I was wrong. Well, at least this week I was. No sooner to do I criticize the Los Angeles Times Book Review for being flat and boring, then along comes this week’s issue, which I found thoroughly entertaining and informative. Perhaps it was because this issue was packed with fiction reviews. Or perhaps it was because those reviews were written by the likes of Chris Albani, Susan Straight, and Ed Champion.
I read the section cover-to-cover and it was a lot better than any issue Steve Wasserman ever put out. I guess that during those weeks when I stopped reading the section, things got markedly better. My apologies to David Ulin and his staff (and no, I’m not writing for them or sucking up to get my books reviewed).
BUT, from an asthetic viewpoint, my opinion is unchanged. The section couldn’t possibly be less visually appealing. It’s almost if they are daring people to read it. I’m sure it looked very good to people back in 1968 but it’s completely out-of-step today in this web-driven world we live in. It’s not like the guys at the Times are incapable of updating the look — they’ve done a pretty good job energizing other sections of the paper lately.