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Laurie Hertzel's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Laurie Hertzel recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Laurie Hertzel's favorite book recommendations of all time.

How are women, and artists, "seen" and judged by their age, race, and looks? And how does this seeing change, depending upon what is asked of the viewer? What does it mean when someone states (as one teacher does) that "you will never be an Artist"—who defines "an Artist," and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference?

Old in Art School represents an ongoing exploration of such questions, one that ultimately honors curiosity, openness, and joy—the joy of embracing creativity, dreams, the importance...
Recommended by Laurie Hertzel, and 1 others.

Laurie HertzelNow in her sixties, it was not a great time to be doing something all consuming. Her parents are failing, she’s just retired from Princeton, but she decides to go to art school … She’s a very lively writer. She’s not afraid of all caps, she just puts it out there, she’s smart and ebullient and funny and sharp. (Source)

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Nora Krug's story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family’s wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history.

Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow throughout her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. For Nora, the simple fact of her German citizenship bound her to the Holocaust and its unspeakable atrocities and left her without a sense of cultural belonging. Yet Nora knew little about her own family’s...
Recommended by Laurie Hertzel, and 1 others.

Laurie HertzelShe finds that one of her relatives let Nazis park in his garage. So there are all these complicated themes of guilt and survival, and what you do to get along and live your life in a society that is going insane—and then, how does a family come out of that? (Source)

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Burdened by poverty, illiteracy, and vulnerability as Mexican immigrants to California's Coachella Valley, three generations of González men turn to vices or withdraw into depression. As brothers Rigoberto and Alex grow to manhood, they are haunted by the traumas of their mother's early death, their lonely youth, their father's desertion, and their grandfather's invective. Rigoberto's success in escaping—first to college and then by becoming a writer—is blighted by his struggles with alcohol and abusive relationships, while Alex contends with difficult family relations, his own rocky... more
Recommended by Laurie Hertzel, and 1 others.

Laurie HertzelGonzalez’s book is the story of growing up a Latino and gay in a very troubled family. His mother dies, his family deserts the family, and it’s a hard, hard life. It’s just a really remarkable story about his relationship with his father and, primarily, his brother, and about pulling away and finding a new life. It’s just beautifully written. (Source)

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All You Can Ever Know

A Memoir

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice...
Recommended by Laurie Hertzel, and 1 others.

Laurie HertzelChung writes about how isolated she felt growing up as a Korean girl in a white family, in a very white neighbourhood…it’s about finding her place in the world, and examining this idea of multicultural or interracial adoption but then it’s also about what figuring out what family is. (Source)

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"A memoir of real truth and heartbreaking emotional heft" (the Sunday Times) by an award-winning novelist who excavates his own suppressed childhood to discover the details of a tragedy for which he blamed himself for four decades.

Life changes in an instant.

On a family summer holiday in Cornwall in 1978, Richard and his younger brother Nicholas are jumping in the waves. Suddenly, Nicholas is out of his depth. One moment he's there, the next he's gone.

Richard and his other brothers don't attend the funeral, and incredibly the family returns...
Recommended by Laurie Hertzel, and 1 others.

Laurie HertzelIt’s about how crippling silence can be. It’s about guilt. And it’s about revisionist history . . . It’s a really angry book too, though written with such restraint. I just found that tone so admirable. (Source)

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Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no...

Bill GatesTara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D.... (Source)

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Alexander StubbIf you read or listen to only one book this summer, this is it. Bloody brilliant! Every word, every sentence. Rarely do I go through a book with such a rollecoaster of emotion, from love to hate. Thank you for sharing ⁦@tarawestover⁩ #Educated (Source)

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