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 Club Book

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

The wonderful wealth that this fall will bring

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: August 1, 2013 - 5:00 PM


Nicholson Baker will be in the Cities in October for the Rain Taxi/Twin Cities Book Festival

Nicholson Baker will be in the Cities in October for the Rain Taxi/Twin Cities Book Festival

Over the last few weeks, news has dribbled out about the authors who are coming to town for the state's most significant writers series: Talking Volumes; Talk of the Stacks; Good Thunder: Pen Pals; and Club Book.This doesn't even include the lineup for the Rain Taxi Review Twin Cities Book Festival, which will be announced next week. (They did announce today that Nicholson Baker will be one of the guests.)


All of the lineups are so impressive that it seems worth recapping them for you. There's a little overlap--Tracy K. Smith, for instance, will be here twice, once for the Good Thunder Writing Series in Mankato, and once for Pen Pals in Hopkins. And Luis Alberto Urrea will be here twice as well -- again, once for Good Thunder, and once for Pen Pals. But it's an impressive list just the same, with novelists, poets and masters of creative nonfiction. 

A person could go to an event nearly every week between now and spring--and sometimes twice in one evening--and that doesn't include the impressive lineup coming to indie bookstores (including, I hear, Jhumpa Lahiri in October) or the University of Minnesota (Bonnie Jo Campbell and Katherine Boo later on this fall).

Talk of the Stacks, Good Thunder, the Twin Cities Book Festival and Club Book are all free.

Pen Pals and Talking Volumes require tickets. Both offer tickets for the entire series, and individual tickets. (For Talking Volumes, series tickets are available now, and individual tickets will go on sale tomorrow. Call 651-290-1200 or visit the Fitzgerald Theater Website. Individual tickets are $25.) (For Pen Pals, individual tickets will go on sale Aug. 12. Call 612-543-8112 or download a form from Individual tickets are $40.)

So here's the list:

Aug. 17, Will Alexander, Club Book.

Sept. 12: Larry Watson and Jon Pineda, in conversation with Milkweed Editions publisher Daniel Slager, Talk of the Stacks


Sept. 12: Tracy Kidder. Good Thunder Reading Series, Mankato.
Sept. 17, Emily Rapp, Club Book
Sept. 25, Edwidge Danticat, Talking Volumes
Sept. 26, Eric Schlosser, Club Book.
Oct. 1, Margaret Atwood, Talking Volumes
Oct 3-4: Swati Avasthi and Rachael Hanel, Good Thunder, Mankato.
Oct. 9, Atina Diffley, Club Book.
Oct. 10 and 11, George Saunders, Pen Pals
Oct. 12, Nicolson Baker, Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival
Oct. 15, Rick Riordan, Talking Volumes
Oct. 15, Sarah Stonich, Club Book
Oct. 24: Alicia Catt and Alan Davis, Good Thunder, Mankato
Oct. 24, Erin Hart & Paddy O'Brien, Club Book.
Oct. 25: Dessa, in conversation with Rain Taxi Review editor Eric Lorberer. Talk of the Stacks.
Nov. 4 and 5, A.S. Byatt, Pen Pals
Nov. 4, Andy Sturdevant, Club Book
Nov. 12, Pat Conroy, Talking volumes
Nov. 13: Amy Tan, Talk of the Stacks
Nov. 14-15: Angela Duryee and Luis Alberto Urrea, Good Thunder
Dec. 2, Ed Bok Lee Club Book
Dec. 12: Nikki Giovanni, Talk of the Stacks
Jan. 30: Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Christopher Howell, Good Thunder
Feb. 6 and 7, Luis Alberto Urrea, Pen Pals
Feb. 18-21: Pete Hautman and Alex Lemon, Good Thunder.
March 20: Matt Rasmussen and Tracy K. Smith, Good Thunder.
April 10: Jesmyn Ward, Good Thunder.
April 24 and 25, Art Spiegelman, Pen Pals
April 24: Candace Black, Good Thunder.

May 8-9: Tracy K. Smith, Pen Pals


Good Thunder events are held at the Minnesota State University at Mankato.

Club Book events are held at various venues around the metropolitan area; check the Web for specific locations.

Talking Volumes is held at the Fitzgerald Theatre in downtown St. Paul.

Pen Pals is held at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hopkins.

Aren't you glad you live here?

Carl Hiaasen headlines summer/fall Club Book lineup

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: May 23, 2013 - 12:09 PM


Carl Hiaasen.

Carl Hiaasen.


What do you call a group of writers? A bunch? A murder? A crop? A gaggle? Whatever they are, the next group of Club Book speakers is an interesting blend of national writers and regional writers, and some who straddle both categories.

Florida's Carl Hiaasen, author of "Strip Tease," "Sick Puppy," and a host of other satirical mysteries, headlines the series, along with Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation." Also in the lineup: mystery writer Erin Hart and her memoirist/musician husband, Paddy O'Brien; poet Ed Bok Lee; Minnesota Book Award-winning memoirist (and farmer) Atina Diffley; and National Book Award-winning young adult writer Will Alexander.

Chinese-American poet Li-Young Lee will kick off the season with an appearance at Highland Park Auditorium at 7 p.m. on June 5. Here's the whole lineup. As always, Club Book is free and open to the public:

Li-Young Lee, 7 p.m. June 5, Highland Park Auditorium, 1974 Ford Parkway, St. Paul. Li-Young Lee is the author of four books of poetry and a memoir, "The Winged Seed," winner of an American Book Award.

Carl Hiaasen, 7 p.m. June 27, Burnsville Performing Arts Center, 12600 Nicollet Av., Burnsville. Hiaasen, a columnist for the Miami Herald, is the author of a dozen novels. His latest is "Bad Monkey."

Will Alexander, 10:30 a.m. Aug. 17, Central Park Amphitheater, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury. Alexander, who lives in Minneapolis, won a 2012 National Book Award for "Goblin Secrets." Its companion book, "Ghoulish Song," is his latest book. You can read the Star Tribune profile of Alexander here.

Emily Rapp, 7 p.m. Sept. 17, Roseville Library, 2180 N. Hamline Av., Roseville. Rapp, a former Fulbright scholar and recipient of the James A. Michener Fellowship, is the author of "Poster Child" and "Still Point of the Turning World."

Eric Schlosser, 7 p.m. Sept. 26, St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Av., St. Paul. Schlosser is an investigative journalist and the author of "Fast Food Nation," "Chew on This," and "Reefer Madness." His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the Nation, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere.

Atina Diffley, 7 p.m. Oct. 9, Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater. Organic farmer Atina Diffley ran Gardens of Eagan with her husband, Martin, for more than 20 years. She is the author of a memoir, "Turn Here Sweet Corn," winner of a Minnesota Book Award. You can read the Star Tribune profile of Diffley here.

Sarah Stonich, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Chanhassen Public Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd., Chanhassen. Stonich is the author of "The Ice Chorus," "These Granite Islands," "Shelter," and "Vacationland." She lives in Minneapolis. You can read the Star Tribune profile of her here.

Erin Hart & Paddy O'Brien, 7 p.m. Oct. 24, Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Av. SE., Prior Lake. Erin Hart's mysteries, set in Ireland and St. Paul, have been international best-sellers, and O'Brien is legendary in his home country of Ireland for his music. You can read the Star Tribune profile of Hart here.

Andy Sturdevant, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4, Rum River Library, 4201 6th Av., Anoka. Sturdevant writes a weekly column on art and culture for MinnPost and also writes for Rain Taxi, MSP Magazine, and other publications. His first book, "Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow," will be published this fall by Coffee House Press.

Ed Bok Lee, 7 p.m. Dec. 2, Hennepin County Library Southdale, 7001 York Av., Edina. Lee is the author of two collections of poetry, "Real Karaoke People," and "Whorled." He has won an American Book Award, a Minnesota Book Award, an Asian American Literary Award, and the PEN Open Book Award.





Li-Young Lee cancels Club Book appearance

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 16, 2013 - 7:18 PM


Li-Young Lee.

Li-Young Lee.


Poet Li-Young Lee, who was set to read his poetry on Monday at St. Anthony Park Public Library as part of Club Book, has been forced to cancel, due to illness. The reading will still appear in Sunday's books calendar, because that section is printed in advance.

Library sources say the reading will be rescheduled. 

Libraries are my weakness

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: February 4, 2013 - 9:46 AM


Pam Houston

Pam Houston


We probably don't call attention often enough to the outstanding lineup of writers the public libraries bring in. Sometimes you have to look at the whole list at once to be impressed.

So let's get impressed:

Club Book will bring fiction writer and memoirist Pam Houston ("Cowboys Are My Weakness" "Waltzing the Cat") to Maplewood tomorrow. She'll read from her new book, "Contents May Have Shifted," at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Maplewood Library, 3025 Southlawn Drive.

Later in February, local favorite Lorna Landvik ("Patty Jane's House of Curls") will be in Prior Lake. She'll make a return performance in April at the Chanhassen Library. (Dates are: 7 p.m. Feb. 28, Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Av., and 2 p.m. April 21, Chanhassen Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd.)

Landvik, the author of nine novels, many of them best-sellers, is trying something new with her latest book: She self-published "The Mayor of the Universe."

The Club Book lineup continues through the spring with Arthur Phillips (whose parents still live in the Cities), Cheryl Strayed, John Sandford, Brenda Langton, Benjamin Percy (now teaching in Minnesota), and poet Li-Young Lee.

Meanwhile, the Pen Pals lecture series--the only library series that carries a ticket charge--is bringing in cartoonist Roz Chast, writer Dennis Lehane, and Armistead Maupin. And Talk of the Stacks--held at the downtown Minneapolis library--is bringing in the Smitten Kitchen writer, Deb Perelman; best-selling memoirist ("Look Me In the Eye") John Robison (and watch for a Q&A with him in an upcoming Variety section of your Strib); and New Orleans-by-way-of-Romania poet Andrei Codrescu.

Shall we go on? Because we can.

Chris Niskanen (today, at the Osseo Library); Connie Brockway (Feb. 11, Edina Library); Larry Millet, Feb. 16, Nokomis Library; cookbook authors Phyllis Louise Harris and Raghavan Iyer, Feb. 16, Maple Grove Library); Mary DesJarlais, March 9, Rogers Library; Atina Diffley, March 16, Nokomis Library; Peter Geye, March 18, Ridgedale Library; Erin Hart, March 26, St. Anthony Library; and Brian Leehan, March 26, Brookdale Library.

Impressed yet? I am. Our tax dollars at work.






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