Friday, June 1, 2018

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Entry in the PBS Series The Great American Read

After watching the recent PBS eight-part series, The Great American Read, I had a look at the list of America’s Best Loved Novels. The 100 books on the list were chosen in a national survey (darn, how did I miss being part of that survey?). I was surprised at just how many of those 100 books I hadn’t yet read. My mission? To read as many of those 100 books as I can before the series concludes this fall.

Upfront I’ll say that I don’t intend to read every single book on the list. Some books just don’t interest me and I won’t force myself to read something if I don’t find it appealing. For example, I’d rather gauge my eyes out than force myself to read 50 Shades of Grey (apologies to die-hard fans).

Rather than parting with over $2,000, because after all that’s how much 100 books would cost nowadays and I do prefer print copies, I’ve turned to my trusty local library. They might not always have the latest edition of the book, but they almost always have an edition. To begin my own Great American Read I’ve started with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for no other reason than it sounded like the quirky sort of thing I’d enjoy.

My 2002 Edition Library Copy

Arthur Dent is having a REALLY bad day. He wakes up to find bulldozers in his yard, poised to demolish his house to make way for a new freeway. As if that’s not bad enough, his friend Ford takes him to the local pub so he can break the news that the end of the world is only minutes away. Apparently, the Earth must be destroyed to make way for a new galactic freeway.

Fortunately, Ford is an alien researcher, who has been living on Earth for the last fifteen years, gathering information for an updated version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and he knows how to hitchhike his way through outer space. Ford whisks Arthur away and the two of them journey through space. Along with two fellow travelers and a clinically depressed robot, Arthur and Ford get into all sorts of wacky adventures.

Snazzier, Newer 2007 Edition

This book is quite short, especially as far as Science Fiction novels go. I didn’t expect it to take me as long as it did to get through it. Not that it was bad, but because it was filled with tons of odd and bizarre elements, names, terms, etc. Silly me, I thought I might have to remember some of these oddities later on. 

I found that this book was full of ebbs and flows, in that it peaked here and dragged a bit there. One minute we were on a journey filled with quite funny, dry humor and the next we were being bombarded with downright silliness. I didn’t expect non-stop hilarity, but I really wanted more of the humor and less of the gobbledygook nonsense. More than once, I wondered if the author had turned to some sort of chemical enhancement while writing. *Some reports state that Adams came up with the original idea for the book while in a drunken stupor at the age of 18. 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has managed to garner zillions of fans since its release in 1979, but to be perfectly honest I wasn’t overly impressed with it. Am I any better or any worse for having read it? Not really. Am I glad I read it and can now say that I have? I guess so. Do I feel compelled to read the rest of the series? Probably not. It wasn't fabulous and it wasn’t awful. I guess that’s the most I can say about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

3 of 5 Stars, Susan Barton, DIY Mom Blog

Next on my list, Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

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