"Tireless: A Reporter's Life" has the pleasant feel of sitting around your grandma's kitchen table with your mom and her sisters and listening to them talk about the past as they drink coffee. Humor and warmth spiked with surprising bits of information offset the sense that you will never know the whole of what they're discussing because they lived it and you didn't.

Donna Halvorsen's memoir is conversational, in other words, offering events chronologically starting with her childhood in the small southeastern Minnesota town of Peterson, a Norwegian enclave not far from Rochester, leading up to her career as a journalist. And like a conservation, Halvorsen often backtracks, picking up thoughts later that weren't quite finished earlier.

Despite the subtitle, it takes a while for Halvorsen to get to her life as a reporter, something she always wanted to be but had difficulty breaking into because she came up at a time when women were generally discouraged from working — and certainly not when they had a family to raise (she and her husband had a daughter). She dabbled in politics while living in Michigan, but finally got her shot at journalism in Albany, N.Y., when her family moved there for her husband's job with the Associated Press. Her first professional journalism gig was at the city's main newspaper, the Times Union. She would eventually land at the Star Tribune and retire from there.

It's not easy for a Minnesotan of Norwegian descent to talk about herself, as Halvorsen reminds the reader, but hers is an interesting life, full of career highs and lows as well as travel and meeting famous and not so famous people. In fact, a better subtitle might have been simply "A Life."

Maren Longbella is a Star Tribune copy editor.

Tireless: A Reporter's Life

By: Donna Halvorsen.

Publisher: Rocket Science Press, 198 pages, $18.95.