Happy Towel Day! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 

TITLE: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

AUTHOR: Douglas Adams

RELEASED: October 12th, 1979; Pan Books

GENRE: Science Fiction/Comedy

AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS: Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

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This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time, but have been putting off for a number of reasons: 1) It’s honestly pretty rare that I read anything published before the 80s unless it’s classic horror. 2) It’s science fiction, which is my most hit-and-miss genre. 3) I love the film adaptation, and I’m always worried, after loving a film adaptation, that the book will ruin the film for me and I won’t be able to love it anymore.

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

hhgttgsm

All of that said, this is probably my fiancé’s favorite book of all time, and as his birthday is later this month, I promised to finally read it! It was a quick and fun read, but it’s a really tough book for me to rate. My feelings are so all over the place, but I ultimately decided on 3.5 stars, rounded up.

“If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.”

The single greatest thing that this book has going for it is absolutely, hands down, the humor. It’s very dry and probably would fit well into what many of us North Americans like to playfully refer to as “British humor”, but it somehow doesn’t feel dated to the 70s in any way. I laughed out loud—or smirked, at least—more times than I can count during this story, though I don’t know how much of that is in thanks to picturing the jokes being delivered by Mos Def and Martin Freeman. I’m honest enough to admit that I probably wouldn’t be rating this as highly if I didn’t enjoy the film so much, but that’s beside the point.

“This must be Thursday,” said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. “I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

I’m not rating this book based solely on its wit and snark, though—there’s also something to say for how unique it is, how original it was for its time, and how solidly it has stood through the decades. I always say I’m not a big sci-fi fan, so I don’t really know the genre as well as many of you might, but for any book to have become this big of an international phenomenon, and then to have stayed as such for nearly 40 years as of now, is impressive and probably worthy of praise just for that.

“Ford… you’re turning into a penguin. Stop it.”

Is this book perfect? I don’t know, honestly. I’m a broken record here, but with my ambivalent feelings for the genre as a whole, I’m not the best person to answer that for you. What I can say is that it’s a super fun read, and if you’ve never picked it up before, you should totally give it a try. Or watch the film. In fact, even if you have read it, you should still watch the film, because it’s amazing.

“So long, and thanks for all the fish!”

4flowers

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32 thoughts on “Happy Towel Day! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams

  1. tasya @ the literary huntress says:

    i’ve been meaning to read this book for so long too, but i’m scared because a) it’s so old idk whether it will suit me b) it’s a sci-fi… we don’t really mix… i will still give it a try eventually, but i really don’t know when ahaha.

    great review!

    Like

  2. Deanna Reads Books says:

    I think the read the first 3 books in middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. I bought the collection of the series and reread the first book and I found it funnier. I think it is such a decisive book. Some people love it, some people just can’t stand all nonsensical it is.

    Like

  3. bookishinbed says:

    I have the book with all the stories in one whole book. I really want to read it. I guess I am just intimated by the size even though it’s more than one book. I haven’t seen the movie but I’m a fan of Martin Freeman. I’m going to have to read the first one and check out the movie soon.

    Like

    • Destiny @ Howling Libraries says:

      That’s one of the editions my fiance has, too! He loves the series so much, so he has a few different editions of it, and I got him a pretty leatherbound bind-up of the series for Christmas a few years ago. I’m going to have to steal it from him if I decide to continue the series! And yesss, I love Martin Freeman – he’s honestly one of my faves haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • bookishinbed says:

        The letterbound bind-up is soooo pretty. I wish I was a bigger collector. I would buy it. I just don’t have any room on my shelves to own extra copies of the same book. My shelves are a hot mess. I keep picking up way too many books. I need to slow down.

        If you haven’t you should check out Martin Freeman in Fargo. So good.

        Like

      • Destiny @ Howling Libraries says:

        It really is! I got such a steal on it for him, too. I feel you, my shelves are getting so full. I’ve already warned my fiance that I’m buying myself a new shelf for my birthday gift to myself, lol! The only problem is that I’m running out of wall space… Whoops.

        I haven’t seen Fargo yet, but it looks SO GOOD.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bookishinbed says:

        Oh yes more book shelves are always the way to go. I have 3 book shelves but 2 are small. It’s funny seeing my big shelf compared to my boyfriend’s. He has so much empty space and my is so crowded.

        Oh you really need to watch Fargo. It’s so good!!

        Like

      • Destiny @ Howling Libraries says:

        Bahaha yesss, same with my fiance! His bookcase is actually full, but it’s soooo tiny. It legit only holds, like… maybe 25 books and some knick knacks? And I feel bad because I’m totally hogging some of his shelf space with some of my bookstagram supplies, LMAO. But I told him that when I get my new shelf, I’ll clean all of my crap off of his so it’ll be like he has more shelf space, too. ;P

        Liked by 1 person

      • bookishinbed says:

        My bf has a lot of empty space and last time I put books on there he told me to take them off because I have like 3 book shelves. Sooo that didn’t work out too well lol. That is nice he lets you put your bookstagram supplies on there. I need to get bookstagram supplies.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Lovely review as always, Destiny! ❤ I've never read a book quite like this one before, but the humor made me absolutely hysterical! I don't think I'll ever continue with the series, but I really adored this first book. Haha. I still need to watch the movie some day …

    Like

  5. Norrie says:

    This book was super weird but also quite funny and rather unique.
    I read it a few years ago when i was commuting for work and i kept laughing on the tube and people kept staring at me and it was just even more hilarious 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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