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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
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…
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.
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,…
Minneapolis author Louise Erdrich finds writing humor is the 'hardest thing'

Minneapolis author Louise Erdrich finds writing humor is the 'hardest thing'

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, "LaRose," is a page-turner that reflects her experience of family and resilience.
Celebrating a world before Kindle

Celebrating a world before Kindle

Dublin abounds in museums and libraries. Here are three that are custom-made for lovers of the printed page.
Bookmark: Reading e-books just isn't a 'tactile' experience

Bookmark: Reading e-books just isn't a 'tactile' experience

Early last year, a linguistics professor at American University in Washington, D.C., surveyed more than 300 college students around the world and found that —…
Bookmark: Quotation books ready-made for Twitter

Bookmark: Quotation books ready-made for Twitter

Pluck a quote out of its context, surround it with serious white space, give it a page all to itself, and suddenly it sounds profound.Let's…
Minnesota natives T.J. Stiles and Jack Ohman win Pulitzer Prizes

Minnesota natives T.J. Stiles and Jack Ohman win Pulitzer Prizes

Stiles won his second Pulitzer for the bio "Custer's Trials" while Ohman was honored for his political cartoons. And Twin Cities reporter Robin McDowell shared the public service award.
Familiar names lead the winners of the Minnesota Book Awards

Familiar names lead the winners of the Minnesota Book Awards

A handful of repeat winners collected 2016 honors at the Minnesota Book Awards gala.
Review: 'Eligible,' by Curtis Sittenfeld

Review: 'Eligible,' by Curtis Sittenfeld

FICTION: A modern-day retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" falls flat, despite the author's strong effort.
Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang writes memoir of her father's life in Laos and Minnesota

Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang writes memoir of her father's life in Laos and Minnesota

Kao Kalia Yang's second memoir focuses on the life and art of her father, a Hmong song poet.
Bookmark: Should we throw Gay Talese under bus for comments about women writers?

Bookmark: Should we throw Gay Talese under bus for comments about women writers?

Some years ago, I had breakfast with Gay Talese. Well, that’s not precisely true: I had breakfast in the vicinity of Gay Talese. We were…
Gary Shulze, longtime owner of Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, has died

Gary Shulze, longtime owner of Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, has died

Gary Shulze, who knew just about everything there is to know about local writers, mystery writers and the wonderful, delicate art of selling books, died…
Mpls. author Kate DiCamillo tells 'true story of my heart' in new novel

Mpls. author Kate DiCamillo tells 'true story of my heart' in new novel

Kate DiCamillo's new novel, "Raymie Nightingale," comes straight from her own Florida childhood.
Author James McBride finds humor in pain and pain in humor

Author James McBride finds humor in pain and pain in humor

The bestselling author doesn't find everything funny. Humor, he notes, depends on context. He will speak Wednesday night at the University of Minnesota.
What's on the 'manuscript wishlist' of literary agents?

What's on the 'manuscript wishlist' of literary agents?

  The other day, a friend sent me a link to something called “manuscript wishlist” — a Twitter thread (#MSWL) from literary agents who are…
National Book Critics Circle awards ceremony was a night of heartfelt love for books

National Book Critics Circle awards ceremony was a night of heartfelt love for books

I was very excited last week to fly off to New York (my first visit in 20 years!) so that I could come back and…
Review: 'Dimestore: A Writer's Life,' by Lee Smith

Review: 'Dimestore: A Writer's Life,' by Lee Smith

NONFICTION: Lee Smith's intimate memoir explores the Appalachian upbringing that sings through her novels.
Bookmark: 10 books to read about Ireland

Bookmark: 10 books to read about Ireland

Some years ago, I contacted a Twin Cities academic and asked if he could recommend a list of Irish books that everyone should read. He…
Bookmark: A writing retreat for any need at Banfill-Locke in Fridley

Bookmark: A writing retreat for any need at Banfill-Locke in Fridley

I have always dreamed sort of halfheartedly of going on a writing retreat — space, solitude, time to write. My father was a MacDowell Colony…
Twin Cities authors, actors on what 'Mockingbird' meant to them

Twin Cities authors, actors on what 'Mockingbird' meant to them

“To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee died Friday. Here are local writers’ and actors’ responses when asked what the book meant to them and…
Finalists for 2016 Minnesota Book Awards are announced

Finalists for 2016 Minnesota Book Awards are announced

Seven books published by the University of Minnesota Press are among the finalists.

Love books? Get reading with libraries' Winter Reads Twin Cities program

When darkness falls at 5 p.m. and the evening is long and quiet, you can turn on the TV and watch another rerun of “The…
Holiday books: Nonfiction

Holiday books: Nonfiction

Top nonfiction picks include "Bettyville" and "In Manchuria."
Holiday books: Biography

Holiday books: Biography

Biography picks include "Custer's Trials" and "Becoming Nicole."
Holiday books: Regional books

Holiday books: Regional books

Top picks for regional books include "Minnesota State of Wonders" and "Everybody's Heard About the Bird."
Minneapolis author John Coy recounts basketball's racially integrated Secret Game

Minneapolis author John Coy recounts basketball's racially integrated Secret Game

Minneapolis author John Coy tells the remarkable story of one of basketball's first integrated games.
Twin Cities Book Festival will be an all-day bonanza for readers and writers

Twin Cities Book Festival will be an all-day bonanza for readers and writers

The Upper Midwest's largest literary festival will bring in authors from around the globe Saturday for a free one-day bonanza of writers and readers.

Review: 'The Visiting Privilege,' by Joy Williams

FICTION: New collection brings together four dozen bizarre, enthralling stories.
Kyle Mills in Twin Cities to sign Vince Flynn's last Mitch Rapp novel

Kyle Mills in Twin Cities to sign Vince Flynn's last Mitch Rapp novel

Kyle Mills knew he had a tough job ahead when he was asked to finish a novel begun by the late thriller writer.
Review: 'This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!' by Jonathan Evison

Review: 'This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!' by Jonathan Evison

FICTION: An elderly woman recalls love, hurt and triumph, accompanied by her husband's ghost.
Editor of Laura Ingalls Wilder's memoir to speak

Editor of Laura Ingalls Wilder's memoir to speak

What a surprise to read Laura Ingalls Wilder's memoir, with all its discrepancies with her "Little House" books. Editor Pamela Hill explains.
Author Faith Sullivan tells the story of a small Minnesota town

Author Faith Sullivan tells the story of a small Minnesota town

Faith Sullivan is back after 10 years with a new novel set in fictional Harvester, Minn., a companion to her beloved "The Cape Ann."
Review: 'The Art of Memoir,' by Mary Karr; stimulating advice from someone who pulls no punches

Review: 'The Art of Memoir,' by Mary Karr; stimulating advice from someone who pulls no punches

NONFICTION: A master class on memoir, from a memoirist who pulls no punches.
Stephen Kiernan, author of 'The Hummingbird,' talks about his writing process

Stephen Kiernan, author of 'The Hummingbird,' talks about his writing process

Writer Stephen Kiernan concentrates on compassion and loyalty at the end of life in his new novel about a hospice nurse.
Tiny South Dakota press wrestled with oversized demand for Laura Ingalls Wilder bio

Tiny South Dakota press wrestled with oversized demand for Laura Ingalls Wilder bio

Copies of "Pioneer Girl" were hard to come by last holiday season. Here's why — and why this year might be better.

Local writers will give Minnesota State Fair a literary flair

It has to be said: For one day, there will be more writers at the Minnesota State Fair than you can shake a stick at.…
Beloved Minneapolis mystery bookstore, Once Upon a Crime, going on the market

Beloved Minneapolis mystery bookstore, Once Upon a Crime, going on the market

Owners Pat and Gary are putting their beloved bookstore up for sale.
Review: 'Blackout,' by Sarah Hepola; alcohol's dangerous lure

Review: 'Blackout,' by Sarah Hepola; alcohol's dangerous lure

NONFICTION: In her honest and forthright memoir, Sarah Hepola examines the iron grip that alcohol has had on her since she was a child.
Jocelyn Hale to leave post at the Loft Literary Center

Jocelyn Hale to leave post at the Loft Literary Center

Executive director will stay through August.
Loft Literary Center names Britt Udesen as new director

Loft Literary Center names Britt Udesen as new director

A Minnesota native will take over as the center marks its 40th year.
Minnesota bookstores will celebrate release of Harper Lee novel

Minnesota bookstores will celebrate release of Harper Lee novel

That ticking noise you hear is the countdown to the release of the new Harper Lee novel, "Go Set a Watchman," which will be in bookstores July 14.
Dean Bakopoulos' novel 'Summerlong' follows Iowa marriage in crisis

Dean Bakopoulos' novel 'Summerlong' follows Iowa marriage in crisis

Dean Bakopoulos' third book concentrates on an Iowa couple's marital struggles during a long, hot summer.
Summer books: New in paperback for relaxing reads

Summer books: New in paperback for relaxing reads

Mostly lighthearted, some downright funny, here are some happy paperbacks for your hot beach read.
Minnesota writer Spike Carlsen tells the story of his handmade North Shore cabin

Minnesota writer Spike Carlsen tells the story of his handmade North Shore cabin

The North Shore land that Spike Carlsen fell in love with was considered nearly unbuildable. This barely slowed him down.
Meet Megan Marsnik, author of this year's summer serial, 'Under Ground'

Meet Megan Marsnik, author of this year's summer serial, 'Under Ground'

Megan Marsnik, author of the novel running this summer in the Star Tribune, grew to love history and writing during her northern Minnesota childhood.

Minneapolis Central Library closing book on its store

Libraries are all things to all people — they lend books, CDs, DVDs and e-books. They have meeting rooms, a piano room, places to hold…
Twin Cities bookstores plan events for Independent Bookstore Day

Twin Cities bookstores plan events for Independent Bookstore Day

From face-painting to F. Scott Fitzgerald bingo, independent bookstores are throwing a giant party on Saturday.
Independent Bookstore Day: What to do/see/read

Independent Bookstore Day: What to do/see/read

From face-painting to F. Scott Fitzgerald bingo, independent bookstores are throwing a giant party on Saturday.
Author's quest to follow a young immigrant becomes a book

Author's quest to follow a young immigrant becomes a book

Sonia Nazario rode atop trains and hitchhiked in Mexico to write about a young immigrant.
Marlon James, Joyce Sidman pick up 2nd Minnesota Book Awards; Lori Sturdevant picks up 3rd

Marlon James, Joyce Sidman pick up 2nd Minnesota Book Awards; Lori Sturdevant picks up 3rd

Novelist Marlon James and poet Joyce Sidman each picked up their second Minnesota Book Award on Saturday night, and previous nominees Julie Klassen and Margi…
Huge writing conference has Mpls. fully booked

Huge writing conference has Mpls. fully booked

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, known as AWP, begins Wednesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Review: 'What Comes Next and How to Like It,' by Abigail Thomas

Review: 'What Comes Next and How to Like It,' by Abigail Thomas

Nonfiction: In her plain-spoken and wise memoir, Abigail Thomas turns an unflinching eye on aging and death.
Review: 'Window-Shopping Through the Iron Curtain,' by David Hlynsky

Review: 'Window-Shopping Through the Iron Curtain,' by David Hlynsky

NONFICTION: Photo book captures the odd displays of Soviet era shops.
Review: 'The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy,' by Rachel Joyce

Review: 'The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy,' by Rachel Joyce

In this companion book to "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry," a dying woman in the north of England waits for her old friend to arrive.
Writer Peter Heller gets thrills from fiction

Writer Peter Heller gets thrills from fiction

After kayaking, flying, surfing and traveling the world, Peter Heller settles down to fiction. For now.

Minnesota Book Award finalists announced

Minnesota writer Larry Millett is a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award in two categories; the children's literature category is a hotbed of competition with…
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