© 2021 KRCU Public Radio
Southeast Missouri's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
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: 'The Body'


“Long ago, when I was a junior high school student in Iowa, I remember being taught by a biology teacher that all the chemicals that make up a human body could be bought in a hardware store for $5.00 or something like that.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are the first lines to Bill Bryson’s newest book The Body: A Guide For Occupants.

Over the course of twenty-three chapters Bryson explains the mysteries of the human body. The chapters are also riddled with information about the medical geniuses who discovered how the body works, how they tried to solve medical issues and some of the unique patients who helped with their discoveries.

Just when the narrative seems to get a little too technical Bryson shares an anecdote. There is one about the British engineer who swallowed a coin that lodged at the base of his trachea and only fell out six weeks later after strapping himself upside down into a swinging contraption. Another about a British tail gunner who survived a fall of three miles from his plane. He fell through some lofty pine trees landing in a seated position with only a sore knee.

At the end of his chapter on diseases, Bryson shares a telling quote by scientist Kinch, “The fact is we are really no better prepared for a bad outbreak today than we were when the Spanish flu killed tens of millions of people a hundred years ago. The reason we haven’t had another experience like that isn’t because we have been especially vigilant. It’s because we have been lucky.”

If you’re looking for a well researched and entertaining book about the mysteries of the human body, then you must read The Body by Bill Bryson.

Related Content