© 2023 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
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 Measure'

book cover.png

“They came at the start of the month, on an otherwise ordinary day, under an otherwise ordinary moon. And when the boxes came, they came for everyone, all at once. Small wooden chests - at least, they looked wooden-that emerged overnight, millions and millions of them, in every town and every state and every country.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are some lines from the beginning of Nikki Erlick’s novel The Measure. Everyone in the world over the age of twenty-two receives one of these small boxes. On the outside is the inscription “The measure of your life lies within.” And inside the box is a single indestructible string. Everyone quickly realizes that the string represents the length of his life. Not everyone chooses to look at the string. The reaction to a short string varies...some try to make their numbered days matter, some react in violence.

The story follows the lives of eight people. Hank, a physician and Ben, an architect, both short stringers make the most of the time they have left. Servicemen Jack, a long stringer and Javier, a short stringer, switch strings in order to bypass a national mandate that says short stringers cannot follow their dreams. Nina (long) and Maura (short) decide to follow their dreams in the time they have left together. Anthony, a presidential candidate and a long stringer uses fear of short stringers to promote his candidacy.

The theme of the book of course is “if you knew the number of your days” how would you change your life? Would you hunker down in your home and refrain from making human connections or would you choose to go all in and live every one of your last days to the fullest?

If this is a question you have ever pondered you must read The Measure by Nikki Erlick.

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.