What are you Reading?

The Great American Read

Summertime provides boundless opportunities to get away, either by jumping in the car to take a sun-drenched road trip or losing ourselves in the pages of a novel set in far-away locations. Where have your literary travels taken you this summer?

In the past few weeks, I have read two of the selected titles on the Great American Read list compiled by PBS: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and The Martian by Andy Weir. During these literary journeys, I spent time on Zuckerman’s idyllic farm and and the cold and barren Acidalia Planetitia on the planet Mars.

At first glance, these two novels seem wildly different from each other. What do the experiences of Wilbur, a naive young pig, and Mark Watney, an accomplished and well-trained astronaut have in common? More than you would imagine, actually.

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Both characters face life or death situations. Will the innocent pig be sacrificed to the butcher’s knife? How will the stranded astronaut survive such a hostile environment let alone make his way home?

The fates of both Wilbur and Mark hinge upon specific admirable qualities they each possess. Wilbur must do his best to show the Zuckermans that he is “Some Pig,” while Mark must keep his wits about him, using all of his ingenuity and problem-solving skills to stay alive on Mars.

Most strikingly, the tragic plights of the astronaut and the pig inspire their individual communities to come together in support of the seemingly doomed heroes. Each of these novels explores the universal connections we all share and the meaning of true friendship.

Next on my summer reading list: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.