Great news, dear reader: This month was full of fun, good reads! You’ll only find one school-related read on this list, which means I am enjoying some lovely leisure reading.
In anticipation of attending Silicon Valley Comic Con this month, I decided to read a popular book-turned-film from one of this year’s panelists, Andy Weir. Science fiction isn’t normally my go-to genre, especially highly technical writing like Weir’s. I didn’t take chemistry in school, so I was lost for almost all the science-y parts. But he incorporates intelligent and often biting humor and wit, and it was a delight to read. The movie is amazing as well, and I’ve seen NASA scientists call it incredibly accurate. So, that’s saying something, I guess.
Andy Weir as an author is also phenomenal to hear in person: at the panel, he was kind and funny (much like his main character in The Martian), and it’s obvious he loves this genre dearly. He’s almost a pioneer of “hard” science fiction writing, and it’s neat to see him taking the front lines.
After hearing about Weir’s second novel at his panel, I knew I needed to read it. Just like his first book, his protagonist is witty and clever. I didn’t feel as much noble purpose driving this novel–or perhaps I didn’t feel quite as much empathy for the narrator. Nonetheless, it was exhilarating, science-y, and enjoyable from beginning to end.
When my friend Michelle gave me Bob’s first book back in college, I soaked it up and let it fuel me to love people fully in a very full season in my life. Around that time, I got to meet Bob at Liberty, and he was an icon in my faith. When Bob’s wife Sweet Maria published a book, it was perfectly timed to my stage in life on the topic of hospitality and small acts of love.
This book was perfectly timed again. It’s a great sequel to Love Does because it takes the ideas he begins with and digs in. Yes, we should love people, but what happens when it’s hard? What happens when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable? What does it look like to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and love even then? Bob allows for more nuanced, emotional, and intense ideas in this book, and I deeply appreciate it.
This book recently hit the New York Times Bestseller List, and I may have had something to do with it because of how many copies I bought for everyone I know! It’s that good.
The Old Man and the Sea
I don’t say this lightly: this book made me believe in literature. It’s often disparaged as a boring, plotless, or dry tale of a man and a fish, but when I read it the summer of 10th grade, I felt that I was transported to Havana and sailed out too deep into the water with Santiago. It was the first book I ever threw across the room from frustration.
When I assigned it to my juniors this year, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to memories from my youth upon a second reading. On the contrary, looking for the themes of hope and resilience showed me even more beauty in this short masterpiece.
A quote I’ll leave you with:
“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
And finally, a taste of the books I’m reading in May: topics including the Holocaust, polygamy, and witches. (All in separate works, thank God.) It should be a fun month!