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Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!
The Martian - Andy Weir

Curse you Andy Weir. Seriously. Your fault: I hardly slept last night. I could not—could not!—put your book down. It was too good.



I loved Chris Hadfield’s ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH, and when a commander of the International Space Station praises a book for “fascinating technical accuracy”, it makes my internal ears perk up. My interest is piqued. Then, the author of WOOL (who sold like a billion copies of his independently published work before getting professionally bound) said, “The best book I've read in ages. Clear your schedule before you crack the seal.” I should have listened. Nope. And there went my night.



Here’s the mix: science and galley humor. With one of the best opening lines ever (censors prevent me from posting it; look it up on Amazon’s preview) and with the stranded astronaut/science guy trying to survive in his “Little Hab on the Prairie”—I’m slayed. Mark Waney, the protagonist, says, “I suppose I’ll think of something. Or die.” And so while he’s recording his journal entries, the earth is watching in fascination and desperate hope.



Incredible would not be the right word for this. If Tom Hank’s Castaway Island was located on Mars and MacGyver was sent as the strandee, then this is what you get. Take a bunch of science—engineering, botany, chemistry (explosive at times)—and tie it together with math, and holy cow! Trust me, even if you aren’t scientific by nature, this is written in an exciting manner that zips by. Did I mention hard to put down?



Despite the sagacious humor, science, and adventure, I like the encompassing lesson: “every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out.”   



Thanks to Crown and Random House for sending me this book to review—it was awesome! And I don’t say that lightly. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.