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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: 'Greenwood'

“Why is it that people are engineered to live just long enough to to pile up a lifetime of mistakes but not long enough to fix them? If only we were like trees, she thinks. If only we had centuries.” 

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are lines from Michael Christie’s novel Greenwood. The story spans  four generations of Greenwoods...a family name first given to two boys, Harris and Everett, who are only connected by their shared fate of surviving the same train wreck. They chop wood to survive which eventually leads Harris to found a lucrative lumber company.

When Everett returns from WWI mentally scarred, he survives by tapping sap from trees until the day he finds an abandoned baby hanging from one of them. He names her Willow, and while searching for a good home for her, is arrested on false kidnapping charges.

Willow inherits the lumber company, but gives all her wealth away to support her efforts to save the forests from extinction. She reduces her footprint by living in a camper with her son Liam. Liam becomes an accomplished carpenter and has a daughter, Jake, who dedicates her life to saving trees.

The story begins in 2023 and Jake is working at one of the last old forested reserves. Each chapter of the book winds down another generation to 1908 and then works it’s way back up. As the story ends Jake learns of her ancestors through a journal that Willow’s mother left behind and does what she can to save the trees on the island. As the book jacket states this is “a magnificent generational saga that charts a family’s rise and fall, its secrets and inherited crimes.”

If you only read one book this fall,  you must read Greenwood by Michael Christie.

Betty Martin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Lutheran pastor and his organist wife. Betty’s love of books was inspired by her father who read to all four children each night.
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