© 2024 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
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: 'This Other Eden'

“On the first day of spring, 1911, Esther Honey, great-granddaughter of Benjamin and Patience, dozed in her rocking chair by the wood stove in her cabin on Apple Island. Snow poured from the sky. Wind scoured the island and smacked the windows like giant hands and kicked the door like a giant heel and banked the snow up the north side of the shack until it reached the roof. The island a granite pebble in the frigid Atlantic shallows, the clouds so low their bellies scraped on the tip of the Penobscot pine at the top of the bluff.”

Those are some lines from Paul Harding’s novel This Other Eden. This incredibly lyrical novel was inspired by the history of Malaga Island off the coast of Maine. From the mid-1800’s to 1912 it was a mixed-race fishing community.

In 1912, the state of Maine evicted the 47 residents, committing eight of them to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded. Harding conjures up families who may have lived on the island in 1912: Iris and Violet McDermott, sisters raising three Penobscot orphans who make a living by taking in laundry from people on the mainland; Theophilus and Candace Larks and their three children who roam the island at night; Zachary Hand to God Proverbs, a Civil War veteran who spends his days carving Bible Stories inside a hollow tree; Esther Honey, her son Ehu and his three children, one of whom is a talented artist.

As the jacket says this novel is “A spellbinding story of resistance and survival, an enduring testament to the struggle to preserve human dignity in the face of intolerance and injustice.”

If you’re looking for that rare novel who’s beautiful writing is as important as the story itself, then you must read This Other Eden by Paul Harding.

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.