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 as strong a photograph as any taken of the brothers together, they sit side by side on the back porch steps of the Wright family home.  The year was 1909, the peak of their fame. Wilbur, with a long poker face, looks off to one side, as though his mind were on other things, which it most likely was. Orville gazes straight at the camera, one leg crossed nonchalantly over the other.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those words, plus the photograph, begin David McCullough’s book The Wright Brothers.

In 2001, Geraldine Brooks, one of my favorite authors, published her first novel Year of Wonders. She wrote it after coming across an intriguing finger post in England pointing to the Plague Village.

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and Brooks’ book Year of Wonders is an historical novel about the English village, Eyam, during the plague year 1666. The plague arrives in their small village via a bolt of cloth from London.

For several years when I was an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, I worked part time for a business law professor who had an interesting wind blown way of organizing the papers on his desk. At the end of each work day, he would gather them together, and guide them into his middle desk drawer and the next morning he would fling them back on to his desk.

“There is something so tantalizing about having a gifted child that some parents will go to almost any lengths to prove they have one.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s a quote that Bruce Holsinger uses to begin his novel The Gifted School. Four women, Samantha, Lauren, Rose and Azra have been close friends for eleven years, ever since they met at a swim class when their children were babies.

“And I could only have seen her there on the stone bridge, a dancer wreathed in ghostly blue, because that was the way they would have taken her back when I was young..., they would have bound her and brought her across this one, because this was the bridge that fed into the turnpike that twisted its way through the green hills and down the valley before bending in one direction,and that direction was south.”