Another busy month of non-Great Books.
The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman - This is something of a literary mystery with heavy historical overtones. The main story is that of a cub reporter in a small town trying to figure out the death of a hermit professor. That part is interesting and well done but the real interesting part is a bunch of mini histories of mystic objects.
The Martian by Andy Weir - A very fun book (and soon to be a movie). A man is left for dead on Mars by his expedition. He survives and now must figure out how to a) let them know that he is still alive and b) stay alive for many years until he can be rescued. This means heavy engineering reengineering of everything. If you enjoyed the movie 'Apollo 13' and the show 'Mythbusters', you'll like this.
The Body by Stephen King - This is the novella that became the movie 'Stand by Me'. It's an excellent coming of age story. The movie adaptation was very faithful to it. This is a reread for me. The story takes place right before school starts and that put it into my head about this time.
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick - This is a nonfiction book about the sinking of the whale ship 'Essex' in 1820. It was the first (and one of the only) accounts of violent action towards a ship by a whale. It very much served as an inspiration for Melville's 'Moby Dick'. I wanted to read it before diving into it next month. The book deals with the attack and the incredible journey that the survivors made afterwards. It also paints a picture of life in Nantucket and on whaling ships. It was excellent.
And then the short stories, which were all tremendous.
The Million Pound Bank Note by Twain - excellent (and the rare Twain story that I haven't read before)
The Girl by Schneour - very good
Higher and Higher by Marcus - very good (though very dark)
A Study in Emerald by Gaiman - excellent and a high point of the series
Almost Home by Bisson - very good