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LARB Radio Hour

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.
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Now displaying: March, 2022
Mar 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 TV — Lindemann argues that our favorite shows are lenses through which we can better understand our world, our social lives, and the powerful forces that shape them and us.

Also, Jonathan Alexander drops by to recommend Mia McKenzie’s Skye Falling.

Mar 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 that can be hardest to bear, and that can lead us to desire more rigid structures — intellectual or otherwise — or desire to be someone else, while also quietly petitioning for a more complex and thoughtful mode of change in which, as Socrates encouraged his pupils, we learn only to be ourselves. How might we get better, Phillips wonders, at talking about what it is to get better?

Also, Pankaj Mishra, author of Run and Hide, returns to recommend Josep Pla’s The Grey Notebook.

Mar 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 India, a country in which rapid changes to centuries-old inequities bear both great boons and great costs.

Also, Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Checkout 19, returns to recommend Celia Paul’s Letters to Gwen John.

Mar 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 with literary ambitions of their own. The book seamlessly moves between literary analysis, fantastical storytelling, and life itself, eventually confronting the realities of sex, violence, and death.

Also, Isaac Butler, author of The Method, returns to recommend Amanda Vaill’s Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins.

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