I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The Martian by Andy Weir is a story about Mark Watney, an American astronaut who gets stranded on Mars. He is believed to be dead and is forced to survive on the few supplies he has left and his own innovation and skills.
I am not a big space person and Preston and I get in arguments about the amount of money used for space research, but I really enjoyed this novel and have a greater appreciation for NASA and the men and women who have dedicated their lives to exploring the unknown. I think the biggest surprise about this book is how funny it is. Mark Watney is a very likable character and his journal entries were sometimes laugh-out-loud good. I have heard this book has already been picked up for a movie deal, so I look forward to seeing it portrayed on the big screen. Another very cool aspect is how scientifically accurate it seemed. I use the word 'seem' because 1) I have very little space knowledge, so you could tell me pumpkins grew on Saturn and I would nod my head in agreement 2) I brought this point up with Preston about how his scientific calculations and word problems were so accurate and he said, "Well, he's making it up." So there's that. Despite its imaginative nature, Weir's calculations and situations are realistic and scientifically sound and sometimes I felt like I was reading GRE word problems which was a little disheartening.
I liked this book but this quote on the last few pages made me fall in love:
Every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it's true. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do. And because of that, I had billions of people on my side.
So if you want to laugh, learn about space survival, marvel at the innovations and technology we have in this day and age and smile at the goodness of humanity, you should read this book.