Sep. 29, 2006 at 10:32 PM ET
Last week, a 13-year-old named Sierra left a comment basically asking for more information about life in space - and in response, I suggested that she look up Robert Heinlein's classic, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress." When Ken Murphy, the co-chairman for next year's big space meeting in Dallas, saw that item, he had a better idea. So much better that I'm passing it along as this month's selection for the Cosmic Log Used Book Club.
The CLUB Club highlights books with cosmic themes that have been around long enough to show up in your local library or used-book shop. Murphy's suggestions fit those specifications perfectly:
"I saw the comment where you recommended 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' to Sierra. I'd like to suggest a visit to the Lunar Library, where I have an entire section on youth books, as well as a large list of lunar science fiction, some 60 of which have been reviewed in the forums. ... For young ladies I would highly recommend 'Countdown for Cindy', and less so Paula Danziger's 'This Place Has No Atmosphere.'"
"Countdown for Cindy" appears to be out of print, so the best ways to get it would be through online used-book dealers or libraries. "This Place Has No Atmosphere" is much more available. If you're looking for additional recommendations and mini-reviews, Ken's Lunar Library is a great place to start - but just as you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, you shouldn't judge this site merely by its home page. You'll find much more depth if you click through the menus and forums.
For taking the time to make recommendations, I've sent Murphy a hardcover copy of "First Man," James Hansen's authorized biography of Apollo 11 moonwalker Neil Armstrong. By the way, "First Man" is being released in paperback next week and would make a great addition to any armchair astronaut's lunar library.
Feel free to add your suggestions for future CLUB Club selections - and if I highlight your recommendation, you just might get a free book as well.