So a few months ago Amy messaged me and asked if I knew that there was a TV show that was to air soon based on the book Astronaut’s Wives Club that I had reviewed last year. Somehow I hadn’t heard anything about it but I soon found it on ABC and set it to record on my DVR. I reviewed the first episode and that sparked me to start writing Book to Screen posts. It also set me on a space kick again, reading and watching everything I could.
Before I start talking books and movies I want to share my fascination with space with you, or at least my reasons why. I honestly can’t remember when I first knew about the space program. I know my parents had told me about seeing men walk on the moon and that was simply incredible to me. I remember precisely when I learned about the Challenger disaster. I was in line for lunch in the cafeteria, the last student in line with my teacher behind me I don’t think the lunch ladies were really paying attention when they asked my teacher if he’d heard the news that the Challenger had exploded. We spent the afternoon with most of the 3-8 grade students stuffed into one classroom (the fire marshall would have had a fit if they’d seen us I’m sure) watching the news, watching that disaster over and over again. To this day I can’t watch it without flinching. I know I tried on the 25th anniversary when I shared the story with my students, class after class. Out of six classes I didn’t even bother trying to watch five times, the one time I did I flinched involuntarily and looked away.
Fortunately I have good memories too. My grandparents lived in Florida across the state from the Cape just outside of Tampa but as the state is so flat one summer while we were visiting I was able to stand in their front yard and see a shuttle launch. I couldn’t see it in great detail obviously but it was still amazing! I lost interest for many years but recently my interest has sparked again learning all I can about NASA past and present, and future. I was one of the who knows how many people that entered my name on the NASA website to a list that was put somehow electronically on the Orion space capsule the first time it launched this past winter. Now I read and watch and it’s time to share those books and movies with you. If you are at all interested in space, astronauts, and NASA give some of these a try.
Obviously I’ve already reviewed both ASWC by Lily Koppel and Failure is Not an Option by Gene Kranz so you know what I think of them and I highly recommend reading both of those to get an almost behind the scenes look at NASA in the early years.
I finally read the book that has been to many THE book about early NASA The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, that will also be it’s own post, specifically a Book to Screen post as it became a movie that I watched this summer as well.
The only book I’ve read so far written by a Mercury 7 astronaut is Leap of Faith by Gordon Cooper. I read it last summer and really enjoyed it, which meant I was then very disappointed to find that it is no longer in my library’s collection and so I can’t reread it, it’s on my Christmas/ b-day list for the hubby though 😉
There have been many many books written about and by Apollo astronauts, including some amazing coffee table books with pictures taken by the astronauts themselves in space and on the moon. Apollo Through the Eyes of the Astronauts is one, another is Apollo 11 Remembered, Voices from the Moon is excellent, and the one that goes to the top of my wish list is one I just finished Mission Control: This is Apollo with paintings by Al Bean, Apollo 12 astronaut.
Some astronaut memoirs are fast easy reads others not as much. I thoroughly enjoyed Ed Mitchell’s Earthrise, a fairly short but detailed story about his life and trip on Apollo 14 with America’s first astronaut Al Shephard and Stuart Roosa. Al Worden, Apollo 15, wrote Falling to Earth. A bit longer it is still a good read though as there was a controversy about that mission, which I had honestly never heard of, Al is understandably defensive. You can feel his disappointment when he is asked to leave NASA but you can also tell how happy he is now that he has found his way back to friendships with NASA and his fellow astronauts.
Forever Young by John Young, Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle astronaut who stayed with Nasa through the Columbia disaster is a great perspective of NASA through the years but it can be tough to read as he can get quite technical at times.
Ok so I have more books to talk about and movies to discuss but this post is long enough so I’ll stop here for now. If you have suggestions of space books please share them with me thanks!