lifetime book-lover who writes about - what else? - a variety of books.
this will be one of the best books you read this year, or any year.
the plot is simple: astronaut mark watney is left for dead on Mars due to a freak accident. he now has two very complicated jobs: stay alive, and figure out how to get the hell off of Mars. the rest is pure, unadulterated suspenseful fun. honestly, some of the technical, scientific explanations were way over my head (hey, i majored in the humanities - English - for a reason), but i still enjoyed virtually every aspect of this book.
watney is an impeccably drawn character, and its not hard at all to root for him to live. if i were stuck on a Mars, i'd pick watney to be stuck with any day - and that's not just because he knows how to Macgyver the shit out of some NASA equipment. his sense of humor is phenomenal. and when you're in a "i'm stranded on a remote, inhospitable desert of a planet that might kill me at any moment if i don't starve to death first" kind of situation, a sense of humor is a requirement.
p.s. of course, they're making a movie because of course! starring matt damon, and co-starring umm... everybody? Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Coming to a theatre near you this time next year. i'll be one of the first in line, but you should read the book first. seriously, it's that good.