The Greatest "Wisconsin" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 280 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

    "Little House In The Big Woods" is a heartwarming story set in the late 1800s, following the life of a young girl named Laura and her family as they navigate the challenges and joys of living in the Wisconsin wilderness. Through vivid descriptions and engaging anecdotes, the book offers a glimpse into the daily routines, traditions, and adventures of pioneer life, highlighting the importance of family, resilience, and the simple pleasures found in nature.

  2. 2. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

    This book is a compilation of nature-related essays that highlight the author's experiences and observations as a conservationist. The author provides a thoughtful and eloquent reflection on the relationship between land and people, emphasizing the importance of conservation and sustainability. Through his writings, he advocates for a 'land ethic' where humans view themselves as part of the natural community rather than conquerors of it, promoting a harmonious coexistence with nature.

  3. 3. Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson

    The novel explores the tumultuous relationship between a mother and daughter as they move from Wisconsin to California in search of a better life. The mother, a charismatic and unpredictable woman, dreams of Hollywood stardom for her daughter, while the daughter yearns for stability and normalcy amidst the chaos of her mother's grandiose aspirations and erratic behavior. Their journey is marked by a series of adventures and misadventures, painting a complex portrait of family bonds, the pursuit of the American Dream, and the quest for identity and belonging.

  4. 4. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

    This book provides an in-depth look at the housing crisis in America, focusing on eight families in Milwaukee who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. The author explores the role of eviction in perpetuating poverty, illuminating the business of landlords and the harsh reality of tenants in impoverished neighborhoods. The book offers a close examination of the intersection between profit and poverty, revealing how both are intricately linked in the American housing market.

  5. 5. Like Life by Lorrie Moore

    "Like Life" is a collection of short stories that explore the nuances of everyday life, delving into the complexities of relationships, love, and loss. The narratives are filled with characters grappling with their past, struggling with their present, and uncertain about their future. The author uses humor and poignant observation to highlight the beauty, pain, and absurdity of human existence, painting a vivid picture of life's many contradictions and ironies.

  6. 6. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

    Set in the Midwest shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the book follows a young woman named Tassie Keltjin as she navigates her way through college life and a new job as a nanny for a sophisticated and mysterious couple who have adopted a mixed-race child. The story delves into themes of love, loss, and the complexities of racial identity, as Tassie becomes more entangled in the family's life and secrets, ultimately experiencing a tragic loss that changes her perspective on life.

  7. 7. Portrait Of An Artist: A Biography Of Georgia O'keeffe by Laurie Lisle

    This biography provides an in-depth look at the life and career of a pioneering American artist known for her distinctive paintings of flowers, skyscrapers, and southwestern landscapes. It delves into her personal journey, exploring her relationships, her struggles for artistic independence, and her role in the American modernist movement. The book paints a vivid picture of a fiercely independent and spirited woman who broke boundaries in both her art and her life, offering readers a comprehensive view of her creative evolution and the impact she had on the art world.

  8. 8. The Totem by David Morrell

    "The Totem" by David Morrell is a gripping thriller that follows the story of a troubled young woman named Laura who becomes entangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a relentless killer. As Laura tries to uncover the truth behind a series of brutal murders, she discovers a dark secret that connects her past to the present. With her life on the line, Laura must confront her deepest fears and outsmart her cunning adversary before it's too late.

  9. 9. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

    The book is a true story about a woman who, after suffering severe physical and emotional abuse as a child, developed sixteen different personalities as a coping mechanism. The narrative follows her journey with her psychiatrist as they attempt to fuse her multiple identities into one through therapy and treatment. The book offers an in-depth look at Dissociative Identity Disorder, its causes, manifestations, and treatment.

  10. 10. Way Station by Clifford D. Simak

    "Way Station" is a science fiction novel set in rural Wisconsin, where Enoch Wallace operates a mysterious way station that serves as a resting place for alien travelers. Enoch, who is over a century old but appears to be in his thirties, is tasked with maintaining the balance between Earth and the intergalactic community. As the government becomes suspicious of his activities and threatens to expose the truth, Enoch must navigate the complexities of loyalty, morality, and the survival of humanity.

  11. 11. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

    This book is a captivating historical novel that follows the adventures of an 11-year-old girl growing up on the Wisconsin frontier in the 1860s. With her spirited and courageous nature, the protagonist defies traditional gender roles, preferring outdoor adventures and exploring the woods to the domestic tasks expected of young girls at the time. Through her interactions with her family, the local Native American tribe, and the various settlers, she navigates the challenges and joys of frontier life, learning valuable lessons about independence, tolerance, and the importance of family. The novel, rich in historical detail and character development, is a celebration of a young girl's spirit and the beauty of the American frontier.

  12. 12. Who Will Run The Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore

    The novel explores the complexities of female friendship and the nostalgia for adolescence through the eyes of its protagonist, Berie Carr, who reminisces about her teenage years while on a trip to Paris with her husband. The story delves into Berie's memories of her intense friendship with Sils, her best friend during her formative years in upstate New York. Amidst the backdrop of a 1970s summer job at an amusement park, the narrative captures the poignant and often painful transition from the innocence of childhood to the disillusionment of adulthood, highlighting the formative experiences that shape us and the enduring impact of our earliest bonds.

  13. 13. The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

    "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" is a coming-of-age tale about a mute boy, Edgar, who communicates with his family and dogs through sign language. He lives on a farm in Wisconsin with his parents, where they breed a fictional type of dog. After his father's mysterious death, Edgar suspects his uncle, who has recently returned to the farm, is responsible. The boy flees into the wilderness with three of his dogs, where he must learn to survive on his own. When he eventually returns home, he faces a dramatic confrontation with his uncle, leading to a tragic, yet transformative end.

  14. 14. Blankets by Craig Thompson

    This graphic novel is a coming-of-age autobiography that explores the complexity of family relationships, faith, love, and the transition into adulthood. The story follows the protagonist as he navigates his way through a strict and oppressive religious upbringing in a rural, snowy setting. The narrative dives deep into his first love, his relationship with his younger brother, and his struggle to reconcile his religious beliefs with his personal experiences. The book is a poignant exploration of the heartache and joy of growing up.

  15. 15. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

    This book presents a deeply researched biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the "Little House on the Prairie" series. It provides an in-depth look into Wilder's life and the historical context in which she lived, from the westward expansion to the Great Depression and beyond. The narrative explores the complex relationship between Wilder and her daughter, the hardships they faced, and the ways in which these experiences shaped Wilder's writing. It also delves into the myths and realities of American frontier life, challenging the often-romanticized view of pioneer life.

  16. 16. Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

    "Homeland Elegies" is a novel by Ayad Akhtar that blurs the lines between fiction and memoir. The book follows the story of a Pakistani-American playwright named Ayad Akhtar who is struggling to reconcile his identity as a Muslim-American in a post-9/11 world. Through a series of interconnected stories, Akhtar explores themes of family, politics, and identity, while also examining the American Dream and the challenges faced by immigrants in the United States. The novel is a powerful and poignant exploration of what it means to be an American today.

  17. 17. Dodgers by Bill Beverly

    This novel follows the journey of East, a young Los Angeles gang member, who is sent by his uncle along with three other teenagers on a mission to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The narrative delves into the cross-country trip that serves as a rite of passage for East, exploring themes of brotherhood, survival, and the quest for a life beyond the violent streets that shaped him. As the group navigates the unfamiliar terrains of rural America, their loyalties and their resolve are tested, leading to a climax that forces East to confront his past and future. The story is a poignant exploration of the complexities of growing up under the shadow of inevitable violence, and the possibility of redemption and change.

  18. 18. A Daughter of the Middle Border by Hamlin Garland

    This memoir chronicles the life of the author's family as they move from Wisconsin to Iowa, then to South Dakota during the late 19th century. The narrative focuses on the hardships and challenges of pioneer life, the author's own evolution as a writer, and the significant role his sister played in his life. The book offers a poignant depiction of the American frontier and its influence on the people who lived there.

  19. 19. Son of the Wilderness by Linnie Marsh Wolfe

    "Son of the Wilderness" is a biography that chronicles the life and accomplishments of a renowned naturalist and conservationist. The book explores his early years growing up in the harsh wilderness, the experiences and influences that shaped his passion for nature, and his tireless efforts in advocating for the preservation of natural landscapes. The book also highlights his instrumental role in the establishment of the National Park Service and his enduring legacy in the field of environmental conservation.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.