with facilities in: Bangor, Campbell,
     Holmen, Onalaska and West Salem
Administration Center
West Salem
    Book Reviews
Holiday Closings  ~  Director's Message  ~  What's New  ~  Quick Links  ~  Catalog Instructions

New Booksw Books
Favorite Authors
General Topics

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.


Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI and other non-fiction picks

Dain Frisby Dart

La Crosse County Library - Onalaska Public Library

November 10, 2017

It’s time to get real. Yes, I’m talking about non-fiction again, folks. Me, the queen of fiction, “I don’t do non-fiction” is doing another review on a fantastic, non-fiction book that I just want everyone to go out and read right now! The reason for my new found love of non-fiction, I believe is due to this new spate of authors who write accounts of true events and people in such a way that makes me feel as if I’m reading prose and I get swept up in this other world, time, and place very easily because of the author’s ability to turn a phrase or put together the sequence of events as if it were a film rather than a dry, textbook account.

The book I want everyone to read is Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. This story tells the tragic and yet fascinating history of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma, how they were relocated to Oklahoma, their rise to become the wealthiest tribe in the country (hint: there’s oil in them thar hills!) and the fall out they endured because of this. And by fall out, I mean, they started dying. So much so and finally so suspiciously, the FBI gets invented! I’m not kidding. You really have to read this story. It’s so unbelievable for so many reasons, I have a hard time putting this to words. At heart, it’s a true mystery; a whodunit, unfortunately for our Native American brothers’ and sisters’ long-suffering predicament. Set at the end of the American wild-west era when law was just getting established, this book will amaze you, anger you, and perhaps even stun you into learning more about the Osage Nation.

I guarantee you’ll want to read more of this author’s work. The branches of the La Crosse County library at Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska and West Salem have got you covered! Be sure to come in or go to the online catalog at www.lacrossecounty.org to check out David Grann’s other stunning works, The Lost City of Z: a Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, and available as a downloadable audio via the Libby by Overdrive app, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession. And if you like these and haven’t read them yet, check out read-alikes for this author like Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City & Thunderstruck) and Nathaniel Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex & The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn.) We’ll be happy to point you to some page-turning non-fiction!


Do It Yourself Ideas for Indoor Crafts

Amy Resac

La Crosse County Libray - Onalaska Public Library

October 13, 2017

We have turned another page on the calendar, and with the days getting shorter, we may be thinking of more indoor things to do. As we start setting up our cozy corners and picking out fall flavored coffees or teas, a stop at your local library can be added to your list. The library has much to offer for fall reads, but what about stretching out and trying a new craft or hobby? A short stroll thru the non-fiction collection and you could find inspiration to keep busy during these cooler days and longer nights.

Could it be, you would like to create something for your home that has a vintage flare? Try Vintage Crafts by Clara Lindstrom. This handy book recommends getting your creative juices flowing to create something new for your space you call home. Many projects are small, like a frame tray or a hanging flower vase and with a quick run through your house, all the supplies may be hiding on a shelf. Or possibly, as she mentions, you may discover that doing these projects or hobbies can become therapeutic. A little change around the house can really perk things up.

Another choice of a project could be Table top Fountains by Dawn Cusick. Find your own soothing sounds of flowing water by choosing one of forty different designs. Most of these are compact and light enough to move from room to room. Included in this book are tips and tricks about maintenance with suggestions on preventing problems.

Then there was one I was drawn to and may take a stab at called Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin. The author was inspired to return to age-old hand –printing techniques. She compiled and organized the steps to consider in creating projects using stamping, stenciling and screen printing. Uses could be in gifts, wrapping, home décor, and personalizing wearable art. Some of her designs are just gorgeous.

So what do you think? Will this be a long drawn out season or will it fly by and make you wish you had more time for your new passion? Find these titles and much more at one of our five locations; Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska or West Salem.


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Susanne Stranc
La Crosse County Library – Holmen Area Library

October 6, 2017

The prevailing opinion in this country is that those living in poverty are lazy and shiftless and just want to live off the government. If they would just apply themselves they could pull themselves up by their bootstraps and succeed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once you read the book Evicted: poverty and profit in the American city by Matthew Desmond you will never express this opinion again.

I first noticed this book due to the glowing reviews and awards it has won [named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, etc. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction]. But the main reason I read it was because it is about poverty and housing in Milwaukee, and I used to live there.

The author spent two years living with poor families in north Milwaukee and a trailer park on the south side. He follows two landlords and eight families as many of them go through the eviction process. The narrative follows them through the ceaseless cycle of making rent, delaying eviction or finding another place to stay when rendered homeless. He even shadows a moving crew as they go about evicting many households in one day. Tenants would see their belongings thrown in the street if they could not pay $70-100 a month for storage. The catch-22 of the situation is once someone is evicted [goes through the court process, often with no legal help] they cannot get another place to rent. Then they have to scramble about, relying on friends and family and the generosity of landlords to find another place. Many spend 50-70% of their income on rent which leaves very little to live on. One minor financial setback and they are back to being homeless. The landlords rent substandard housing and if they complain the landlord holds that against them. If they go to the Health Department to complain the landlord will come back and tell the tenant they are responsible for the conditions and evict them. Once a tenant was evicted because an ex-spouse kept coming back and making trouble. When the cops were called too many times the landlord was forced to evict them through no fault of their own.

It isn’t all about the tenants either. The author gives us insight into how the landlords operate also. They aren’t all heartless. Although it makes you wonder when landlord Sherrena complains that she gets no gratitude from a tenant she ends up evicting. The author does a wonderful job of telling the stories of landlords and tenants alike, neither glorifying one nor vilifying the other.

Many reviewers consider the book a must-read. It will change the way you view poverty, education, housing, food stamps, and many other social programs. It will give you a better understanding of the housing crisis in America and how the government fails in providing low-income housing.






©Copyright, La Crosse County Library, Inc., All Rights Reserved. The web page of La Crosse County Library disclaimer.