The Martian and the 2016 Reading Challenge

I really fell off the 2015 Reading Challenge bandwagon there, but I figure since there’s still a couple weeks left, I could probably get another book or two read before the end of the year. I’m a little bummed that I only got 25 of the 50 books read, but a book a week is pretty ambitious when you have three young kids, are trying to get your writing career off the ground, and get caught up into a writing competition for half the year.


I have to admit, I was tempted to get an early start on the 2016 Reading Challenge, since 2015 is nearly over. However, it feels like cheating to read something off the 2016 list when it fits the 2015 list first.

So I’ve got at least one more review for the 2015 Reading Challenge. The Martian by Andy Weir fits as “A book set in the future.” I picked it up off the “Most Wanted” display at my library, which is a special place where they put up a copy or two of extremely popular books in high demand. You can’t reserve the copies that are “Most Wanted,” so sometimes you can get lucky and get books faster than waiting for them on reserve.


I know a movie came out a couple months ago based on the book and I heard a lot of good things about it, but I’m generally pretty strict when it comes to books being turned into a movie. I like to read the books first before seeing them on screen. Since the movie’s due out on DVD in about a month, it seemed like the perfect time to read the book.

I started reading The Martian the other night before bed and finally just had to force myself to close it so I could sleep. Picked it up during breakfast and found myself unable to put it down until I finished it around noon.

So you could probably tell that I loved The Martian. I’m not the biggest fan of sci-fi books (different story if we’re talking movies), but there are a few that catch my interest now and again. The Martian can easily be summed up as “Robinson Crusoe on Mars.” I loved Robinson Crusoe as a kid, and I generally like survival type stories of that nature.

In The Martian, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead in a freak accident as his crew mates have to abandon their 31 day mission on Mars’ surface. Trapped on the red planet in a temporary base that’s supposed to support six astronauts for only 31 days and with no way to communicate with NASA, Watney has to figure out how to survive until the next Mars mission arrives… about four years later.

Most of the book is narrated by Mark Watney in logs that he’s recording in the Hab. Every so often the POV changes to his departed crew mates or the folks back on Earth, plus a few other fun POV switches that really make you sit up and take notice.

Mark is a funny guy and the jokes he makes throughout his long stay on Mars keep the mood a little light even when it’s gotten serious. Just when you think the guy is catching a break, Mars throws another monkey wrench into things and keeps you turning page after page.

Not sure if I’ll manage another book before the end of the year. Once that calendar turns over to 2016, I’ll jump onto my new challenge.

So here’s my invitation to you. Check out the 2016 Reading Challenge and let me know if you’ll join me in it. With 10 books less than last year, this should be easier to achieve. Also, if you know of any great books that fit in any of the categories, drop me a comment. With 40 book categories to choose from, I’m sure some of you have great ideas on what I should read over the coming year.

 

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