Staff Directory 10645026

Laurie Hertzel

Senior Editor | Books
phone: 612-673-7302
Laurie Hertzel is the books editor for the Star Tribune, which means she spends hours every day opening boxes, and each night lugs home more books than anyone could read in a lifetime. But she's not complaining and knows exactly how lucky she is to be paid to write about books. (When she's not opening boxes.)
Recent content from Laurie Hertzel
Registration open now for F. Scott Fitzgerald conference in St. Paul

Registration open now for F. Scott Fitzgerald conference in St. Paul

The annual international F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference will take place this summer in the writer's hometown for only the second time in its history.
Bookmark: Books to spark joy when read out loud

Bookmark: Books to spark joy when read out loud

If we were lucky, we were read to when we were young. If we didn’t have parents or siblings to read to us (and I…
NBCC awards: The culmination of a long year of reading

NBCC awards: The culmination of a long year of reading

I am still reading, kind of frantically, but I think by the time I head out to New York I will be ready. I am…
Minneapolis and St. Paul bookstores will hand out pocket-sized poems

Minneapolis and St. Paul bookstores will hand out pocket-sized poems

Twin Cities bookstores will hand out pocket-size poems in March and April on the theme of migration.
Yaa Gyasi, author of bestselling "Homegoing," coming to the Twin Cities in March and May

Yaa Gyasi, author of bestselling "Homegoing," coming to the Twin Cities in March and May

Yaa Gyasi's family saga will spark a community conversation in Eden Prairie.
Two books tell the story of Russia – of now, and of then

Two books tell the story of Russia – of now, and of then

It has been many years since I have been to Russia, but my interest in that fascinating country has never dimmed. When I visited in…
REVIEW: 'The Stranger in the Woods,' by Michael Finkel

REVIEW: 'The Stranger in the Woods,' by Michael Finkel

NONFICTION: Michael Finkel's fine exploration of the mysterious life of a hermit fails to answer the key question: Why?
Readers suggest big, thick books as winter drags on

Readers suggest big, thick books as winter drags on

It's still February, and we're still looking for "bloated books" to while away the dark evenings.
St. Paul's Penumbra Theatre founder Lou Bellamy wins 2017 Kay Sexton Award

St. Paul's Penumbra Theatre founder Lou Bellamy wins 2017 Kay Sexton Award

Award honors those who have devoted a lifetime to literature and books.
You could be 'writer in residence' for the Mall of America

You could be 'writer in residence' for the Mall of America

The Mall of America is looking for a writer to spend five days writing about the mall.
The dubious art of 'decorating' with books

The dubious art of 'decorating' with books

The beauty of books comes from the fact that the writers come in different shapes, sizes and colors — as well as mind-sets, points of view, background and attitude.
Read, discuss, act: New Little Free Library book club inspires community action

Read, discuss, act: New Little Free Library book club inspires community action

When you think about it, there’s not much of a leap from reading a good book to doing a good deed. People who like to…
What books should President Donald Trump read? From Cormac McCarthy to Dr. Seuss, readers have suggestions

What books should President Donald Trump read? From Cormac McCarthy to Dr. Seuss, readers have suggestions

Last week, the New York Times reported on a typical day in the White House for Donald Trump. “Mr. Trump,” the story noted, “who does…
Review: 'The War Within: Diaries From the Siege of Leningrad,' by Alexis Peri

Review: 'The War Within: Diaries From the Siege of Leningrad,' by Alexis Peri

NONFICTION: A riveting work draws on diaries of Leningrad residents during the city's World War II siege.
12 books to read for understanding, community building, resistance and action

12 books to read for understanding, community building, resistance and action

The country has inaugurated a new president, a man who ran on a platform of deporting immigrants, registering Muslims, draining the “swamp” of politics and…
Louise Erdrich leads finalists for Minnesota Book Awards

Louise Erdrich leads finalists for Minnesota Book Awards

The Minnesota Historical Society Press and the University of Minnesota Press each have four finalists.
Mpls. author Barnhill wins Newbery Award, children's literature's highest honor

Mpls. author Barnhill wins Newbery Award, children's literature's highest honor

Kelly Barnhill was sound asleep Monday when her cellphone rang at 5 a.m., blasting the theme from the TV show "Wonder Woman" and jolting her…
Big fat books to help winter go fast

Big fat books to help winter go fast

By this time of year, polar vortex or El Niño, it doesn’t matter: It feels like winter will never end. The up side, of course,…
Review: 'Krazy,' by Michael Tisserand

Review: 'Krazy,' by Michael Tisserand

NONFICTION: A fascinating biography of George Herriman, the creator of the comic strip "Krazy Kat," and a man who slipped past the color line.
What's the best response to book contract for internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos?

What's the best response to book contract for internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos?

There's been a lot of outrage in the past week over the Breitbart News editor's recent book deal.
Review: 'Birds Art Life,' by Kyo Maclear

Review: 'Birds Art Life,' by Kyo Maclear

NONFICTION: A profound, charming memoir of art, books, life — and birds.
Bookmark: Turning the page to 2017

Bookmark: Turning the page to 2017

Many years ago, one of my colleagues went to Ireland and came back with a sticker, which he gave to me. It’s green, white and…
Review: 'War Diaries,' by Astrid Lindgren

Review: 'War Diaries,' by Astrid Lindgren

NONFICTION: In empathetic entries, writer Astrid Lindgren guides readers through a Scandinavian view of WWII.
Roxane Gay, Elizabeth Strout, George Saunders, and more: Books to watch for in early 2017

Roxane Gay, Elizabeth Strout, George Saunders, and more: Books to watch for in early 2017

So 2016 is slithering to a close. It’s been a year, eh? Let’s look ahead. Here are some books coming up in the first half…
Reviews: 'Dogs on Instagram,' and 'Cats on Instagram'

Reviews: 'Dogs on Instagram,' and 'Cats on Instagram'

NONFICTION: The dogs and cats of Instagram are hamming it up in two new books of mostly pictures.
What's the best book you ever got as a gift? Readers share stories

What's the best book you ever got as a gift? Readers share stories

"The Pickwick Papers" and "The Tawny Scrawny Lion" were among the favorites.
Memoirs that captivate, from Regina McBride, Danielle Flood and Decca Aitkenhead

Memoirs that captivate, from Regina McBride, Danielle Flood and Decca Aitkenhead

It’s the voyeur in me, maybe. Or the years spent as a newspaper reporter. But for whatever reason, I am fascinated by the lives of…
Review: 'Shakespeare and Company: A History of the Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart,' edited by Krista Halverson

Review: 'Shakespeare and Company: A History of the Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart,' edited by Krista Halverson

NONFICTION: An affectionate, gossipy history of the legendary Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Co.
10 websites for lovers of the written word

10 websites for lovers of the written word

It is probably a bad idea to write this, because we already spend way too much time on the web. But as I sit at…
The 50 best books for holiday giving

The 50 best books for holiday giving

Our annual holiday books guide highlights a dozen novels and a dozen books of nonfiction, as well as a liberal sprinkling of glowing picture books; important young-adult fiction; bold, gorgeous graphic novels, and regional books steeped in sense of place.
Review: 'Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary,' by Joe Jackson

Review: 'Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary,' by Joe Jackson

NONFICTION: This sweeping biography of the visionary Black Elk is also a history of the destruction of an ancient culture.
How do you choose your next book? Readers reveal their secrets

How do you choose your next book? Readers reveal their secrets

Can't decide on a book? Read reviews, turn to page 69, or just let your cat pick.
Colson Whitehead, Rep. John Lewis win National Book Awards

Colson Whitehead, Rep. John Lewis win National Book Awards

The annual awards ceremony was infused with politics and the 2016 presidential election. Finalists with Minnesota ties missed out.
Review: 'Footnotes From the World's Greatest Bookstores,' by Bob Eckstein and Garrison Keillor

Review: 'Footnotes From the World's Greatest Bookstores,' by Bob Eckstein and Garrison Keillor

NONFICTION: Illustrated anecdotes from 75 indie shops — most living, a few sadly dead.
Review: 'Schoolhouse,' by Marc Nieson

Review: 'Schoolhouse,' by Marc Nieson

NONFICTION: A New York City writer heads to Iowa to escape a tortured romance and finds his true self in the countryside.
As libraries change, we lose little pieces of history, like card catalogs

As libraries change, we lose little pieces of history, like card catalogs

Everything about a library opened doors, let in light, told you more than you had ever expected to know. Perhaps best was the card catalog which was filled with history and possibility.
Bookmark: Scary books to read for Halloween

Bookmark: Scary books to read for Halloween

I don’t like being scared. The older I get, the more susceptible I am to “ghoulies and ghosties/And long-leggedy beasties/And things that go bump in…
Best-selling author Ann Patchett gets up close and personal

Best-selling author Ann Patchett gets up close and personal

The novelist broke a longtime vow, drawing on her own life for her latest book.
How poet Elizabeth Alexander turned sorrow into a celebration of love

How poet Elizabeth Alexander turned sorrow into a celebration of love

In her acclaimed memoir, author Elizabeth Alexander writes about the excruciating loss of her husband – but also of their joyous life together.
Elizabeth Alexander, Colson Whitehead and others lined up for Talking Volumes

Elizabeth Alexander, Colson Whitehead and others lined up for Talking Volumes

Funny and serious, fiction and nonfiction, the book club's 16th season has something for everyone.
Meet Marlon James, other top writers at Twin Cities Book Festival

Meet Marlon James, other top writers at Twin Cities Book Festival

Meet favorite authors and pick up some books at the annual Twin Cities Book Festival.
Review: 'The Trespasser,' by Tana French

Review: 'The Trespasser,' by Tana French

FICTION: A beautiful woman is killed, and everyone around her has a different story.

Bookmark: Contest with major award announced for Midwestern fiction writers

It's a well-known fact that right after I moved away from Duluth, the town became hip. Brewpubs and galleries opened; food became artisan and locavore;…
So many books, so little time: How do you choose what to read next?

So many books, so little time: How do you choose what to read next?

There are millions of books out there, and new ones publish every week. What's your method?
Review: 'Moscow Nights,' by Nigel Cliff

Review: 'Moscow Nights,' by Nigel Cliff

NONFICTION: An affectionate, entertaining biography of American pianist Van Cliburn, whose passion for Russian music briefly paused the Cold War.
University of Minnesota and Mankato State bringing in big writers this fall

University of Minnesota and Mankato State bringing in big writers this fall

I am trying to imagine what a conversation might be like between Claudia Rankine and Marilynne Robinson. Two brilliant women, successful writers, deep thinkers. What…
Fall brings big books and big author events to the Twin Cities

Fall brings big books and big author events to the Twin Cities

Get hip to fall's biggest books, plus local readings by Jonathan Safran Foer, Michael Chabon and more.
When squiggles became words: Readers share stories of learning to read

When squiggles became words: Readers share stories of learning to read

Some of you learned to read by looking at photo captions in National Geographic, the printing on your mother’s cigarette pack, the label on your…
Review: 'Leave Me,' by Gayle Forman

Review: 'Leave Me,' by Gayle Forman

FICTION: A woman starts over in implausible yet entertaining "Leave Me."
Review: 'Generation Chef: Risking it All for a New American Dream,' by Karen Stabiner

Review: 'Generation Chef: Risking it All for a New American Dream,' by Karen Stabiner

NONFICTION: You'll gobble up this delicious behind-the-scenes account of a start-up restaurant in New York City.
Review: 'How to Be Perfect: An Illustrated Guide,' by Ron Padgett, pictures by Jason Novak

Review: 'How to Be Perfect: An Illustrated Guide,' by Ron Padgett, pictures by Jason Novak

POETRY: Ron Padgett's poem comes to bemused life with Jason Novak's cartoons.
Why do books publish on Tuesdays?

Why do books publish on Tuesdays?

This week, on Tuesday, Ann Patchett’s new novel, “Commonwealth,” will be published. So will Ian McEwan’s “Nutshell,” and Marisa Silver’s “Little Nothing.” “The Lesser Bohemians,”…
20-year-old St. Paul poet wins prestigious national award

20-year-old St. Paul poet wins prestigious national award

With his poem "what the dead know by heart," Donte Collins has won the Most Promising Young Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets.
10 books – both fiction and nonfiction – to read for Labor Day

10 books – both fiction and nonfiction – to read for Labor Day

Labor Day, of course, is not a holiday to mark the end of summer and the beginning of school. That’s just what we pretend it…
The life-changing moment of learning to read

The life-changing moment of learning to read

I learned to read in the quiet of an upstairs bedroom in our house in Duluth, the room where my little brothers slept side-by-side in…
Gryphon Press marks 10th anniversary, recommends animal books for kids

Gryphon Press marks 10th anniversary, recommends animal books for kids

Emilie Buchwald, scholar, editor and author, has always been passionate about books. A co-founder of Milkweed Editions, she worked there for 24 years, publishing the…
Readers weigh in on books that encourage the travel bug

Readers weigh in on books that encourage the travel bug

Wow, you are a well traveled, well read, curious bunch. I was delighted by the response to last month’s column about reading books before (or…
8 books to make you laugh in these dire times

8 books to make you laugh in these dire times

The first funny book I remember reading was James Thurber’s “My Life and Hard Times.” I read it over and over, and it…
International F. Scott Fitzgerald conference will be in St. Paul next year

International F. Scott Fitzgerald conference will be in St. Paul next year

St. Paul is haunted by the ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Go just about anywhere and you will be treading ground that he did —…
Nothing prepares you for a trip – or helps you relive it later – more than a book

Nothing prepares you for a trip – or helps you relive it later – more than a book

The last time I was in London (which was only the second time I was in London), I hauled with me a hard-bound copy of…
Kindness of strangers – and a banana – saved this bike trip from disaster

Kindness of strangers – and a banana – saved this bike trip from disaster

With no training and little preparation and in the scorching heat of summer, she set off to ride from Duluth to La Crosse, Wis.
Writer Salman Rushdie to speak at Macalester College

Writer Salman Rushdie to speak at Macalester College

Although he has written more than a dozen books, Salman Rushdie might best be known for his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” and the death…
Book healing: What writers of color say we all should read now

Book healing: What writers of color say we all should read now

In the wake of the recent shooting death in Falcon Heights of Philando Castile, Twin Cities writers, artists and teachers of color have suggestions for books that might help bridge the gap between our cultures.
Bookmark: Floating Library to spend this summer at Lake Phalen in St. Paul

Bookmark: Floating Library to spend this summer at Lake Phalen in St. Paul

The Floating Library first bobbed out onto a Minneapolis lake in the summer of 2013. Volunteer librarians handed out chapbooks, art books and other unique…
Is Ann Patchett's list of 'best books' really the best?

Is Ann Patchett's list of 'best books' really the best?

Yes, I find lists of “best books” to be irresistible. And yes, they make me crazy. Recently, Parade magazine asked novelist Ann Patchett to come…
Review: 'The Voyeur's Motel,' by Gay Talese

Review: 'The Voyeur's Motel,' by Gay Talese

NONFICTION: Gay Talese's reportage on a Colorado man's years spying on guests makes the reader uncomfortably complicit.
REVIEW: 'Dinner With Edward,' by Isabel Vincent

REVIEW: 'Dinner With Edward,' by Isabel Vincent

NONFICTION: The story of a relationship between a younger investigative reporter and an elderly bon vivant.
The delightful, unsettling feeling of being drunk on books

The delightful, unsettling feeling of being drunk on books

A friend calls it being “book drunk” — that woozy sensation you get when you read book after book after book, without a break in…
Review: 'Vinegar Girl,' by Anne Tyler

Review: 'Vinegar Girl,' by Anne Tyler

FICTION: This smart and funny retelling of "The Taming of the Shrew" is vintage Anne Tyler.
British writer Max Porter explores loss in 'Grief Is the Thing With Feathers'

British writer Max Porter explores loss in 'Grief Is the Thing With Feathers'

Brief, moving and powerful, Max Porter's debut book "Grief Is the Thing With Feathers" is billed as a novel but is more like a play for voices or, possibly, a prose poem.
For Father's Day: More bad mothers of literature

For Father's Day: More bad mothers of literature

Today is Father’s Day, so you might expect that I will be writing about the worst dads in fiction. But ha! Surprise! Bad dads are…
Bookmark: The guilt of an accidental book thief

Bookmark: The guilt of an accidental book thief

If my friend Lynette is looking for her copy of Wallace Stegner’s “Crossing to Safety,” I can tell her exactly where it is: It’s on…
Readers respond to e-book/print book debate

Readers respond to e-book/print book debate

I was pretty sure that people felt strongly about books — as opposed to e-readers, I mean — but it was still heartening to receive…
Review: 'Fever at Dawn,' by Peter Gardos

Review: 'Fever at Dawn,' by Peter Gardos

FICTION: Liberated after World War II, two concentration camp survivors face a new battle, this time for love.
Be glad these literary moms are not your moms. And happy Mother's Day!

Be glad these literary moms are not your moms. And happy Mother's Day!

The most wonderful mother in fiction, of course, will always be Marmee March from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” Pious and selfless, sensible and loving,…
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