As predicted, almost everything I read this month was related to outer space! First I dove into a series that my friend Hitha Palepu recommended to me. Then I went on a non-fiction kick and read a couple of books about Apollo astronauts and their families. And I added in a Bravolebrity memoir in the middle to mix things up!
The Lady Astronaut Series by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Lady Astronaut Series is an alternate history in which the U.S. was hit by a meteorite in the 1950s. The event accelerates climate change and forces humans to speed up their efforts to colonize the Moon. The series, told from the perspective of female astronauts, is very Hidden Figures meets The Hunger Games meets For All Mankind.
The first book in the series, The Calculating Star is about Elma York, a calculator for the International Aerospace Coalition. It’s about her struggle to become the first Lady Astronaut. My favorite secondary storyline in this book is the love story between Elma and her husband. So, so sweet!
The Fated Sky follows Elma as she travels on the first crew to Mars. I loved it even more than The Calculating Stars. And then The Relentless Moon takes place on the Moon during the time when Elma is traveling to Mars. It is the story of Nicole Wargin whose husband is back on Earth serving as the Governor of Kansas.
So go, get hooked on these books and then report back to me so we can discuss! The good news is that there’s a fourth book on the way called The Martian Contingency. The bad news? It won’t come out until next year.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Project Hail Mary is the latest from Andy Weir, author of The Martian. It’s about a man who wakes up from a long sleep to find himself alone, on a spaceship. Oh, and he seems to be responsible for saving the human race.
Project Hail Mary has all the vibes that I loved so much about The Martian. The characters are relatable and delightful and funny. There’s all that fun outer space space stuff. And the science is so out there that you don’t have to worry about trying to understand it all. The first 1/4 of the book was a teensy bit slow for me but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down.
This is one of the 2021 releases I’ve been most excited to read and it lived up to all of my expectations. I’d recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone who likes science fiction. You’re in for a real treat.
Note: Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books who sent me an Advanced Review Copy of the book in exchange for a fair review. Project Hail Mary will be published on May 4th, 2021.
A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin
After watching the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, I had to read A Man on the Moon, the book it was based on. A Man on the Moon tells the story of the Apollo program and all the astronauts and missions that were part of it.
Most of the book isn’t super technical so you don’t have to be very science minded to enjoy it. However for me it slowed down a little bit at the end when describing Apollo 15, 16, and 17. Those missions focused on scientific investigations of the Moon and I found the descriptions to be confusing at times.
That said, I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the space program. Chaikin is the only author to interview all 24 astronauts who journeyed to the Moon so it’s extremely comprehensive.
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
Lily Koppel’s The Astronaut Wives Club introduces readers to the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts, Gemini astronauts, and Apollo restaurants. She describes what life was like for astronauts’ families as well as the relationships the wives formed with each other throughout the years.
I loved this book and there’s something in it even for people who don’t know much about the space race. The women are inspirational and Koppel is a gifted writer. But don’t be tempted to watch the ABC TV series of the same name based on the book because It’s bad, bad, bad, albeit visually appealing.
One Day You’ll Thank Me by Cameran Eubanks Wimberly
One Day You’ll Thank Me by former Southern Charm star Cameran Eubanks is a book of essays. It’s marketed as “essays on dating, motherhood, and everything in between”, but really it’s almost entirely about Cameran’s decision to have a child and her experience so far as a mom.
I didn’t like this book and found it to be kind of lazy and poorly written. Then again, I’m not the target audience. Readers who are moms might enjoy it a lot more than I did. Fair warning, though – if you’re looking for behind-the-scenes scoop on Southern Charm you’ll be disappointed as Cameran hardly touches on her experience on the show at all.
I had more fun reading this month than I have all year and I’m really hoping to keep the momentum going in May. I’m heading off on a little tropical vacation and planning to do nothing but read on the beach and by the pool while drinking fruity cocktails.