May 9, 2016

SH1: Good Books

So I know I'm on haitus, but I have a feeling I might want to pop on here and say something over the break, as is the case today. I've read two really good books these last few weeks and I want to make sure you all know to get on it!

We have an Audible account, and have had it for a long time. As of right now we have over 200 titles in our audio library. With the app on my phone, it is perfect for listening to while driving or cleaning, or anything that only requires half a brain to do. (Never drive with half a brain, kids, it's unsafe.) Bottom line, I really love having the account and if you don't have an one you can sign up and try any full first book for free.

Anyway on to the books:

1. The Martian by Andy Weir
Ok look, I gotta be honest, I dislike Matt Damon. Like really. And no, I did not see the film. I'm an art person, which does not usually mean I would also like science things, however lately I am super into Astronomy and science. I did take Astronomy in college and loved it and was pretty good at the subject too. I have seen every episode of Crash Course Astronomy, watch every SciShow and now subscribe to Phil Plait's blog.

But here's the cool thing, even if you don't like all that science, this book is pretty darn amazing. Unlike Contact, which I read when I was 13, it walks you though the science in ways that are pretty approachable. The whole book sounds pretty darn accurate and you can feel the amount of research that went into the book, without need to strictly understand everything perfectly. The main character, Mark Watney, is just so dang likeable too. His personality alone makes the book compelling. It's funny and smart and tense all at the same time. It's so good, I might actually watch the movie, even with Matt Damon.

2. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This is kind of off in the other direction from the Martian, being that it is about centuries old tech, that being bookmaking, typography and codes. I picked this one up after someone mentioned it in a video on youtube. I had no real idea what kind of book this would be when I listened to the audio sample, but I really liked the narrator and the main character seemed to tick all my boxes. Snarky, young, does design work, good sense of humor, curiosity. I had a vague idea that it could involve the supernatural and I still feel like it kind of does.

I guess you could describe this book like an exploration of the world of books, scholars and paper vs the world of tech geeks, programmers and Google. Plus as someone who really enjoyed a series of bad novels based around dragons (The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen) as a kid too and someone who still plays D&D, the references in the book were great. It's got a weird old store, a weirder old owner, a mystery, a cult, artists, a little romance and more. It's a good sign when I finish a book that I want merchandise related to it to exist. Unfortunately I haven't found any yet.

Other audio books that are fantastic to listen to:
The Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale is an absolute must.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, read by Martin Jarvis, is my go to book to relisten to when I don't have something new. Probably my favorite book.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher read by James Marsters (of Buffy fame) is also just a super fun series.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, also read by Jim Dale, which I have now relistened to about 5 times... each time it gets better, more lovely and more sad.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, fun fact, he reads all his audiobooks so I recommend them all.

Obviously I could go on, but that list alone is something like 26 books, which should be more than enough to carry you though a yearly subscription should you decide to join us. Which you should.