I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
Technically, I hadn't been avoiding "The Martian." From the book blogosphere and podcast world, I knew it was insanely popular and well-received. I'm just not a huge sci-fi person (it's not sci-fi, I would later learn). And when I found out the premise of the novel, I had some uncomfortable tummy feelings.
A few years ago, I had an MRI, the kind where the stick you in the little tube. The technician asked me if I was claustrophobic. I said, "I don't think so," and we went on. I pushed that damn panic button about six seconds in. Ever since then, I have had a hard time with tight spaces - cleaning out the back of the closet, watching "buried alive" movies, thinking about being confined to jail or a space vehicle. Before that MRI, none of that bothered me in the least.
So the idea that a guy is trapped on Mars gave me the woozies. But then I heard that Ridley Scott was making a film, and it was weeks away from release. And there's a trailer out. And Matt Damon is starring in it. So I put my name on the list at the library. I was third in line, and each person gets three weeks. It took only a couple of weeks to get the book - my first clue that it reads fast.
I didn't watch the trailer before I read the book, but between knowing Damon would play Mark Watney and Weir's smart-pants dialogue/thoughts for the character, I totally imagined it was "Good Will Hunting Goes to Mars" (except Watney has a Chicago speech rhythm, not a Boston accent).
In the beginning, I wasn't super excited about the story. So.Much.Math. And poop. And figuring out how many days he could survive. I didn't want to be trapped on Mars with this guy doing math for 369 pages.
But the pages turned fast. And about 48 pages in, BAM, we're no longer on Mars. We're with the NASA people, and a heartbreaking scene in which a woman named Mindy Park turns the story on its head.
More troubles on Mars and Earth. And a BIG GIANT TWIST about half-way through. An actual martian shows up (just kidding).
This was a 5 1/2 hour book, and it was worth every minute. Yep, read it. It's worth it.