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The Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating the best that is being and has been thought and written, with an enduring commitment to the intellectual rigor, the incisiveness, and the power of the written word. LARB is a community of writers, critics, artists, filmmakers and scholars committed to advanced literacy and the cultural relevance of the book review as public institution. KCRW partners with the LA Review of Books on this series of conversations with and about the written word.

The Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating the best that is being and has been thought and written, with an enduring commitment to the intellectual rigor, the incisiveness, and the power of the written word. LARB is a community of writers, critics, artists, filmmakers and scholars committed to advanced literacy and the cultural relevance of the book review as public institution. KCRW partners with the LA Review of Books on this series of conversations with and about the written word.
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Los Angeles, CA

Description:

The Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating the best that is being and has been thought and written, with an enduring commitment to the intellectual rigor, the incisiveness, and the power of the written word. LARB is a community of writers, critics, artists, filmmakers and scholars committed to advanced literacy and the cultural relevance of the book review as public institution. KCRW partners with the LA Review of Books on this series of conversations with and about the written word.

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English


Episodes

Ayelet Waldman's Psychedelic Salvation

4/19/2018
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What if a highly illegal drug could be used, far more successfully than prescribed pharmaceuticals, to help people with depression and bi-polar disorder? Who would be willing not just to experiment on themselves, but also to spread the word? LARB Radio's Medaya Ocher talks with just such a brave soul, Ayelet Waldman, author of A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. Recorded in front of a full house at Scripps College, it's a...

Duration:01:04:17

Junot Diaz Writes for a New Generation

4/12/2018
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What motivates a great novelist to write a children's book? Author Junot Diaz joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Kate Wolf to discuss the inspiration behind Islandborn, the story of five year-old Lola learning about her family's history and culture, beautifully illustrated by Leo Espinoza. What follows is a penetrating conversation about the severe under-representation of people of color in children's books, the long-overdue reckoning that needs to happen across society, the genius of...

Duration:00:34:15

The Science of Feelings and the Origins of Culture

4/5/2018
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How do cultural practices become established? Why do we live in the way that we do? For generations social scientists, philosophers, and even psychologists have emphasized the centrality of human rationality as the arbiter of cultural development. USC Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology and Philosophy Antonio Damasio suggests otherwise in his latest book, The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures. As Professor Damasio explains to co-hosts Tom Lutz and Eric...

Duration:00:41:44

Sean Penn Latest Role: Novelist

3/29/2018
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At the top of the show, Sean Penn reflects on how his just-released first novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, had its roots in his effort to intervene in the 2016 presidential election. So after Trump's victory, Penn continued with Bob Honey to investigate the ways in which we're all complicit in this catastrophic outcome; and what better mode to take all that on than a Pynchonesque, Foster Wallace-inspired antic tale, an absurdist/realist fiction. Co-hosts Eric Newman and Kate Wolf don't...

Duration:00:30:49

Maxine Hong Kingston: Warrior of Peace

3/22/2018
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The great author reflects on a lifetime of writing, an unorthodox career, and her current work as a teacher and healer, which couldn't be more relevant for our troubled times. Under a majestic oak in Reza Aslan and Jessica Jackley's beautiful backyard, Maxine Hong Kingston talks with LARB Radio's Tom Lutz and answers questions from an audience hanging on her every word. It was an evening rife with wisdom, charm, laughter, and confrontations with some of life's greatest challenges; a true...

Duration:00:55:49

Dispatches From The Border

3/16/2018
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In a penetrating interview, LARB Radio host Kate Wolf talks with author Francisco Cantu about his new book The Line Becomes a River, an impressionistic chronicle of his five year stint as an agent for the United States Border Patrol, his emotional fallout from the experience, and his reflections on the humanitarian crisis of the US-Mexico border. Cantu also offers his thoughts on the controversy that has surrounded this book, stemming from criticism from immigration rights activists; as...

Duration:00:42:01

Bassem Youssef's Revolutionary Comedy

3/8/2018
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Bassem Youssef, author of Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring, joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to discuss what it's like to launch an entirely new genre in the Middle East - mass media political satire (modeled upon Jon Stewart's Daily Show) - and then become Egypt's most popular TV host before having to flee the country. Youssef has lost none of his wit or political insight since his days on center stage of an actual revolution; and the conversation is...

Duration:00:32:18

The Literature of Exile

3/2/2018
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Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi joins co-hosts Eric Newman, Kate Wolf, and Medaya Ocher to discuss her first novel, Call Me Zebra, released to universal praise this past month. In his review for The Los Angeles Review of Books, Nathan Scott McNamara, describes how Zebra, “the precocious narrator, a self-proclaimed “connoisseur of literature,… is unvaryingly brilliant and deadpan funny… the smartest narrator you will encounter this year.” Through her travels, tragedies, romance, and voracious...

Duration:00:37:56

Huck Finn on the LA River

2/23/2018
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LARB Radio was live at The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA this past Sunday at the Book Release Party for author Tom DeRoche's and illustrator Daniel Gonzalez's 21st century recasting of Mark Twain's American Classic: The Ballad of Huck and Miguel. Co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher facilitated the main event, a free flowing discussion with Tom and Manuel that captivated the overflow crowd with reflections on a book that, much like the original, illuminates many of the central concerns...

Duration:00:47:44

Love and Jealousy

2/16/2018
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On this Valentine's week, we celebrate jealousy! Giulia Sissa, Professor of Classics and Political Science at UCLA, joins hosts Eric, Kate, and Medaya to discuss her new book Jealousy: A Forbidden Passion; and elucidate how jealousy, though much maligned, is in fact central to our greatest desire, passionate amorous love. Sure, jealousy can hurt like hell, can be an unstoppable force of (creative) destruction; indeed, the soul-wrenching tales of Medea and Othello have universal resonance -...

Duration:00:44:26

The Faith and Fortitude of Min Jin Lee

2/9/2018
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Befitting the scope of Min Jin Lee's National Book Award-nominated novel Pachinko, this interview sweeps delightfully through a broad range of subjects - the challenges of writing a historical novel, of representing the unique pressures felt by immigrants, 20th Century Korean and Japanese relations, Presbyterian theology, fate, the dangers inherent in the American pursuit of happiness, the importance of valuing suffering and perseverance, and a show stopping meta-moment where we reflect on...

Duration:00:42:08

An Evening with Alan Alda and K.C. Cole

2/1/2018
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A couple of weeks ago, LARB hosted an event that featured science writer K.C. Cole in dialogue with Actor and Author Alan Alda to discuss the ideas that animate his new book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating. A lifelong science-enthusiast, Alda tells how he parlayed his experience hosting a TV series produced by Scientific American into working with scientists to help them better represent their work...

Duration:00:59:20

Lovers and Liars

1/25/2018
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Authors Ivy Pochoda and Galt Niederhoffer join co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about their new noir novels. Pochoda’s heralded Wonder Valley weaves a tale of striving, wayward Los Angelenos, from Skid Row through gentrifying neighborhoods and out to a New Age Desert commune; a 21st Century update of the gloom beneath LA’s glamour. Niederhoffer’s intimate Poison, a harrowing portrait of betrayal, is drawn from the author’s own experience (she accused her ex-partner of trying...

Duration:00:37:14

Queer Memoir Part Two: Feeling Mean with Myriam Gurba

1/19/2018
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Author and artist Myriam Gurba joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Kate Wolf for a conversation about her new book Mean, which is receiving effusive praise across the literary, art, and mainstream presses - including a glowing review from last week's guest, Jonathan Alexander, in the LA Review of Books. Billed as part True Crime Tale, part Ghost Story, part Queer coming-of-age Memoir; with all parts deformed by an epidemic of sexual assault and violence in Myriam's hometown - it sounds a...

Duration:00:33:51

Queer Memoir Part One: Feeling Creepy with Jonathan Alexander

1/11/2018
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Memoirist, composition theorist, and educator Jonathan Alexander joins hosts Eric Newman and Kate Wolf to talk about his new critical memoir "Creep: a Life, a Theory, an Apology." With wit and sharpness, Alexander walks us through the definitional morass that informs our cultural accounts of the "creep" in a wide ranging discussion that shuttles from the Deep South to Hollywood to the White House. Also, author Janet Fitch return to recommend Sergei Dovlatov's The Suitcase: A Novel.

Duration:00:36:19

Russia, Romance, Revolution! Janet Fitch’s The Revolution of Marina M

1/4/2018
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Janet Fitch, author of the legendary novel White Oleander, joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about her new work, The Revolutions of Marina M, which tells the story of a young woman poet coming of age in the heady, early days of the October Revolution. Fitch talks about her approach to writing such a sweeping novel, her visits to Russia before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, how she's able to represent sex so well on the page, and the importance of balancing...

Duration:00:37:41

Masha Gessen on Russia's Evolution from Soviet Socialism to Putinism

12/29/2017
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Wasn't the collapse of the Soviet Union supposed to herald the dawn of a new era of unfettered freedom, liberal democracy, and the end of history? Instead Russia moved rapidly from Autocratic Socialism to Autocratic Oligarchy. Masha Gessen talks with co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher about why she chose to investigate this world-historical disappointment by talking to young people who witnessed this calamitous transition first-hand. The result is Gessen's National Book Award-nominated...

Duration:00:34:23

Ragnaroket Science: Clifford Johnson's Comic Book Explains the Universe

12/21/2017
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USC Professor of Physics Clifford Johnson joins LARB's Eric Newman to discuss his new work of natural philosophy The Dialogues: Conversations About the Nature of the Universe, which also happens to be a comic book (from MIT Press no less, move over Marvel!). Sure, the popular form is a strategy to engage a larger audience with ideas that Johnson affirms are already widely considered, just not as dull/intimidating science; but that doesn't diminish the Johnson's achievement, as a presenter...

Duration:00:37:18

Errol Morris Investigates the Death of Truth in America

12/15/2017
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It's the question on everyone's mind: how the hell did we get here, Donald Trump's America? Where did it all go wrong? LARB's Tom Lutz talks with Errol Morris about his brilliant new film Wormword, which debuts this week on Netflix, and how it relates to this mystery. As Morris explains, a society that builds powerful, secretive, violent institutions cannot also be an honest democracy with citizens who demand to know the truth - and what better way to deliver this message than an uncanny,...

Duration:00:33:04

Controversial Jews

12/7/2017
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This week's LARB Radio Hour features two full length interviews, both all about conspicuous, yet mysterious, New York Jews. In the first, the celebrated documentary team of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady talk about what inspired them to focus their lens on a few brave souls who decided to leave the tight knit Hasidic community in their new film One of Us, which recently debuted on Netflix. Heidi and Rachel felt these tales would reveal much about the human spirit, the vulnerability of those...

Duration:01:13:55

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