We Recommend…The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian
Andy Weir
Crown Publishing, 2014

The MartianAstronaut Mark Watney – stranded alone on Mars, 140 million miles from earth. Read his daily logs and learn how he is surviving on Mars, then discover what’s happening on earth once NASA realizes he survived the accident that everyone thought had killed him. You will be amazed at Watney’s tenaciousness and ingenuity as he tackles one problem after another with grit and humor. You’ll identify with the people on earth, as they are all pulling for him to not only survive his ordeal but to be returned safely home…to earth.

8 Tips for Surviving on Mars from Andy Weir
So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it’s the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you’re just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know:

1: You’re going to need a pressure vessel.
Mars’s atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth’s. So basically, it’s nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can.

2: You’re going to need oxygen.
You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you’ll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it’s almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways to strip the carbon off carbon dioxide and liberate the oxygen. You could have complex mechanical oxygenators or you could just grow some plants…

For more of Andy’s tips on how to survive on Mars, go to Crown Publishing

On the web:
Andy Weir
Science Friday: Interview with Andy Weir
Book Trailer
Wall Street Journal: A Survival Guide To Mars

Book Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Booklist Online
Publisher’s Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
International Business Times: Book/Movie review

Read-alikes:
Mary Roach: Packing for Mars
Geoffrey Landis: Mars Crossing
Gregory Benford: The Martian Race
Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Mars trilogy (begin with Red Mars)
Iain Banks‘ Culture series (begin with Consider Phlebas)
Ben Bova: Mars Life
Joe W Haldeman: Marsbound

The Movie opened October 2, 2015

Movie Trailer:

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We Recommend…Linnea Sinclair

Games-of-CommandLinnea Sinclair
Available Formats: Paperback | eBook

Do you like Science Fiction with a lot of action and a little romance? Then you’ll enjoy award winning novelist Linnea Sinclair. Her fast paced novels feature strong, independent women that find themselves in serious, often life threatening, situations. In one of my favorites, An Accidental Goddess, the protagonist is thrown more than 300 years into the future and discovers that she’s been turned into a goddess!

Ms. Sinclair has several stand alone novels as well as one series, Dock Five. Gabriel’s Ghost is the first book in the Dock Five series. The Down Home Zombie Blues was optioned for a movie in 2010 but has not yet been released.

Visit the author’s website: http://www.linneasinclair.com

We Recommend…The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Available Formats: Hardcover | Audio Book

The Age of Miracles is speculative fiction at it’s finest (think Margaret Atwood). It isn’t in-your-face science fiction, but simply a quiet coming-of-age story about eleven-year-old Julia. The author beautifully captures the heartbreak of the middle grades, while also exploring the societal changes that come with the earth’s rotation suddenly slowing down. A great debut and a wonderful novel for readers of all ages.

You also might like:

We Recommend…Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine

War has destroyed civilization as we know it. The Mechanical Circus Tresaulti performs outside of any cities still standing, with acts we would recognize: acrobats, aerialists and jugglers, but there is something different about the performers under the surface. Something magical and a little bit sinister.

Part magical fantasy and part post-apocalyptic steampunk, Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine reveals a world where magic and machine coalesce to hold off the forces of war and destruction. The ringmaster and her performers are survivors in a world where everyone is a soldier and no one is safe.

Mechanique is one of six novels nominated for a 2011 Nebula Award. Want to check out more of the best in science fiction and fantasy?

2011 Nebula Award and 2012 Hugo Award Nominees:

A Few of the Past Winners: 

What’s your favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy title? Tell us in the comments!

New SciFi & Fantasy eAudioBook Titles!

We’ve added some great new titles to our downloadable audio book collection. In addition to already popular titles like The Hunger Games and The Help, we’ve added even more bestselling titles for your listening pleasure. Below are a few of the Sci-Fi & Fantasy titles we’ve added!

11/22/63 by Stephen King – On November 22, 1963, three shots changed the world. What if it never happened? Jake Epping is a 35-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane, and insanely impossible, mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. Also listen to King classics: Misery and The Stand.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin – The fifth installment of Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Haven’t listened to the first four books? We’ve got those available, too!

1. A Game of Thrones
2. A Clash of Kings
3. A Storm of Swords
4. A Feast for Crows

Wither & Fever by Lauren DeStefano – The first two books in the Chemical Garden trilogy. Listen to the tale of Rhine – a 16-year-old girl forced into marriage in an effort to keep the population growing. A great listen for fans of The Hunger Games and Delirium.

Starters by Lissa Price – To support herself and her younger brother in a future Beverly Hills, sixteen-year-old Callie hires her body out to seniors who want to experience being young again, and she lives a fairy-tale life until she learns that her body will commit murder, unless her mind can stop it. (Another good one for fans of The Hunger Games!)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Are you an Elizabeth Moon fan? Give RPO a listen! It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS–a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be… (And the audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton!)

Don’t forget you can browse the collection by genre, just use the drop-down menu to glance through Romance, Suspense, and History titles.

The Hunger Games Readalikes

You’ve devoured The Hunger Games trilogy, you’re patiently waiting for the movie, and you don’t know what to read next? If you want more like The Hunger Games, take a look at the books below — you might find your next obsession.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver — Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love. (Love Delirium? Pandemonium is out now and Requiem comes out in March 2013!)

Bumped by Megan McCafferty — In 2036 New Jersey, when teens are expected to become fanatically religious wives and mothers or high-priced Surrogettes for couples made infertile by a widespread virus, sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony find in one another the courage to believe they have choices.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi — Ostracized or incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a post-apocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future.

Pure by Julianna Baggott — In a post-apocalyptic world, Pressia, a sixteen-year-old survivor with a doll’s head fused onto her left hand meets Partridge, a “Pure” dome-dweller who is searching for his mother, sure that she has survived the cataclysm. Look for the follow-up, Fuse, in 2013!

You also might enjoy:

For even more Hunger Games readalikes, check out this guide (you can even print it out!) and follow our Hunger Games board on Pinterest.

For a different look at The Hunger Games…ever wanted to eat like Katniss? Try The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook. The book includes several dishes mentioned in the novels such as lamb stew, roasted parsnips, and dark chocolate cake.

Want to try a more literary post-apocalyptic tale? Try

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy — America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst the destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world that is utterly devastated.
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin — A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear, darkness, death, and a fate far worse. (Look for the follow-up, The Twelve, later this year!)

Have we left something out? Tell us in the comments!

We Recommend…Micro by Michael Crichton

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston takes us to Hawaii where new technology is being developed that can shrink anything to a few inches—including humans! When a group of super smart grad students end up with knowledge of a murder that took place in the company that wants to hire them, they are shrunk and set loose in the rainforest. To stay alive they are forced to battle insects that are bigger & stronger than they are. Not to mention the employees of the company that are all trying to either eat them, use them to lay eggs in, or kill them. Richard Preston takes the manuscript that Michael Crichton was working on at his death and keeps the adventure & excitement going to the very last page.

Long waiting list at your library for Micro? Try these while you wait:

We Recommend…Ready Player One by Ernie Cline

Big fan of Pac-Man? Special place in your heart for Monty Python & the Holy Grail? Did you answer yes to those questions? If so, give Ready Player One a read. If no, still read Ready Player One because it’s packed full of 80s nostalgia, great writing, and an awesome tale of overcoming the odds.

The novel was also one of the most mentioned books from several librarians on Twitter!

Check out the publisher’s description and the book trailer to find out more:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

If you like audiobooks, then it’s an added bonus because Wil Wheaton narrates this epic quest. We also have a copy in our downloadable audiobook collection!

For added content, check out Ernest Cline’s website and follow him on Twitter!

Book Club Kit: Unwind

UnwindUnwind
by Neal Shusterman
First Published: 2007
8 Copies & Reading Guide

Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

Reading Guide:
Simon & Schuster – Includes Discussion Topics, Activities, and Character Descriptions

Reviews:
The New York Times – “Young and In the Way” by Ned Vizzini
Common Sense Media – “Book Review” by Matt Berman
TeenReads.com – “Review” by Norah Piehl

On the Web:
Neal Shusterman’s Website – http://www.storyman.com/
Coming Soon! Check out the Unwind Movie Website
Follow Neal on Twitter: @NealShusterman 
Or if you’re not into tweeting – Like Neal on Facebook.
Find fanmade book trailers and watch an unofficial Unwind Movie Trailer (below) on Youtube:

If you liked Unwind, you might enjoy:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Ugliesby Scott Westerfeld
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Book Club Kit: The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
First Published: 2003
6 Copies & Reading Guide

This is the story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Author Information, Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Reviews:
January Magazine – “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” by David Abrams|
The Times (UK) – “Tony Parsons’ Favourite Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife

On the Web:
Official Author Website – http://audreyniffenegger.com/
You Know Jack – “Time Traveler’s Wife: Timelines” – includes chronological timeline and timelines for Clare and Henry.

Read the book? Now watch the movie! Check the catalog to see if your library has a copy.

If you enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife, you might like:
The Lovely Bones (Book Club Kit) by Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Sparrow (Book Club Kit) by Mary Doria Russell