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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.

  • “Oh, I can’t speak for the dead. And I won’t speak for the missing. I can only tell you what I think happened. Others - the dead and the missing - would probably have their own versions. Blame, I can tell you firsthand, is every bit as subjective as truth. Of course, I am also confident that the missing will never be found: the Serengeti is vast and it’s been years.”
  • “I had already been a lot of things in my young life - vaudeville performer, dance instructor, waitress, dishwasher, pants presser, babysitter. And other things I won’t mention. Mostly, I was always what Mamie, my mother, needed me to be to earn money. Today was the first day of the life that I chose. By some miracle, I had won a scholarship to study at St. Mary’s Hospital of Nursing located in Galveston.”
  • “We have your daughter. It’s the first Tuesday in September, the afternoon of her one very bad day, and Frida is trying to stay on the road. On the voice mail, the officer tells her to come to the station immediately.”
  • “Sometimes I think about the girls Kim, Debra, and I once were, and it astounds me the paths we took. I used to believe that it was their daring that led to their undoing and that ours was a story about choices - three girls who made vastly different ones. But it’s really a story about second chances. Who gets them, who doesn’t, who makes the most of them.”
  • “A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country’s secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis.”
  • This book was so good that I felt it was necessary to veer from our usual adult titles and share it with you. Gary Schmidt’s book The Wednesday Wars, published in 2007 is a Newbery honor book.
  • “I am your maid. I’m the one who cleans your hotel room who enters like a phantom when you’re out gallivanting for the day, no care at all about what you’ve left behind, the mess, or what I might see when you’re gone.”
  • “She immediately knows something is wrong The door to Marik’s house is ajar, and there is a black car blocking the street just a few meters away. Not really a car - there aren’t many cars in Ivanovo...Who is this wagon waiting for?”
  • “To Emmett, all the houses in this part of the country looked like they’d been dropped from the sky. The Watson house just looked like it’d had a rougher landing. The roof line sagged on either side of the chimney and the window frames were slanted just enough that half the windows wouldn’t quite open and the other half wouldn’t quite shut. In another moment, they’d be able to see how the paint had been shaken right off the clapboard.”
  • “Like all humans, my mind is wired to look for the story in any situation. Where’s the beginning, the middle, the twist, the end? And what’s the moral?”