"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Martian...you may not want to go to Mars but your should go get this book

The Martian by Andy Weir is my new when-you-want-a-book-recommendation-go-to selection, this is the book I will recommend to you. In fact, I just recommended it a few minutes ago to a teacher passing through the library. It is likely I will tell someone else about the book before the end of the day.  It is THAT good. Few books have risen to the level of go-to book and once on my list will often stay on it for years. In the past some of the books on my go-to list have been: The Help; The Storied Life of AJ Fikry; The Invention of Wings; and Ready Player One. Now you get the idea of the types of go-to books on my list. It is special to be the newest book on the list because I recommend it the most.

The Martian was written by Andy Weir, a debut author who admits to being a Science Nerd. It was first published on-line where readers could get it for free. Next Weir self-published it on Amazon and charged the lowest amount possible, thinking only true science geeks would be willing to pay for it. When he started making money, he was shocked. Not only is the book a literary success it has been picked up by Twentieth Century Fox and a film starring Matt Damon is coming out this November. Read it quick!

As a librarian I am always interested in what genre books belong. This book would be categorized as Science Fiction (Sci-Fi) but that is a misnomer. Yes, the book is fiction in terms of its plot---an astronaut is abandoned by his team on Mars and he is left to his own devises to survive, or more likely die. But the science is not fictional. Every bit of science information in the book is accurate (remember how I said Weir is a Science nerd?) which makes the book fascinating on a whole other level. The book has a fascinating plot which is enhanced by the reality of the science and the math.

When Mark Watney is abandoned by his crew due to a completely credible misunderstanding, he has enough resources to support his life for about six months. The earliest anyone could possibly get back to rescue him is three years. So Watney has to figure out how to save himself and he has to do it himself since communication with NASA was disabled at the same time he was abandoned. Watney has to use his brain and good old ingenuity to survive. Parts of the book read like a really good adventure story with tense scenes where survival is questionable. Other parts, which really make the ultra-science facts bearable, are extremely funny. It is a well-balanced book: science-adventure-humor-ingenuity. What's not to like?

My husband and I started the audiobook of  The Martian during our Spring Break trip. I love to listen to audiobooks when I'm driving and my husband puts up with them. For that reason I try to select books he will like when we travel together. R.C. Bray does an excellent job reading the book and doing the character voices. Below is a snippet of the book, the first chapter. Hey, why not get started with the book right now and have a listen (6 minutes.)

Rating: 5/5, some strong language

Audiobook info: The Martian by Andy Weir, read by RC Bray. Podium Publishing on Brilliance Audio, MP-3 format, 2014.


  1. We are book doppelgangers on this one. I agree, It's science fiction but the science is NOT fiction. I'm recommending this one to everyone now. Loved the audio version -- might be the best audiobook I've listened to. Might do an activity with science classes reading this one next year. Great thoughts!

    1. I told a Math teacher about the book today and he is excited to read it. That cuased me to start thinking about all the math in the book, too.

  2. This is such a fresh book. I loved the fact that it's based off real things like you said. It's not only entertaining, but I think it's a great book to learn from and to get inspired to research more about it.


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