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

  • George Saunders' novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo' is remarkable

    George Saunders' novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo' is remarkable

    George Saunders’ first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” is remarkable; let’s get that out of the way first. Unfolding over one night in a graveyard not far from the White House, it tells a story that is, by turns, simple and complicated, tracing both a father’s grief and its effect on the Republic...

  • When L.A. takes to the streets, it defines itself as a city

    When L.A. takes to the streets, it defines itself as a city

    Los Angeles tends to define itself — or at least to discover its public nature — when it takes to the streets. Such a discovery occurred, again, on Saturday, at the women’s march downtown. In a city with a fractured relationship to its public spaces, one that often seems to turn its back on its...

  • What lies beneath L.A.

    What lies beneath L.A.

    For close to 20 years, my favorite landmark in Los Angeles was a pair of plastic sawhorses, each emblazoned with “City of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Works Street Services.” The sawhorses straddled a patch of pavement at the southwest corner of Wilshire and Curson, across from the La Brea Tar Pits,...

  • To leave a note on the car you dinged or not to leave a note. That is the question.

    To leave a note on the car you dinged or not to leave a note. That is the question.

    There were no parking spaces on my block in Mid-Wilshire. This is true as often as it is not. I live not far from a hospital, on an unpermitted street, which means our curb space gets taken up by medical staff who don't want to pay to park. Usually, it’s a problem on weekdays, working hours, especially...

  • Another little piece of L.A.'s soul disappears, at the sleek new Petersen Automotive Museum

    Another little piece of L.A.'s soul disappears, at the sleek new Petersen Automotive Museum

    When my son Noah was little, the Petersen Automotive Museum — the car museum, we used to call it — was one of the touchstones of his world. In many ways, they grew up together; the Petersen opened on June 11, 1994, only a few months before Noah was born. Beginning when he was 1, we went to the...

  • Gay Talese's book 'The Voyeur's Motel' got the author in hot water. But is it any good?

    Gay Talese's book 'The Voyeur's Motel' got the author in hot water. But is it any good?

    What happens to a book when the news about it — the side story — begins to overwhelm the sentences and paragraphs? That’s one of the dilemmas around Gay Talese’s “The Voyeur’s Motel,” which the author briefly disavowed recently after the Washington Post uncovered discrepancies in its chronology.  ...

  • L.A. plays it cool on a hot night in Little Tokyo

    L.A. plays it cool on a hot night in Little Tokyo

    Sunday night, I went with my kids to Little Tokyo to get sushi at a place we like. Because it’s often hard to get seated at the restaurant, we timed it carefully, aiming to arrive no later than 7. These are the accommodations one makes in a city, the edge that knowing a place can bestow. It worked,...

  • Why I hate Waze

    Why I hate Waze

    On a recent evening, caught in traffic on the way to Hollywood, my wife suggested we use Waze or Google Maps -- some app or another to help us work around the crush of cars and trucks that mired the macadam like a mud flow. This is the sort of technology I should like; I will go blocks out of my...

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