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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.

  • “So, how does it feel? Said Dr. Qadry, fixing Raymer with her pale blue eyes. “Yesterday was your last day, right?” Right. In fact his photo had made the front page of the paper, it’s headline reading: “The End of an Era.”
  • “David’s success in business was ten percent luck, ten percent indefatigability and zero percent Ida Mae. Mayer’s achievements in Torah scholarship originated from an altogether different formula. Had it not been for his mother, he never would have gone to yeshiva and been accepted into the Drezner clan. Sure, his success story had a supporting cast - Rabbi Kugel, Mrs. Kugel, his early yeshiva mentors - but when Ida Mae revealed her Jewish identity to her sons that blistering summer day, she set everything in motion.”
  • 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.”
  • “Day 1,299 of My Captivity. Darkness suits me. I await the click of the overhead lights, leaving only the glow from the main tank. Not perfect, but close enough. Almost-darkness, like the middle-bottom of the sea. I lived there before I was captured and imprisoned. I cannot remember, yet I can still taste the untamed currents of the cold open water. Darkness runs through my blood. Who am I, you ask? My name is Marcellus, but most humans do not call me that. ...I am a giant Pacific octopus.”
  • “Prologue. October 13, 2023. The baby stops fussing, settling into my arms like a sleepy puppy. The soft weight of her. She is back to sleep, her face peaceful as a porcelain doll’s. That wasn’t hard. The living room window is open; fevered voices carry in from the terrace of the apartment above. Commotion. Mania. I shouldn’t be surprised. I recognize the sound of Cassie’s screaming, obviously - I’ve heard her scream dozens of times.”
  • “I didn’t mean to keep count of how many people I’d watched die since Mrs. Heyland thirty-one years ago, but my subconscious was a diligent accountant. Especially since I was nearing a pretty impressive milestone - today the tally nudged up to ninety-seven.”
  • “We slept on the ground,” Charlie told me. “We were so exhausted. Sometimes we got a bath in a horse tank.” Though I heard Charlie tell this story a number of times, I never dulled to his marvelous self-confidence. Not only had he set out at age sixteen to cross the country on unpaved roads. Not only had he done it without letting anyone know where he was going or when he would return. He did it with empty pockets sure that he could make his way somehow.”
  • “For a long moment, the command post is silent. All eyes study the drone video feed on the screen. A sea of red heat signatures is moving through the jungle, heading directly for Jericho City. We’ll never survive contact with this many E. Rex. Even before we came down to the planet, we knew that the Eos Rex was the most dangerous predator on this world. We call them E. Rex because they resemble the T. Rex from Earth’s past.”
  • “I see a young man on TV, riding a horse out of a barn, hugging a little girl. Let’s face it, I’m in the market for a useful idiot, and he’s strong and has that big goofy grin. So voila, there he is, the ideal candidate. He doesn’t have the brains of a plate of spaghetti, or seems not to. A cipher even to himself. Never even voted, can you believe it. Perfect, absolutely perfect. I’ll create him. I’ll be his Henry Higgins. And he’ll repay me with votes.” L.D. chuckled. “I had no idea what I was in for.”
  • Many years ago, while visiting Coventry Cathedral, my mother was taken by the beautiful needlepoint kneelers that were in every row. She asked the guide if they sold the pattern for them and the guide went off to check. She returned with a packet of four of the original pattern papers and simply gave them to my mother.