The Martian, comes in with a solid 4 rating. Like many of you, I probably came to know of the movie first, but the book did not disappoint!
So, if you haven't seen it, the Martian is a great science-fictiony movie starring Matt Damon. Super quick premise - he gets stuck on Mars and has to use his creativity to get home (also, he's kind of funny). Well, the book is pretty much the exact same. Except, like most books vis a vis movies, it goes into a lot more depth, covers far more details, is a better total story, and has some different plot elements than the movie.
It's always an interesting experience to read a book after a movie (as opposed to the alternative). The biggest difference between reading one before or after is how you "see" it all. When reading the book first, you get to create your own of how people look/sound and make the setting up in your head. After seeing a move, it's very, very hard not to picture it the way it was on the screen. This can be both good and bad, In this case, it wasn't too bothersome as I enjoyed the movie and Damon in the main role but if I had my choice, I would have preferred reading it first.
One related and interesting challenge is to try to figure out if there are any movies better than the book. Almost always, the answer is "no" but I assume there are a few exceptions. One off the top of my head is Forrest Grump. GREAT movie but not sure the book had the same level of interest/quality. For the most part, the books are much better. One I kept thinking about was The Godfather. As you active followers know, it earned 5 stars on this blog - the highest possible score- and is a phenomenal book. But the movie? Also fantastic. I think that's where I might be coming down on The Martian. I found the movie to be about 4 out of 5 stars too; roughly equal. Though, I do wonder if I'd have a different take about the book being better had I read it first.
I recommend this book for all readers and especially those that have seen the movie and liked it. Again, it's very similar to the movie but improves upon it with the great detail and further plot elements that time did not allow the movie to follow. Perhaps, further, I suggest this book for anyone who has NOT seen the movie as you'd be able to decide if the book is truly better without being biased by the movie first. Overall, really good and entertaining book!