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

In 1989 Ken Follett surprised his fans by publishing a nine hundred page novel set in medieval times revolving around the construction of a cathedral. Until then he was known only as a thriller writer. That book, Pillars of the Earth became a bestseller.  He published sequels in 2007 and 2017 and now,  in 2020, a prequel.

“On August 1, 1953, the United States Congress announced House Concurrent Resolution 108. The announcement called for the eventual termination of all tribes and the immediate termination of five tribes, including the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.”

“The young soldier was part of the “Baby Bottle Conscription,” the boys called up when there were no more men, young or old, to fight the war. Victor Dalmau received him with the other wounded taken from the supply truck and laid out like logs on mats.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are lines from Isabel Allende’s newest novel A Long Petal of the Sea. The year is 1938 and the soldiers are fighting in Spain’s civil war when General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government.

“Emerging onto the street, I nearly walked into a disinfection cart. It’s sweet, tangy tang marked the air. I ducked away from the masked men who were spraying the gutters and feeding their hose through the grating of gully after gully. ...Children carrying suitcases were filing into the train station as we swung past, being sent down the country in hopes they’d be safe. But from what I could gather, the plague was general all over Ireland. The specter had a dozen names: the great flu, khaki flu, blue flu, black flu.”

“I’ve never done a job like this. I’ve never moved so fully into someone’s life, infiltrated their home and coerced them to be my friend. Most of my cons have taken place in the dark, under the cover of intoxication: parties nightclubs, hotel bars.”