Steve Lopez, one of the last big time, big city newspaper columnists left, has a new collection out. Here’s a review by David Kipen in the Los Angeles Times:
The other thing every columnist needs, and that a Los Angeles columnist circa 2011 needs maybe most of all, is the ability to mix clarity with outrage. If things don’t break just right in Sacramento, California may just careen over its own lovely cliffs this year and L.A. right along with it. The invaluable, angry service Lopez continues to perform is spelling out the fateful connections between the lofty characters he mocks and the exploited, defenseless ones he sticks up for.
…The career of a columnist like Lopez can have three distinct phases: first, when he still nervously re-reads his work every morning to make sure it turned out right; later, when he hits his stride and makes do with reading it onscreen the night before; and, last, when he doesn’t even read it himself before filing on deadline.
It’s tricky to gauge where Lopez falls on this continuum, since the new collection is arranged thematically instead of temporally. Lopez’s kickers can get a little lazy, but the specter of burnout — when even the best tend to pull a few too many columns out of the mailbag — still looks to be safely down the road. One hopes Lopez may yet scrape together the time to write some book-length L.A. fiction, to join his three well-received crime novels set in Philly and Jersey.
[Picture by Edi Weitz]