Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996. She is the author of "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist," winner of a Minnesota Book Award.

Posts about Book news

Long lists, short lists, prizes galore

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 23, 2014 - 12:08 PM
Joshua Ferris. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.

Joshua Ferris. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.

So much prize news this morning that I'm just going to round it all up in one place. We have the Man Booker Prize longlist (with Americans, for the first time!); the Dylan Thomas prize longlist (hello, Coffee House Press!), and the New Rivers Many Voices prizes for both poetry and prose (hello, California and Duluth!).

Worth noting: Joshua Ferris' novel, "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" is on the longlist for both the Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize.

The Man Booker Prize longlist

This is the first year that the prestigious British literary prize has been opened to any author who writes in English. Previously, the award was restricted to writers of Ireland, UK and its commonwealth. The list includes Northfield, Minn., native Siri Hustvedt. Several of the titles have not yet been released in the United States.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris (Viking)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent's Tail)
The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt (Sceptre)
J,  Howard Jacobson (Jonathan Cape) 
The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Sceptre)
The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjee (Chatto & Windus)
Us, David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Dog, Joseph O'Neill (Fourth Estate)
Orfeo, Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
How to be Both,  Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
History of the Rain, Niall Williams (Bloomsbury) 

The Man Booker Prize carries an award of 50,000 British pounds (about $85,000). The short list will be announced Sept. 9 and the winner Oct. 14.

The Dylan Thomas Prize

The Dylan Thomas Prize, named for the Welsh poet and administered by Swansea College in Wales, goes to a writer 39 years old or younger. Included on this list is "A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing," winner of the Baileys Award (formerly the Orange Prize) and to be published this fall by Coffee House Press.

Eimear McBride

Eimear McBride

Daniel Alarcón, At Night We Walk in Circles
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
John Donnelly, The Pass
Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Emma Healey, Elizabeth is Missing
Meena Kandasamy, The Gypsy Goddess
Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May
Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
Nadifa Mohamed, The Orchard of Lost Souls
Owen Sheers, Mametz
Tom Rob Smith, The Farm
Rufi Thorpe, The Girls from Corona del Mar
Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway
Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees

Many Voices Project, New Rivers Press

The Many Voices Project of New Rivers Press began in 1981 and seeks to highlight new and emerging writers in poetry and prose.

The prize includes $1,000 and publication. This year's winner in poetry is Julie Gard of Duluth, and the winner in prose is Tracy Robert of southern California. Gard's poetry collection, "Home Studies," and Robert's book, "Flashcards & The Curse of Ambrosia," will be released in October 2015.

And that brings us to...

Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo, so recently honored with her second Newbery Award, the Christopher Medal, the Library of Congress National Ambassadorship to Young People's Literature, the AP Anderson Award, and the Guardian Children's Prize longlist, has yet another honor. (We don't know how big her house is but we are thinking she might need an addition for all of these trophies). DiCamillo has been awarded the Voice of the Heartland Award, which honors writers and institutions that value independent bookselling. DiCamillo was the brains and the enthusiasm behind the establishment this year of the first Indies First Storytime Day, a day in which writers and illustrators read books (not their own) to children in local indie bookstores. DiCamillo read to a throng at Chapter2 Books in Hudson, Wis.

She will be presented with the Voice of the Heartland award Sept. 30 at the annual Heartland Fall Forum trade show in Minneapolis.

Augsburg College author gets the 'Colbert bump'

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 22, 2014 - 4:39 PM
Stephan Eirik Clark

Stephan Eirik Clark. Augsburg College photo by Stephen Geffre

A second debut novelist got the "Colbert bump" last night on the "The Colbert Report"--this time it was St. Paul author Stephan Eirik Clark, who teaches at Augsburg College. His novel, "Sweetness No. 9"--which will be published Aug. 19--was recommended on the show by novelist Edan Lepucki.

Overnight, his book shot up from being unlisted on Powell's Books best-seller list, to number three.

Lepucki was paying it forward; her own debut novel, "California," became a New York Times best-seller after Colbert recommended it a few weeks ago as part of his attack on Amazon.

Colbert's love for first-time Hachette authors and disdain for Amazon stems from an ongoing dispute between the publishing group and the internet retailer over e-book pricing. Authors and customers are caught in the middle, as Amazon has severely restricted sales of Hachette books. (This includes books published by Grand Central, Little Brown, Hyperion, and others, and it includes authors J.K. Rowling, Kate Atkinson and David Baldacci. It also includes Lepucki and Clark--and Colbert.)

Not-yet-published Hachette books, such as Clark's, are listed on Amazon as "currently unvailable," with no option for pre-ordering. Other Hachette books face five- and six-week delays in shipping. Colbert has asked his viewers to buy books--specifically, Hachette books--from independent booksellers, and his first recommendation was for Lepucki's "California." He challenged viewers to make it a best-seller, and they did.

"Is there another Hachette author that you'd like to recommend?" Colbert asked Lepucki night. "I'm reading Stephan Eirik Clark's 'Sweetness No 9,' which is sooo good," Lepucki said. (She later said on Twitter that the book is "funny, moving, like DeLillo crossed with AM Homes.")

Clark said this morning that when his publisher and agent told him yesterday that his book would be bumped on the Colbert Report, he was left uncharacteristically speechless.

"You'd think I would burst out with an excited speech, but I just didn’t have anything to say," he said. "It was too good for words."

Clark's first book, a collection of short stories called "Vladimir's Mustache," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. "Going with a small press for my collection, I didn’t expect to find readers," he said. "I’ve experienced the absence of readers, and so it’s encouraging to think that this one might find a readership, and I'm extremely grateful."

Put down that book and get online

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 16, 2014 - 1:59 PM
The James J. Hill Reference library in downtown St. Paul.

The James J. Hill Reference library in downtown St. Paul.

You know you should get off of Facebook and go read a book. But what book? A person can get lost forever in the stacks. Well, you no longer have any excuses: On Monday, Facebook will spend two hours giving you book suggestions in real time. Not Facebook as in Mark Zuckerman (does he even read?), but Facebook as in three friendly librarians from the St. Paul Public Library, who will be standing by with thousands of book titles at the ready.

Every so often--the last time, I think, was last fall--the St. Paul librarians monitor a live chat on Facebook, answering your questions and offering suggestions for your next great read. All you have to do is leave a comment on the page (which is here), and within seconds a librarian will answer you. This is no automated Amazon-type "Readers who bought this book often bought this other book," algorithm. This is real librarians, all with tidy gray buns, glasses, and multiple cats, digging around in their card catalogs and brains, just for you.

OK, I'm kidding about the buns and glasses cliche. (That wasn't even true in 1975, when I worked in a public library.) The St. Paul Public Library has a pretty fun Facebook page, actually, with pictures of jazz musicians and Asian dancers and little kids building birdhouses, and, for some reason, pictures of people doing yoga, as well as far too many alerts as to bookmobile cancellations due to snow, but don’t get distracted! Stay on task!

Leave a comment on Monday between 4 and 6 p.m. telling them what books you’ve liked, or what you’re interested in reading about (yoga! birdhouses! jazz! snow!) and the librarians will consult their Magic 8 ball (that is, other librarians) and respond. After that, of course, it's up to you.

Club Book fall season includes Sue Miller, Nikki Giovanni, Amy Bloom

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 9, 2014 - 12:12 PM
Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

The fall series of Club Book will begin in mid-August with a visit to Roseville from Lev Grossman, author of the wildly popular 'Magicians" trilogy, and wind up two months later with poetry in St. Paul. (Nikki Giovanni at the Arlington Hills library.)

Club Book is a free author series that is designed to bring great writers throughout the entire metro area and suburbs. It is funded through the Legacy Amendment and is coordinated by Library Strategies, which is part of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

Here's the whole list for this season:

Lev Grossman, author of the bestselling "Magicians" trilogy. The final book of the trilogy, "The Magician's Land," will be published in August. He's here Monday, August 11, 7 p.m., Roseville Library, 2180 N. Hamline Ave., Roseville

Amy Bloom, whose third novel, "Lucky Us," will be published in the fall. Thursday, August 14, 7 p.m., Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley

Louise Penny, mystery writer and author of the popular Armand Gamache series. Winner of five Agatha Awards, an Edgar Award, and many other awards. Her new novel, "The Long Way Home," will be published in August. Saturday, August 30, 2 p.m., Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Ave. SE, Prior Lake

Jennifer McMahon, author of many best-sellers, including "The Winter People." Thursday, September 11, 6:30 p.m, Chanhassen Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd., Chanhassen

Sue Miller, author of "The Arsonist," "The Good Mother," "Inventing the Abbotts," and other best-sellers. Thursday, September 25, 6:30 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater, 8595 Central Park Pl., Woodbury

Hampton Sides, Author of "Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Junior," and other books. His new book, "In the Kingdom of Ice," will pub this fall. Monday, October 13, 7 p.m., Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave S., Edina

Julie Klassen, Twin Cities author of Regency-era romances and a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Tuesday, October 21, 7 p.m., Rum River Library, 4201 6th Ave., Anoka

Rebecca Rasmussen, Author of "The Bird Sisters," and of the new novel, "Evergreen," which is set in Minnesota. Thursday, November 6, 7 p.m., Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater

Nikki Giovanni, author of more than twenty collections of poetry and ten books for children. Thursday, November 13, 7 p.m., Arlington Hills Library and Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave., Saint Paul

Hillary Rodham Clinton to appear at Common Good Books on July 20

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 8, 2014 - 2:58 PM

Former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign copies of her new book, "Hard Choices," at Common Good Books in St. Paul on Sunday, July 20. She will be there for two hours, from 2:15-4:15 p.m., and will autograph up to 1,000 books.

Five hundred books an hour? "She can do it. She's been practicing," said Common Good Books events manager David Enyeart.

"Hard Choices" is a memoir about Clinton's years as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, and it has been on the New York Times bestseller list.

Because of the short time-frame, tickets are available in person only--no phone or Internet orders--beginning Saturday, July 12, at Common Good Books, 38 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul. The store will be closed to other business on the day of Clinton's appearance.

ABC News has gathered clips of "surprising moments" from Clinton's book tour, including encounters with Katy Perry and a Republican squirrel, which you can watch here.

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