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LA Review of Books

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.

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Sally Rooney: Great Expectations

Co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with Sally Rooney about her two novels Conversations with Friends and Normal People. Dubbed the "Jane Austin of the Precariat" and called "the first great millennial novelist" Sally addresses the acclaim she’s received; and how she’s grown into the person and writer she is today. Also, William E. Jones returns to recommend The Imposter byJavier Cercas, which tells the story of Spaniard Enric Marco, who was a national hero until he was exposed as a fraud in 2005.

39mins

3 May 2019

Rank #1

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LARB Podcast #46: Keenan Norris

Colin Marshall speaks with Keenan Norris about his debut novel, Brother and the Dancer, a coming-of-age tale about young African Americans in the San Bernardino Valley.

1hr

28 Oct 2013

Rank #2

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Director Bong Joon Ho Talks Parasite

Co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by filmmaker, Bong Joon Ho, whose latest film is Parasite. Parasite has already gathered a wide range of acclaim, winning the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and breaking specialty box office records. Bong joins us to discuss how he grew up, how he came up with the idea for the movie, and how he understands the relationship between the rich and the poor. Bong’s previous films include Mother (2009), Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017).Also, Sarah M Broom, author of The Yellow House, returns to recommend The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald.

33mins

18 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Five Minutes with Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

8mins

23 Nov 2014

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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LARB Radio: Tracy Tynan's "Wear and Tear", plus D.W. Winnicott

Celebrated costume designer and author, Tracy Tynan, joins Tom and Laurie to talk about her new memoir, "Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life". The daughter of a legendary couple from London during the Swinging '60s - famed theater critic and playwright Kenneth Tynan ("Oh! Calcutta!") and actress turned author Elaine Dundy ("The Dud Avocado") - Tynan spins tales of a daringly dysfunctional, but beautifully dressed, nuclear family.LARB editor (and new father) Evan Kindley drops by to recommend "Child, the Family and the Outside World" by British Developmental Psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott, a pioneer in "object relations theory".Produced by Alan Minsky

37mins

6 Oct 2016

Rank #5

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The Best of 2019: Books, TV, Movies, and More

It's a LARB Holiday Season tradition! Kate, Daya, and Eric review all that they read, watched, attended, and gossiped about to select their favorites from the past year. The result is a broad, eclectic array. Indeed, the first work chosen is by an author who died in 1996. Many more surprises ensue. A few of our picks are by authors or directors that we interviewed over the past year. Most, however, were not previously discussed on the show. No matter, every selection sparks a spirited discussion. As Eric warns in the introduction, "no one chose only one thing in any category." So, get out your notepads and prepare for an avalanche of excellence.

1hr

27 Dec 2019

Rank #6

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Sarah Manguso 300 Arguments; plus One Hundred Demons Recommended

Essayist Sarah Manguso joins Kate and Medaya to read from and talk about her new book 300 Arguments, which is a searing set of aphorisms (though Sarah shies away from that word) that prove the power of concision. Also, Vanessa Davis, author of Spaniel Rage, returns to recommend Lynda Barry's One Hundred Demons.

37mins

2 Mar 2017

Rank #7

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The Faith and Fortitude of Min Jin Lee

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 the possibilities of a LARB Radio interview - animated throughout by the joy and intensity that co-hosts Eric Newman, Kate Wolf, and Medaya Ocher experienced reading Min Jin Lee's masterpiece. Also, Medaya recommends Janet Malcolm's The Silent Woman, a biographical study of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes' relationship that uses this legendary, tragic, near-mythical relationship to critique the distorting operation of conventional biographies.

42mins

9 Feb 2018

Rank #8

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Best Foreign Films of 2016; Awards Season; Tom Lutz on TC Boyle & DH Lawrence

LARB's resident film critic Anna Shechtman joins fellow cinephiles Medaya Ocher & Kate Wolf to talk about their favorite foreign films of 2016; focusing on Pedro Almodovar's change of pace, Julieta; Paul Veerhoeven's Elle starring fiercely sublime Isabelle Huppert; and The Handmaiden, a genre-bending and visually stunning tale of Victorian Korea by Park Chan-Wook. Also, Tom Lutz recommends TC Boyle's The Terranauts (with its surprising Trump Administration tie-in); and praises DH Lawrence's Terra Incognita.

37mins

27 Jan 2017

Rank #9

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Errol Morris Explores the Death of Truth in America, Past and Present

It's the question on everyone's mind: How the hell did we get here, Donald Trump's America? How did our belief in democratic ideals get warped into what Errol Morris terms the “bat shit craziness” of the Trump era? LARB's Tom Lutz talks with Morris about his brilliant new film Wormword, which debuts this week on Netflix, and how it’s tale of an army scientist’s suspicious death in 1953 relates to the current crisis of a government we feel we fundamentally can’t trust. 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, six-part, binge-worthy, murder mystery. Also, John Freeman returns to recommend Solmaz Sharif's sublime book of verse, Look.

33mins

15 Dec 2017

Rank #10

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Junot Diaz Writes for a New Generation

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 diasporic literature, and the healing potential of stories for all ages, about all peoples, that convey universal human experience.Also, Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket inspired LARB Radio's Dan Lopez to re-read, and highly recommend, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy

34mins

12 Apr 2018

Rank #11

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LARB Radio: Robert Gottlieb Avid Reader; Tracy Tynan on PG Wodehouse; & WB Yeats The Second Coming

Legendary publisher and editor Robert Gottlieb talks with Laurie about his new memoir Avid Reader; reflects on his glory days at Knopf and The New Yorker; and expresses confidence about the state of writing today. Tracy Tynan offers PG Wodehouse as comfort reading for these treacherous times. Tom and Laurie launch a new poetry feature with a reading of WB Yeats The Second Coming.

35mins

27 Oct 2016

Rank #12

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A Difficult Woman: The Fierceness and Feminism of Andrea Dworkin

Johanna Fateman and Amy Scholders, the editors of Last Days at Hot Slit: the Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin, join co-hosts Medaya Ocher, Kate Wolf, and Eric Newman. Fateman and Scholder talk abut the literary and political legacy of Dworkin, a controversial figure in feminist history whose critiques of patriarchy and pornography made her an icon and a pariah in the 1970s and 80s. By looking back at Dworkin beyond the frame of the so-called Sex Wars, they challenge us to see the incisiveness of her political vision balanced against an abrasive style at once thrilling and off-putting.Also, Sam Lipsyte, the author of Hark, returns to recommend Lucy Ives' creatively titled upcoming novel Loudermilk or The Real Poet or The Origin of the World.

38mins

1 Mar 2019

Rank #13

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LARB Podcast #69: Jonathan Lethem

Colin Marshall has an in-depth talk with Jonathan Lethem, author of novels like Gun, with Occasional Music, Girl in Landscape, Motherless Brooklyn, You Don't Love Me Yet, and The Fortress of Solitude; non-fiction collections like The Disappointment Artist and The Ecstasy of Influence; monographs on works such as John Carpenter's film They Live and Talking Heads' Fear of Music; and short story collections like The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye, Men and Cartoons, and the upcoming Lucky Alan and Other Stories.

1hr 29mins

25 Sep 2014

Rank #14

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Catherine Halley, editor of JSTOR Daily

JSTOR recently launched "JSTOR Daily", providing public access to the strange and fascinating world of the academy in a beautiful, eclectic and intelligent publication. LARB contributor Maria Bustillos speaks with editor Catherine Halley.

4mins

3 Nov 2014

Rank #15

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A Deep Dive into Pop Culture with Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib may just be the most poignant raconteur of American culture in the age of Donald Trump. Hanif joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, his magisterial collection of essays on the contemporary music scene; and all the pain, pleasure, promise, disappointment, pasts and presents, communities and self that he finds there. The interview, like Hanif's writing, conveys what it feels like to be awake, fully observant inside the whirlwind of America in the late twenty-teens. Also, Francisco Cantu, author of The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, returns to recommend the work of a number of poets writing about the US-Mexico border, in particular Javier Zamora's collection Unaccompanied.

41mins

27 Apr 2018

Rank #16

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Radio Hour: David Ulin Comes to Terms with Los Angeles

On this week’s show, Los Angeles Times book critic David L. Ulin joins to talk about his latest book Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, the artifice and authenticity of the popular entertainment complex The Grove, and the urban qualities of New York compared with Los Angeles.Featuring Tom Lutz, Laurie Winer, and Seth Greenland. Produced by Jerry Gorin. The LARB Radio Hour airs Thursdays at 2:30pm on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles.

28mins

23 Oct 2015

Rank #17

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Valeria Luiselli's Tale of Children Refugees Tell Me How It Ends; Sarah Manguso on 8

Award-winning novelist Valeria Luiselli joins Kate and Medaya to talk about her new book, Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, about the flood of children refugees coming to the United States on a harrowing journey through Mexico from Central America. Luiselli reminds us that Trump may exacerbate the problem, but its been a tragic reality for years. Also, Sarah Manguso returns to recommend Amy Fusselman's underappreciated "8: All True: Unbelievable."

41mins

10 Mar 2017

Rank #18

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Queer Memoir Part Two: Feeling Mean with Myriam Gurba

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 perfect fit for the Zeitgeist. Only it's the opposite; as Myriam explains, her love of language is disruptive, and empowering, a lifeline that even allows her to recognize, and commune with, the ghosts haunting our souls. Indeed, as Myriam, Kate, and Eric's conversation turns to our on-going #MeToo moment, Myriam insists we cannot continue to reduce people to good or bad caricatures, our team vs the enemy; rather, we need to talk to each other, have compassion for the traumatized, and, if you're really serious about trying to do some some good, deploy the type of deep psychological insight familiar to readers and writers of literature. Also, Jonathan Alexander drops by to recommend Jay McInerney's latest novel Bright, Precious Days, the third installment of the Calloway Saga; set in NYC in-and-around the (declining) publishing industry during last decade's financial collapse through the early Obama years. Jonathan says it's top notch Mcinerney: delicious junk food for the literati, plus a front row seat for the Decline of the American Empire!

33mins

19 Jan 2018

Rank #19

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John Romano on Adapting Philip Roth's American Pastoral; plus Colin Wilson & Mark Strand

Screenwriter John Romano joins Laurie Winer and co-host Dinah Lenney to talk about his adaptation of Philip Roth's 1997 classic novel American Pastoral about a family torn apart amidst the turmoil of the late 1960s. The film directed by Ewan McGregor, who co-stars alongside Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Connelly, was released this past month. A wide-ranging discussion ensues, addressing Roth's relationship to the "meaning" of the 60s, family suffering, Job's suffering, and ours in the age of Trump. Also, author Simon Reynolds drops by to recommend a biography of Occultist Colin Wilson by renaissance man Gary Lachman; and Linda Balgord reads Mark Strand's Eating Poetry.

44mins

17 Nov 2016

Rank #20