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.

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

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Author events, Book news 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.

Financial pressures will end World Book Night USA.

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book news, World Book Night Updated: July 2, 2014 - 8:37 AM
Kate DiCamillo signs books for fans at a 2012 Magers & Quinn World Book Night party. That year DiCamillo's "Because of Winn Dixie" was given away.

Kate DiCamillo signs books for fans at a 2012 Magers & Quinn World Book Night party. That year DiCamillo's "Because of Winn Dixie" was given away, as was Leif Enger's "Peace Like a River." Both writers attended the event.

It will be sad to see World Book Night USA go. It was a crazy, ridiculous, beautiful scheme that sought to give away a million books every year on one specific day in April. The organizers quickly scaled back their goal to 500,000 books a year, but that's still a tremendous number, and over three years of giving they had a lot of success.

Every April since 2012, volunteers all over the country gave away boxes and boxes of books to anyone who wanted them, no strings attached.

In a press release this morning, though, the organizers have announced that because of financial pressures, they will cease operation in the United States. (The event began in Great Britain and Ireland four years ago, and spread to Germany for one year.)

"For three years, the publishing industry and book community have very generously footed the bill and contributed enormous time and effort, and we are so very grateful for all the support," the press release stated. "We did receive some funds via individual donations, and we worked very hard to get grants. We did get some, but there are a lot of other worthy causes out there and only so much money available. We can't carry on without significant, sustainable outside funding."

Each year, World Book Night chose 30 titles for giveaway. Publishers absorbed the cost of printing special editions of the books, authors waived their royalties, and volunteers signed up to hand out the books--at community clubs, city parks, homeless shelters, nursing homes, taverns, schools and other public places. Bookstores and libraries served as book depots, housing the titles until giveaway night, and hosting parties for givers and authors.

Titles by Minnesota writers Leif Enger, Kate DiCamillo, Garrison Keillor, Cheryl Strayed and Peter Geye were among those given away over the years. 

Novelist Lorna Landvik, mystery writer J.A. Jance, booked for Talk of the Stacks

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Author events, Talk of the Stacks Updated: July 1, 2014 - 3:15 PM
Lorna Landvik. Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler

Lorna Landvik. Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler

The Friends of the Hennepin County Library has announced the fall season of Talk of the Stacks, the free literary series held at the Central Library on the Nicollet Mall. This season sees a mystery writer, a beloved local novelist, a psychologist, a foodie and a poet. Something for just about everything. Here's the lineup:

Aug 11:  J.A. Jance, the New York times best-selling mystery writer of more than 50 books. She'll discuss "Remains of Innocence," her latest Joanna Brady mystery.

Sept. 10: Lorna Landvik, a comic, playwright and the author of "Patty Jane's House of Curl," and other best-sellers, will discuss her newest novel, "Best to Laugh," the story of a Minnesota comedian in Hollywood.

Oct. 11: Dr. Steven Pinker (co-sponsored by Rain Taxi's Twin Cities Book Festival). Pinker is hte author of eight best-selling books and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Time, and the New Republic. He'll discuss his newest book, "The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century."

Oct. 30: Dana Cowin, in conversation with Andrew Zimmern: Cowin is a food writer, the editor of Food & Wine, and a guest on the television show Top Chef. She and Zimmern will discuss her new cookbook, "Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen."

Nov. 18: Michael Bazzett in conversation with Kevin Prufer. Bazzett is the winner of Milkweed Edition's 2014 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for poetry and the author of "The Unspoken Jokebook" and "The Imaginary City." He and Prufer -- the Lindquist & Vennum prize judge -- will discuss "You Must Remember This," Bazzett's prizewinning manuscript.

For all events, doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the event beings at 7, followed by book sales and signings.

Guardian Children's Prize longlist includes Kate DiCamillo

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book awards, Book news, Local authors Updated: July 1, 2014 - 10:30 AM

Kate DiCamillo is just back from Las Vegas ("exhausted and overjoyed," she says on Facebook), where she was picking up the Newbery Medal that she won earlier in the year for "Flora & Ulysses," her funny, charming and poignant story about a girl, a squirrel and a vacuum cleaner. And she now finds herself on another longlist for yet another prize.

The Guardian of London has announced its longlist for The Guardian Children's Prize, a list that was described as being "challenging, funny, exciting, beautiful, thoughtful, bonkers," according to one of the judges, writer Gillian Cross.

DiCamillo's "Flora & Ulysses" is on the list, along with seven other books. Here's the list, with the UK publishers listed. (DiCamillo's US publisher is Candlewick.) The short list will be announced in August, and the winner will be annonced on Nov. 13.

"The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby: Flora in Love," by Natasha Farrant (Faber)

"Phoenix," by SF Said (David Fickling)

"Flora and Ulysses," by Kate DiCamillo (Walker)

"The Dark Wild," by Piers Torday (Quercus)

"Shine," by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling)

"We Were Liars," by E Lockhart (Hot Key Books)

"She Is Not Invisible," by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)

"The Lost Gods," by Francesca Simon (Faber)

I don't want to jinx anyone, but wouldn't it be fun to have her report on Facebook in November that she is just back from London, exhausted and overjoyed?

American Swedish Institute to host discussion of Nordic Noir

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book news, Graywolf Press Updated: June 25, 2014 - 3:31 PM

Jean Hanslin, the American Swedish Institute's book discussion leader (and a Swedish language instructor) will host a conversation in July on "Before I Burn," the Scandinavian crime novel by Gaute Heivoll and published this year by Graywolf Press.

Heivoll's book won Norway's Brage Prize, an annual prize that is considered to be the country's most significant literary award.

Participants in the July discussion are asked to read the book in advance. Coffee and treats will be provided. Register before July 13 online or by calling 612-871-4907. Cost is $20. The discussion will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday July 20 at the Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis.

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