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 Libraries

Nordic mystery writer Jo Nesbo coming to town

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: October 12, 2012 - 2:17 PM


Jo Nesbo.

Jo Nesbo.


His Norwegian crime novels have astounded and entertained millions of readers across the world, translated into 40 languages and hitting best-seller lists. Jo Nesbo will be in St. Paul later this month, at an event co-sponsored by Micawber's Books and Friends of the St. Paul Library.

He'll read from "Phantom," his latst Henry Hole thriller, at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Ave.

Nesbo is the author of more than a dozen novels, including "The Snowman" and "The Leopard." Detective Henry Hole, one of his most popular characters, is an Oslo detective with a drinking problem who fights not just criminals, but his own personal demons.

Nesbo is also an economist and a musician, so who knows what he'll do in St. Paul, exactly? Sing? Read? Help you with your taxes?

Here's Nesbo at Book Expo America earlier this year:


From alt-indie-rock-star to children's author

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: September 12, 2012 - 4:58 PM


Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis.

Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis.

 One of the great things about Club Book is the fact that they bring in such a wide variety of writers. Well, there are other great things--the fact that it's free, for instance, and the fact that its whole reason for being is to bring authors to far-flung places where people actually live (Apple Valley! Stillwater! Brooklyn Center!) instead of making everybody drive to downtown Minneapolis of St. Paul.

But the variety of authors is also admirable.  In the past there years they've brought in novelist Gish Jen and storyteller Kevin Kling; memoirist Elizabeth Gilbert and novelist Stuart O'Nan; uber-librarian Nancy Pearl and author (and uber-Twitterer) Colson Whitehead.

Next month, Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis will present their new book at the Roseville Public Library as part of Club Book. Not exactly household names? They should be. They will be. They are going to be on the Simpsons in December! But you get to see them first. (Their Club Book appearance is at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at Roseville Library, 2180 N. Hamline Av. That's the cool refurbished library with the Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop attached.)

Meloy is the lead singer of the indie folk band The Decemberists, a Portland, Ore., band that has been around since 2001. His new book, "Under Wildwood," pubs later this month from Harper Collins and is the second in the Wildwood Chronicles, a fantasy series for young adults which takes place in the mythical and dangerous Impassible Wilderness outside of Portland.


Talk of the Stacks lineup for fall/winter announced

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 30, 2012 - 11:23 AM

Calvin Trillin. Staff photo by Joel Koyama.

Calvin Trillin. Staff photo by Joel Koyama.

It's excellent to see Calvin Trillin's name among the list of this fall's Talk of the Stacks guests. He had been set to come last season, but health problems forced him to postpone. Now, he is scheduled to be in Minneapolis on Dec. 6 to talk about his new book, "Dogfight: An Occasionally Interrupted Narrative Poem About the Presidential Campaign," and to launch the paperback edition of "Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of His Funny Stuff."

Here's a link to the interview we did with him last September.

The other Talk of the Stacks authors coming this fall are just as venerable:

On Sept. 21, Michael Chabon, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, will discuss his latest novel, "Telegraph Avenue." Chabon is the author of "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" and Wonder Boys," among other books.

On Oct. 4, Naomi Wolf will talk about her new book, "Vagina: A New Biography." Wolf is a social critic, political activist and author, perhaps best known for her best-selling book, "The Beauty Myth."

And on Nov. 17, Geoff Dyer will be in conversation with Graywolf Press publisher Fiona McCrae, discussing "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition."  Here is a link to our review of the book, which came out last year and which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

And just for fun, here's a link to a review of Dyer's more recent book, "Zona," a meditation (with digressions) on the 1979 film "Stalker."

All Talk of the Stack events are free and open to the public and held at the Minneapolis Central Public Library on the Nicollet Mall. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.; events begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by book-signings.



First annual Andrew Carnegie Medals announced

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 26, 2012 - 10:32 AM

Anne Enright

Anne Enright

Robert K. Massie's splended biography of Catherine the Great and Irish writer Anne Enright's novel "The Forgotten Waltz" were honored this week by the American Library Association. The first annual Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were funded through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. The ALA also sponsors the annual Youth Media Awards, which includes the Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

"Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman," by Massie, was also a 2011 Booklist editors' choice and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Our reviewer called the book both "vivd and sly." Read the review here.

Enright won the Booker Prize for an earlier book, "The Gathering." About "The Forgotten Waltz," our reviewer said it is subtle and suggestive. Read the review here.

Enright and Massie will each receive $5,000. The finalists -- Jame Gleick's "A History, a Theory, a Flood"; Manning Marable's "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention"; Russell Banks' "Lost Memory of Skin"; and Karen Russell's "Swamplandia!"--will each receive $1,500.

Anne Fadiman in St. Paul next week

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: May 3, 2012 - 11:32 AM

Anne Fadiman.

Anne Fadiman.

Daughter of the notable American writer and scholar Clifton Fadiman,writer Anne Fadiman made a name for herself in 1997 with the publication of her remarkable book about the clash of Hmong and American culture, "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down."  It's the nonfiction account of a family of Hmong immigrants who are trying to navigate the American medical system when their three-month-old baby, Lia, is diagnosed with epilepsy. (The book's title comes from the Hmong description of the disease.)

I heard Fadiman speak 10 years ago at a conference at Harvard University; she was eloquent, charming and winsome, those big eyes peering out from under her thick fringe of bangs as she told about how she came to write the book, originally as a piece for the New Yorker. But the research took years and years, and during that time New Yorker editors left, or died, and new ones came, and when she finally had the piece completed, Tina Brown said no thanks, and so, instead, it became a book.

That book is now 15 years old, and out in a new paperback "classic" edition from Farrar Straus & Giroux with a new afterword by Fadiman, bringing us up to date on where all the notable characters are today. (And Lia, the epileptic toddler in the center of the story, is quite remarkably still alive.)

It's a fascinating, well-told book about Hmong culture and immigration and the push-push-push of American doctors. (Now older, and, presumably, wiser, the pediatricians who treated Lia told Fadiman for the afterword, "As pediatricians at the end of our careers instead of at the beginning, we might push a little less on the family. In the end, we think the results would have been the same.")

Fadiman will be in St. Paul next week as part of Club Book. She'll speak at the Highland Park Public Library, 1974 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, at 7 p.m. Monday.

(Note: There's been some mention that she'll be doing a second talk the next day, but that's not correct. See her Monday in St. Paul, or don't see her at all.) (My recommendation: See her.)


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