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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: 'Remarkably Bright Creatures'

“Day 1,299 of My Captivity. Darkness suits me. I await the click of the overhead lights, leaving only the glow from the main tank. Not perfect, but close enough. Almost-darkness, like the middle-bottom of the sea. I lived there before I was captured and imprisoned. I cannot remember, yet I can still taste the untamed currents of the cold open water. Darkness runs through my blood. Who am I, you ask? My name is Marcellus, but most humans do not call me that. ...I am a giant Pacific octopus.”

That’s an excerpt from the beginning of Shelby Van Pelt’s novel Remarkably Bright Creatures. Marcellus lives at the Sowell Bay Aquarium and knows that his days are numbered as his life span is only four years, or 1,460 days. Octopuses are known to be intelligent so the fact that Marcellus is able to escape his tank every night to forage for tastier food should not be a surprise.

However, one night he gets tangled in wires and is rescued by the after hours cleaning woman Tova which begins their friendship. Tova uses this job to cope with the loss of her husband and years before, her eighteen year old son from a drowning. And then there’s Cameron who in searching for his birth father ends up in Sowell Bay and takes over Tova’s cleaning job while she heals from a broken leg.

As the story progresses, friendships are formed and, with Marcellus’ help, mysteries are solved. The fly leaf says that this book is “a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope.”

If you’re looking for a well written story with an octopus as the main character, then you must read Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

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.