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 serves as the autobiography chairman of the National Book Critics Circle board of directors.
Recent content from Laurie Hertzel
"Rodham" author Curtis Sittenfeld.

In a new novel, Minneapolis writer imagines Hillary Clinton's life if she hadn't married Bill

Her new novel--her second about a prominent political woman--names names and reimagines a life.
In Shriver's new novel, the two main characters are a former runner, and a newly-minted runner. And there is friction.

Review: 'The Motion of the Body Through Space,' by Lionel Shriver

FICTION: A husband takes up triathlon training just as his athlete wife's knees fail her in this satire by controversial writer Lionel Shriver.
Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis is hosting online book clubs.

Bookmark: Independent bookstores get creative

I don’t know about you, but I miss bookstores. I miss browsing through musty used books and happening upon a treasure — a title I…
The faithful maintain social distance at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Review: 'The End of October,' by Lawrence Wright

FICTION: In Lawrence Wright's harrowing thriller, a deadly virus sweeps the world.
The Marché Jean-Talon farmers market in Montreal’s Little Italy district is one of city’s oldest public markets.

Montreal is vibrant and fascinating at any time of year

Montreal is vibrant and fascinating no matter the season.
Bookmark: Minnesota journal publishes the hopes and fears of young people during COVID-19

Bookmark: Minnesota journal publishes the hopes and fears of young people during COVID-19

While we adults struggle with life in a pandemic, you might ask yourself, how are the kids doing? Molly Hill can tell you. The Minnetonka…
Angus watches a rabbit, oblivious to the Cooper’s hawk that just flew over his head toward a nest.

The Puppy Chronicles: The solace of walking the dog

Daily walks with Angus are a balm during this difficult, locked-in spring.
Picturesque morning in Plitvice National Park. Colorful spring scene of green forest with pure water lake. Great countryside view of Croatia, Europe.

Review: 'In Praise of Paths,' by Torbjørn Ekelund, translated from the Norwegian by Becky L. Crook

NONFICTION: A Norwegian writer finds his life is utterly changed when he stops driving and begins walking everywhere.
Marlon James

Marlon James, Kao Kalia Yang among Minnesota Book Award winners

Honors were presented Tuesday at a livestreamed virtual event.
Svenja O’Donnell

Review: 'Inge's War,' by Svenja O'Donnell

NONFICTION: A journalist uncovers the tragic story of her German grandmother's World War II life and doomed love affair.
Most of the time, Angus and Rosie play with enthusiasm and joy. But every now and then, sibling rivalry hits.

The Puppy Chronicles: Sibling rivalry

Too much togetherness can spark jealousy between Angus and his big sister, Rosie.
Boneshaker Books, Minneapolis.

Nonprofit bookstore Boneshaker Books crowdfunds enough cash to reopen

The store, run by volunteers, will first open online and later in its original storefront in Seward.
Kate DiCamillo

Minnesotans launch first all-state book club

Kate DiCamillo's "Because of Winn-Dixie" chosen for first all-state book club.
Shaun Bythell

Review: 'Confessions of a Bookseller,' by Shaun Bythell

NONFICTION: The sequel to a small-town bookseller's adventures is entertaining, but cracks appear.
Ah the joys of reading in bed.

Bookmark: Daylight saving time means more time to read in bed

Last month we all lost an hour of sleep. If you’re like me, ever since daylight saving time started you’ve been heading to bed at…
In all fairness, it does look like a small child.

Review: 'Redhead by the Side of the Road,' by Anne Tyler

FICTION: A self-described "tech hermit" finds his tightly controlled life starting to unravel.
The inaugural Wordplay festival in 2019 drew 10,000 people to see writers such as Stephen King. This year’s festival is all virtual.

Olympian Jessie Diggins opens the Wordplay virtual book festival — with a workout

Wordplay will host eight online events every week through May 9.
Those were the days, back when book launches were packed! Here, St. Paul writer Marlon James reads from "A Brief History of Seven Killings" at Common

Bookmark: Authors, readings, launches move to online

From virtual book launches to e-mailed writing prompts to Skyped book clubs to videos of authors reading aloud, readers and writers are finding creative, fun…
Angus is my stalwart companion while I work at home.

The Puppy Chronicles: Home is where the dog is

Working from home in this time of pandemic is scary and strange, but Angus and Rosie get us outside and keep us grounded.
Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo entertains children at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul.

Bookmark: How Twin Cities bookstores will continue to sell you books during the shutdown

Beginning Saturday morning, under Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home mandate, Minnesota bookstores will no longer be open to customers. But they will remain open to online…
Magers and Quinn is one of many bookstores in the Twin Cities that is now closed to customers. Folks can order online and the bookstore is offering al

Bookmark: Show your indie bookstore a little online love

Small independent bookstores are fighting to stay alive in this age of pandemic and social distancing. You can help them survive. Many bookshops in the…
William Wordsworth's poem,"The Daffodils," was one that readers said they had committed to memory.

Bookmark: Readers write about the poems they love and have committed to memory

Last month I wrote about memorizing poetry, and ever since then poems have been popping into my head. The alarming thing is, often I…
There is a little door for little people in the entrance to Wild Rumpus.

Many local bookstores closing doors, moving online

Moon Palace, Wild Rumpus, Milkweed, SubText among the stores temporarily moving to online-only.
Angus is learning to wear a muzzle, primarily for vet visits. He likes the fact that he can easily eat chicken through the many openings.

The Puppy Chronicles: Muzzle Man

We bought Angus a muzzle to help keep vet visits peaceful. But teaching him to wear it was no easy task.
A huge crowd turned out at last year's Wordplay festival to see Stephen King in conversation with Benjamin Percy. Photo by Anna Min, Min Enterprises P

Because of virus, Twin Cities big Wordplay book fest will be a 'virtual' event

Epidemic forces the Loft to rethink the spring event, which would have brought 100 authors to town.
Dionne Searcey reporting in Niger.

Review: 'In Pursuit of Disobedient Women,' by Dionne Searcey

NONFICTION: A reporter moves her family to West Africa and uncovers stories about Boko Haram, kidnapped girls and reluctant suicide bombers.
Louise Erdrich in her bookstore.

In Louise Erdrich's 'Night Watchman,' tribal and personal history converge

Set in Turtle Mountain in the 1950s, "The Night Watchman" is in bookstores Tuesday.
Despite having an abundance of bookstores and libraries, Minneapolis and St Paul did not rate in the top ten of the most bookish towns in the U.S. Per

Bookmark: Where do the Twin Cities fall on the list of best cities for book lovers?

The numbers have been crunched, the data analyzed, and the results are in. The bookiest (most bookish?) city in the United States is … not…
FILE - This Jan. 26, 2009, file photo shows an AK Steel Holding Corp. plant in Middletown, Ohio. Cleveland-Cliffs is buying AK Steel in a stock deal v

Review: 'Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit,' by Eliese Colette Goldbach

NONFICTION: On the brink of despair, a young Cleveland woman takes a job as a steelworker, which changes her life.
Tracy K. Smith talked about memorizing poetry when she was in the Twin Cities last fall for Talking Volumes.

Bookmark: Taking a walk? Recite a poem to keep you company

I don’t have a lot of regrets, but I have a few. I regret not learning a second language to the point where I can…
A book about tree swallows is the perfect bedtime book.

Bookmark: Reading habits are as different as day and night

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book about the nesting habits of tree swallows. I read it at night, in bed,…
The line to get into the 2019 Wordplay festival stretched around the corner and down the block.

Wordplay fest to bring Lily King, Emma Straub, Gene Luen Yang, 100 more to Minneapolis

The Minneapolis event is scaling back to a single day for its second year, but a no-less ambitious lineup.
“American Dirt” author Jeanine Cummins.

Books editor: It's OK to be angry about a book. It is not OK to threaten its author

If you are angry about Jeanine Cummins’ novel “American Dirt,” that is perfectly fine. If you are one of the people threatening Cummins and…
Marlon James. Photo by Mark Seliger.

Marlon James, Kao Kalia Yang among finalists for Minnesota Book Award

Veteran writers Marlon James, Kao Kalia Yang, Bao Phi and David Treuer are among those in the running for the annual awards.
Some of the hundreds of letters that had been stashed in a box in the basement for decades.

Bookmark: Lamentation on the lost art of letter writing

The Christmas I was 9, I asked for a year’s supply of stamps. I had gotten into letter-writing in a big way, inflicting long, tediously…
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.