The difference between a good book and a great one is that the later leaves an impression on you longer than the former.
Chances are if you asked me about what books I read last year, there are only about six I could go into deep detail about off the top of my head, even though I read 18. A great one is one that stays with you. One that you think of fondly every now and then.
My favourite book is a great one. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
I wrote a little about it in my last post for OWLS and have made a reference or two in previous posts, but Hikari and I are teaming up to talk about our favourite books so I get to properly rave about this gem.
For the uninitiated, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a Science Fiction story following Arthur Dent, a normal English bloke how just so happened to be pals with an alien masquerading as a human for research purposes. The alien in question, Ford Prefect is leaving earth as it is due to be demolished so he brings Arthur along. Hijinks ensue.
This book is bloody brilliant.
If you know me, you would think the main reason I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would be the creative Scifi. Adams made an entire universe with unusual races and interesting concepts. A universe which runs on seemingly bizarre logic. While I do love that, it isn’t. Well, it is part of it, but there is an element I adore more than I can possibly say.
It’s the absurdist comedy.
This book still makes me chuckle on rereads, I still giggle sometimes when I listen to the original radio play. The concepts Adams crafted are so nihilistic and witty. For crying out loud, the most advanced machine ever is made to figure out the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. It responds years later with 42. They are told they didn’t ask the right question. That is brilliant!
I will admit that it is very British humour, so it isn’t for everyone. If you like Monty Python films then you are going to love Douglas Adams’ books.
You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”
“Why, what did she tell you?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”
This might just be my interpretation, but I always got the impression that Adams was saying “Hey, life is random and pointless. Let’s laugh about it!” That there isn’t a real meaning to our existence and that isn’t a bad thing.
After reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the first time, as cheesy as it sounds, I looked at the world a bit differently from that day on. That is why it is my favourite book.