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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.


Our Recommendations:


Me & Other Writing by Marguerite Duras, Translated By Olivia Baes & Emma Ramadan

Babysitter at Rest by Jen George

Creature by Amina Cain

Essays One by Lydia Davis

How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell | Listen to our interview

Last Days at Hot Slit by Andrea Dworkin, Edited by Amy Scholder & Johanna Fateman | Listen to our interview

Outline Trilogy by Rachel Cusk

Normal People by Sally Rooney

The Door by Magda Szabo

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


The Competition by Claire Simon

The Beach Bum by Harmony Korine

The Farewell by Lulu Wang

Parasite by Bong Joon-Ho | Listen to our interview


Los Espookys | HBO

Hip Hop Evolution | Netflix

Rhythm & Flow | Netflix

Elite | Netflix

Paquita Salas | Netflix

Paquita Salas | Netflix


Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now | The Guggenheim, NYC

Notes on Camp | The Metropolitan Museum, NYC

Isaac Julien: Playtime | LACMA, LA

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985 | MoCA, LA

Tala Madani: Shit Moms | David Kordansky Gallery, LA

Zach Harris: Studies for 20/20 | David Kordansky Gallery, LA

David Hammons | Hauser & Wirth, LA


Making Gay History hosted by Eric Marcus

Welcome to LA hosted by David Weinberg | KCRW

Bow Down hosted by Jennifer Higgie | Frieze

Recording Artists hosted by Helen Molesworth | The Getty

Red Scare hosted by Anna Khachiyan & Dasha Nekrasova


College Admissions Scandal

Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence

Surviving R. Kelly