Book Review: The Martian

The Martian Book Cover The Martian
Andy Weir
Random House
August 27, 2015

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

My Thoughts

“I’m pretty much fucked.”

The opening line above almost dissuaded me from reading the book, as it set the tone for a story that wasn’t going to end well. I’m glad I read more, as it was a fantastic story.

This book didn’t take long to read, probably about 6 hours or so in total. It was captivating, inspiring, and hard to put down. The book, for the most part, is written in the form of log entries by the main character, Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars after an aborted mission.

In my opinion, that absolute best part of this book is Mark Watney, the main character. Even while all of these terrible things are happening to him, he stays optimistic throughout, and comes up with solutions to his problems. The other interesting thing about reading this book, and that the situations in the book do not seem far-fetched. It seems quite plausible that it could happen in the next 20 years or so. The author strives to create realistic situations, and employ as much science and math to suspend disbelief. I really liked this element of the book, as it gave a little bit of credit to the fiction.

After reading the book, I also saw the movie, and I was actually impressed. My biggest worry was that they wouldn’t be able to capture the character properly in the film, but I think this was done well.

I think anyone would enjoy this book.

Book Review: My GRL

My GRL Book Cover My GRL
John W. Howell
Martin Sisters Publishing
December 30, 2013

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly-purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John's first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

My Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed My GRL. The story was very fast-paced, full of action, and it was hard to put down.

I was pleasantly surprised that the plot wasn’t as predictable as I thought it was going to be when I first read the synopsis. The reader quickly finds out that things are not as they seem, and are really thrown for a loop.

My gripes with the book are fairly minor, and didn’t really bother me too much. First, the first-person present tense of the narration was a bit hard to read at first, as the tenses did change a bit throughout. I quickly got used to this and really started to enjoy the writing. Furthermore, I felt that the author did a lot of over-explaining as if it was just trying to fill pages. The author seemed to keep pointing out that the main character really wanted half and half and Splenda in their coffee. I think this is mostly attributed to it being an early work of the author, and it didn’t really bother me too much.

I am looking forward to the next book!