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What were the best books, videos, or music you discovered in 2018? Take a look at some of our top staff picks from the past year. All materials are available to checkout from the public library. Want to see more staff and patron picks? Be sure to join the La Crosse Public Library on Goodreads for book discussions, recommendations, and more!

Jess Witkins, Library Assistant

Favorite Memoirs and Nonfiction Books

  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  • I'm Just Happy to Be Here by Janelle Hanchett
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg


Scott Brouwer, Archivist

Favorite Fiction Books

  • Guardian Angels and other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson
  • Remembrance of Earth's Past Trilogy by Cixin Liu
  • Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
  • Force of Nature by Jane Harper
  • We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
  • The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelecanos
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Favorite Nonfiction Books

  • Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump by John Fea
  • What Are We Doing Here? - Essays by Marilynne Robinson
  • God: A Human History by Resa Aslan
  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders  by Joshua Foer
  • Laughs on Wry: An Improviser's Memoir by Lisa David Olson

Favorite DVDs

  • Three Identical Strangers
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor 
  • Eighth Grade
  • Hereditary
  • First Reformed
  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout
  • Hostiles
  • A Quiet Place
  • I, Tonya
  • Annihilation
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Florida Project
  • Certain Women
  • Lady Bird
  • Dunkirk


Dana Strahnson, Youth Services Librarian

Favorite Children and Teen Books

  • Picture Book: A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes 
  • Early Chapter Book: Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi 
  • Children's Graphic Novel: The Cardboard Kingdom 
  • Tween Historical Fiction: Front Desk by Kelly Yang 
  • Teen Fantasy: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 
  • Teen Graphic Novel: Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu 
  • Teen Audio Book/ Sci Fi: Obsidio by Aime Kaufam


Joe Hammes, Communications Coordinator

This year I took full advantage of the free digital streaming services available to City of La Crosse residents with a library card. Hoopla is a great way to discover musicians & genres and to sample new albums before buying them. It's also a great way to access free comic books and graphic novel, including two of my favorite reads from 2018- Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles and DC Bombshells: United. Kanopy, a new video streaming service, just added the A24 studio catalog to their already rich and well-curated collection, making this service my go-to destination to find independent, foreign, documentary, classic and experimental films. There's so much great TV these days, and a lot of it isn't available on the streaming services I use, so I love checking out entire news seasons of TV shows from the public library and bingeing them over a few weeks (or a weekend). 

Favorite New Albums on Hoopla

  • American Utopia by David Byrne
  • Bloom by Troye Sivan
  • Dear Annie by Rejjie Snow
  • Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe
  • Everything is Love by The Carters (aka Beyoncé & Jay-Z)
  • Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
  • Honey by Robyn
  • Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B
  • Sorry to Bother You (Original Soundtrack Recording) by The Coup
  • A Star is Born (Original Soundtrack Recording) by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

Favorite New Films on Kanopy

  • Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
  • BPM (Beats Per Minute)
  • Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
  • Faces Places
  • First Reformed
  • The Florida Project
  • Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Lady Bird
  • Tom of Finland

Favorite New TV on DVD

  • Atlanta
  • Barry
  • Baskets
  • Claws
  • The Good Place
  • Gotham
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • Killing Eve
  • Legion
  • Sharp Objects