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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: 'Diva'

In Performance. Paris, October 20, 1968. In her apartment on Avenue Georges Mandel, Maria drew the brush across her eyelid into an italic flick. Her hand was surprisingly steady. It was always like this before a performance: there would be nerves before, but once she sat down in front of her dressing room mirror, she would become completely absorbed in her task and the terrors would recede as she painted her face.”

That’s a passage from Daisy Goodwin’s newest novel Diva. It’s a fictional account of Maria Callas’ life, mostly during the years of her affair with Aristotle Onassis. Maria Callas was an American born Greek opera singer, one of the most renowned and influential singers of the twentieth century. She was also a striking beauty.

This book is a fascinating look into the life of a famous singer, both her career and her personal life. Most of her days are spent in her studio practicing for an upcoming role while also protecting her valuable voice at all costs. She is married to her manager Meneghini when she first meets Onassis. He woos her with costly jewels and long get aways on his ship sailing around the Greek islands. Maria had nearly accepted that she would always be his consort and not his wife when he meets and decides to marry, Jackie Kennedy.

Goodwin says in her author’s note that although this is not a biography, she has stuck to the facts as much as possible. My little bit of research bears that out. Author Goodwin is also known for her novel and movie about Queen Victoria.

If you’re looking for a great story based on the life of Maria Callas, then you must read Diva by Daisy Goodwin.

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.