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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

Larissa Pham's Pop Song: Adventures in Art and Intimacy

5/7/2021
Brooklyn-based artist and writer Larissa Pham joins Medaya and Eric to discuss her debut collection Pop Song: Adventures in Art and Intimacy. Larissa contributed to the collection KINK (previously covered here), with a piece that deals with themes of violence and desire, which are equally reflected in the new collection - and which Larissa addresses throughout the conversation. The entries in Pop Song shift between memoir and an acute attunement to various art objects and experiences in the...

Duration:00:32:12

Helen Oyeyemi: Peaces

4/30/2021
Eric and Daya are joined by acclaimed author Helen Oyeyemi, whose latest novel is Peaces. The plot involves two young lovers, Otto and Xavier Shin, who board an unusual train to celebrate their unofficial honeymoon. Accompanied by their pet mongoose, the two begin to explore the cars and the meet the three other passengers on board. The book can be described as a madcap existential mystery at the center of which is a question about how we see other people and what it means to be seen or not...

Duration:00:45:49

George Saunders: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

4/23/2021
On a special LARB Book Club episode of the Radio Hour, Boris Dralyuk and Medaya Ocher are joined by George Saunders, author of four collections of virtuosic short stories and of the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. His latest work is A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life. Examining individual works by Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev, and Nikolai Gogol from a variety of angles, Saunders...

Duration:00:45:28

Nick Pinkerton Says Goodbye to Dragon Inn

4/16/2021
Kate Wolf is joined by writer and film critic Nick Pinkerton to discuss his book-length essay on Tsai Ming-liang’s film Goodbye, Dragon Inn, which revolves around the final screening at a cinema in Taiwan — on the very day that 300 movie theaters were shuttered across Southern California. The book is both a eulogy and a call to arms for cinema. Kate and Nick share a defiant sadness, revel in memories of the power and meaning they found in a communal space of shared dreams, and wonder how it...

Duration:00:47:00

Rachel Kushner Amongst The Hard Crowd

4/9/2021
Kate and Medaya are joined by Rachel Kushner, author previously of Telex from Cuba and the Flamethrowers, both nominated for the National Book Award, and The Mars Room, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Award. Rachel's new book is a collection of her essays from the past two decades, The Hard Crowd, which exhibits the inspiring breadth of her interests and influences, many of which she discusses - from motorcycle racing, to prison abolition, the Anarcho-Marxist Italian left, rock...

Duration:00:54:00

Jackie Wang: The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void

4/2/2021
Kate and Medaya talk with poet, essayist, and critic Jackie Wang about her new collection of poetry The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void. As an Assistant Professor of Culture and Media Studies at The New School, Wang also works on race, surveillance technology, and the political economy of prisons and police. In her poetry, she uses dreams to get to very concrete historical and social issues; along with the apocalypse, survival, intimacy, speech, silence and of course,...

Duration:00:45:33

Jo Ann Beard's Festival Days

3/26/2021
Medaya talks with renowned essayist and fiction writer Jo Ann Beard, whose latest collection is called Festival Days. Near the beginning of the book, Jo Ann writes that there’s an element of fiction in her essays and essays in her fiction - an idea she elaborates on during the conversation. Jo Ann shares much about her own life and development as a writer, while addressing many of the central themes of the work: death, illness, childhood, memory and of course, her renowned and professed love...

Duration:00:45:20

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein's Disordered Cosmos

3/19/2021
Eric Newman is joined by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein to discuss her book The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, which opens up with some very heavy science, explaining quarks, dark matter and other phenomena that point to the limits of our knowledge about the how the universe, and everything in it, functions. But at the heart of the book is a series of questions about how the social construction of science both foments a toxic culture and might...

Duration:00:39:21

Contrasting Interiors: Christine Smallwood's Life of the Mind and Sara Davis' Scapegoat

3/12/2021
Kate and Medaya speak with two heralded debut novelists. First up is Christine Smallwood, author of The Life of the Mind, about Dorothy, a failing adjunct professor in New York City, who suffers a miscarriage, and struggles to maintain her resilience in an unwelcoming world. Christine explains how the novel came to be and reflects on why Dorothy’s travails so successfully capture the texture of our time. Then Sara Davis joins Kate and Daya to talk about her novel The Scapegoat, which also...

Duration:00:58:44

Brian Dillon Supposes a Sentence

3/5/2021
Kate and Medaya welcome essayist Brian Dillon, author of Suppose a Sentence which offers sharp analysis (along with intriguing discursus) of 27 sentences, both celebrated and obscure, from the likes of William Shakespeare, James Baldwin, John Ruskin, and Joan Didion. Brian opens the show with a passage from his introduction, a paean to the work of the writers he loves and the expansive possibilities of a single line. The conversation focuses on the joys and perils of close reading and...

Duration:00:52:49

Claudio Lomnitz's Nuestra America: A Jewish Latin American Odyssey

2/26/2021
Kate Wolf talks with Claudio Lomnitz, author of Nuestra America: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation, which traces his family's history in the Jewish diaspora from the Eastern European region of Bessarabia to South America and onto Mexico. Claudio tells tales of his relatives, in particular, his maternal grandfather Misha Adler, a scholar and publisher involved in a number of revolutionary movements in the mid 20th century. He also relates his family's experiences to the struggles of...

Duration:00:44:17

Lauren Oyler's Fake Accounts

2/19/2021
Kate and Daya talk with Lauren Oyler, one of the country's leading literary critics, about her first novel, Fake Accounts; which is about a central character who breaks up with her boyfriend after discovering that he's an online conspiracy theorist. She then moves to Berlin where goes on a series of dates under different personas. The conversation addresses online culture and its influence on 21st century notions of subjectivity, secrecy, romance, and literature. Also, Elizabeth Kolbert,...

Duration:00:43:04

Valentine Special: Gay Bars and Boyfriends with Jeremy Atherton Lin and Brontez Purnell

2/12/2021
A double dip, rife with romance, and right on time for a celebration of sex and love. First, Jeremy Atherton Lin joins Eric and Medaya to talk about his new book Gay Bar: Why We Went Out, which covers both the history of Gay Bars and Jeremy's personal history in London, San Francisco, and Los Angeles - with a consideration of how these iconic social institutions have fared in the age of hook-up apps and a year-long pandemic. Then, Eric and Kate are joined by Brontez Purnell to discuss his...

Duration:00:49:11

From The Break to Bridgerton with Taylor Renee Aldridge and Patricia A Matthew

2/5/2021
This week it's a doubleheader. First, Eric and Medaya, speak with Taylor Renee Aldridge, the Visual Arts Curator and Program Manager at the California Afrcian-American Museum, about a new exhibit Enunciated Life that centers around notions of surrender in Black Spiritual Life - inspired, in part, by the work of Ashon Crawley. Then, LARB contributor Patricia A. Matthew, Associate Professor of English at Montclair State University, joins us to talk about her recent article on the new Netflix...

Duration:01:05:44

Elizabeth Kolbert, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

1/29/2021
Hosts Kate and Medaya are joined by New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert, whose new book is called Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, in which Kolbert explores the many ways humans intervene in nature. Kolbert discusses invasive species, the sinking of New Orleans, the triage plan for climate change and how solar geoengineering might bleach our skies. Also, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, author of The Undocumented Americans, returns to recommend...

Duration:00:28:19

Kink Lit: A Conversation with R. O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell

1/22/2021
In a special LARB Book Club edition of the Radio Hour, Eric Newman and Boris Dralyuk sit down with R. O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell, co-editors of Kink, a new anthology that aims to push the boundaries of traditional literary representations of love, desire, and sexual behavior. Kink features work by Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, Carmen Maria Machado, and many other leading authors. Kwon and Greenwell speak of their goals for the anthology, the literary history of sex, and the politics in the...

Duration:00:40:09

The Delightful Rage of Fran Lebowitz Revisited

1/15/2021
In this encore presentation, on the occasion of Fran Lebowitz's new show Pretend It's a City, Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with legendary public speaker Fran Lebowitz. In a wide-ranging conversation, the gang flits from the Kavanaugh hearings to how the uber-rich have blighted the landscape of New York, from the escapism of literature (Lebowitz maintains that books are always better than real life) to the changes that have rocked the media environment in which Lebowitz has...

Duration:00:46:32

National Book Award Winner Charles Yu Interior Chinatown: Satire, Metafiction, & Anti-Racism

1/9/2021
In an encore presentation, Kate and Medaya talk with award-winning screenwriter and novelist Charles Yu about his book, Interior Chinatown; an experimental, yet eminently enjoyable, novel-in-the-form-of-a-screenplay, which won the 2020 National Book Award for fiction. Charles discusses how he came to write such a formally challenging book, in which the central character's world is defined by, and limited to, the horizons available to Asian and Asian-American characters in popular film and...

Duration:00:40:32

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio: The Undocumented Americans

1/2/2021
Author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio joins co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to talk about The Undocumented Americans, which is both a memoir and a series of essays about immigrant laborers from across the country. Karla shares her own experiences as an immigrant child, the trauma it has caused her; and relates how widespread, and under-acknowledged, such trauma is among immigrants. In a free-flowing conversation, Karla reflects on what motivated her to write the book in the age of Trump,...

Duration:00:44:50

Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva

12/26/2020
Big Freedia is a 21st Century musical trailblazer from the Dirty South, who emerged from the Bounce music scene in New Orleans and has helped popularize the genre across the country and the world. Big Freedia joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to discuss her new memoir God Save the Queen Diva; and talk about how she, and dance club culture in general, has responded to the global pandemic. In this, the final show of 2020, Kate, Eric, and Medaya also talk about the tunes that helped...

Duration:00:32:45