Friday 15 November 2013

Book Review - Chris Hadfield, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth"

 A couple of weeks ago I headed up to Indigos to watch an interview with Chris Hadfield, buy his new book An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, meet him and have my book signed.

It was a thrill and honour to meet him. He's a great talker and, as it turns out, he is a very good writer too!

As Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield captivated the world with stunning photos and commentary from space. Now, in his first book, Chris offers readers extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality. 

Chris Hadfield decided to become an astronaut after watching the Apollo moon landing with his family on Stag Island, Ontario, when he was nine years old, and it was impossible for Canadians to be astronauts. In 2013, he served as Commander of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth during a five-month mission. 

Written with humour, humility and a profound optimism for the future of space exploration, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth offers readers not just the inspiring story of one man's journey to the ISS, but the opportunity to step into his space-boots and think like an astronaut-and renew their commitment to pursuing their own dreams, big or small.

I can't say enough good things about this book. It is not the usual "look at how great and I am and what I did" kind of book ... but one that has been written by a thoughtful, humble, confident person. He not only tells us what he and others did but how it felt.

He is a good storyteller, whether it is about an emergency, such as finding an angry snake in your plane while your flying, how his eyes started to sting just before going blind for a period of time during a spacewalk, and to how all his training and weeks on the road took a toll on his family. When he came home from a long time of training away, for a few days before leaving again, he started to fell like an outsider visiting his own family and how he fixed that.

Even the very small daily activities we do all do effortlessly and without thought here on earth, takes calculation and practice in space, from brushing your teeth, clipping your nails, sleeping and, of course, the most asked question, how to go to bathroom in space.

I read The Right Stuff about the early days of the space program and saw the movie. I read Lost Moon by astronaut James Lovell about the explosion on Apollo 13 on the way to the moon and saw Ron Howard's Apollo 13, the movie based on the book. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth is like the third book of a trilogy of space travel during the years.

A great book, one that I give a full four out of four stars! Hmm, stars seem very appropriate here!


Lee-Anne said...

Thanks for the review! I've been contemplating this book for my husband for Christmas and your's is the first review I've seen. Sounds perfect. He's an amazing guy, isn't he!

Swordsman said...

Chris rocks!

Unknown said...

Truly a great Canadian!