, from religious and political conversion, and the conversion to family life from which one must ultimately emerge, to the aims and practices of psychoanalysis, along with more quotidian ideas of self-betterment. As always in his work, Phillips attends in these books to the aspects of ourselves...

Duration:00:38:24

Pankaj Mishra's "Run and Hide"

3/11/2022
Pankaj Mishra joins Medaya Ocher and Eric Newman to talk about his new novel, Run and Hide, which takes up many of the themes explored in his political nonfiction. The book explores the lives of the literary translator Arun — our narrator — two of his friends from college, and Alia, a woman with whom he has an impactful romance, as they all grapple with the moral and emotional scars of economic globalization. Their story, as Run and Hide frequently points out, is also the story of modern...

Duration:00:40:12

Claire-Louise Bennett's "Checkout 19"

3/4/2022
Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by Claire-Louise Bennett, whose new novel is Checkout 19. It follows an unnamed young woman born into a working-class family, who is slowly discovering her own sense of self through the many books she reads and the stories she writes. Her relationship to her own experiences is partly filtered through the words of other writers, as she eventually attends college, finds work as a checkout clerk, in a grocery store, and dates a few inadequate, jealous men...

Duration:00:47:14

Isaac Butler's "The Method"

2/25/2022
Writer Isaac Butler joins co-hosts Kate Wolf and Eric Newman to speak about his new book, The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act which was published this month by Bloomsbury. The Method traces the dissemination of a style and way of thinking about acting that’s so prevalent, it’s hard to imagine the performing arts without it today. Originally envisioned by the great actor and textile heir Konstantin Stanislavski, in Moscow, in the late 1800s, the Method, originally known as...

Duration:00:46:07

Lewis R. Gordon’s “Fear of Black Consciousness”

2/18/2022
Lewis R. Gordon, head of the philosophy department at the University of Connecticut, joins Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about his latest book, Fear of Black Consciousness. The book explores contemporary racism and the long historical movement from black consciousness with a lower-case “b” to capital “B” Black consciousness, an active and more liberatory mentality that sees through the lies of white supremacy and works to build a better and more democratic society. Gordon examines...

Duration:00:44:57

Sheila Heti's "Pure Colour"

2/11/2022
Sheila Heti joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to speak about her latest novel, Pure Colour. A mythical and tender telling of the life of a woman named Mira, Pure Colour imagines our present day as taking place in the first stages of God’s creation. The world as we know it is but God’s first draft, and the complaints of human beings about its difficulties are being logged by him as input for his second. In this first draft world, people come in three categories: birds, fish, and bears. Mira is...

Duration:00:36:46