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Arts & Culture
There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'Virgil Wander'


“If I were to pinpoint when the world began reorganizing itself...that is, when my seeing of it began to shift- it would be the day a stranger named Rune blew into our bad luck town of Greenstone, Minnesota, like a spark from the boreal gloom. It was also the day of my release from St. Luke’s Hospital down in Duluth, so I was concussed and more than a little adrift.” 

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are some lines from the first page of Leif Enger’s newest book Virgil Wander. Enger is a master storyteller and this book does not disappoint. In his own unique writing style, he introduces us to Virgil, as he is recovering from launching his car over an embankment into a lake, and the people in his life.

Rune has arrived from Norway after learning he is the father to Greenstone ball player, Alec, who disappeared ten years before.  He wants to learn “Alec’s vanities, or his weaknesses, or what songs he mused when cooking” and draws the townspeople into conversations by enticing them with his handmade kites. And there’s Shad who meets an untimely death by a sturgeon and his ten year old son Galen who seeks revenge on the fish. And Nadine, the enchanting, reserved wife of the vanished ballplayer.

Virgil is the part time city clerk and runs the old movie theater in town and is the keeper of thirty-two old movies, hidden in a closet in the theater.

This is such a wonderfully written story. At one point, Virgil says of his head injury, “I am still fairly reduced. I may never be unabridged again.”

If you’re looking for, as the flyleaf says, a “big, generous, sweeping story of new beginnings against all odds”, then you must read Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. 

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