2014 Book #40: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

hitchhikerThis isn’t my first round with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. When I was fourteen, or so, I checked it out from my high school library and read it voraciously. I loved  every minute of it. I thought 42 was the best number in the way only a teenager can grasp false significance.

This book is cultural currency. I read it again for two reasons: I’d forgotten a lot in the intervening almost-20 years, and it was one of the few audiobooks on my local library’s OverDrive that was both interesting and immediately available. I listened to it over a week, or so, of walks with Zelda.

I didn’t like it half as much this time around. Sure, it’s funny enough. I laughed ten times more and harder at A Confederacy of Dunces and so many more books, even recently. On the productive(?) end, now I remember the story behind the number 42 and where “So long and thanks for all the fish” came from. Those things seem to be important to lots of people.

I’m not going to do much of a summary of this one because if you haven’t read it, you’ve watched the movie, and if you haven’t done that, you’ve heard enough references to grasp the situation. It’s about Arthur Dent, who lives on Earth until it’s unceremoniously blown up. Luckily, he happens to know an alien and ends up hitchhiking around the galaxy, getting into all kinds of interesting situations. The universe is explained, and so on.

I gave The Hitchhiker’s Guide three stars on Goodreads. It’s right in the middle. I liked it well enough, but it’s not a good book by any stretch of the imagination. I guess it was good for me to read because here’s one set of book/movie references I’ll get for a while. That’s something, I guess.

I finished this book with an overwhelming feeling of MEH. I know there are sequels, and I might read them at some point, but I probably won’t for lack of interest. Douglas Adams captured the imaginations of millions, but not mine; not since I was a teenager, anyway. Maybe it’s like how you kind of need to be a teenager to enjoy Jack Kerouac.

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