An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Adult Non-Fiction Pick by Rod

astronaut-chris-hadfield-book-deal (Random House, 2013)

If you’ve ever dreamed of being an astronaut or wondered what it would be like to live in space then this book is for you! 

Chris Hadfield is Canada’s most famous astronaut.  He has rock-star quality and is followed by millions of people on social media.  In addition, his version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, recorded on the ISS, currently has over 20 million hits on YouTube.  And now Hadfield has written a wonderful autobiography in which he takes us on a remarkably detailed journey from his first desires to become an astronaut in 1969, to becoming a fighter pilot, and a test pilot, and, eventually, Canada’s first-ever commander of the International Space Station in 2013.

Hadfield gives us more than just a glimpse of life on the ISS.  Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the book is how Hadfield walks us, step-by-step, through the process.  From preparation, to launching into space on the Russian Soyuz, to docking with the ISS, spending five months in orbit, and landing back on Earth, Hadfield makes you feel like you’re right there with him every step of the way.  He even answers the much-wondered question “how does one go to the bathroom in zero gravity?”

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is engaging, informative, and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny, especially when Hadfield discusses what the astronauts and cosmonauts do in their downtime on the ISS.  He also shares his lessons for life, which one might read as contrary to popular belief: don’t visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff (although Hadfield also reminds us to savor it, as well). 

This book is a great read for anyone who is a space-geek at heart or for anyone who simply wants to read about a fascinating career.  Highly recommended!

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