What To Read Awards: Laurie Hertzel

By Laurie Hertzel
December 23, 2012 8:55PM (UTC)
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Laurie Hertzel is the books editor of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Laurie's top 10:

1. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo
2. “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker
3. “Burying the Typewriter” by Carmen Bugan
4. “Escape From Camp 14” by Blaine Harden
5. “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon
6. “The Healing” by Jonathan Odell
7. “Illuminations” by Mary Sharratt
8. “Last Nights of the Shadow Catcher” by Timothy Egan
9. “Louise: Amended” by Louise Krug
10. “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich


1. Explain why your No. 1 book was your favorite title of the year: “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” reads like a fine and haunting novel, but every word is true. Boo’s reportage is remarkable, and her writing and narrative structure make this a compelling and deeply moving book.

2. What was the strongest debut book of 2012? “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.”

3. What book sits outside your list, but has either been overlooked or deserves more attention? Amy Leach’s remarkable collection of essays, “Things That Are,” published by Milkweed Editions.


4. Was there one book, either on your list or off your list, fiction or nonfiction, that seems to best encapsulate America in 2012? Oh, that would have to be Dave Eggers’ “A Hologram for the King.”

5. What was the single most memorable character from a 2012 book? Polly Shine, from Jon Odell’s novel, “The Healing.”

6. What is the book from 2012, either from your list or not, fiction or nonfiction, that is most likely to join the canon, or still be discussed 20 years from now? “Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel. It’d be on my list almost certainly if only I had read it. But a books editor cannot read everything! And oh how I wish I could.


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Best Of 2012 Books What To Read Awards