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

  • Werner Herzog's walking blues

    Werner Herzog's walking blues

    “Why is walking so full of woe?” Werner Herzog asks early in “Of Walking in Ice: Munich-Paris, 23 November – 14 December 1974” (University of Minnesota Press: 128 pp., $19.95 paper), a diary of sorts describing a 600-mile trek through winter that he undertook 40 years ago. If this sounds quintessentially...

  • 'The League of Outsider Baseball' looks at sport's weird history

    'The League of Outsider Baseball' looks at sport's weird history

    What I love most about baseball is its weird history, the oddities and misfits who give flavor to the sport. When I was a kid, I used to pore through “The Baseball Encyclopedia” looking for the one-line careers, those players who only made it to the majors for a single year, or even a single game....

  • Why I didn't sign the Charlie Hebdo protest letter

    Why I didn't sign the Charlie Hebdo protest letter

    Late last week, a letter circulated to members of PEN American Center protesting the organization’s decision to award the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo at its annual awards dinner in New York on Tuesday night. Charlie...

  • David K. Shipler's 'Freedom of Speech' reflects our fractured times

    David K. Shipler's 'Freedom of Speech' reflects our fractured times

    David K. Shipler calls himself a free-speech absolutist in his seventh book, "Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword." "Lines are murky," he writes, "and it's always risky to use vague characterizations to give authorities the power to shut down speech whose content (rather than method) displeases...

  • Borges' 'Library of Babel' comes to virtual life

    Borges' 'Library of Babel' comes to virtual life

    Almost three quarters of a century after it was published, Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Library of Babel” continues to resonate. A year and a half ago, the online magazine Places Journal published a set of architectural drawings representing the story’s setting — a library, “composed of an indefinite...

  • Author Joshua Ferris learns to fly

    Author Joshua Ferris learns to fly

    I like when writers step outside their comfort zones. Not just on the page but existentially. Writing, after all, should be an ongoing dance with our uncertainties, with all the things we cannot know. Just ask Joshua Ferris, the National Book Award finalist whose last novel, “To Rise Again at a...

  • The magic is missing in Toni Morrison's 'God Help the Child'

    The magic is missing in Toni Morrison's 'God Help the Child'

    Deep in the center of Toni Morrison's 11th novel, "God Help the Child," there's a section that resonates with the power of the author's finest work. Morrison is telling the story of Booker, a young man shattered by the abduction and murder of his brother, Adam, years before. "Wasn't there a tribe...

  • Naomi Hirahara, Geraldine Knatz recover L.A.'s hidden history in 'Terminal Island'

    Naomi Hirahara, Geraldine Knatz recover L.A.'s hidden history in 'Terminal Island'

    Naomi Hirahara is on a roll. Not only did she just release her seventh Southern California-based mystery novel, “Grave on Grand Avenue,” but a new nonfiction book, “Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor” (Angel City Press: 288 pp., $35 paper) -- coauthored with Geraldine Knatz,...

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