Sarah Matthews




The Martian
by Andy Weir
Crown Books (2014)

"The Martian" could be described as science fiction suspense, or as a space thriller. Even if these aren't your favorite genres, give this book a chance. It is a very quick read that keeps you turning pages thanks to its gripping plot.

Astronaut Matt Wantey finds himself stranded on Mars sometime in the near future through a series of events having to do with a botched NASA mission. He now has to rely on his own creativity combined with his training to survive possibly years on Mars with nothing to eat, no breathable air and no drinkable water. Mark uses his creativity to develop a potato farm and contact Earth, among other remarkable feats, but whether or not he will survive remains very much in doubt.

Although you may have to suspend belief and just go with the story, or ignore some of the more technical and scientific aspects if that's not your interest, this is a well written suspense novel, much of it written in journal form. As an added bonus for movie buffs, this book will be released as film starring Matt Damon in the fall.

Living Life in Full Bloom: 120 Daily Practices to Deepen Your Passion, Creativity & Relationships
by Elizabeth Murray
Rodale Books (2014)

Elizabeth Murray has written a very accessible book on creativity, which can be read in shorter portions or as a whole. The book is divided into four aspects of creativity: Gardener, Artist, Lover and Spirit-Weaver. Within each section Murray writes short, one-page essays on varying topics. The essays include little stories or ideas for improving your creativity, such as "Cherish Your Friendships," "Listen to Your Dreams," and "Play like a Child." Most of the essays also include a practice section with concrete activities you can apply to your own life. The book concludes with a section on "Full Bloomers," focusing on people who have woven together the aspects discussed in the book to establish fulfilling, creative lives.

This book is perfect for those with busy lives looking for quick ideas to spark their creativity, or can be read cover to cover to gain a deeper understanding of passion and creativity. The book does touch on spirituality but is not religious in tone.


Two excellent books on creativity are coming out this month; the first is "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert, of "Eat Pray Love" fame. She has a large Facebook following and has started offering podcasts around the topic of creativity. The other is a work of fiction entitled "Fates and Furies" by Lauren Groff, which is described by the publisher as "a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it."

All of these titles and thousands of others for creative, passionate readers are available for checkout at the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library.

Sarah Matthews is a reference librarian and adult program coordinator at Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library. Follow the library on Facebook at