Episode 4: Andy Weir

It’s no secret: Read It Forward has Oscar fever! But since so many of this year’s nominated films originated as books, you can’t really blame us. Did you know that The Revenant, Room, Brooklyn, The Big Short, The Danish Girl, Bridge of Spies, Carol and Steve Jobs all originated as books? (Well, of course you did, because you’re lit lovers like us!)

To celebrate all things Oscar, we invited Andy Weir to be this month’s guest on Read It Forward’s podcast Book Club Appetizer! We discuss The Martian and Andy reveals his secret past as a “space nerd,” how mathematics drove the book’s plot, his penchant for Googling and what he’s wearing on the Oscar red carpet. The episode wraps up with Andy reading a hilarious passage from the book.

Discussion Questions

  • To what extent does Mark’s log serve as his companion? Do you think it’s implicit in the narrative that maintaining a log keeps him sane?
  • The first time the narrative switched from Mark’s log entries to third-person authorial narrative back on Earth, were you surprised? How does alternating between Mark’s point of view and the situation on Earth enhance the story?
  • There’s no mention of Mark having a romantic relationship on Earth. Do you think that makes it easier or harder to endure his isolation? How would the story be different if he was in love with someone back home?
  • A survival story has to resonate on a universal level to be effective, whether it’s set on a desert island or another planet. How important are challenges in keeping life vital? To what extent are our everyday lives about problem-solving and maintaining hope?

For even more discussion questions, check out the full Reader’s Group Guide here.

Book Club Bites

Whether you’re gathering with a group, or reading solo, try our recommendations for a cocktail and snack that pair perfectly with the book.

Book Club Extras

Spotify Playlist

Recommended Books

ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.
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