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.

Ways to Connect

When I was in secondary school, literature classes often started with the study of mythology. I read The Odyssey several times over those years. So it was interesting to read a novel that revolved around those gods and mortals.

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and the novel I’m referring to is Circe by Madeline Miller. When Circe is born to Helios the Titan god of the sun and Perse, a nymph daughter of Oceanos, Circe is labeled a nymph, but in her adult life she is a witch exiled by her father to a remote island.

“Man is seldom content to witness beauty. He must possess it.” 

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s the quote author Kirk Wallace Johnson chose to use to preface his book The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist.

“We hold a piece of women’s history in our hands every day... a piece of history created - in a roundabout fashion - by Hedy Lamarr.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s a quote from the Author’s Note of Marie Benedict’s novel The Only Woman in the Room. It’s based on the life of Hedy Kiesler, or as we know her from the American film industry, Hedy Lamarr.

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.” 

“She was not used to being hunted. The lake stretched slate blue, glittering. The woman gazed over it, hands lying loose in her lap. A folded newspaper sat beside her on the bench. The headlines all trumpeted arrests, deaths, forthcoming trials. The trials would be held in Nuremberg, it seemed.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s the opening lines to Kate Quinn’s historical novel The Huntress. It’s the story of three very different women from 1946-1950, who, as the story begins, stand on vastly different shores.