100 episodes

The Los Angeles Review of Books Radio Hour is a weekly show featuring interviews, readings and discussions about all things literary. Hosted by LARB Editors-at-Large Kate Wolf, Medaya Ocher, and Eric Newman.

LARB Radio Hour Los Angeles Review of Books

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 113 Ratings

The Los Angeles Review of Books Radio Hour is a weekly show featuring interviews, readings and discussions about all things literary. Hosted by LARB Editors-at-Large Kate Wolf, Medaya Ocher, and Eric Newman.

    Joanna Biggs' "A Life of One’s Own"

    Joanna Biggs' "A Life of One’s Own"

    Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by editor and writer Joanna Biggs, whose new book is called A Life of One’s Own: Nine Women Writers Begin Again. Joanna is an editor at Harper’s Magazine. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, The Nation, the Financial Times and the Guardian. In her new book, Joanna is attempting to recalibrate her life after a divorce. She turns to literature and specifially, to nine different women writers and philosophers, ranging from Mary Wollstonecraft to Sylvia Plath to Toni Morrison to Elena Ferrante. In exploring their lives and their work, Joanna finds radical ways to live and rebuild, inspired by these women who forged their own paths outside of domestic and societal expectations. With the help of their writing and their example, Joanna slowly starts to find a new sense of self. She writes “I was alone in many ways, but in my reading I had company for the big questions.”
    Also, Gary Indiana, author of Do Everything in the Dark, returns to recommend The Age of Skin by Dubravka Ugresic.

    • 42 min
    Gary Indiana's "Do Everything In The Dark"

    Gary Indiana's "Do Everything In The Dark"

    Kate Wolf is joined by author, critic, and artist Gary Indiana to speak about the recent reissue of his 2003 novel, Do Everything in the Dark. Told on the heels of the aftershock of AIDS and the coming catastrophe of 9/11, alongside an ever-increasing globalization, Do Everything in the Dark centers on a group of friends, who, as Indiana writes in a new introduction, are “experiencing crises in their personal or professional lives, having committed themselves to relationships and careers that, however bright and promising for years, were suddenly not working out.” The characters are artists, actors, filmmakers, and writers like the auto-fictive narrator of the novel, Gary Indiana. In New York City, over the summer of 2001, the narrator becomes both axis point and witness to the various breakdowns his friends undergo: he receives their missives from far-flung locations across the world, their late night phone calls, and follows their private moments from an omniscient point of view. Through it all, he questions his ability to help them or change the course of their lives—if life at this late point in history is even livable— while offering his friendship all the same.

    Also, Tom Comitta, author of The Nature Book, returns to recommend the complete oeuvre of Percival Everett.

    • 51 min
    Publishing in Peril? Lisa Lucas and Christian Lorentzen

    Publishing in Peril? Lisa Lucas and Christian Lorentzen

    Writer and veteran book critic Christian Lorentzen and Pantheon publisher and editor Lisa Lucas join Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to talk about recent shake-ups in the publishing industry. The guests discuss the closure of Bookforum and a spate of other small magazines and websites, changes to social media, the DOJ's decision to block Penguin Random House’s purchase of Simon & Schuster, and their hope despite the difficulties. Are we at an inflection point for American publishing? Can the industry adapt to these challenges before it's too late?

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Hunter Hargraves' "Uncomfortable Television" and Phillip Maciak's "Avidly Reads: Screentime"

    Hunter Hargraves' "Uncomfortable Television" and Phillip Maciak's "Avidly Reads: Screentime"

    A look at our sometimes uncomfortable relationship to television.
    In the first half of the show, Eric Newman is joined by Hunter Hargraves to talk about his new book, Uncomfortable Television. Hargraves argues that since the dawn of the new millennium, American television has kept audiences glued to the screens with intensely plotted and character-driven dramas that borrow from the epic aesthetics of cinema as well as reality programming. At the same time, this type of TV shellacks us with disturbing images and themes: graphic sex, addiction, misogyny and racialized violence, despicable antiheroes, and the exploitative world of ordinary people sharing their profound pain for a national audience of millions. What's unique about this programming is that it encourages us to find pleasure in being disturbed, training us to survive an increasingly precarious world that it also asks us to surrender to.
    Next Newman and Kate Wolf speak with LARB's TV editor Phillip Maciak about his new book, Avidly Reads: Screentime. Part cultural criticism, part personal essay, Screentime explores how fears over kids spending too much time playing video games and watching TV in the 1990s has morphed in the current proliferation of ubiquitous screens that capture—and demand—our attention seemingly everywhere. Screentime looks at how what once was a threat has now become a metric tracked in every moment of our lives.

    • 52 min
    Claire Dederer's "Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma"

    Claire Dederer's "Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma"

    Today we’re speaking with writer and critic Claire Dederer, the author of Love and Trouble, as well as the memoir Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses. She is a long-time contributor to the New York Times, and her work has also appeared in the Atlantic, The Nation, NY Magazine as well as many others. Her new book is called Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma. The book is a personal and critical investigation of how to deal with the art of difficult, or monstrous people. She first started thinking about this question while working on a book about Roman Polanski. Dederer dives into the knotty moral issues around art and the often flawed people who make it. She considers how an artist’s behavior might stain and affect the way an audience approaches a work. Dederer explores and asks questions about people like Woody Allen, JK Rowling, Picasso, and Nabokov. How do we deal with the monsters among us, especially when they’ve created something we love?
    Also, Hernan Diaz, author of Trust, drops by to recommend works by two Norwegian writers, Love by Hanne Orstavik and Evil Flowers by Gunnhild Oyehaug.

    • 47 min
    Helen Cammock's "I Will Keep My Soul"

    Helen Cammock's "I Will Keep My Soul"

    Kate Wolf is joined by the Turner prize-winning artist Helen Cammock to discuss her new book, and current exhibition at Art and Practice in Los Angeles, I Will Keep My Soul. Both are drawn from Cammock’s time in New Orleans—which she began to visit early last year—and address the city’s social history, geography, and community. Her book brings together poetry, film stills, photography, collage, and a number of archival documents from the Amistad Research Center. One of the focuses of Cammock’s research is the artist Elizabeth Cattlet, an active member of the Civils Rights Movement who taught in New Orleans early in her career in the 1940s before leaving the US for Mexico. Decades later, she received a commission to create a sculpture of Louis Armstrong in Congo Square, a historical meeting place for enslaved people in the city. Cattlet’s words and work are woven throughout the book, and evoke the rich accumulations of history that are ever present, and constantly presenting themselves, within a contemporary encounter of place.
    Also, Colm Toibin, author of A Guest at the Feast, returns to recommend Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
113 Ratings

113 Ratings

Alchfjwlskdbewl ,

Five stars!

The LARB Radio Hour is the most consistently intelligent yet down to earth podcast about books and ideas. And the best part is that I never know what I’m going to get when I tune in. How is it always interesting??

Harlequinknight ,


I love the LARB Radio Hour. Kate and Media are the best hosts: well-informed, well-read, and asking the good questions.

NeedsANicknamexxx ,

Most Favorite Pod

Cannot recommend this pod enough! Some of the most engaging and thoughtful conversation I've heard in eons, plus excellent book recommendations. This is my most favorite podcast out there!

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