Book Clubs & Discussion Groups
LPL Book Clubs
The La Crosse Public Library offers three unique opportunities for you to connect with fellow book lovers!
- Chapters: Meets at the La Crosse Public Library
- B.Y.O.B. Bring Your Own Book (Club): Meets online
- Out in Print: Meets in the community
Chapters Book Club Selections
Charm City Rocks
When a single dad meets the former rock-star crush of his youth, everything they thought they knew about happiness and love is thrown into chaos in this hopeful, heartwarming romantic comedy.
“Bound to charm readers from page one . . . You’ll root for everyone in this sweet love story.”—Elissa Sussman, bestselling author of Funny You Should Ask
Billy Perkins is happy. And why wouldn’t he be? He loves his job as an independent music teacher and his apartment in Baltimore above a record shop called Charm City Rocks. Most of all, he loves his brainy teenage son, Caleb.
Margot Hammer, on the other hand, is far from happy. The former drummer of the once-famous band Burnt Flowers, she’s now a rock-and-roll recluse living alone in New York City. When a new music documentary puts Margot back in the spotlight, she realizes how much she misses her old band and the music that gave her life meaning.
Billy has always had a crush on Margot. But she’s a legitimate rock star—or, at least, she was—so he never thought he’d meet her. Until Caleb, worried that his easygoing dad might actually be lonely, cooks up a scheme to get Margot to perform at Charm City Rocks.
It’s the longest of long shots, but Margot’s label has made it clear that any publicity is an opportunity she can’t afford to miss. When their paths collide, Billy realizes that he maybe wasn’t as happy as he thought—and Margot learns that sometimes the sweetest music is a duet.
The Lunar Housewife
A stylish and suspenseful historical page-turner following an up-and-coming journalist who stumbles onto a web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries at a popular new literary magazine--inspired by the true story of CIA intervention in Cold War American arts and letters.
"Wonderfully entertaining and slyly subversive. Caroline Woods pens a story that will linger in the memory!" —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
Louise Leithauser's star is on the rise. She’s filing stories at her boyfriend Joe's new literary magazine and the novel she's writing is going swimmingly. But when she overhears Joe and his business partner fighting about listening devices and death threats, Louise can't help but investigate, and learns that someone is pulling Joe’s strings--someone who doesn't want artists criticizing Uncle Sam. Meanwhile, opportunities are falling in Louise's lap that she'd have to be crazy to refuse. Can Louise let doors keep opening for her, while the establishment censors her fellow writers? As her suspicions mount, Louise's novel is colored by her newfound knowledge. And when she’s forced to consider her future sooner than she planned, Louise needs to decide whether she can trust Joe for the rest of her life.
Full of period detail and nail-biting tension, Caroline Woods channels 1950s New York glamour as Louise comes face to face with shocking secrets, brutal sexism, and life or death consequences. The Lunar Housewife is a historical thriller rich with meaning for modern readers.
George March’s latest novel is a smash. No one could be prouder than his dutiful wife, Mrs. March, who revels in his accolades. A careful creature of routine and decorum, she lives a precariously controlled existence on the Upper East Side until one morning, when the shopkeeper of her favorite patisserie suggests that her husband’s latest protagonist—a detestable character named Johanna—is based on Mrs. March herself. Clutching her ostrich leather pocketbook and mint-colored gloves, she flees the shop. What could have merited this humiliation?
That one casual remark robs Mrs. March of the belief that she knew everything about her husband—and herself—thus sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey that begins within the pages of a book. While snooping in George’s office, Mrs. March finds a newspaper clipping about a missing woman. Did George have anything to do with her disappearance? He’s been going on a lot of “hunting trips” up north with his editor lately, leaving Mrs. March all alone at night with her tormented thoughts, and the cockroaches that have suddenly started to appear, and strange breathing noises . . . As she begins to decode her husband’s secrets, her deafening anxiety and fierce determination threaten everyone in her wake—including her stoic housekeeper, Martha, and her unobtrusive son, Jonathan, whom she loves so profoundly, when she remembers to love him at all.
Combining a Hitchcockian sensibility with wickedly dark humor, Virginia Feito, a brilliantly talented and, at times, mischievous newcomer, offers a razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity. A mesmerizing novel of psychological suspense and casebook insecurity turned full-blown neurosis, Mrs. March will have you second-guessing your own seemingly familiar reflection in the mirror.
The Candy House
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
ONE of the TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR by THE NEW YORK TIMES * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * SLATE* THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER *
Also named one of the BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by Vanity Fair, Time, NPR, The Guardian, Oprah Daily, Self, Vogue, The New Yorker, BBC, Vulture, and many more!
OLIVIA WILDE to direct A24's TV adaptation of THE CANDY HOUSE and A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD!
From one of the most celebrated writers of our time comes an “inventive, effervescent” (Oprah Daily) novel about the memory and quest for authenticity and human connection.
The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is “one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.” Bix is forty, with four kids, restless, and desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—which allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share your memories in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes.
In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of narrative styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter, and a chapter of tweets. Intellectually dazzling, The Candy House is also a moving testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for connection, family, privacy, and love.
“A beautiful exploration of loss, memory, and history” (San Francisco Chronicle), “this is minimalist maximalism. It’s as if Egan compressed a big 19th-century novel onto a flash drive” (The New York Times).
Once There Were Wolves
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"Blazing...Visceral" (Los Angeles Times) · "Exceptional" (Newsweek) · "Bold...Heartfelt" (New York Times Book Review) · "Thought-provoking and thrilling" (GMA) · "Suspenseful and poignant" (Scientific American) · "Gripping" (The Sydney Morning Herald)
From the author of the beloved national bestseller Migrations, a pulse-pounding new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands.
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.
Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?
Propulsive and spell-binding, Charlotte McConaghy's Once There Were Wolves is the unforgettable story of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves—if she isn’t consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.
West with Giraffes
An emotional, rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of two giraffes who made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America.
"Few true friends have I known and two were giraffes..."
Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave.
It's 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California's first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world's first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.
Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it's too late.
Songs in Ursa Major
A scintillating debut from a major new voice in fiction, Songs in Ursa Major is a love story set in 1969, alive with music, sex, and the trappings of fame.
Raised on an island off Massachusetts by a mother who wrote songs for famous musicians, Jane Quinn is singing in her own band before she's old enough to even read music. When folk legend Jesse Reid hears about Jane's performance at the island's music festival, a star is born--and so is a passionate love affair: they become inseparable when her band joins his on tour. Wary of being cast as his girlfriend--and haunted by her mother's shattered ambitions-- Jane shields her relationship from the public eye, but Jesse's star power pulls her into his orbit of fame. Caught up in the thrill of the road and the profound and lustful connection she has with Jesse, Jane is blind-sided by the discovery she makes about the dark secret beneath his music. Heartbroken and blackballed by the industry, Jane is now truly on her own: to make the music she loves, and to make peace with her family Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?
The Jane Austen Society
* INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER *
"This novel delivers sweet, smart escapism." —People
"Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society... A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal." —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England's finest novelists. Now it's home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen's legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, Natalie Jenner's The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.
These Ghosts Are Family
PEN/Hemingway Award For Debut Novel Finalist
Shortlisted for the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
A “rich, ambitious debut novel” (The New York Times Book Review) that reveals the ways in which a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations, in the tradition of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Stanford Solomon’s shocking, thirty-year-old secret is about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford has done something no one could ever imagine. He is a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley.
And now, nearing the end of his life, Stanford is about to meet his firstborn daughter, Irene Paisley, a home health aide who has unwittingly shown up for her first day of work to tend to the father she thought was dead.
These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem. There is Vera, whose widowhood forced her into the role of a single mother. There are two daughters and a granddaughter who have never known they are related. And there are others, like the houseboy who loved Vera, whose lives might have taken different courses if not for Abel Paisley’s actions.
This “rich and layered story” (Kirkus Reviews) explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is a “beguiling…vividly drawn, and compelling” (BookPage, starred review) portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret.
FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION AND BOOK LOVERS!
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
The Last Train to Key West
Instant New York Times bestseller
One of Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2020
“The perfect riveting summer read!”—BookBub
In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.
For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.
After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.
Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.
Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.
B.Y.O.B. Bring Your Own Book (Club)
B.Y.O.B. (Club) is a non-traditional book club for adults. Instead of reading a predetermined title, participants meet online to share what they’re currently reading and pick up new recommended reads. Whether you can’t wait to talk up your new favorite title or just want to listen to the conversation, all are welcome to join! Meets the 4th Thursday of each month. Register to receive the Zoom link below.
What Happened to You?
ONE MILLION COPIES SOLD
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Our earliest experiences shape our lives far down the road, and What Happened to You? provides powerful scientific and emotional insights into the behavioral patterns so many of us struggle to understand.
“Through this lens we can build a renewed sense of personal self-worth and ultimately recalibrate our responses to circumstances, situations, and relationships. It is, in other words, the key to reshaping our very lives.”—Oprah Winfrey
This book is going to change the way you see your life.
Have you ever wondered "Why did I do that?" or "Why can't I just control my behavior?" Others may judge our reactions and think, "What's wrong with that person?" When questioning our emotions, it's easy to place the blame on ourselves; holding ourselves and those around us to an impossible standard. It's time we started asking a different question.
Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”
Here, Winfrey shares stories from her own past, understanding through experience the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma and adversity at a young age. In conversation throughout the book, she and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves. It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it’s one that allows us to understand our pasts in order to clear a path to our future—opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.
Rule of Wolves
Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller!
2021 Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Young Adult Fantasy!
See the Grishaverse come to life on screen with Shadow and Bone, a #1 Netflix series - Season 2 coming March 16, 2023!
The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times–bestselling King of Scars Duology.
The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.
The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.
The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.
King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.
Read all the books in the Grishaverse!
The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
(previously published as The Grisha Trilogy)
Shadow and Bone
Siege and Storm
Ruin and Rising
The Six of Crows Duology
Six of Crows
The King of Scars Duology
King of Scars
Rule of Wolves
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
The Severed Moon: A Year-Long Journal of Magic
The Lives of Saints
Praise for the Grishaverse
“A master of fantasy.” —The Huffington Post
“Utterly, extremely bewitching.” —The Guardian
“This is what fantasy is for.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[A] world that feels real enough to have its own passport stamp.” —NPR
“The darker it gets for the good guys, the better.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Sultry, sweeping and picturesque. . . . Impossible to put down.” —USA Today
“There’s a level of emotional and historical sophistication within Bardugo’s original epic fantasy that sets it apart.” —Vanity Fair
“Unlike anything I’ve ever read.” —Veronica Roth, bestselling author of Divergent
“Bardugo crafts a first-rate adventure, a poignant romance, and an intriguing mystery!” —Rick Riordan, bestselling author of the Percy Jackson series
The Book of Cold Cases
A Most Anticipated Novel by PopSugar * Crime Reads * Goodreads *
A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel.
In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect—a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion.
Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases—a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes.
They meet regularly at Beth’s mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she’s not looking, and she could swear she’s seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn’t right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?
A Visit from the Goon Squad
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE WINNER • With music pulsing on every page, this startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption "features characters about whom you come to care deeply as you watch them doing things they shouldn't, acting gloriously, infuriatingly human" (The Chicago Tribune).
Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs.
“Pitch perfect.... Darkly, rippingly funny.... Egan possesses a satirist’s eye and a romance novelist’s heart.” —The New York Times Book Review
The Four Tendencies
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Are you an Upholder, a Questioner, an Obliger, or a Rebel? From the author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project comes a groundbreaking analysis of personality type that “will immediately improve every area of your life” (Melissa Urban, co-founder of the Whole30).
During her multibook investigation into human nature, Gretchen Rubin realized that by asking the seemingly dry question “How do I respond to expectations?” we gain explosive self-knowledge. She discovered that based on their answer, people fit into Four Tendencies:
• Upholders meet outer and inner expectations readily. “Discipline is my freedom.”
• Questioners meet inner expectations, but meet outer expectations only if they make sense. “If you convince me why, I’ll comply.”
• Obligers (the largest Tendency) meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations—therefore, they need outer accountability to meet inner expectations. “You can count on me, and I’m counting on you to count on me.”
• Rebels (the smallest group) resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They do what they choose to do, when they choose to do it, and typically they don’t tell themselves what to do. “You can’t make me, and neither can I.”
Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so using this framework allows us to make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively. It’s far easier to succeed when you know what works for you.
With sharp insight, compelling research, and hilarious examples, The Four Tendencies will help you get happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.
The Mars Room
TIME’S #1 FICTION TITLE OF THE YEAR • NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
FINALIST for the MAN BOOKER PRIZE and the NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
LONGLISTED for the ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
An instant New York Times bestseller from two-time National Book Award finalist Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room earned tweets from Margaret Atwood—“gritty, empathic, finely rendered, no sugar toppings, and a lot of punches, none of them pulled”—and from Stephen King—“The Mars Room is the real deal, jarring, horrible, compassionate, funny.”
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.
Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner’s work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. As James Wood said in The New Yorker, her fiction “succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive.”
The Spanish Love Deception
A wedding. A trip to Spain. The most infuriating man. And three days of pretending. Or in other words, a plan that will never work. Catalina Martín, finally, not single. Her family is happy to announce that she will bring her American boyfriend to her sister's wedding. Everyone is invited to come and witness the most magical event of the year. That would certainly be tomorrow's headline in the local newspaper of the small Spanish town I came from. Or the epitaph on my tombstone, seeing the turn my life had taken in the span of a phone call. Four weeks wasn't a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic-from NYC and all the way to Spain-for a wedding. Let alone, someone eager to play along with my charade. But that didn't mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6'4 blue eyed pain in my ass standing before me, Aaron Blackford. The man whose main occupation was making my blood boil had just offered himself to be my date. Right after inserting his nose in my business, calling me delusional, and calling himself my best option. See? Outrageous. Aggravating. Blood boiling. And much to my total despair, also right. Which left me with a surly and extra large dilemma in my hands. Was it worth the suffering to bring my colleague and bane of my existence as my fake boyfriend to my sister's wedding? Or was I better off coming clean and facing the consequences of my panic induced lie? Like my abuela would say, que dios nos pille confesados.The Spanish Love Deception is an enemies-to-lovers, fake-dating.
Sea of Tranquility
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • WINNER OF THE GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD • The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with a novel of art, time travel, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon five hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.
One of the Best Books of the Year: The New York Times, NPR, GoodReads
“One of [Mandel’s] finest novels and one of her most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction yet.” —The New York Times
Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal—an experience that shocks him to his core.
Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.
When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.
A virtuoso performance that is as human and tender as it is intellectually playful, Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.
The Reading List
A BEST OF SUMMER READ ACCORDING TO NEWSWEEK, PARADE MAGAZINE, NBC NEWS, LITHUB, AND POPSUGAR!
"The most heartfelt read of the summer...a surprising delight of a novel."--Shondaland
An unforgettable and heartwarming debut about how a chance encounter with a list of library books helps forge an unlikely friendship between two very different people in a London suburb.
Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.
Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a list of novels that she's never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she's facing at home.
When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list...hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again.
My Best Friend's Exorcism
Soon to be a major motion picture.
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying
Vampires, this unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist blends teen angst and unspeakable horrors into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.
The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries—and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Out In Print
This LGBTQ+ book club will discuss books, short stories, films, graphic novels, and more that feature a diverse array of LGBTQ+ narratives. Everyone in the greater La Crosse community is welcomed to participate in our monthly discussions:
February 19 @ 5:30pm: The Color Purple
Out In Print Selections
The Color Purple
A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize * Winner of the National Book Award
Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters--one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South--who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.
"Intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer." -- New York Times Book Review
"Places Walker in the company of Faulkner." -- The Nation
"Superb . . . A work to stand beside literature of any time and place." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"A novel of permanent importance." -- Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek
"For fans of Love after the End, a novel of Indigenous futurism in which Two-Spirit, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, neurodivergent, and disabled characters--survivors of a devastating war-- fight to save what's left of their world àMògdiz (Anishinabemowin, Algonquin dialect): a person who refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of their country. Everything that was green and good is gone, scorched away by a war that no one living remembers. The small surviving human population scavenges to get by; they cannot read or write and lack the tools and knowledge to rebuild. The only ones with any power are the mindless Enforcers controlled by the Madjideye, a faceless, formless spiritual entity that has infiltrated the world to subjugate the human population. A'tugwewinu is the last survivor of the Andàwniàkdjigan. On the run from the Madjideye with her lover, èBl, a descendant of the Warrior Nation, they seek to share what the world has forgotten: stories. In Pasakamate, both Shkitagen, the firekeeper of his generation, and his life's heart, Niàtweìs, whose hands mend bones and cure sickness, attempt to find a home where they can raise children in peace, without fear of slavers or rising waters. In ZhMng yang, Riordan wheels around just fine, leading xir gang of misfits in hopes of surviving until the next meal. However, Elite Enforcer H-09761 (Yun Seo, who was abducted as a child, then tortured and brainwashed into servitude) is determined to arrest Riordan for theft of resources and will stop at nothing to bring xir to the Madjideye. In a ruined world, six people collide, discovering family and foe, navigating friendship and love, and reclaiming the sacredness of the gifts they carry. With themes of resistance, of ceremony as the conduit between realms, and of transcending gender, àMògdiz is a powerful and visionary reclamation that Two-Spirit people always have and always will be vital to the cultural and spiritual legacy of their communities."--
An engaging exploration of what it means to be asexual in a world that’s obsessed with sexual attraction, and what the ace perspective can teach all of us about desire and identity.
What exactly is sexual attraction and what is it like to go through life not experiencing it? What does asexuality reveal about gender roles, about romance and consent, and the pressures of society? This accessible examination of asexuality shows that the issues that aces face—confusion around sexual activity, the intersection of sexuality and identity, navigating different needs in relationships—are the same conflicts that nearly all of us will experience. Through a blend of reporting, cultural criticism, and memoir, Ace addresses the misconceptions around the “A” of LGBTQIA and invites everyone to rethink pleasure and intimacy.
Journalist Angela Chen creates her path to understanding her own asexuality with the perspectives of a diverse group of asexual people. Vulnerable and honest, these stories include a woman who had blood tests done because she was convinced that “not wanting sex” was a sign of serious illness, and a man who grew up in a religious household and did everything “right,” only to realize after marriage that his experience of sexuality had never been the same as that of others. Disabled aces, aces of color, gender-nonconforming aces, and aces who both do and don’t want romantic relationships all share their experiences navigating a society in which a lack of sexual attraction is considered abnormal. Chen’s careful cultural analysis explores how societal norms limit understanding of sex and relationships and celebrates the breadth of sexuality and queerness.
Delilah Green Doesn't Care
A clever and steamy queer romantic comedy about taking chances and accepting love—with all its complications—from the author of Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail.
Delilah Green swore she would never go back to Bright Falls—nothing is there for her but memories of a lonely childhood where she was little more than a burden to her cold and distant stepfamily. Her life is in New York, with her photography career finally gaining steam and her bed never empty. Sure, it’s a different woman every night, but that’s just fine with her.
When Delilah’s estranged stepsister, Astrid, pressures her into photographing her wedding with a guilt trip and a five-figure check, Delilah finds herself back in the godforsaken town that she used to call home. She plans to breeze in and out, but then she sees Claire Sutherland, one of Astrid’s stuck-up besties, and decides that maybe there’s some fun (and a little retribution) to be had in Bright Falls, after all.
Having raised her eleven-year-old daughter mostly on her own while dealing with her unreliable ex and running a bookstore, Claire Sutherland depends upon a life without surprises. And Delilah Green is an unwelcome surprise…at first. Though they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really know each other—so Claire is unsettled when Delilah figures out exactly what buttons to push. When they’re forced together during a gauntlet of wedding preparations—including a plot to save Astrid from her horrible fiancé—Claire isn’t sure she has the strength to resist Delilah’s charms. Even worse, she’s starting to think she doesn’t want to...
Queer: A Graphic History
'Queer: A Graphic History Could Totally Change the Way You Think About Sex and Gender' Vice
Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Jules Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel.
From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.
Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what's 'normal' - Alfred Kinsey's view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler's view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we're invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media.
Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking.
I Hope We Choose Love
Winner, Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender Variant Literature; American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book
What can we hope for at the end of the world? What can we trust in when community has broken our hearts? What would it mean to pursue justice without violence? How can we love in the absence of faith?
In a heartbreaking yet hopeful collection of personal essays and prose poems, blending the confessional, political, and literary, Kai Cheng Thom dives deep into the questions that haunt social movements today. With the author's characteristic eloquence and honesty, I Hope We Choose Love proposes heartfelt solutions on the topics of violence, complicity, family, vengeance, and forgiveness. Taking its cues from contemporary thought leaders in the transformative justice movement such as adrienne maree brown and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, this provocative book is a call for nuance in a time of political polarization, for healing in a time of justice, and for love in an apocalypse.
Gender Queer: A Memoir
2020 ALA Alex Award Winner
2020 Stonewall — Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award Honor Book
In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.
Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
"It’s also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand." — SLJ (starred review)
“The rare work of fiction that has changed real life . . . If you don’t yet know Molly Bolt—or Rita Mae Brown, who created her—I urge you to read and thank them both.”—Gloria Steinem
Winner of the Lambda Literary Pioneer Award | Winner of the Lee Lynch Classic Book Award
A landmark coming-of-age novel that launched the career of one of this country’s most distinctive voices, Rubyfruit Jungle remains a transformative work more than forty years after its original publication. In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.
Praise for Rubyfruit Jungle
“Groundbreaking.”—The New York Times
“Powerful . . . a truly incredible book . . . I found myself laughing hysterically, then sobbing uncontrollably just moments later.”—The Boston Globe
“You can’t fully know—or enjoy—how much the world has changed without reading this truly wonderful book.”—Andrew Tobias, author of The Best Little Boy in the World
“A crass and hilarious slice of growing up ‘different,’ as fun to read today as it was in 1973.”—The Rumpus
“Molly Bolt is a genuine descendant—genuine female descendant—of Huckleberry Finn. And Rita Mae Brown is, like Mark Twain, a serious writer who gets her messages across through laughter.”—Donna E. Shalala
“A trailblazing literary coup at publication . . . It was the right book at the right time.”—Lee Lynch, author of Beggar of Love
I'm So (Not) Over You
"Shine[s] with a beautiful, blooming sense of wonder.”—New York Times Book Review
Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best LGBTQ+ Romance Novels of the Last Five Years
Essence's New Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2022
Oprah Daily’s Most Anticipated Romance Novels of 2022
Buzzfeed’s Highly Anticipated LGBTQ Romance Novels in 2022
Popsugar's New Romance Novels That Will Make You Fall in Love With 2022
BookRiot’s Most Anticipated New Adult Romance Reads For Spring 2022
E! News and LifeSavvy’s February Books to Fall in Love With
Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of February
Betches’ Books You Need to Read in 2022
A chance to rewrite their ending is worth the risk in this swoony romantic comedy from Kosoko Jackson.
It’s been months since aspiring journalist Kian Andrews has heard from his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, but an urgent text has them meeting at a café. Maybe Hudson wants to profusely apologize for the breakup. Or confess his undying love. . . But no, Hudson has a favor to ask—he wants Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town, and Kian reluctantly agrees.
The dinner doesn’t go exactly as planned, and suddenly Kian is Hudson’s plus one to Georgia’s wedding of the season. Hudson comes from a wealthy family where reputation is everything, and he really can’t afford another mistake. If Kian goes, he’ll help Hudson preserve appearances and get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in media. This could be the big career break Kian needs.
But their fake relationship is starting to feel like it might be more than a means to an end, and it’s time for both men to fact-check their feelings.
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Kiss of the Spider Woman is a graceful, intensely compelling novel about love and victimization. In an Argentine prison, two men share a cell: Molina, a gay window dresser who is self-centered, self-denigrating, yet charming as well; and Valentin, an articulate, fiercely dogmatic revolutionary haunted by memories of a woman he left for the cause. Both are gradually transformed by their guarded but growing friendship and by Molina’s obsession with the fantasy and romance of the movies.
Want to start your own book club? The La Crosse Public Library is here to help with our wide selection of book discussion kits! Each kit includes 5-15 copies of the book, discussion questions, and author information. Kits circulate for six weeks and holds may be placed on the kits, but cannot be reserved in advance for a specific date. Questions? Contact our Circulation team: (608) 789-7167.
Are you on Goodreads? We are too! Join us there for online book discussions and staff recommendations.