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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
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Group Read Discussions > August 2020 - The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek - NO SPOILER

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message 1: by Gretchen, Keep your head up or the crown slips (new)

Gretchen (eab2012) | 583 comments Mod
This is the thread for NO SPOILERS for the August 2020 group read - The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government's new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people--a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman's chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Packhorse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.


Cheryl S (book_boss_12) | 5 comments Hi! I've been a member of this group about 6 months and I'm finally going to read this one with you guys! How exactly does this work? We read at our own pace and then discuss it?


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 678 comments That's it--just dive in when you have something to say, keeping an eye out for which of the threads you are in. It helps to mention which chapter you're commenting on, so that if people haven't read that far yet, they can wait to read your comment.


Emma | 33 comments This is my first group read with this group too. I’m really looking forward to this. I read The Giver of Stars a few months ago, without knowing there had been a bit of controversy with it being so similar to this book and I’m looking forward to judging for myself.


message 5: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2231 comments Emma wrote: "This is my first group read with this group too. I’m really looking forward to this. I read The Giver of Stars a few months ago, without knowing there had been a bit of controversy with it being so..."

I didn't realize that regarding The Giver of Stars. I did read this one months ago and it was surprisingly better than I expected. Learned a lot regarding the blue people of KY and Pack Horse project.


message 6: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jasmine | 1201 comments Mod
Emma wrote: "This is my first group read with this group too. I’m really looking forward to this. I read The Giver of Stars a few months ago, without knowing there had been a bit of controversy with it being so..."

I also heard about the controversy and just finished The Giver of Stars. I'm waiting for this one from the library and then I can't wait to compare the two.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 678 comments Reading this, I felt that many Americans today have become very soft and even self-indulgent. Cussy Mary sure goes through a lot--as does everyone else in the book--real tests of character as well as tests of survival.


Linda Ulleseit (lindaulleseit) | 41 comments I just finished reading this one for the second time! Enjoyed it very much.


Linda Ulleseit (lindaulleseit) | 41 comments Jasmine wrote: "Emma wrote: "This is my first group read with this group too. I’m really looking forward to this. I read The Giver of Stars a few months ago, without knowing there had been a bit of controversy wit..."

And I have read this one but not The Giver of Stars yet!


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 678 comments Cussy Mary seems like a poignant character to me. She has such a passionate need to be accepted and valued, in a world constructed to despise her--and worse. It seems brave to the point of foolish to take on a book distribution route.


message 11: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) I picked up this book the other day, and now discovered that this group is reading it. So I've joined you all here.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 678 comments Welcome, Katy! Look forward to seeing what you think of it.


message 13: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jasmine | 1201 comments Mod
Alright guys, does this story pick up? I'm over halfway through and it feels like a slog. Nothing is really happening.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 678 comments Not sure how to answer you--for me, things never stopped happening, mostly disastrous! I'm not sure what sort of events you're looking for.


message 15: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jasmine | 1201 comments Mod
There have been one or two events of interests, but nothing has really pulled me. I think I have two problems. One, I don’t really care about Cussy Mary. I wish I did, but she just hasn’t pulled at me. Two, I’m comparing it to The Giver of Stars and I really loved that one. I do find the information about the blue people really interesting.


message 16: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma | 33 comments It is much slower than The Giver of Stars!


message 17: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) I sat down and started this book last night. I got about 1/4 of the way through. Liking this so far. It won't be a classic, but a nice summer read for me as much as I've read.


Carol | 83 comments Afternoon all, I'm listening to the audible audiobook version and have been listening today whilst pottering about in the garden. I think the accent helps to get in the mood with this one.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 678 comments I thought the text even on the page captured the speech patterns of the people of the coves very well! Though some reviewers felt she slipped out of the voice from time to time, and it did seem as if Cussy Mary had somehow acquired enough education to slip out of it from time to time herself.


message 20: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma | 33 comments I thought this worked better as a testament to social history of the time and region than as pure entertainment. I may get it on audio at a later date if it seems to add something to the experience.


Julie (medicmedic) My cousin, Amy, and I are actually related to these blue people. Not very distantly either. Can't wait to read it.


Michaela Julie wrote: "My cousin, Amy, and I are actually related to these blue people. Not very distantly either. Can't wait to read it."

That´s interesting - never heard of them before! Started it today, and thought it very good so far.


message 23: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jasmine | 1201 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "My cousin, Amy, and I are actually related to these blue people. Not very distantly either. Can't wait to read it."

That's pretty cool!


Franklin Debrot | 12 comments I found the opening to be gimmicky: the book woman on her mule encounters a dead body hanging from a tree and a crying baby on the ground. Then nothing more is heard about this until the end of the novel. This is a common narrative strategy but it wasn’t necessary in this instance to win my interest. I was reminded of a literary agent who once insisted that the opening paragraph of any novel should grab the reader and pull him into the story with the accelerating force of a subway train pulling out of a station. This struck me then and in the case of this novel as a clear nod to the commercial interest in advancing a novel with sensationalism.


Simon Franklin wrote: "I found the opening to be gimmicky: the book woman on her mule encounters a dead body hanging from a tree and a crying baby on the ground. Then nothing more is heard about this until the end of the..."

Don't ruin the book for people who like me haven't read the novel since this is the NO SPOILER thread.


message 26: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jasmine | 1201 comments Mod
I would probably move this to the spoiler thread, however it is the opening scene and I agree that it was very commercial in trying to grab readers' attention.


Simon Jasmine wrote: "I would probably move this to the spoiler thread, however it is the opening scene and I agree that it was very commercial in trying to grab readers' attention."

Hi Jasmine,

Yes, but he mentions the ending part a little which to me is spoiling the book in ways.


message 28: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jasmine | 1201 comments Mod
I'll just put out a reminder, we do have a spoiler thread if you want to discuss specific details of the book. It is here: Spoiler Thread


Franklin Debrot | 12 comments Sorry, I didn't think this needed to go in the spoiler thread since it only mentioned the very beginning of the novel which I assumed everyone had read. It didn't occur to me that some reading this discussion might not have started the book yet. I don't know how to move this post to the spoiler thread, but you may do so or tell me how.


message 30: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jasmine | 1201 comments Mod
Franklin wrote: "Sorry, I didn't think this needed to go in the spoiler thread since it only mentioned the very beginning of the novel which I assumed everyone had read. It didn't occur to me that some reading this..."

It's okay. Future reference. Feel free though to post in the spoiler discussion more of your thoughts on this, or any of the other details of the novel. There is already some discussion over there on plot/devices if you want to jump in.


Franklin Debrot | 12 comments Thanks. Understood.


Franklin Debrot | 12 comments I did find this book to be very enjoyable - more so than the impression my previous post probably gives. The setting is of particular interest because of personal connections (primarily through my wife). Knowing it was based on historical facts about the blue people of Ky and the Pack Horse Library Project, made it a fascinating read.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 678 comments I was interested in the factual material it's based on too, though I had some concerns with it as a novel. Too many characters and incidents felt like they were injected into the story to illustrate some tidbit from the author's research. So as a reader I sometimes felt over-managed.


Michaela Agree Abigail! I hated the name-dropping!


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