The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek 

Kim Michele Richardson



The story opens as Cussy Mary Carter, otherwise known as the Book Woman, is riding her mule Junia to deliver books. She finds a man hanging from a tree, blood is dripping down his body exposing blue nails on this hands and feet, while an infant lies on the ground crying.

The year is 1936. In the remote Kentucky Hills of an area known as Troublesome Creek, resides the Carter Family. Elijah Carter, Cussy’s father, works in the coalmines and is ill from inhaling years of coal dust. He is determined to find Cussy, 19, a husband before he dies. He promised his wife before she passed, that would make sure that Cussy was taken care. Before Carter would leave for work, he would light the courting candle on the front porch. This would signal eligible men to come and court his daughter. He had arranged several men in the past, offering the deed to his land as dowry. But as soon as the men saw Cussy, they left. Cussy and her father were the last in line of the blue people who founded the area. They were descendants of a blue man from France who came to the remote area of Kentucky on a land grant. He married a white woman and they had several children; some were different shades of blue and some white. Some would leave the area but those remaining would marry cousins, passing the color on. The townspeople treated the blue people the same way they treated the other ‘colored’ people:  diseased, damaged, dirty, not equal, a different race. 

Cussy’s mother loved books and had quite a collection. She passed her love of reading onto Cussy. In 1935, President Franklin D Roosevelt created the Work and Progress Administration, which allowed women to work and bring art and literature into the hills of out of reach places such as Kentucky. One job that became available was that of a book woman who would deliver books by horseback to remote areas. Cussy applied directly to the administration for fear that the local librarian would not hire her due to her skin color. She was right. Cussy loved the patrons on her route. The one rule of a pack librarian is that she had to be single. Cussy did not want to marry and lose her job, a job that she loved.

One night, Elijah lit the courting candle and Charlie Frazier walked up on the porch. He asked to see the land deed and after reading it several times, he agreed to wed Cussy. Cussy did not want to marry this man. He was old, dirty, smelled disgusting, and rough. Cussy plead with her father to let her stay home and continue the job that she loved but her father wanted her married. After a quick legal ceremony right there, he took Cussy home. He brutally raped and beat her, breaking her arm. He died that night of a heart attack. Cussy’s father took her home and the doctor attended to Cussy and Charlie’s body. Cussy inherited his mule, Junia. Junia was frightened and covered with sores from being beat by Charlie. Cussy nursed Junia back to health. Now widowed, Cussy is able to continue her job as a librarian. She still had one fear to face every time she went out. That was Vester Frazier, a cousin of Charlie’s. Vester Frazier was a minister who was a fanatic at baptizing and yes, killing, those who were different in appearance. He was constantly following and threatening Cussy. After an incident occurs with Vester, Doc offers to cover it up by making an agreement with Elijah and Cussy, to allow Doc to take Cussy to the hospital with him once a month. He wants to examine her and draw blood and try to see if the bloodwork would tell him why they have blue skin. Cussy agrees as long that he also brings a variety of food with him each time so that Cussy can give it to her various patrons.

Cussy has many patrons on her route that look forward to her weekly visits including:

Angelina Moffit, 16, married to an older man Willy, who now lays in bed with an infected foot due to a gunshot wound he sustained when he was caught stealing a chicken.

Martha Hannah married to Devil John, the local moonshiner, and their children

C. Cole, Hogtail’s Tower firewatcher hired by the Conservation, Corp.

Loretta Adams, 71, who has poor vision and likes Cussy to read the bible to her.

Winnie Parker, 36, the schoolteacher who lives above the school. Her husband moved to Detroit for a factory job. Winnie will move there once he is settled and has enough money. Winnie and the schoolchildren become very excited when The Book Woman arrives with new books and magazines. Cussy notices how hungry and ill the children are due to malnutrition. Many from different families succumb to pellagra.

And, Jackson Lovett who has returned home to his farm after designing and facilitating the construction of the Hoover Dam.

Hannah Harden is the Assistant Library Supervisor and Eula Foster is the Head Librarian. Both are racist and treat Cussy and Queenie, a black librarian, with disgust and hatred.

This is a story about the importance that the packhorse librarians were to the outlaying community, the prejudice/racism/laws of all colors, and the blue-skinned people of Kentucky. In 1820, Martin Fugate, a French orphan, arrived in Troublesome Creek. In the 1960’s, not the 1930’s where the book takes place, Madison Carwein, a Kentuckian hematologist, heard about the blue-skinned people and went in search of them. He discovered through bloodwork that the Fugates had congenital methemoglobinemia. This is due to an enzyme deficiency, leading to higher than normal levels of methemoglobin in the blood, which reduces oxygen capacity. Less oxygen in the blood causes the blood to appear chocolate-brown in color, causing the skin to appear blue instead of white.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis


Patti Callahan


Joy Davidson and her husband, Bill Gresham, have two children, Douglas and Davy. Joy and Bill are both writers. Bill retreats to the attic to write whereas Joy has to take care of the boys, the house, meals, shopping, and all that entails to running a house. She admits she does not do a very good job with the house, but it leaves little time for her to write. She is working on a couple of books and a magazine series. Bill is often gone at night drinking and meeting other women. One night while he is out, Joy, an atheist, falls to her knees in desperation worrying about her husband. In that moment, she is overcome with a feeling of love, calm, and a spirit she never felt before. She stands knowing that God is real.

Joy grew up reading C.S. Lewis’s books and she continues to read them to her children. When Joy talks with a fellow writer, she learns that he knows C.S. Lewis. Her friend tells Joy and Bill that if they were to write to Lewis, that Lewis would write back. Joy knows that Lewis writes about his faith. This begins a long period of communications between Lewis and Joy. The letters become more personal and Lewis invites Joy to visit him anytime if she ever comes to England. Joy begins to have health issues. It is suggested that it would be good for her health to go to England, where she can get the healthcare she needs, and at the same time, visit and conduct research for her writing. Joy’s cousin, Renee, who has left her husband and needs a place to stay, has come to Joy for sanctuary. Since Renee will take care of the house and the boys, Joy feels free to leave. Bill had continued his drinking and cheating, and Joy had moved out of their bedroom weeks before.

Joy leaves for an extended stay in England. She stays with friends, rents rooms, and visits with Lewis. The two get together often when Joy is in Oxford and Lewis’s brother Warnie joins them. As Joy’s money runs out and Bill has nothing to send her, he tells Joy that she needs to come home so that he and Renee can have a life together. Joy returns to an abusive Bill and decides to return to England with the boys. Joy creates a new life in England with her boys as her friendship with Lewis, and his with the boys grow closer.

The two work-by-side, reading and editing each other’s writings. Joy continues to have health issues and is told by various doctors that it is nothing serious. When Joy falls in her home and breaks her leg, she goes to the hospital. She receives word that she has cancer and that is what has caused her pain all this time. After many surgeries and cancer treatments, Joy recoups in C.S. Lewis’s house. The two finally acknowledge their love for one another. When Joy returns to the hospital and is quite ill, Lewis wants to marry her before it is too late. A priest agrees to marry them in the hospital. Lewis takes her home and she miraculously feels better. They have another three years to love each other completely before Joy dies.

The Circle


Dave Eggers



After college, Mae Holland went to work for a local utility office in her hometown. When her best friend from college, Annie, calls her with a job opportunity at The Circle, a leading tech company, she jumps at the opportunity. The Circle is a company run by the Three Wiseman. Ty Gospodiner is the visionary who created a program called Tru You. This program combines a person’s online accounts, user names, and passwords all under one identity.

Eamon Bailey is the public figure for the company. He wants to make the world a better place and believes transparency from every individual will accomplish this. The company has created a very small camera that can be placed out of site, anywhere in the world. This enables a viewer to see what is happening in real time at any location.

Tom Stenton is an aggressive corporate man brought in to make the company viable.

Francis Garaventa’s parents died when he was young. He and his sisters were placed in foster care. His sisters are later abducted from their home. They are never found. Francis is creating a program that will place a tracking chip in every child. If a child is ever lost or abducted, the location will be found immediately.

Annie is high up in the company. She advises Mae on what is expected of an employee and what she can do to be successful. When Mae tells Annie that her father has Multiple Sclerosis and is unable to afford the prescriptions he needs for his disease, Annie tells Mae that they are eligible to be insured under Mae’s policy. Her parents must agree to allow the company to put cameras up in their home.  Annie is in charge of her own project called Past Perfect. This program traces the ancestry of each person from the very beginning and is open to the public

The Circle is located on acres of land and houses stores, dorms, different laboratory offices, corporate offices, fitness centers, and restaurants. All employees are expected to use their facilities and are encouraged to stay in the dorms in order to stay late at night in order to participate in the companies many social activities.

Mae is assigned to customer service and after each phone call; the consumer is asked to take a survey on his or her experience with the employee. If the score is not a perfect score, Mae is to contact the customer again until she can get her score higher on that particular call. Mae strives to be the best employee and to move up the ladder. She offers to wear a camera herself to prove her transparency and belief in to what the company believes in. The openness into one another’s life and millions of viewers being able to watch single events in real time can have devastating effects.

This concept of total transparency into one another’s life, including government officials, individual homes, and world governments, all connected as one, makes it a world of totalitarian. This is a cautionary tale into the possibility of what the internet, artificial intelligence, hacking, and spyware can accomplish if one company owns it all.