Today’s Read: Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I haven’t read a whole book in quite some time, and I pleasantly surprised myself by reading a whole book today. That book was one on the 1001 List of Books You Should Read Before You Die, and now I’m .01% closer to being ready since I finished this one.

Today’s read was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an interesting and delicious science fiction novel written by Douglas Adams. It is easily devourable in one sitting, whether you are reading it or using it for lunch. It tells the story of average Earthman Arthur Dent, the sole survivor of an explosion that destroyed the planet, and the intergalactic hitchhiker Ford who picks him up. Together, they narrowly escape death several times and buddy up with Zaphod (the clueless king), Trillian (the former-Earthwoman/only girl in the book, since it is science fiction) and Marvin (a severely depressed robot) on the Starship Heart of Gold. The novel doesn’t have a clear resolution – it left me wanting to read the next book in the trilogy, which I fortunately have but probably won’t be getting to anytime soon. I identified with the characters of Arthur and Marvin – Arthur, for being unwittingly trapped in a ride he didn’t sign up for, and Marvin, for just having this overall lugubriousness but still funny. On the whole, it was a mystery wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a quandary, with lots of loopholes for the characters to worm their way through. The tongue-in-cheek humor added to the fun, with the mentions of minor characters with unusual names and stories, and chapters with a very scientific buildup to a logical yet humorous ending. It also reveals the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything…but I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, so read it yourself!

I read it while floating in the pool in my apartment complex on a sunny afternoon. As the water carried me around the pool, I took notice of and enjoyed the sensation of floating in water, just like the characters wander through space and time. It made me feel connected to the universe; big, small, we’re part of it all. Also – it’s a lonely universe out there, and the best universe of all is the universe of imagination – a place we’re sent to when we’re children but when we attempt to enter as adults, we get sent to mental institutions. I wonder if my life would’ve been different if my parents left me in a mental institution. Sometimes I feel like I just want to be in a place floating freely and innocently, but sometimes I have a yearning to be on the ground. If we, as humans, can’t harness what’s in between, then maybe we’re just destined to be hitchhikers on the road of life rather than the controllers of it. Maybe that last sentence was hyperbolic crap; did you believe? It’s so late at night that I just might. But then again, I’m clinging onto that belief only because otherwise I might reach my foot out past the edge and…

Moral of the story: Don’t Panic.

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