It’s here, the day you’ve all been waiting for… the day we announce the new book for the virtual book club for May! This time, we’re taking a turn from present-day literary fiction to historical fiction.
Our book club pick this month takes place in the rolling hills of Kentucky during the Great Depression. Most people are out of work, or killing themselves in the coal mines to provide for their families. They barely have time to sleep, let alone educate themselves. But that is where Cussy Carter and the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians come in. Funded on a grant from the Works Project Administration, the Pack Horse Librarians braved the wilds of Kentucky to bring the people of the hills books and education. Cussy is not just a librarian, though – she is a Blue: one of the last blue-skinned people of Kentucky, whose skin is a cerulean hue from a unique genetic trait.
Based on historical fact, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson shines a light on a fascinating time in America’s history, seen through the eyes of a blue librarian. And you know we just can’t resist a story about librarians!
Just like last month, we’ll post new discussion questions each week on Sunday. Click the book’s title up there to go to Hoopla, where it is always available. No need to wait or place holds for this one! Our librarians may also pop in to add their thoughts to the discussion. If we have a lot of interest, we’ll do an online meet-up to discuss the book.
For this week, let’s talk a bit about libraries and librarians – you don’t need to have read the book to answer these!
1. The Kentucky Pack Horse program was implemented in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to create women’s work programs and to assist economic recovery and build literacy. Looking at the novel, how did the program affect the people in this remote area? Do you think library programs are still a vital part of our society today?
2. How has a librarian or book lover impacted your life? Have you ever connected with a book or author in a meaningful way? Explain.
Questions from the author’s website.
As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and hanging out with us!
I just started reading this and I feel so badly for the main character – but she’s got some pluck I think and will get through her hardships. I think the Kentucky Pack Horse Program gave people something to look forward to, made them a little bit less lonely isolated as they were – with a visit from Cussy and a book or magazine that could give them some respite. I have always been a library visitor – books have helped me escape from an early age. Looking forward to reading more!