David L. Ulin

Columnist

David L. Ulin is book critic of the Los Angeles Times. He is the author or editor of eight books, including “The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time” and the novella “Labyrinth,” as well as the Library of America’s “Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology,” which won a 2002 California Book Award.

Recent Articles

  • Hanif Kureishi's 'The Last Word' lacks a certain sense of voice
    Hanif Kureishi's 'The Last Word' lacks a certain sense of voice

    Hanif Kureishi's "The Last Word" suffers from the genius problem: To create a believable virtuoso, the character's brilliance must light up the page. Such an issue arises any time an author tries to write about such a figure: J.D. Salinger, whose weakest effort, the novella "Hapworth 16, 1924,"...

  • Poetry makes a difference in 'Please Excuse This Poem'
    Poetry makes a difference in 'Please Excuse This Poem'

    “Most poets,” Carolyn Forché writes, in the introduction to Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick’s anthology “Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation” (Viking: 290 pp., $16.99), “begin writing poetry in secret.” It’s...

  • Kansas and the right to free expression
    Kansas and the right to free expression

    Last week, by a vote of 26-14, the Kansas Senate passed SB 56, a bill that amends the state’s existing public morals law by striking an exemption that protects teachers from prosecution for exposing students to "harmful material."

  • 'The Age of Earthquakes' looks back instead of forward
    'The Age of Earthquakes' looks back instead of forward

    I’m of two minds about “The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present” (Blue Rider: unpaged, $15 paper). On the one hand, this collaboration between writers Douglas Coupland and Shumon Basar and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist aspires to be a hip,...

  • In Ishiguro's 'The Buried Giant,' memory draws a blank
    In Ishiguro's 'The Buried Giant,' memory draws a blank

    Kazuo Ishiguro has made a career of the unexpected. His best-known novel, 1989's Man Booker-winning "The Remains of the Day," is narrated by an English butler looking back on the love he let elude him on a country estate in the years leading to World War II. "When We Were Orphans" (2000)...

  • Loris Lora looks for California modernism's connections
    Loris Lora looks for California modernism's connections

    What do Alfred Hitchcock, Edith Head, Peggy Moffitt and William Claxton have in common? They’re all featured in Loris Lora’s glorious, and unexpected, “Eventually Everything Connects” (Lowbrow: unpaged $40), a celebration of mid-20th century California modernism...

  • Reading in the material world
    Reading in the material world

    If you’re a digital immigrant as I am, there’s something deeply satisfying about Michael S. Rosenwald’s report in the Washington Post that “millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same...

  • Christopher Isherwood and the sadness of the screenwriter
    Christopher Isherwood and the sadness of the screenwriter

    Sunday night, inspired (perhaps) by the Oscars, I read Christopher Isherwood’s short novel “Prater Violet” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 128 pp., $14 paper) which has just been reissued in a new paperback edition.

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