29 March 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir  5 Stars

I broke the cardinal rule! I watched the movie first!! I know, I know... how could I?! A semi-respected blogger of no note watch a film before I read the book that it was based on must be against some unwritten rule. I'm so sorry!

Now that I have fully apologized for my indiscretion, I can get to the point of how awesome this book was, brilliant! If I only had one word to describe, it would be 'brilliant'. For the science geeks out there (yes, I'm raising my hand), the facts are solid. Even the people that are supposed to know this stuff agree that its based on good science. For the botanists out there (not raising my hand, but I love to garden), the things the amazing Mark Watney does will leave you dazed. In a good way.

Throughout the tale, Watney has become a walking NASA version of "Murphy's Law", if it could wrong, it did... in every way possible. I love the humour in the story, even when things are getting incredibly bad for the Martian. The jokes he makes about himself, about NASA, about the situations in general will leave you in stitches.

Andy Weir did a fantastic job of telling a tragic story in a new and interesting way. I look forward to another novel from him.

Updates: The Blacke Dahlia Files

Good grief... I was hoping to do better on my blog last year, but as you can clearly see, that didn't really happen. It was a roller coaster of a year. I felt it best to read, enjoy the book, and take care of myself as I was going down that deep, dark hole we call depression.

So let's try this again. My goal for last year was to read 25 books, I managed 19. This year my goal is read 20. I'm so busy that if I can manage those 20, I'll be doing great. So far I have finished two.

The Black Dahlia Files by Donald H. Wolfe ---4 Stars

I've always been fascinated by her, Elizabeth Short, the "Black Dahlia". Like many people, I got wrapped in the unsolved crime because, while living, she was a stunning woman, but the questions of who would want her dead and why always come to mind. Many people have had theories, most crack-pot at best and accusing their own fathers at worst.

Wolfe gives us an interesting view into the echelons of 1940's Hollywood. His step-father was in the world, giving the author a first hand look into the shadowy side of fame and fortune. While many are aware that Hollywood was (and likely still is) mobbed to the hilt (and today we call them 'gang-bangers'), I wasn't aware of how many pies the mob had their fingers in.

Wolfe offers a viable theory using recently released files from the LA County District Attorney's office. He gives a rich view into the dark side of the Golden Age of the Silver Screen. Is he right? Maybe, maybe not, since many of the files on the famous Black Dahlia are still sealed, we may never know. The point is that, even if Wolfe is completely off base, the book was written is such a way that keeps the attention of the reader through the very end. And by "very end", I mean the appendices at the end of the book.