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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: December, 2021
Dec 31, 2021

It’s that time of year again — the end. In our annual “best of” show, Kate, Daya, and Eric select their favorite books, movies, TV shows, podcasts, scandals, and other items from the past 12 months. Sit back, enjoy, and have a very Happy New Year!

Dec 24, 2021

Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher talk with Anna Della Subin about her new book, Accidental Gods: On Men Unwittingly Turned Divine. Accidental Gods traces the rarely told history of the deification of living men in modern times, revealing the phenomenon’s connection to imperial conquest, revolution, and civil war. Taking as a starting point Columbus’ exploitation of his reception by native peoples as a deity come from the heavens, the book offers in-depth studies of figures such as the Ethiopian King Haile Selassie, who is regarded as God by Rastafarians in Jamaica, England’s Prince Philip, who became the center of a religion on an island in the South Pacific, and Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was seen as divine by early Theosophists. What does it mean to make a man a God? Why is it always a man? And what does that say about notions of masculinity, the place of religion in society, and the relations between political power and divinity?

Also, Sam Quinones, author of The Least of Us, returns to recommend Calvin Trillin’s Killings.

Dec 17, 2021

Award-winning author and investigative journalist Sam Quinones joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to discuss his latest book, The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth. The book charts the sweeping, shocking rise of synthetic drugs in the United States, and their production here, by corporations such as Purdue Pharma, as well as in labs in Mexico and China. The proliferation of so-called “designer drugs” has led to yet another wave of the opiate crisis, with more overdose deaths between the spring of 2020 and 2021 than ever before recorded. The Least of Us tells the personal stories behind many of these casualties, the larger political and socioeconomic shifts that have exacerbated the problem, the fascinating and disturbing history of the emergence of fentanyl and methamphetamine, and what some communities are doing to fight against the drugs’ devastation.

Also, Anna Della Subin, author of Accidental Gods: On Men Unwittingly Turned Divine, drops by to recommend Jason Josephson Storm’s The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences.

Dec 10, 2021

Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf moderate a panel on the use, abuse, and omnipresence of digital technology in our lives — with writers and scholars Christoph Bieber (University of Duisburg-Essen), Safiya Noble (Algorithms of Oppression), and Anna Wiener (The New Yorker, Uncanny Valley).

A global pandemic, a national election, entire regions devastated by one natural disaster after another: new technologies have made it possible for us to track, grasp, and witness these large-scale phenomena in real time and in the palms of our hands. Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter have encouraged a sense of community and mobilized action, even as they have facilitated the spread of misinformation and the formation of fissures in public life. How do we, as individuals and as communities, navigate technologies of information and misinformation? How much power do tech companies have in shaping public conversation, and how much power should they have?

This event was called Online Together and it was a part of LARB’s Semipublic Intellectual Sessions, a tenth anniversary celebration and fundraiser.

Donate to LARB between now and Dec. 31 and your support of vibrant and vital conversations will be matched by an anonymous donor! lareviewofbooks.org/donate/

Dec 3, 2021

Writer and artist James Hannaham joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to discuss his most recent book, Pilot Impostor, a mix of prose, poetry, and visual collage. James is the author of the award-winning novels Delicious Foods and God Says No. His short stories have appeared in One StoryFence, and Bomb, and he was for many years a writer for the Village Voice and Salon. 

Pilot Impostor was partly inspired by a trip to Cape Verde and Lisbon, right after Trump’s election in 2016. The book brings together disparate influences like the work of Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa, the TV show Air Disasters, and current events. Through shifts in form, narrative, and style, Hannaham asks some of the biggest questions about the self, identity, the failure of leadership, history, and the nature of consciousness.

Also, film critic Melissa Anderson, author of Inland Empire, returns to recommend Jean Stein’s depiction of Hollywood, West of Eden.

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