Los Angeles Times

David L. Ulin

Columnist

David L. Ulin is the former book critic of the Los Angeles Times. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author or editor of nine books, including "Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles," the novella "Labyrinth," “The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time” and the Library of America’s “Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology,” which won a California Book Award. He left The Times in 2015. 

Recent Articles

  • An avenue named Vin Scully

    An avenue named Vin Scully

    Far be it from me to begrudge Vin Scully, but when the City Council voted in January to rename Elysian Park Avenue in honor of the Dodgers' announcer, I was not on board. Elysian Park Avenue, after all, has been a street here for more than a hundred years; as Sallie W. Neubauer, past president...

  • Celebrating the complexity of contemporary culture: David L. Ulin's best books of 2015

    Celebrating the complexity of contemporary culture: David L. Ulin's best books of 2015

    Books are not supposed to be about the news — or so the conventional wisdom goes. They take too long to write; timeliness is impossible to predict. And yet in 2015 it was news, or fallout from the news, that kept emerging in works as diverse as Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me," Maggie...

  • Book Critic David L. Ulin's top 10 books of 2015

    Book Critic David L. Ulin's top 10 books of 2015

    We can never read enough. This is both the joy and the frustration of reading for a living: that we can never read enough. I face such a limitation each year when it comes time to make this list: alphabetically by title, the most memorable books I covered one way or another during the last 12 months...

  • Svetlana Alexievich's 'Zinky Boys' gives voice to the voiceless

    Svetlana Alexievich's 'Zinky Boys' gives voice to the voiceless

    "I perceive the world through the medium of human voices," Svetlana Alexievich declares near the end of "Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War," explaining both her method and her point of view. For Alexievich — who in October became just the third nonfiction writer and 14th woman...

  • John Lennon imagined in 'Beatlebone' (or is he really?)

    John Lennon imagined in 'Beatlebone' (or is he really?)

    In 1967, John Lennon bought a small island off the west coast of Ireland called Dorinish. It wasn't much of an island, just a pasture and some rocks, which, Kevin Barry tells us in his second novel, "Beatlebone," "were harvested for ballast by the local fishing fleet." Although Lennon wanted to...

  • Adrian Tomine plays against type in 'Killing and Dying'

    Adrian Tomine plays against type in 'Killing and Dying'

    Adrian Tomine's eighth book, "Killing and Dying" (Drawn and Quarterly: 128 pp., $22.95), is his most intentional — or perhaps, it's more accurate to say it grew out of specific imperatives. The 41-year-old comics artist gave himself a set of guidelines to follow. "There's a page in my sketchbook,"...

  • Stephen King's 'Bazaar of Bad Dreams' pulls us in and then out

    Stephen King's 'Bazaar of Bad Dreams' pulls us in and then out

    Stephen King, I've come to think, is at his most adept when writing in the midlength range. His big novels — "The Stand," "It," "11/22/63" — have always felt a little baggy to me, while his shortest work (he has published more than 200 stories, gathered in a number of collections) can feel sketchy,...

  • In 'Numero Zero,' Umberto Eco has his mind on conspiracy — again

    In 'Numero Zero,' Umberto Eco has his mind on conspiracy — again

    Umberto Eco's seventh novel, "Numero Zero," represents the continuation of a theme. The story of a newspaper that doesn't publish, it traces a conspiracy, real or imagined, linking a long line of events in Italian history, from the death of Mussolini to the 1978 kidnapping and assassination of...

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