Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly (Doubleday)

This book by pilot and astronaut Scott Kelly vividly recounts his various missions and evokes just what it feels like to be in space.

On March 27, 2015, Scott and Russian co-pilot Mikhail Korniyenko arrived at the International Space Staion to begin 'The One-Year Mission', a one-year scientific research project that studied the health effects of long-tern spaceflight on the human body.

As an identical twin, Scott Kelly was in a unique position to complete the mission; for the duration of the year his brother Mark was back on Earth conducting the same experiements himself that Scott was completing aboard the ISS.

Endurance is the story of Scott Kelly's year away from Earth. But is also recounts his life and career, from a teenager drifitng along somewhat aimlessly until he was inspired by reading Tom Woolfe's book about astronauts The Right Stuff, which prompted him to buckle down and study.

He joined the Navy as a pilot, flying fighter jets and learning how to land on aircraft carriers, later becoming an astronaut, commandning the Space Shuttle and then flying to the International Space Station that orbits the Earth.

It's a fascinating book, told with candour, humour and humanity.

I particularly enjoyed the sections on board the ISS, where life can focus on the mundane - fixing the toilets and CO2 filter systems - to nerve-wracking spacewalks. On his first spacewalk Kelly describes the disorientating feeling of, for a few moments, completely forgetting where he was on the giant spaceship.

He describes the time he gets a message from NASA to warn him of a 'red late-notice conjunction' -  basically a piece of space junk (an old Russian sattelite) that is heading towards the ISS at a speed of 14 kilometres per second and is likely to pass within a mile of it.

Scott is asked to secure the various hatches between the compartments in the American section, in case part of the space station is hit. He notices that his Russian counterparts are not doing the same - their logic is that if anything hits the ISS at that speed, closing a few hatches won't make any difference.

As the time of possible collision approaches the astronauts huddle inside the Soyuz escape capsule, knowing that they won't hear the junk approaching. Later, after the object has passed safely by, Kelly reflects that, if it had hit, the astronauts would likely have died in an instant.

The dangers of space are made clear - space shuttle astronauts have about the same chance of dying as an Allied infantryman on D-Day - but Kelly also shares the joy of looking down on Earth from space and the satisfaction he gets from doing scientific research and knowing that the work he is doing could be vital in working out how to send men and women to Mars in the future.

Engaging and interesting, this is an important book that explores the human spirit and the nature of bravery and adventure.