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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: May, 2023
May 26, 2023

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.

May 19, 2023

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?

May 12, 2023

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.

May 5, 2023

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 AtlanticThe NationNY 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.

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