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
Looking for a good book this winter? Here are more than 50

Looking for a good book this winter? Here are more than 50

Our holiday books section highlights something for everyone on your list, and yourself.
Detail from “The Art of Ramona Quimby” by Anna Katz

5 showy big books just perfect for holiday giving

Next Sunday brings our annual holiday selection of books — more than 50 titles for adults and children. Today, though, I have other recommendations —…
For 22 years, Carol Connolly hosted "Readings by Writers," a monthly writers series that hosted new and established writers, literary greats and humor

Carol Connolly, St. Paul's first poet laureate, dies at 85

With her red bob haircut, trademark round eyeglasses and black turtleneck sweater, Carol Connolly was a welcome and unmistakable fixture at literary events around the…
Books always make good gifts. iStock

Bookmark: As we zoom toward the holidays, think about books

As we head into the season of gift-giving, I’m here to urge you to buy books as gifts, buy local books as gifts, buy local…
Author Charles Baxter in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of many scenes that show up in his latest novel.

Renowned Minnesota teacher Charles Baxter retires from U but not from writing

Charles Baxter finds material for his mysterious novels on walks through Minneapolis and conversations with people he meets.
Chris Fischbach in his office at Coffee House Press.

Minneapolis' Coffee House Press 'parts ways' with its longtime leader

After starting as an intern 26 years ago, Chris Fischbach rose to become publisher in 2011.
Boxes of books to both keep and give away.

Bookmark: Releasing books is a joyous thing to do

It all started with a crack in the wall. Years ago, during a remodel, my husband and I moved a doorway. Now, 20 years, later,…
Author Rachel Joyce

Review: 'Miss Benson's Beetle,' by Rachel Joyce

FICTION: In this swashbuckling adventure, a middle-aged schoolteacher upends her dreary life in 1950 England for a dangerous quest to find a rare beetle.
Louise Erdrich reads from her new novel, "The Night Watchman," in March. Photo by Star Tribune Richard Tsong-Taatarii

The next Minnesota book club pick: Louise Erdrich's 'Plague of Doves'

E-books and audiobooks are available for free downloads from the public library.
Detail from “Escape From Camp 14” by Blaine Harden

Bookmark: Readers love tips on what to read – mostly

It was a joy reading your responses to my column a few weeks ago about the perils and pleasures of recommending books. Some…
Michael Kleber-Diggs photo by Ayanna Muata

St. Paul poet Michael Kleber-Diggs wins national poetry prize

Kleber-Diggs won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, which awards him $10,000 and publication.
Julia Zarankin birding on a Canadian beach.

REVIEW: 'Field Notes From an Unintentional Birder,' by Julia Zarankin

NONFICTION: A novice birder finds beauty in nature along with a new way to live.
Thousands of people browsed through rows of books at the Twin Cities Book Festival in 2012. This year's festival, the 20th, is virtual.

BOOKMARK: Twin Cities Book festival turns 20, turns virtual

Nineteen years ago, Rain Taxi held the first Twin Cities Book Festival at Open Book in Minneapolis. It was just weeks after the Sept. 11…
Tana French photo by Jessica Ryan

Review: 'The Searcher,' by Tana French

FICTION: An American cop runs into a wall of secrets in this new mystery from Tana French.
Author Jonathan C. Slaght and one of the female fish owls he caught and tracked in Russia.

Everything keeps changing, but books remain a constant

Laurie Hertzel Star Tribune Books are still books, in this age of COVID, which is a reassuring thing, and bookstores have not disappeared and…
Jonathan C. Slaght photo by Sergey Avdeyuk

Minneapolis writer's debut book on longlist for National Book Award

“Owls of the Eastern Ice,” a nonfiction narrative account of a scientist’s search to find and conserve a rare owl in far eastern Russia,…
Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson joins Talking Volumes lineup

The author of "Caste" will close out the virtual series of literary conversations Oct. 13.
Virtually speaking: (Clockwise, from top) Yaa Gyasi, Claudia Rankine, Helen Macdonald and Sarah Broom are this year’s featured authors.

With an all-woman lineup, this year's Talking Volumes book series goes virtual

The annual series will deliver authors Yaa Gyasi, Helen Macdonald, Claudia Rankine and Sarah Broom via Zoom.
Coffee House Press of Minneapolis will receive a $50,000 grant from Literary Arts Emergency Fund to help them get through COVID. Here, Coffee House pu

5 Minnesota literary organizations receive critical COVID grants

The grant money will help them ride out the economic downturn brought about by COVID-19.
Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi talks about the tension between science and faith in new novel 'Transcendent Kingdom'

Yaa Gyasi's second novel sprang from a friend's research, and her own interest in love, science and religion.
So many books, so many recommendations!

Bookmark: The tricky art of recommending books

A friend texted. She was at a bookstore, about to go camping. What should she buy to read on the trip? Um … I know…
Bobbie Ann Mason

Review: 'Dear Ann,' by Bobbie Ann Mason

FICTION: In Bobbie Ann Mason's spectacular new novel, a woman looks back on her life, her first love and the choices she made.
Yaa Gyasi photo by Peter Hurley/Vilcek Foundation

Author Yaa Gyasi cancels appearance in Talking Volumes series

A fourth writer will be added to the series soon.
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.
Missing the State Fair? Here are some books to bring back the feeling.

Bookmark: Missing the State Fair? These books will transport you

Missing the midway? The giant hogs, the smell of grease, the ironic artwork made entirely of seeds? Here are 10 books that take place at…
Angus kept watch from the window for hours as the bunny ate the plants in our side yard garden.

The Puppy Chronicles: A bunny in our garden keeps Angus enthralled

When a bunny takes up residence in the garden on the side of our house, Angus is riveted.
So many books. Where to start?

Bookmark: Where to begin downsizing when you have thousands of books?

  My husband and I might move. (Then again, we might not.) As we spend more and more time in our house, thanks to pandemic…
What’s stacked up on your pandemic to-read shelf?

Bookmark: This fraught summer has changed the way you read

Readers share what they're reading to get through the pandemic.
Jonathan C. Slaght and one of the female fish owls he caught and tracked in Russia. (The owl holds a fish in its beak.)

Review: 'Owls of the Eastern Ice,' by Jonathan C. Slaght

NONFICTION: A Minnesota biologist heads to the forests of Eastern Russia to track the world's largest owl.
Having trouble concentrating? Put down the phone!

Time to read but trouble concentrating? Try these 10 tips

Here are some ways to shut the world out and help you focus.
James Patterson

Mayo Clinic employee became main character in new James Patterson novel

A patient advocate at the Mayo Clinic winds up in James Patterson's latest novel.
Curtis Sittenfeld

Hulu options rights to Minneapolis writer's novel about Hillary Clinton

Curtis Sittenfeld hasn’t heard from Hillary, but she has heard from Hulu, and that might be even better. The Minneapolis writer is the…
Read the book that spawned sultry movie adaptations. Here Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby.

Hot town, summer in the city: 10 sizzling books to read right now

These 10 books set in hot weather or steamy locations just might help you cool down.
From “The Night is for Darkness” by Jonathan Stutzman illustrated by Joseph Kuefler published by Balzer + Bray 2020 used with permission.

10 new kids' picture books that celebrate family, love and the great outdoors

This diverse new crop of books celebrates family, friendship and the great outdoors in stories that range from Minnesota to West Africa
Angus’ strange fears make him occasionally afraid to climb the stairs to the back screen porch.

The Puppy Chronicles: What is Angus afraid of? Easier to ask what he isn't afraid of

Even something as benign as a misplaced broom can strike terror into the heart of our overly sensitive dog.
Books can transport you to faraway places — like Sligo, Ireland.

Bookmark: When you're stuck at home, books can transport you

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a weekend in a small town in Sligo. Obviously I didn’t physically travel there — COVID-19 is keeping…
Frans Hals’s “Portrait of an Elderly Lady,”

Review: 'Becoming Duchess Goldblatt,' by Anonymous

NONFICTION: A book by the creator of a beloved fictitious Twitter character is flawed but offers a hopeful message.
Minneapolis Central Library will reopen some time before the end of this year, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners has decided.

When will my library open again?

Hennepin County and Ramsey County public libraries remain closed for the time being. But some services are available.
Uncle Hugo’s bookstore, 2008.

Sci-fi, mystery lovers remember the 'Uncles' (Hugo and Edgar) lost to fires in rioting

In the middle of the night, as the roaring fire consumed his business, all Don Blyly could do was go home. He couldn’t bear to…
Minneapolis poet Sun Yung Shin (left) edited the collection of essays selected for the statewide book club.

Next book in the statewide book club? A collection of essays on race

"A Good Time for the Truth" will be read and discussed across Minnesota.
Is letter writing a lost art?

Is art of letter writing actually lost? Readers write about their love for letters

It’s been four months since I wrote here about the lost art of letter-writing. I didn’t mean to wait so long to revisit…
A Seattle Little Free Library is packed with useful things.

Bookmark: Little Free Libraries carrying more than books these days

There are many Little Free Libraries on my regular walking route. I’ve never stopped to count them, but it’s at least a couple dozen, and…
Mary Logue’s newest book is a mystery set in St. Paul and South Dakota.

In her new mystery, Minneapolis writer Mary Logue writes about the Irish immigrant experience

Mary Logue's new mystery looks to the influence of her immigrant grandmothers.
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…