Martin's Must-Reads

There are one million new books published each year.  With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.

Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m. Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share. Tune in each Wednesday and visit for previous must-reads. 

During the first seventeen years of my library career as a children’s librarian, one of my favorite genres was fantasy and even now I am  drawn to adult fiction that draws from fairytale themes.

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and today’s recommended read is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. It has a Rumpelstilskin flavor to it. It’s about two kingdoms in medieval times, one of this world, another of a world of ice and snow. And it’s about two women: Miryem, who helps her money lending family survive and Irina, who’s Duke father marries her off to the Tsar.

“When Norman Eisen moved into the US ambassador’s residence in Prague, returning to the land his mother had fled after the Holocaust, he was startled to discover swastikas hidden beneath the furniture.” 

I’m Betty Martin with Martin’s Must Reads and that’s a quote from The Last Palace by Norman Eisen.  From 2011- 2014,  Eisen served as the US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and lived in the embassy in Prague, the last palace built in Europe.

“A spellbinding novel of a merchant, a mermaid, and a madam - an unforgettable confection of obsession, wonder, and the deepest desires of the heart - told with bawdy wit, sparkling intrigue, and a hint of magic.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s a quote from the fly leaf of the novel The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermès Gowar.

“A spring of no spring. On the last beautiful afternoon, over two weeks ago, there was wash on the line in every front porch and backyard.  With white sheets, undershirts, and rags flapping in the wind, it looked as though an entire town of women had surrendered.”

Have you ever found a random photo or feather or ticket in a borrowed  book and stopped to wonder if there was a story behind it? 

I’m Betty Martin with Martin’s Must Reads and if you have, then you must read People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

It’s a novel based on the fact of an ancient copy of the Haggadah, a Jewish text that lays out the order of the Passover Seder. This is an extremely precious, illuminated manuscript originally from medieval Spain.