The Martian by Andy Weir (recommended by Alison, Political-Economic Section)
Astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead. Mark is completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive – and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills he embarks on a quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth. Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale. I love that it combines action with science and NASA is a good guy for once!
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (recommended by Angelica, spouse)
“I chose this book, because it is iconic in American literature, and it tells an interesting story.”
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (recommended by Paul, Consulate in Krakow)
This book, the first of five in the Chronicles of Prydain, follow a group of seemingly unlikely heroes as they are swept up in a battle between good and evil in a world inspired by Welsh mythology. Author Lloyd Alexander, from Philadelphia, was inspired in part by the scenery of Wales, where he was stationed for a time during World War II.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein (recommended by Walter Braunohler, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Krakow)
Here is Heinlein’s masterpiece – the brilliant spectacular and incredibly popular novel that grew from a cult favorite to a bestseller to a classic in a few short years. It is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, the man from Mars who taught humankind grokking and water-sharing, and love.