Appalachia on my mind

I spent my day avoiding news which was helped by work because climbing out of a fintech rabbit hole is always a good way to avoid news. So this is a book blahg.

When picking out books, I *mostly* sort of careen/career along, ping-ponging all over the place. Occasionally I will read a trilogy of books one after another or I will do a few books in a mini-theme. Last year two of my mini-themes were abortion and cults (all fiction). And I followed up the very scientific “The Martian” by re-reading Ray Bradbury’s gorgeous and completely *un*-scientific “Martian Chronicles”.

Starting in December I have been floating off and on through books related to Appalachia. First off I stumbled upon Christy, a book I read a billion years ago about an early 20th century young woman who moves from the relative metropolis of Asheville, NC to teach in an isolated community in the Smoky Mountains. The book is fiction but based on the true story of the author’s mother’s life.

The next two are “book woman” books. “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” and “The Giver of Stars”. These are stories about women who join the Pack Horse Library Project. These books were quite similar because in each an independent-minded woman defies current cultural norms to work for a living, delivering books by horse or mule along often dangerous trails to people who are not necessarily interested in book-larnin’ – to put it mildly.

I enjoyed both of these books a lot but I give the edge to the Troublesome Creek book. I thought the characters were a little more interestingly depicted or whatever. Also, a sub-plot involved the blue people of Kentucky. The protagonist was “blue” (it’s a usually benign genetic disorder) and I was VERY intrigued by it plus I loved the protagonist.

And now (as I said yesterday), I’m re-reading “The Dollmaker”. We get a sense of this wonderfully talented woman/artist in her beloved life in a hollow in Kentucky. Indoor spaces are small but the outdoors is wide and beautiful and she farms and takes care of aminals (and whittles). And then, abruptly, she has to learn to adapt to a new life in hastily built housing for war workers near Detroit. Crappy little spaces with thin walls to hold large families. Our protagonist sorely misses her life in Kentucky, where she was poor but able to provide for her family via farming and careful saving but. NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTS! At least she is persisting for now. I can’t remember how the book ends…

2 Responses to “Appalachia on my mind”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Wasn’t one of those “book woman” authors accused of plagiarizing the other? I don’t remember which was which. I’m trying to read, but it can be difficult to concentrate these days.

  2. jane Says:

    I actually know 3 people who are Blue Fugates.