Back in March, I received some wonderful presents for my birthday (as is the case every year). My family and friends usually seem to know exactly what I want and/or need; sometimes because they have asked, or because I tell them. But often, they simply know me well enough to know what I like.
This book was one of my favourite presents this year. It came from my sister; she knows of my interest in human space travel and that I like Dr. Alexander Gerst.
He has, by the way, featured a few times on my blog already, for instance here.
"166 Tage im All" means "166 days in space", and that was the duration of Alexander Gerst's mission. The book was written by Lars Abromeit together with Dr. Gerst.
You could call this a classic coffeetable book, and this is exactly where I am keeping it: On the coffeetable in my living room.
It does not consist only of photographs, there is also plenty to read. But the book "lives" off its wonderful pictures, most of them taken by Dr. Gerst himself, during his stay aboard the ISS.
For months, I kept the book at hand for those times when I am watching TV and the adverts come up. You are probably all familiar with that situation; often, as soon as an advert break starts, we flick to another channel or leave the room in order to get a drink or snack from the kitchen, or go to the bathroom.
Well, I did (and still do) all that, but it is also how and when I read this book.
It made for slow progress, but that did not matter - it is not like a novel or crime fiction where you need to stick to the story.
On the contrary: That way, I had "more" (i.e. longer) of the book than I would have had if I had been reading it in one go.
Dr. Gerst gives the reader some very interesting insight into life aboard the ISS. But he also tells us how he came to be an astronaut in the first place, the intense time of preparation for his mission, and a little bit of what life was/is like for him afterwards.
Next year, he will return to the space station. I am going to be one of the millions of people who will follow his continuing real-life "story" with interest.