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.

Rub shoulders and eat treats with local writers

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Author events, Libraries Updated: October 30, 2014 - 11:00 AM

It's a matchmaker program, of sorts, though instead of a lover you end up (hopefully) with a book you love. "Bookmatch," a joint venture of Friends of the Hennepin County Library and the Loft Literary Center, is a sort of literary speed-date between readers (you) and writers (six of them).

On Saturday night, Nov. 8, Will Alexander ("Ambassador"), Ray Gonzalez ("Soul Over Lightning"), Rachael Hanel ("We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down"), Geoff Herbach ("Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders"), Neal Karlen ("Augie's Secrets") and Julie Schumacher ("Dear Committee Members") will spend an hour chatting with Heather McElhatton, answering questions and reading from their books.

At the end of each author presentation, a reader will be selected (via a questionnaire filled out upon arrival) who bests fits each writer. The reader (you, maybe!) will get a free book. (There will also be books for sale, if you turn out not to be the perfect reader.)

The evening will also have music by Joe Hastings, door prizes, book signings and desserts.

The free event requires preregistration, which you can do by calling 612-543-8112 or by visiting the web page here. The whole thing begins at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Central Library on the Nicollet Mall. 

Go ahead. Give it a whirl. Your other books will not get jealous.

National Book Award long list in fiction

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book awards, Book news Updated: September 18, 2014 - 6:29 AM
Elizabeth McCracken, a finalist in 1996 for "The Giant's House," is on this yea's long list.

Elizabeth McCracken, a finalist in 1996 for "The Giant's House," is on this yea's long list.

Someone leaked the National Book Award long list to Huffington Post yesterday evening, and the New York Times published it, and so I did too, on Facebook, but here's the list again, this time with links to the Star Tribune reviews, where available.

And what a strong and interesting list!  A couple of story collections, a debut novel (written by a rock star), a novel set in the future, a novel set in the past, the last in a trilogy. And unlike the nonfiction list, which had only one woman, this one is evenly divided. 

The short list will be released Oct. 15 and the winner will be announced in November. Long lists for poetry, young people's literature, and nonfiction were released earlier this week.

Here goes:

Rabih Alameddine, ‘An Unnecessary Woman,’ Grove Press

Molly Antopol, ‘The UnAmericans,’ W.W. Norton & Company (short stories)

John Darnielle, ‘Wolf in White Van,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux (debut novel)

Anthony Doerr, ‘All the Light We Cannot See,’ Scribner​

Phil Klay, ‘Redeployment,’ The Penguin Press

Emily St. John Mandel, ‘Station Eleven,’ Alfred A. Knopf

Elizabeth McCracken, ‘Thunderstruck & Other Stories,’ The Dial Press

Richard Powers, ‘Orfeo,’ W.W. Norton & Company

Marilynne Robinson, ‘Lila,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Strib review runs in October)

Jane Smiley, ‘Some Luck,’ Alfred A. Knopf (Strib review runs in October)

Graphic book on long list for National Book Award

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book awards, Book news Updated: September 17, 2014 - 7:10 AM

The National Book Award long list for nonfiction was released this morning. Included on the list are a history of Paris during the time of the Nazis, a biography of Tennessee Williams, and a graphic memoir by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.

The short list will be announced in October, and the winner announced in November.

Long lists for poetry and young people's literature were announced earlier this week. Tomorrow the fourth long-list, for fiction, will be announced.

Here are the nonfiction nominees:

Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury)

John Demos, The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic
(Alfred A. Knopf/ Random House)

Anand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes
(Metropolitan Books/ Henry Holt and Company)

Nigel Hamilton, The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941 - 1942 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (Simon & Schuster)

John Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (W.W. Norton & Company)

Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Ronald C. Rosbottom, When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 
(Little, Brown and Company/ Hachette Book Group)

Matthew Stewart, Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (W.W. Norton & Company)

Edward O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence (Liveright Publishing Corporation/ W.W. Norton & Company)

Two Graywolf Press books on longlist for National Book Award

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book awards, Book news, Graywolf Press Updated: September 16, 2014 - 8:27 AM

Two books published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press are on the longlist for the National Book Award for poetry. The short list will be announced Oct. 15 and the winner announced in November.

Last year's winner, "Incarnadine," by Mary Szybist, was published by Graywolf.

Here's the list:

Louise Glück, ‘Faithful and Virtuous Night,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Edward Hirsch, ‘Gabriel: A Poem,’ Alfred A. Knopf

Fanny Howe, ‘Second Childhood,’ Graywolf Press

Maureen N. McLane, ‘This Blue,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Brian Blanchfield, ‘A Several World,’ Nightboat Books

Fred Moten, ‘The Feel Trio,’ Letter Machine Editions

Claudia Rankine, ‘Citizen: An American Lyric,’ Graywolf Press

Spencer Reece, ‘The Road to Emmaus,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Mark Strand, ‘Collected Poems,’ Alfred A. Knopf

Two Americans make the Man Booker short list

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book awards Updated: September 9, 2014 - 10:41 AM

No David Mitchell on the Man Booker short list, which was something of a surprise; his new novel, "The Bone Clocks," had been pegged as a likely winner.

And no Siri Hustvedt; she, too, did not make the cut from the long list

But any fears the Brits had that the American writers were going to take over their award are unfounded; just two American writers--Joshua Ferris, and Karen Joy Fowler--are among the six finalists.

Here's the list. The winner will be announced Oct. 14, and the prize of 50,000 pounds is equal to about $85,000.

"To Rise Again at a Decent Hour," by Joshua Ferris. (Our review runs Sept. 21.)

"J," by Howard Jacobson. Jacobson won the Man Booker Prize in 2010 for "The Finkler Question."

 "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," by Karen Joy Fowler. Her novel, published in the United States in 2013, won the PEN/Faulkner Award.

"The Narrow Road to the Deep North," by Australian writer Richard Flanagan, is now the odds-on favorite to win.

"The Lives of Others," by Neel Mukherjee

"How to Be Both," by Ali Smith.


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