Staff Directory 10645026

Laurie Hertzel

Senior Editor | Books
Phone: 612-673-7302
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Laurie Hertzel has worked at the Star Tribune for more than two decades as an editor and writer. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Minnesota Monthly magazine and at the Duluth News-Tribune.


Hertzel grew up in Duluth, earned an MFA from Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., has written two books, and currently serve as the autobiography chairman of the National Book Critics Circle board of directors.
Recent content from Laurie Hertzel
After two years in our house, Angus has claimed the living room couch pretty much as his territory.

The Puppy Chronicles: Two years with Angus

In his second year with us, our rescue dog stole his first bagel, killed his first squirrel and wormed his way deeper into our hearts.
Minnesota writer J.F. Powers and family in 1963, the year he won the National Book Award for "Morte D'Urban." Pictured are: Jane, 4 on Betty's lap. Ma

Bookmark: New in paperback

Cold, snowy weather lends itself to bus or train commutes. Instead of white-knuckling your way along an icy freeway, you are in a warm place…
William Kent Krueger kicks off the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library’s annual Fireside Reading Series on Jan.22.

Library fireside chats feature Ed Bok Lee, William Kent Krueger and others

The lovely tradition of books, candles, hot cider, cookies (we haven’t had enough cookies yet, have we?) and new books continues this season with the…
Danez Smith's second book with Graywolf Press, 'Homie," will be published in January.

Bookmark: Looking forward to the books of 2020

You don’t need me to remind you that this is the darkest, coldest time of year. Just scrape the frost off your window, look outside,…
Louis Jenkins during a poetry reading at St. Paul's University Club in 2014.

Poetry master who took inspiration from Minnesota winter, Louis Jenkins dies at 77

Often associated with Duluth, Jenkins had worked as a librarian, truck driver and commercial fisherman while publishing.
The books owned by Anita White’s parents were thoroughly used.

Bookmark: Readers feel strongly about writing in books

Presumably, sometime in the near future — at Christmas, or on a birthday or some other occasion — you will be given a book. Will…
Rain or shine, a good book makes a vacation better.

Bookmark: Readers find that good books make vacations better

Books and vacations bind in our memories.
A sampling of books to help you shake up your home decor.

7 books to help you shake up your home decor

Ideas for refreshing your space with found objects, live plants and a bit of glam.
Oscar Wilde, one reader pointed out, was not read for many years because people objected to his sexuality.

Bookmark: Readers think books should not be judged by writer's actions

Do we judge a book by the actions of its author? This perennial question came up most recently when the Nobel committee awarded the 2019…
A scrapbook photo of Margaret Korda, courtesy of the author.

Review: 'Passing,' by Michael Korda

NONFICTION: Michael Korda's memoir of the vibrant life and cancer death of his wife is a touching and melancholy read.
Winter Books, 2019

Best books to read this winter, from fiction to nonfiction, kids' books to critics' picks

As we head into the coldest, darkest time of year, books will send you all over the world, deep into all kinds of stories. As winter begins, books will keep you warm.
Susan Choi attends the 70th National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in New York.

Susan Choi, Sarah M. Broom, win National Book Awards

Two Minnesota writers were finalists for awards.
In rainy Dublin, we crossed the Ha’penny Bridge to the Winding Stair Bookshop and loaded up on books.

Bookmark: When it rains steadily during your hiking vacation, it's good to have a book or two on hand

It was raining in Ireland, and it was starting to get me down. Before you say, “It always rains in Ireland!” let me tell you:…
Peter Handke, who was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in literature, is a far-right Austrian writer who eulogized a convicted war criminal. PEN America a

Bookmark: Should literary prizes be judged by the book, or by the author? Or by both?

What should we think when the art is beautiful but the artist is reprehensible? Can we judge books — or paintings, or movies, or music…
Tim O’Brien, author of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Things They Carried,” has written a new memoir “Dad’s Maybe Book,” which impa

Minnesota novelist who thought he'd die in Vietnam wrestles with mortality once more

Tim O'Brien's memoir, "Dad's Maybe Book," is filled with advice and stories for his young sons to savor when he's gone.
Riley and his sister, Rosie. One impassive, the other ebullient. They made a good team.

The Puppy Chronicles: In the blink of an eye

One dog bite years ago taught me to be super-careful with skittish dogs.
Author Leif Enger at Park Point in Duluth.

Bookmark: Every fall, rain or shine, Rain Taxi hosts a big free book festival

Every fall, rain or shine, you can count on the annual Twin Cities Book Festival to entertain, illuminate and enthrall. Sponsored by Rain Taxi, the…
From "A Map Into the World," by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim. ©2019 Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group

These 4 picture books from Minnesota writers aren't just for kids

Picture books continue to grow more diverse, more sophisticated and carry subtler, important messages.
Kate DiCamillo

Review: 'Beverly, Right Here,' by Kate DiCamillo

MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION: Kate DiCamillo's third novel about the Three Rancheros is a big-hearted coming-of-age tale.
Who couldn’t love this face? Angus is endearing in late August.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus loves Ellen

All it took was repeated visits, lots of treats and a T-shirt.
Faith Sullivan photo by Leila Navidi, Star Tribune

Review: 'Ruby & Roland,' by Faith Sullivan

FICTION: When a strong-minded hired girl falls in love with a married farmer from a small Minnesota town, she has some hard decisions to make.
Local author Nora McInerny is part of the fall lineup for Club Book.

Club Book announces fall season, with Thrity Umrigar, Nora McInerny and six others

Writers series brings high-powered authors to local libraries.
Now approaching his second birthday, Angus has calmed down and is learning to navigate what is, for him, a nervous life.

The Puppy Chronicles: It took a long time to accept that Angus is a 'reactive dog'

It took me a long time to accept that Angus is a "reactive dog." But once I did, I began to learn how to care for him better.
Keep that summer feeling going into the fall with books.

Bookmark: 8 books to help you hang onto summer

It’s hard to believe that it’s now September. Given that I still have to pause and think before writing “2019” instead of “2018,” this is…
Apple tree illustration

Review: 'Apple, Tree: Writers on Their Parents,' edited by Lise Funderburg

NONFICTION: In "Apple, Tree," 25 writers explore the many ways their parents shaped them.
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How long should you read a bad book before giving up?

Some of you follow rules about the number of pages you'll give a book before quitting. And some of you just give up. And some of you never give up.
Angus waits calmly in class for the other dogs to arrive.

The Puppy Chronicles: Learning to play nice with others in socialization class

Angus is back in school, this time learning to peacefully coexist with strange dogs.
Laurie Hertzel wrote inside this copy of “Leaves” by Bertha Morris Parker repeatedly, marking how her signature changed over the years.

Bookmark: Should we write in our beloved books?

Do you think books should be respected and treated carefully, or something to love and make your own?
Tim O'Brien will discuss his first book in more than 10 years — a memoir, not a novel.

Talking Volumes 2019 brings 6 celebrated writers, including Minnesota's own Tim O'Brien

The literary series includes four nonfiction books and a collection by former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith.
Angus sits calmly and watches squirrels chase each other around the trunk of a pine tree in the park.

The Puppy Chronicles: Leash walking 2.0

Over the past year, Angus and I have slowly gotten to a good place on the daily walks. But oh, it took a long time.
This favorite reading spot by reader Susan Schaefer feels like being up in the treetops.

Readers share their favorite spots for reading

We asked you to tell us about your favorite spots to read. Here's what you said.
When we left for the weekend, Angus was hanging out on the back porch peacefully. But still I fretted about how he and the pet sitter would get along.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus in summer

After Angus is calm and attentive with the new dog sitter, I'm starting to think some of the problems lie with me.
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Review: 'Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II," by Svetlana Alexievich

NONFICTION: In their own words, survivors of World War II — children when the war began — recall their harrowing experiences.
Megan Marsnik.

Bookmark: Four new (or newish) Minnesota books to read and love

  An uncomfortable truth: There are far more excellent regional books than I have space to review, more than I can ever read. Local writers…
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We asked for your stories about sharing books: Here's what you said

You are passionate about sharing — but also about getting back — beloved books.
Angus has mellowed since last year, and he is mostly well-behaved, though he still barks at strangers, both human and canine.

The Puppy Chronicles: Yes, Angus misbehaves, but he also does a lot of things right

Sure, Angus misbehaves. But it's time to recognize his virtues, too.
Anthony Horowitz
Photo by Jon Cartwright

Review: 'The Sentence is Death,' by Anthony Horowitz

FICTION: Anthony Horowitz's latest murder mystery mashes up fact and fiction.
45 books to keep you reading all summer long

45 books to keep you reading all summer long

Life slows down in summer. Pull up a lawn chair, pour yourself a cool drink and settle in with one of these 45 mysteries, novels, story collections and books for young adults.
From “Lion of the Sky” by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrations by Mercè López. Copyright © 2019 by Millbrook Press, an imprint of Lerner Publishin

10 new picture books by Minnesota writers to add to your child's shelf

A fresh crop of 10 picture books by Minnesota writers or illustrators is populated with creatures from the natural world.
Angus is eager for us to take down the fencing and let him at the new grass.

With two big dogs and a shady yard, mud season lasts all summer

Twenty years of busy dogs and maturing trees have rendered our backyard grassless. Angus doesn't care — bare ground is easy to dig. And so he digs.
Mary Miller
Photo by Lucky Tucker

Review: 'Biloxi,' by Mary Miller

FICTION: "Biloxi" ponders the question whether it's possible to change in late middle age.
Writers Laila Lalami and Tommy Orange took part in a discussion about voice and character.

Bookmark: Looking back on the inaugural Wordplay writers festival

Well, in the end, it was all pretty great, wasn’t it? Starting with the weather, which had been iffy right up to the opening of…
The new dog door has Angus stymied.

The Puppy Chronicles: A dog door stymies Angus

When we replaced a torn screen with an actual dog door, Rosie was fine — but Angus was flummoxed.
Does your favorite spot change by the season?

What's your favorite spot to read, and why?

We all have our favorite spots, for all kinds of reasons, and they may change with the seasons or over time.
Among the literary luminaries appearing at Wordplay are top, from left: Julie Schumacher, Dave Barry, Tommy Orange, Marlon James; bottom from left, Sa

Navigating the Wordplay festival: Writers not to miss

Stephen King is just one of 100-plus writers at the inaugural book fest. Here's our guide to navigating the array of alternatives, geared to your interests.
Ann Patchett

The next seasons of Pen Pals will bring in Ann Patchett, Susan Orlean, Tommy Orange and more

The Pen Pals writers series will bring in five notable writers beginning this fall for its 23rd season, including a Man Booker finalist, a PEN/Faulkner…
John Connell on his family’s farm in Ireland.

Review: 'The Farmer's Son: Calving Season on a Family Farm,' by John Connell

NONFICTION: A young man returns to his family's farm in Ireland to face his past and his future.
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We want your stories about lending (and borrowing) books

It's painful to give up beloved books, even briefly. And yet it's more painful not to share them.
Isabella Callery, Photo by James Kegley.

Northfield, Minn., high school student wins national poetry competition

Northfield high school student wins national poetry competition.
Angus learns impulse control through games such as this one: He can look at the treats, but he cannot eat them until he is given the OK.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus' training has been two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes two steps back.

Just like this chilly spring, Angus' training can feel like we're lagging behind.
Angus chews his bully sticks for a while--and then hides them from Rosie.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus has started hiding some of his treats and Rosie is determined to find them

Angus has a habit of hiding, rather than eating, his nightly chewies. Rosie has made it her mission to find them.
Visitors to the ABC exhibit pose with their favorite picture-book characters.

Bookmark: New book, and U exhibit, celebrate history and importance of children's books

I had to laugh when this book crossed my desk a few weeks ago: “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter,” by Leonard S.…
Joan Crosby and her husband, Dick, spent a year in this tiny cabin on Tucker Lake a few miles off the Gunflint Trail.

Review: 'Tucker Lake Chronicle: Thirteen Months in the North Woods,' by Joan Crosby

NONFICTION: An entertaining memoir of 13 months spent in an unfinished plywood cabin in the woods of northern Minnesota.
At Cream and Amber bookstore in Hopkins, customers can sip a beer while they browse the shelves.

As 3 Twin Cities indie bookstores have closed, 3 have opened

As we head toward Independent Bookstore Day next Saturday, let's assess.
Brian Freeman

Newbies, mostly, take home Minnesota Book Awards in a night of upsets

Some of the state's best-known writers were shut out on a night of upsets.
Books are great but books that make you laugh out loud are even better.

From David Sedaris to P.G. Wodehouse: More cheery books for a reluctant spring

Well, we made it through March. Congratulations! But remember last April’s blizzard? We probably still need cheerful books. Readers offer a flood of suggestions, mainly…
Angus and Rosie play exuberantly but when Rosie is agitated, Angus tries to soothe her.

The Puppy Chronicles: Not all dogs respond well to the same kind of training – with Angus, we are trying something new

A new kind of training means better communication between dog and human.
Winners of the 2019 National Book Critics Circle awards, including members of Arte Publico Press, Christopher Bonanos, Maureen Corrigan, Zadie Smith,

Bookmark: National Book Critics Circle award winners gave warm and generous thanks

One of the great joys of attending the National Book Critics Circle awards each March in New York City is being able to watch…
Angus and his buddy Blue played hard all weekend. Not pictured: Rosie, who disgraced herself by snarling at Blue.

The Puppy Chronicles: Four dogs might be two dogs too many

When the man of the house goes out of town, the dogs outnumber the lone adult left behind. Reinforcements arrive — in the form of more dogs.
Sheletta Brundidge of Cottage Grove, Heather Belair of New Brighton and Charlotte Larson of Hopkins with some of their “magical” Michelle Obama ge

As Michelle Obama's rock-star-scale book tour hits St. Paul, fans are bedazzled

Six women formed a club to read one book: "Becoming." And when its author brings her arena show to town this week, they'll be there.
Stephen King

How to see Stephen King and other big authors at Minnesota's new book festival

Tickets to the new Wordplay book fair in downtown Minneapolis in May are going on sale in just a few days.
Angus was pretty cheerful in the exam room until the veterinarian walked in.

The Puppy Chronicles: Nature vs. nurture: Angus has a calm, loving home life. So why is he so wary?

Angus has never liked strange people or unfamiliar situations. But when he growled at the veterinarian, it was time to act.
Moth Walker and Raynor Winn, on their life-changing journey. Raynor Winn

Review: 'The Salt Path,' by Raynor Winn

NONFICTION: Their home and savings were gone and a lethal diagnosis was hanging over their heads — so Raynor Winn and her husband shouldered their packs and went for a walk.
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12 cheery books to bring you out of the winter doldrums

What books do you pick up when you're feeling blue?
The walks have been cold and icy this winter, and for a long time there wasn't enough snow to make Angus happy. Now, there might be too much.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus' famous ear goes kerflooey

An ear infection, dark and icy walks, mocking squirrels — it's been a tough winter for Angus.
Louise Erdrich

Need to find a writer? The new Minnesota Writers Directory can help

The searchable website, newly launched (and still in its infant stage) by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, gives you authors at your fingertips.
Lorna Landvik

Club Book author series includes Leif Enger, Don Winslow, Lorna Landvik and more

Minnesota writers Leif Enger and Lorna Landvik and thriller writer Don Winslow anchor the free lecture series.
What were your favorite books of last year?

Readers reveal their favorite reads of 2018

We asked you to reveal your favorite books of 2018. Here are your recommendations.
Kate DiCamillo in 2016.

Kate DiCamillo, Kelly Barnhill lead field of Minnesota Book Award finalists

Winners from nine categories will be announced in St. Paul on April 6.
Angus discovers the webcam and is intrigued.

The Puppy Chronicles: The secret life of Angus

If you could spy on your dog while you were gone, what would you see?
Stephen King records an audiobook in New York last July. The Portland Press Herald in Maine said it would bring back its local book reviews if the aut

Bookmark: Good and bad news for book reviews — and Stephen King to the rescue

Two big things happened recently in the world of book reviewing, one quite good and one very bad. We’ll start with the bad. On Jan.…
Stephen King will play a concert at First Avenue with Amy Tan, Mary Karr, humorist Dave Barry and sportswriter Mitch Albom.

Stephen King and other top authors headed to Mpls. for new book festival

Wordplay in May will feature about 100 top writers of everything from fiction to cookbooks.
Dani Shapiro Photo by Michael Maren

Review: 'Inheritance,' by Dani Shapiro

NONFICTION: In her most powerful memoir yet, Dani Shapiro confronts the discovery that the man who raised her was not her biological father.
The readings are free, and there will be hot coffee, hot cider, cookies and books.

Bookmark: The St. Paul Library's Fireside Reading Series features Sarah Stonich, Heid Erdrich and more

Built in 1930, the Hamline Midway Library in St. Paul is a lovely old brick building with bay windows, a grand front entrance and a…
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Books and Twin Cities book events you won't want to miss

It's time to get excited about another year of books and reading.