Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wisconsin in 5 Books

Shannon over at River City Reading did a great post recently, summing up her adopted city of Richmond Virginia in 5 books. I know that it set mine and many other people's brain wheels turning. How would you describe your city? Your state? I thought long and hard about summing up Milwaukee, but I thought that expanding it out to the whole state would be more fun (and frankly be easier for me).

Wisconsin winters are no joke. Almost all the crazy things you have heard are true. Can your tongue really get frozen to a flag pole? Hell yeah it can. I've seen that with my own two eyes. Can you throw a pot of boiling water in the air and it freezes on the way down? Yup. (But be careful you don't burn yourself doing it). -30 degree temperatures with a whipping wind that makes you wonder why you live in a place where it hurts to breathe? Yeah, that was me basically all December and January. Long cold days and nights can drive you to the brink. Relationships can suffer, moods darken, the whole works. These feelings made me think of  A Reliable Wife. Intrigue, snow, and secrets!

A Reliable Wife

Drunk driving is a serious problem in all of Wisconsin. Everyone knows someone who has either a) been arrested for drunk driving or b) had a run in (God willing not seriously) with one. It is a plague on this state, made worse by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle refusing to make punishments harsher for repeat offenders so there's people driving around (usually on suspended licenses) with 4 OWIs under their belt.It's a freaking embarrassment. So the book I chose has nothing to do with Wisconsin but all about someone who has to slowly put their life back together after a horrifying drunk driving accident. It also happens to be one of my favorites. It's Gargoyle. Don't drink and drive. It's the law.

So a couple of different states can lay claim to Neil Gaiman's awesome American Gods but I think Wisconsin has a strong claim because of all the action that happens at The House on the Rock, especially the scenes at the carousel and the ice cream shop. I've never been to House on the Rock, but my friend Anna has and she said that it's basically a hoarders dream. (She's not joking, he has rooms stuffed with things all around a theme, it's crazy.) Here's a few of her pictures she let me use. Boob out angels, "the mouth to hell" and a prosthetic leg gun. So obviously this place is like a fever dream on E.

The books of Laura Ingalls and her family's adventures were staples in a lot of childhood reading. The first book Little House in the Big Woods is set in Wisconsin and helps to illustrate people who made this state what it is! People who came from all over the world and settled and worked themselves to the bones on farms and in the mines, on our lakes, and helped shape the future of our state. Also this book is where I learned to be scared of panthers, because the noise they make sounds like a woman screaming. That is the fuel for nightmares for me. If I was ever in the woods by myself at night and heard that I don't know if I would be able to run because I would be pooping my pants. Ahhhh!


And finally we end with another childhood staple (of mine at least, and Courtney from Courtney Reads a Lot), Underwear. I included this because the headquarters of Jockey is in Wisconsin...and because I ran out of ideas.


So Wisconsin is not without it's problems, but sometimes it's pretty lovely and fun:

Big picture: Racing sausages at the Brewers game; top right: downtown Milwaukee; middle: Black River Falls at sunset; Bottom corner: Lovely deck on Green Lake; middle bottom: food on a spigot at Oktoberfest; lastly: me and the husband enjoying adult beverages at a Kenosha Kingfish game. Yes, there's a reason these are all summer and fall pictures.


  1. I'm so glad you did this! I love all of your picks, but I'm most surprised by the statistics on drunk driving. That's something I never would have known and I haven't heard of the book you picked, either. You definitely did some enlightening on this one ;)

    1. Drunk driving is all over the place, it's horrible. I think the only people who have more drunk driving problems than Wisconsin is North Dakota. Gargoyle is a fabulous book, intricate characters you fall in love with and great settings. And art. And love. And a cute dog. It's in my top 5 for always! Glad you enjoyed and learned :)

  2. I love these types of features! This one is awesome!

    1. Thank you! I like them too, so Shannon has to keep thinking them up so I can copy them, haha

  3. I found the House on the Rock the most interesting thing about this post! I didn't know that was a real place. I am going to have to google it for sure!

    1. You will find a treasure trove of oddities, guaranteed!


Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!