Staff Directory 10645026

Laurie Hertzel

Senior Editor | Books
phone: 612-673-7302
Laurie Hertzel oversees book reviews and book news for the Star Tribune. She is the author of a memoir, "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist" (University of Minnesota Press 2010) and sits on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.
Recent content from Laurie Hertzel
Though he spends plenty of time in the yard or sprawled on the couch, Angus is perfectly happy to hang out in his crate.

The Puppy Chronicles: If you want peace in your life, train your dog to love its crate

Crates are not the answer for every dog. But if your dog loves its crate, you — and the pup — are very lucky.
Bao Phi, photographed at The Loft, has a new poetry book out called "Thousand Star Hotel," Tuesday, July 18, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN.

Novelist Lesley Nneka Arimah, poet Bao Phi, cartoonist Steve Sack win Minnesota Book Awards

It is a mark of how accomplished Minnesota’s writing community is that many of the winners of this year’s Minnesota Book Awards were honored for…
Detail of the Twin Cities bookstore map by Kevin Cannon that will be given away on Independent Bookstore Day.

Independent Bookstore Day is a 12-hour party for Twin Cities book lovers

If you’re anything like me (and good luck to you if you are), every time you go to a bookstore it feels a little like…
Now that he is five months old, Angus has started seeking independence on the leash. Time for training!

The Puppy Chronicles: Leash training is short-term pain for long-term peace

If you don't want your shoulder and neck to suffer, train your dog to the leash.
There are now more than 50,000 Little Free Libraries nationwide.

Little Free Libraries provide books (and joy) to enthusiastic readers

Nearly 10 years after they started in Hudson, Wis., little libraries-on-a-stick have spread across the United States.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith

It's an amazing spring for big-name writers visiting the Twin Cities

When you see this lineup of book events, you're going to be busy a dozen times over.
Old books!

Bookmark: Ohio bookstore's remarkable website will help you find books you barely remember

Every now and then, a fragment of a book I once loved will swim toward the front of my brain. Just a floating wisp of…
Angus likes to keep Rosie under close surveillance.

The Puppy Chronicles: If you have two dogs, pay attention to pack hierarchy

Rosie, our resident black Lab, loves Angus. But at times she gets fed up with him. What then?
Angus was angelic in puppy class.

The puppy chronicles: Angus goes to school

A well-trained dog is a good dog. But, oh, the training takes time. And there have been lots of changes over the years.
Layli Long Soldier, winner of the National Book Critics Circle prize for poetry, awaits her turn to read the night before the event.

Bookmark: NBCC awards ceremony is an evening of books, writers and words

There’s nothing quite so special as an evening devoted to authors, books and the written word. All year, writers work alone, in front of a…
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Readers share books they'd swear an oath on

Your suggestions have been delightful, far superseding anything that anyone has ever actually done.
A dancing bear named Charlie awaits transport to Dancing Bear Park, where he will learn freedom.

Review: 'Dancing Bears,' by Witold Szabłowski

NONFICTION: A Polish journalist looks at how individuals — human and ursine — cope with sudden freedom.
Empty cereal boxes, puffy toys, bare toes: Angus contemplates what to chew next.

The Puppy Chronicles: Oh, the biting!

In which we try to teach Angus that toes are not edible, at least not while they are attached to my feet.
Anne Ursu

Twin Cities writer helps reveal male kid-lit writers behaving badly

Rumors are flying, stories are being told and maybe between the time I write this and the time you read this, everything will have changed.…
Elizabeth Willard Thames

Review: 'Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living,' by Elizabeth Willard Thames

NONFICTION: Co-founder of popular website tells you to save money now to be rich later--sort of.
Lesley Nneka Arimah.
Photo by Emily Baxter.

Bookmark: Minnesota colleges bloom in the spring with visits from writers

We write a lot on these pages about the many writers series held around the Twin Cities — Talking Volumes, sponsored by the Star Tribune…
Sometimes it’s hard to get Angus to remember that he’s outside for (ahem) a reason. He gets caught up playing with Rosie and forgets to go.

Housebreaking a new puppy at 11 below zero in Minnesota

If you're foolish enough to adopt a puppy in the coldest month of the coldest winter in years, how are you supposed to housebreak him?
Tara Westover Photo by Paul Stuart

Review: 'Educated,' by Tara Westover

NONFICTION: Tara Westover's fascinating memoir tells of growing up an uneducated daughter of Idaho survivalists — and then getting out.
From “A Different Pond,” by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui, published by Capstone Young Readers.

Bookmark: The Newbery and Caldecott – as well as the other ALA awards – are bringing recognition to diverse books

It should be no surprise that “A Different Pond,” written by Minneapolis poet Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui, was named one of…
Author Kelly Barnhill at her home in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis writer Kelly Barnhill writes fairy tales for grown-ups

After writer Kelly Barnhill won the highest honor in children's literature, she came out with a new collection of stories — for adults.
Five books that make you long to dig into the dirt.

REVIEWS: Five books to get your gardening juices flowing

Is it spring yet? Sadly, not outside the window. But it is spring in the pages of these five new books.
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Bookmark: What treasures have you found in a Little Free Library?

Have you found a neighborhood that is particularly rich in its selection of books?
Sandra Allen drew on the journals of her uncle to write about his life with mental illness. ROBERT DUBBIN

Review: 'A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise,' by Sandra Allen

NONFICTION: A writer uses excerpts from her uncle's unpublished memoir to offer a revealing look at mental illness.
iStock
One of Maggie O’Farrell’s brushes with death — this time, her daughter’s — came on a quiet rural road in Italy.

Review: 'I Am, I Am, I Am,' by Maggie O'Farrell

NONFICTION: Costa Prize-winning novelist Maggie O'Farrell recounts ways she nearly died, from near drowning to near plane crash to near murder.
Bao Phi says his new poetry book,"Thousand Star Hotel" is much more personal.

Minnesota Book Award finalists include Bao Phi, Louise Erdrich, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Steve Sack

The winners will be announced April 21 at the 30th annual Minnesota Book Awards gala in St. Paul.
You'll be happily reading again in no time.

Readers offer advice for digging out from a reading slump

These slumps hit us all from time to time. Here's how some folks get back to the books.
Carmen Maria Machado will be honored for her first book.

Minneapolis' Graywolf Press leads the pack of finalists for NBCC awards

Minneapolis' Graywolf Press has four books on the finalist lists for the National Book Critics Circle awards — more than any other publisher — and…
Three new books give help from abroad: “Wabi Sabi Welcome,” “The Little Book of Lagom,” and “Home Sweet Maison.”

Three new books celebrate the homes of other cultures

Authors turn to other countries to show us how to make our lives more beautiful and simple.
Angus likes to hang out in the bed by the radiator on cold January days.

The Puppy Chronicles follow Angus the rescue pup as he trains his St. Paul owners

You think you want a puppy? What, are you nuts? Over the next few months we'll tell you exactly what it's like, through the life of a rescue pup named Angus.
The Lincoln Inaugural Bible.

If you were being sworn into office, what book would you choose?

There is no law that requires a person being sworn into public office to place a hand on a Bible. There is no law that…
Minnesota novelist William Kent Krueger had spent two often frustrating years writing a sequel to his bestselling “Ordinary Grace” and was about t

Club Book spring lineup includes William Kent Krueger, Laura Lippman and Peter Geye

Anita Shreve, Emily Fridlund among speakers.
Author Rachel Joyce

Review: 'The Music Shop,' by Rachel Joyce

FICTION: Set in London in the 1980s, Rachel Joyce's fifth novel is about the down-and-out owner of a record shop who falls in love with a mysterious woman.
Lesley Nneka Arimah.

Lesley Nneka Arimah: A wordsmith who spins magic

The surreal but intensely human stories of this Twin Cities writer won international acclaim — heady stuff for a debut.
Books!

17 books we're looking forward to reading in 2018

Have you read your Christmas books and are wondering what's coming up next year?
Riley, a rescue from a local humane society who had been returned by his first family, was a difficult, fearful puppy but came into his own in midlife

For this Minnesota writer, the more difficult the dog, the greater the rewards

Sometimes a dog that requires work and understanding is the most rewarding kind to have.
Loft Literary Center executive director Britt Udesen, left, and Steph Opitz work on plans for Wordplay.

New book festival will run over 2 days, bringing 100 authors to Minneapolis

The Loft Literary Center announces Wordplay, a new two-day book festival.
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Great stocking stuffers for book lovers

These reading-related gifts are sure to delight.
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Don't feel like reading? 10 tips to bring yourself out of a book slump

Here's how to get your book groove back.
Holiday Books 2017

Your ultimate guide to holiday books

The latest bestseller, a glossy cookbook, a fat biography, an old classic — a book is a most welcome present.
In case of a flood, or a fire, Kevin Fenton would save these two books.

BOOKMARK: Readers have a hard time choosing which books to save

I might have been unfair when I asked recently what books you’d rush to save in a disaster. Unfair, because I didn’t tell you my…
In his memoir "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," Sherman Alexie examines his complicated relationship with his late mother, Lillian.

Writer Sherman Alexie is back on the road: 'I averted a crisis'

Haunted by his mother's memory, the author halted his book tour this summer. Now he's back on the road — still outspoken, still funny, but a little more careful.
What would you read in Paris?

Do Minnesotans really prefer to read nonfiction while traveling?

Readers reveal vacation reads.
Peter Stamm Photo by Gaby Gerster

Review: 'To the Back of Beyond,' by Peter Stamm, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

FICTION: Peter Stamm explores the secrets of a marriage in this strange, lovely little novel.
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera chuckles at a remark made by his friend, fellow poet Ray Gonzalez, at the Twin Cities Book Festival on O

BOOKMARK: Twin Cities Book Festival was filled with words and laughter

On stage, Al Franken cracked jokes and talked politics. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera praised poet Ray Gonzalez, who smiled and praised him…
Henry Marsh

Review: 'Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon,' by Henry Marsh

NONFICTION: In this second memoir, Dr. Henry Marsh writes poignantly about regrets, retirement and what lies ahead.
A book in the wild along St. Marks Place in New York City. Sept. 2017.

BOOKMARK: Readers recall finding books 'in the wild'

We asked if you had ever unexpectedly found a book and picked it up. Here's what you said.
Roz Chast Photo by Bill Hayes

REVIEW: 'Going Into Town,' by Roz Chast

NONFICTION: New York through Roz Chast's eyes is a whole new perspective.
Peter Bognanni in the Old Main building at Macalester College. Bognanni’s second book — his first for young adults — comes out Oct. 3

St. Paul writer's second novel was a big surprise

Peter Bognanni's second novel, "Things I'm Seeing Without You," morphed from a book for adults into one for teens almost against his will.
Muhammad Ali.

Review: 'Ali: A Life,' by Jonathan Eig

NONFICTION: Jonathan Eig's biography of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali is careful, detailed and highly entertaining.
Lesley Nneka Arimah

Minnesota writer named one of National Book Foundation's 'Five Under 35'

Award honors debut fiction writers who show great promise — and this year they're all women, including the Twin Cities' Lesley Nneka Arimah.
How can you choose?

In the event of a catastrophe, which books would you save?

With Hurricane Irma headed straight for her house, Connie Ogle had to make some tough decisions. The most excruciating: Which books would she take? Which…
Emily Fridlund

Native Minnesotan writer 'didn't expect' to land on Man Booker shortlist

Missing Minnesota while in California, Emily Fridlund began to write. Now she's on the Man Booker shortlist.
Laura Ingalls Wilder n the 1950s.

3 new Laura Ingalls Wilder books for those who can't get enough 'Little House'

This year there are several new Wilder books to choose from.
Thi Bui

Review: 'The Best We Could Do,' by Thi Bui

NONFICTION: Thi Bui tells the story about her parents' escape from Vietnam in intense drawings and terse text.
The Hamidiyeh market in the cosmopolitan walled Old City of Damascus, Syria. Associated Press

Review: 'A Disappearance in Damascus: Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War,' by Deborah Campbell

NONFICTION: A Canadian journalist working in Syria goes on the hunt for her translator, who has been arrested.
Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

BOOKMARK: Lit Crawl MN offers 'literary adventure' all over Minneapolis

Make your own chapbook, catch some poetry karaoke, and much more.
What do you like to read when you are traveling?

With vacation reads, Minneapolis veers from the rest of the country

The results of a study of books people read while traveling may surprise you.
John Boyne author photo, credit Rich Gilligan

REVIEW: 'The Heart's Invisible Furies,' by John Boyne

FICTION: A young gay man struggles with his identity and survival in postwar Ireland.
A book found on an airplane came with boarding-pass bookmarks.

Do you like to share beloved books with strangers?

BOOKMARK: There are so many ways to give books. You can be mysterious, leaving books where strangers might find them.
Britt Udesen, director of the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Lack of diverse lineup leads to cancellation of Mpls. writing conference

21 of the 22 speakers booked to discuss writing for children were white. "We made a mistake," says Loft Literary Center leader.
Imbolo Mbue

Imbolo Mbue, who is coming to the Twin Cities, talks about her novel and about being an Oprah author

Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel “Behold the Dreamers” looks at the American dream from the points of view of two couples — a wealthy New York…
Irish film director Simon Fitzmaurice at his studio in Greystones, Ireland. Fitzmaurice was writing with his hands when he began the script for "My Na

BOOKMARK: A new subset of memoir – the memoir of dying – brings news from the abyss

Over the past 25 years or so, memoir writers have plumbed nearly every facet of life: traumatic childhood, coming of age, parenthood, divorce, parents’ demise,…
Emily Culliton

REVIEW: 'The Misfortune of Marion Palm,' by Emily Culliton

FICTION: A mother of two leaves her family behind after embezzling thousands of dollars in this comic novel reminiscent of the works of Maria Semple.
From "The Saturdays," written and illustrated by Elizabeth Enright. Used with permission.

More beloved kids' books to love, recommended by readers

Readers weigh in on their favorite books from childhood.
Ann Hood.

Review: 'Morningstar: Growing Up With Books,' by Ann Hood

NONFICTION: Ann Hood details how she grew up bookish in an un-bookish family — and how reading changed her life.
Sherman Alexie

Talking Volumes' fall lineup includes Sherman Alexie and Amy Tan

Memoir, history, fiction and spies: There's something for everyone at this book club.
Germaine Gustafson, 78, has recorded in a journal the more than 6,700 books she has read since 1967.

BOOKMARK: We asked readers if they keep a book journal: Here's what they said

Do you keep a journal of the books you read? Here's what some folks do to track their books, with ratings from "blah" to "excellent."
From, "A Different Pond," by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui, published by Capstone

These new picture books have a unique Minnesota twist

A new crop of kids' books celebrates adventure, family and, like any good Minnesota book, summer.
Marsh's Library is the oldest library in Dublin, dating back 300 years.

Celebrating a world before Kindle

Dublin abounds in museums and libraries. Here are three that are custom-made for lovers of the printed page.
What a great spot to read a book.

So many books, so little time: 10 tips on how to get more reading done

What do you mean, you're busy? Help is on the way.
Hendrik Groen, author and protagonist?

Review: 'The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼ Years Old,' translated from the Dutch by Hester Velmans

FICTION: An elderly man begins keeping a journal to keep up his spirits in this dark, funny and true-to-life novel by an anonymous Dutch author.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, age 1, in 1897, in front of his parents' apartment at 481 Laurel Av., St. Paul.

Review: 'F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home,' by Dave Page with photographs by Jeff Krueger

NONFICTION: This big, lavish book explores the St. Paul streets that F. Scott Fitzgerald called home.
Poets and Writers and Musicians Against the War on the Earth--Poster by Bly Pope.

Bookmark: Writers and musicians organize to raise environmental awareness

Back in the 1960s, Minnesota poet Robert Bly and his friend David Ray, also a poet, formed a group called American Writers Against the Vietnam…
An image from the cover of "Charlotte's Web."

Unplanned teenage gig in Duluth library fosters love for children's books

When I was 13, I got a job shelving books at the public library in Duluth, the most stultifying job ever held by anybody on…
The neon of the Fargo Theatre glows along Broadway.

Fargo goes beyond the 'Ya, you betcha' and offers big surprises

The neon lights glow bright along downtown Fargo's Broadway strip.
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