Book Buzz: Pack Horse Librarians, Camels out West, and Presidential Assassinations

Note: Back to regularly scheduled blogging. Though our library building is still currently closed to the public, you can still request these books–or any item in our system–through our online catalog and receive them through our curbside pickup service. The link to the catalog will be at the end of the post. Thanks!

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For March, we’re looking at the If All Arkansas Read the Same Book pick for 2020, an unusual Western, and the most comprehensive look at a significant American tragedy.

Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (2019)*

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Last year, Jojo Moyes’s The Giver of Stars got a lot of buzz for its depiction of the Great Depression-era pack horse librarians of Kentucky, but a lot of folks also said that Richardson’s earlier novel was a more realistic look. Whereas Moyes’s book focused heavily on the personal and marital drama of its characters, Richardson incorporates the famous Blue People of Kentucky and their struggles into her plot. As mentioned previously, this book is officially the 2020 pick for If All Arkansas Read the Same Book.

Recommended for those who enjoyed Ron Rash’s The Cove.

*Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby.

Téa Obreht’s Inland (2019)**


Several years ago, Téa Obreht generated a lot of buzz for her debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife. Last year, she released her follow-up, and on the surface, a Western might seem like an unusual setting for the Serbian-born writer of literary fiction usually set in her native Balkans. But it’s really not as divergent from her previous work as one would expect. One of the characters–Lurie–is a Balkan immigrant, on the run from the law, and he takes shelter in the Camel Corps in 19th century Arizona Territory. (Yes, the Camel Corps was a thing.) He eventually crosses paths with Nora, a hardened frontierswoman coping with a fragmenting family.

**Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Charles Frazier.

Michael W. Kauffman’s American Brutus (2004)

American Brutus

So, this isn’t a new book. Someone donated it to the library awhile ago, and it ended up on our silent auction table. I was, ahem, somewhat adamant that it be added to our collection, so I bid on it and then donated my winnings to the collection. (Thank you, Julie, for humoring me. 🙂 ) The reason I was so emphatic that the book end up in our system is it is the most definitive account of the Lincoln Assassination. Kauffman is a historian who specializes in the assassination, and he combines superb research with excellent prose. I thought I knew about the Lincoln Assassination and John Wilkes Booth before I read this book–but it was only after reading it that I realized how little I actually had known. Highly recommend.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Jeff Guinn.

What’s your favorite new-ish books? What books are you buzzing about these days? Have you read any of these books? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information about any of these items.


Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

2 thoughts on “Book Buzz: Pack Horse Librarians, Camels out West, and Presidential Assassinations”

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