Moon Musings

I’ve always been really interested in stars and planets, space exploration, and astronauts, ever since first grade when we studied the solar system and I decided I wanted to be the next Sally Ride (the first American woman in space—hey, I was in first grade in 1982-83, right when she was doing her thing). I was surprised to realize recently that the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin’s moon landing is coming up in a little over a month. How incredible it must have been to watch that happen on July 20, 1969—the live TV broadcast of man’s first steps onto the surface of the moon! In honor of the upcoming anniversary, here are some good moon-related things to read: Cover image of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. This is the book upon which the hit 1995 film “Apollo 13” is based, and co-author Jim Lovell of course was the commander of that ill-fated moon mission. I’ve just finished this, and it offers a very interesting insider’s perspective of the events of that week in April 1970. The authors obviously did a ton of research and interviews, because there’s more than just Lovell’s perspective from aboard the spacecraft—you get an impressive behind-the-scenes view of life at Mission Control during the crisis as well. I also have enjoyed reading more about Lovell’s earlier career in the Navy and as a test pilot, and how he entered the space program, pieces of the story that were left out of the movie version. This book is available at Snell Library and is a great insider account of a (failed) moon mission. For more on the original Apollo moon landing, you can look for Buzz Aldrin’s books. I haven’t read these (yet), but he’s written both adult and children’s books on the subject. He published an autobiography in the 1970s called Return to Earth, as well as the children’s books Reaching for the Moon and Look to the Stars. Unfortunately, none of these are available at Snell Library, but you could use Interlibrary Loan to request them from other libraries. Aldrin also has a new autobiography coming out this summer, to coincide with the anniversary of his historic mission. It’s called Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon. Keep an eye out for it! If fiction is more your style, try The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein. This is a Hugo Award–winning science fiction novel written in the mid-1960s. (The Hugo Award is science fiction’s most prestigious award.) The novel is set in 2075 in the Lunar Colonies, whose inhabitants are descended from the criminals and political prisoners who were originally (and involuntarily) transported there. The novel is primarily about a revolution that takes place there against Earth rule (my thanks to Wikipedia for the quick synopsis). It’s been ages since I read this, but I’m thinking of picking it up again. It also happens to be my mom’s favorite sci-fi book, which frankly is as good a recommendation as you should need! 🙂 And what list of moon-related reading would be complete without Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown (illustrated by Clement Hurd)? A classic of the children’s literature canon, this is one of the first books pretty much every American parent reads to his or her child, and was certainly a staple of my early reading life. Enjoy your lunar travels, and Happy Moon-iversary!

1 thought on “Moon Musings”

  1. Now that we’ve reached the actual anniversary date, I found it interesting to go back and look at how different newspapers (and different countries’ newspapers) covered the landing. (A listing of newspapers: I’m partial to some of the NY Times takes–On July 21, 1969 they also published articles titled “Capitalist Moon or Socialist Moon?” and an editorial by Lord Shackleton (titled “Shackleton is Ambivalent as Beliefs are Fulfilled.”) It’s cool to see the Times of London front page; including their “rest of the news” headlines (!xrn_1_0_CS17002741&hst_1?sw_aep=mlin_b_northest).

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