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

  • 'The Meursault Investigation' re-imagines Camus' 'Stranger'

    'The Meursault Investigation' re-imagines Camus' 'Stranger'

    Give Kamel Daoud credit for audacity. In his debut novel, "The Meursault Investigation," the Algerian journalist goes head-to-head with a pillar of 20th century literature: Albert Camus' existential masterpiece "The Stranger." First published in France in 1942, Camus' novel tells the story of Meursault...

  • Is Facebook the place for serious essays? Jeff Nunokawa thinks so

    Is Facebook the place for serious essays? Jeff Nunokawa thinks so

    Jeff Nunokawa is obsessive. The Princeton University English professor has posted more than 4,500 small essays to Facebook, “one a day,” he writes, “over the course of what has come to be many years.” These essays are literary and they are also personal; each begins with a quotation (from a writer,...

  • Magnus Mills' 'Maintenance of Headway' a satire of bureaucracy

    Magnus Mills' 'Maintenance of Headway' a satire of bureaucracy

    Partway through Magnus Mills' "The Maintenance of Headway," the narrator, a bus driver in a city that must be London, is stuck on a crowded road behind a truck with a warning reading, "If you can't see my mirrors I can't see you." Bored and frustrated, the driver starts to frame a song. "If you...

  • Osama bin Laden's bookshelf revealed: What you can learn from his reading list

    Osama bin Laden's bookshelf revealed: What you can learn from his reading list

    What does Osama bin Laden’s reading list have to tell us? Made public Wednesday morning by the office of the director of national intelligence, it lists 103 documents, from U.S. government reports to published works of nonfiction that reveal Bin Laden to be a smart and educated adversary, as we...

  • David B. continues the secret history of 'Incidents in the Night'

    David B. continues the secret history of 'Incidents in the Night'

    David B. begins the second volume of his graphic novel “Incidents in the Night” (Uncivilized Books: 128 pp., $19.95) with a summary: three pages getting us up to speed on what has already transpired. It’s a pretty straightforward exercise, until the penultimate frame, when he recalls, “I am stabbed...

  • The consolations of reading on airplanes

    The consolations of reading on airplanes

    I spent part of last week sitting on airplanes, which means I got a lot of reading done. This is what planes are good for, perhaps the only thing they’re good for — that strapped into a seat, flying south to north or coast to coast, we have, for a few hours anyway, time enough to read. I’m not...

  • 'A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me': David Gates' signature riffs

    'A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me': David Gates' signature riffs

    I'll be honest: I wasn't sure we'd see another book of fiction by David Gates. It's been 16 years since his last, the collection "The Wonders of the Invisible World," and even longer since his two novels, "Jernigan," a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and the magnificent "Preston Falls." In these works,...

  • Ghosts emerge in Vivian Gornick's memoir 'The Odd Woman and the City'

    Ghosts emerge in Vivian Gornick's memoir 'The Odd Woman and the City'

    Vivian Gornick's "The Odd Woman and the City" is a book of ghosts. Ghosts of the past; ghosts of New York, which is for her both home and character; ghosts of a lifetime of reading, intentional and covert. These ghosts emerge when Gornick least expects it or are invoked directly in the text. "It's...

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