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Most items can be requested. If an item you are interested in is not available at your library, ask your librarian to request it or click on the blue "CATALOG" button above to search the catalog and place your own request.

 

Graphic Novels

Kelly Timmerman

La Crosse County Library - Hazel Brown Leicht Memorial Library - West Salem

July 20, 2018

The graphic novel has become one of the most popular media formats for authors looking to appeal to a larger youth audience. From the beloved young-adult series “Babysitter’s Club” to classics like Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, many books have received the so-called “comic book treatment.” Because of the format’s clear connection to serialized comics, some adult readers may be a little wary of picking up a graphic novel, thinking their “Archie” or “Batman” comic book days are far behind them. However, graphic novels are not limited to superhero tales, or even fictional narratives. In fact, many now geared towards adults chronicle historical events or an author’s personal memories – delving deep into matters like war, immigration, religion, and mental illness.

 

Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” recounts her childhood growing up during and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when thousands of citizens led a successful campaign to overthrow Iran’s Persian monarchy. The new Islamic Republic, with its more conservative, faith-based system of government, is difficult for young Satrapi to understand. She was never forced to wear a veil before, never worried about wearing too much make-up in public or the possibility of execution due to one’s political beliefs. She and her parents protest the new government, often putting their lives at risk to attend demonstrations until – fearful of the consequences a rebellious young woman may face – Satrapi’s parents send “Marji” to school in Austria.  While she enjoys the freedoms of European society, Satrapi struggles to unite such experiences with her more traditional Iranian upbringing. Disillusioned and homesick, she returns to Iran. More than simply a memoir, “Persepolis” offers a unique, candid perspective on the conflicts and contradictions facing everyday Iranians in a newly repressive society. It also reminds readers that, although freedom has a price, one can survive even the darkest days of war with a lot of love and a little humor.

 

Based on her award-winning blog of the same name, “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh explores both the lighthearted hilarity and sobering gravity of everyday life with the help of quirky, MS Paint-style drawings. From rants about spelling and grammar to anecdotes featuring her childhood propensity for sugar-induced mayhem (she once crawled through a window to eat a birthday cake her mother had locked in the bedroom), Brosh proves to have a special knack for illuminating our shared human experiences with honesty and self-deprecating humor. Her most impactful story details Brosh’s struggle with major depression, specifically the events of a nineteen month-long episode that left her contemplating suicide – an issue she chronicles with exceptional candor and yes, even a small joke or two.

 

So, a piece of advice to adult readers: be not afraid of exploring the frontier of graphic novels. Don’t shy away from their comic book appearance; you may just find that drawings help you appreciate and absorb the written word in powerful new ways.

 

Anne Tyler

Jeanne Miethke

La Crosse County Library - Onalaska Public Library

July 13, 2018

Everyone has a story.

Award-winning author Anne Tyler uses simple, unassuming backdrops to set the stage for wonderful, fulfilling journeys through the typical dealings of daily life. Tyler artfully weaves a study of human dynamics with relatable, colorful fictional characters into all-too average life circumstances. Tyler’s stories lead her readers down a winding road of contemplation and reflection, while picking up some light-hearted, soul-warming specks along the way.  For example, in Vinegar Girl, Kate, the protagonist, notes that “The unsatisfying thing about practicing restraint was that nobody knew you were practicing it.”

It comes as no surprise that this Minnesota-born, southern Quaker-raised author never expected to become a writer, as Anne’s stories teem with innocent but honest observations into how circumstances and personal relationships can carve unique and complex paths in lives. Each story delves into the human condition, and from that is woven the ways the individual characters manage their own sets of scenarios. Tyler blurs the societally-assigned lines between classes, reminding us that when stripped down, we are all, in fact, just trying to navigate our own sometimes easy, but sometimes tedious terrain.

With over 20 published novels, most of which are set in Baltimore, Tyler’s readers have quite an inventory of sweet and sagacious material to explore. From the study of the complexities of life-long love and relationships in Breathing Lessons, to Vinegar Girl, a modern depiction of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Anne provides engaging and endearing content sure to stick with readers far beyond the completion of the book. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant spans the lives of a sometimes broken but loving family and Tyler’s most recent work of art, Clock Dance, which just came out July 10th, offers insight into life’s many seasons and the power it takes to change one’s path.

It’s this endearing content and Tyler’s folksy writing style that keeps readers coming back for more.  In a recent New York Times interview Tyler noted what gets her writing.  It is “. . .just a feeling that I better do this.  There’s something addictive about leading another life at the same time you’re living your own.”  She also wants to be known as a serious writer.  According to the author, again with the New York Times some 40 years ago, “a serious book is one that removes me to another life as I am reading it.  It has to have layers and layers and layers, like life does.  It has to be an extremely believable lie.”   Her faithful fans seem to agree.

You are invited to stop by a La Crosse County library location in Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska or West Salem to check out the wide selection of Tyler’s novels.

 

Level Up Your Life!

Janie Uy

La Crosse County Library - Hazel Brown Leicht Memorial Library - West Salem

July 6, 2018

It’s summertime, and while most of us don’t get a three month summer break that a

lot of school-aged kids enjoy, the warmer weather and kids being home still contributes to a “slower, dog days of summer” vibe that solidifies the season as the preferential time of year to go on vacation.  It’s the time of year with a comparatively limited amount of demanding calendar holidays and travel-inhibiting weather, so a lot of us try to take full advantage of this time to kick back and escape from the craziness that surrounds our lives the rest of the year.

 

That being said, why not use this time to finally pursue those hobbies, projects, or goals you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time or got around to doing for whatever reason?  Goal-making and the pursuit of new avenues of interest doesn’t have to be limited to New Years, and what better way to create new beginnings than by grabbing some resources from the local library?

 

The borrowing system the library is fundamentally built around is perfect for those wanting to learn a new skill or expand upon preexisting interests because with most skills and activities, you only have to learn how to do them once.  Why buy a guide when it will inevitably lose relevance in the future?  When you master a new ability, you don’t need to keep instructions lying around anymore.  Simply come to the library, quickly and easily check out an item for free, learn the material, and return it when you’re done.  It gives you the opportunity to get great information about a plethora of subjects and activities without having to sink money into something that may not end up working out in the end as well.

 

Furthermore, we aren’t limited to books as a resource.  We have DVDs and audiobooks available as well to help out those who would benefit with audiovisual learning options.  You have the option of combining methods for the ultimate learning experience.  For example, if you’re interested learning a new language, you can use a book to help with the grammar and written elements and an audio guide to help with pronunciation and inflection.

 

The question remains: why come to the library when you have the Internet?  While the Internet represents a massive wealth of information, it can be so incredibly far-reaching and unfiltered that it can be very deterring towards someone looking for helpful and accurate material.  It is very easy to get lost in the details and advertising.  Searching for one “how to…” can result in literally millions of results- many of which are either too detailed or too simplistic for our needs.  Many hits are posts and personal blogs that can be published by any person at any time with or without expertise, professional or otherwise. 

 

On the other hand, most published books, DVDs, and other media have to go through a vigorous production process where the information is generally fact-checked, edited, and streamlined to remain as clear and accurate as possible.  Worried about our information being up-to-date?  We are constantly purchasing the latest publications to ensure that we have the most recent resources made available to our patrons.  We also consider your suggestions; if you ever feel that our collection would benefit from adding a certain book, DVD, or even magazine subscription, you can always let us know!

 

For more information, you can visit our website at lacrossecountylibraries.org or come visit any of the five La Crosse County Library locations: Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska, and West Salem.  We’re always happy to help you find exactly what you need!  Stop by to level up your life at the library!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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