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The top 10 audiobooks on Audible.com

Audible.com best-sellers

Fiction

1.  3 Truths and a Lie by Lisa Gardner, narrated by Kirsten Potter (Brilliance Audio)

2.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale (Pottermore from J.K. Rowling)

3.  The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C. Bray (Podium Publishing)

4.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, narrated by Marc Thompson (Random House Audio)

5.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale (Pottermore from J.K. Rowling)

6.  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher (Penguin Audio)

7.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale (Pottermore from J.K. Rowling)

8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale (Pottermore from J.K. Rowling)

9.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale (Pottermore from J.K. Rowling)

10. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale (Pottermore from J.K. Rowling)

Nonfiction

1.  Sherlock Holmes: The First Great Detective by The Great Courses, narrated by Professor Thomas A. Shippey (The Great Courses)

2. The Buddha Walks into a Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation by Lodro Rinzler, narrated by the author (Audible Studios)

3.  Isaac’s Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson, narrated by Richard Davidson (Recorded Books)

4.  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller (Tantor Audio)

5.  Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg, narrated by the authors (Penguin Audio)

6.  How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, narrated by Andrew Macmillan (Simon & Schuster Audio)

7.  Spark Joy: A Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, narrated by Sumalee Montano (Random House Audio)

8.  Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy, narrated by the author (Hachette Audio)

9.  The Big Tiny: A Build It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams, narrated by Heather Henderson (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)

10. The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt by Russ Harris, narrated by Graeme Malcolm (Audible Studios)

Listening to most: Top books on Audible.com

Audible.com best-sellers:

Fiction

1. The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C. Bray (Podium Publishing)

2. Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, narrated by Haley Joel Osment, Tatiana Maslany, Kate Mulgrew and a full cast (Audible Studios) 

3. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, narrated by Neil Hunt (Recorded Books)

4. Save Me by Nicholas Sparks, narrated by Christopher Ryan Grant (Hachette Audio)

5. The Survivor by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills, narrated by George Guidall (Simon & Schuster Audio)

6. Pretty Girls by Karen Slaughter, narrated by Kathleen Early (Blackstone Audio)

7. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, narrated by Christina Moore (Recorded Books)

8. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, narrated by Tai Sammons (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)

9. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin, narrated by Harry Lloyd (Random House Audio)

10. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, narrated by Kristoffer Tabori (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)

Nonfiction

1. The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, The Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick, narrated by Alan Sklar (Audible Studios)

2. Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling, narrated by Mindy Kaling, Greg Daniels and B.J. Novak (Random House Audio)

3. The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki, narrated by Paul Boehmer (Tantor Audio)

4. Rising Strong by Brene Brown, narrated by the author (Random House Audio)

5. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio)

6. Killing Reagan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, narrated by Robert Petkoff and Bill O’Reilly (Macmillan Audio)

7. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson, narrated by the author (Macmillan Audio)

8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller (Tantor Audio)

9. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance, narrated by Fred Sanders (Harper Audio)

10. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, narrated by Andrew MacMillan (Simon & Schuster Audio)

Review: Damon charms as stranded astronaut in ‘The Martian’

Without Matt Damon, the solitary fight for survival on Mars would be lonely indeed.

Alone on screen for most of his scenes as an astronaut stranded on the red planet, the Oscar-nominated actor is the winning heart of Ridley Scott’s epic space adventure, “The Martian.”

With Damon’s charm center stage, Scott has crafted an exciting, hopeful story about humanity at its best: The brightest minds working together for a common goal that bridges international borders and forges a feeling of unity.

Affable and intelligent, playful and determined, Damon’s Mark Watney is so endearing and entertaining as a narrator and subject, it’s easy to see why the world would want to save him.

The story begins with Watney accidentally left behind during a NASA mission to Mars. When a fierce storm forces an emergency evacuation from the planet, he disappears in the chaos and is presumed dead. He isn’t, of course, and as his fellow astronauts mourn him during their months-long journey back to Earth and NASA officials struggle with how to explain his death to the public, Watney wakes up, injured and alone.

But he’s incredibly optimistic and resilient. He fixes his wound with minor surgery and immediately goes about prolonging his survival, knowing it could be years before a manned spacecraft returns to Mars. He puts his skills as a botanist and engineer to work, devising a way to grow crops in the arid soil and make water by burning hydrogen. He rewires old equipment from a past Mars mission in hopes of communicating with NASA.

Watney is curious and talkative, keeping himself company by narrating his every move. He tracks his obstacles and progress in daily video logs. He chats to himself in footage from the helmet cam in his spacesuit, cracking jokes he knows no one can hear.

Seeing his efforts through various camera perspectives — the helmet cam, a bunk cam inside his sleeping quarters, a dashboard camera inside his space rover and the video diaries where he appears to talk directly to the audience — adds visual interest, though Damon would probably be just as magnetic talking to a hand-held camera in an empty room.

Meanwhile, NASA director Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels at his most clinical) and Mars mission chief Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) learn through satellite photos that Watney is alive. As NASA spokeswoman Annie Montrose (a miscast Kristin Wiig) scrambles to protect the agency’s public image, the men strategize how to bring the stranded astronaut home.

“The Martian” unfolds in three settings, all spectacularly realized by production designer Arthur Max. There’s life on Earth, set inside NASA’s sterile Houston headquarters and the lively Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and life on Mars, a dusty, red, rocky expanse where nothing lives (which filmmakers actually found in Jordan). Then there’s life aboard the film’s elegant spacecraft, from the rugged rover Watney uses to explore Mars to the Enterprise-inspired ship that carries his fellow crewmembers and their commander, Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain). 

Unlike other recent big-screen space trips, the science here is presented simply enough that no suspension of disbelief or quantum leap through the time-space continuum is necessary. It all seems plausible, and author Andy Weir, upon whose novel the film is based, insists it is, calling it “a technical book for technical people.”

“I had no idea mainstream readers would be interested at all,” he said.

With Scott at the helm and Damon leading the cast, “The Martian” is accessible and beautiful, cinematically and intellectually. Even though it’s a big Hollywood production, Watney’s survival really does seem in question, and audiences will want to join the international crowds on screen in cheering for his rescue.

“The Martian,” a 20th Century Fox release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “some strong language, injury images, and brief nudity.” Running time: 141 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.