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Betty Martin

Host, Martin's Must-Reads

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.

After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in American History in 1975, she followed her mother’s advice and earned a Masters in Library Science from the Southern Connecticut State University. In her first professional library position she served as  the children’s librarian for the Wallingford Public Library in Wallingford, Connecticut, for fifteen years.

In 1992 she moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she served as a Regional Youth Services Coordinator for the St. Louis Public Library. She moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 1994 to marry Mark Martin and was hired by the Cape Girardeau Public Library to serve as the Adult Services Coordinator which she did for three years until being promoted to director. She served as director for twenty-one years and counts leading the organization through a building project as the highlight of her career.

She retired in July of 2018 and now has plenty of time to read. Her reading tastes lean towards historical fiction, any well-written novel with quirky characters and a few nonfiction titles. Her ultimate hope in recording book reviews is that, someday, someone will make an action figure of her just like Nancy Pearl has, or maybe a bobble-head.

  • The novel "Homegoing" gives us a glimpse into three hundred years of black history and the injustices perpetrated on people with dark skin. It follows the family history of two half sisters who were born into two different villages in Ghana in the eighteen century.
  • “1854. Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous merchant clan - merely a vicar’s daughter. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin Adam one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados - a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned.”
  • “When we pulled him from the water, he didn’t have a scratch on him. That’s the first thing I noticed. The rest of us were all gashes and bruises, but he was unmarked, with smooth almond skin and thick dark hair matted by seawater.”
  • If you’re looking for novel about relationships that revolve around the gaming world, then you must read Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.
  • Years ago when we enjoyed life with a scrappy Jack Russell terrier named Little Bit, we had a poster hanging on our refrigerator that reminded us of life lessons to learn from her. Things like “live in the moment” and “don't’ hold grudges” and “show compassion.”
  • “In the summer of 1942, as the world was locked in war against Hitler, a woman crossed the sea from the Soviet Union to the United States. She was a single mother, a graduate student, a library researcher. She was a soldier, a war hero, a sniper with 309 kills to her name. She was Russia’s envoy, America’s sweetheart, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s dear friend. Her story is incredible. Her story is true. Meet Lady Death.”
  • "September 28, 1918. The deadly virus stole unnoticed through the crowded cobblestone streets of Philadelphia on a sunny September day, unseen and unheard amidst the jubilant chaos of the Liberty Loan parade and patriotic marches of John Philip Sousa. More than 200,000 men, women, and children waved American flags.”
  • “Emma Starling didn’t come into Everton the way that took her by Maple Street Cemetery... She didn’t drive by the town square either, so she missed the celebratory sight when the four men and two teenage boys finally caught the wild boar...Boars aren’t native to New Hampshire, but here in Everton, they often dig out underneath the electric fence to escape the private hunting park that spans the Upper Valley.”
  • This is a fascinating window into life in India in the 1950’s when the caste system still affected Indian’s lives. As the book jacket says the Henna Artist is “Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern.”
  • The theme of the "The Measure" 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?