This is the first in a series of 4 posts where I share my favorite books in different categories, including: favorite sci-fi series, favorite novel, favorite memoir, and favorite self-help. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is my favorite sci-fi series, and probably my favorite book/series of all time.
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When I was a kid, I would go the beach with my uncle, aunt, and cousins every summer. I loved swimming in the ocean, taking long walks on the beach, and eating ice cream.
But my favorite thing to do at the beach was read.
And luckily, the town had a bookstore. I always brought one or two books with me, but they were never enough. I could easily read through half a dozen books that week. I would get so engrossed in reading on the beach that I would forget to put on sunscreen…but that’s another story.
One summer, when I was 12, I read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In one afternoon. I read the second book in the series the next day and started the third. By the fifth day, I had read all 5 novels in the trilogy (yes, there are FIVE novels in the trilogy).
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been my favorite sci-fi series since I first read it.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy starts with a man, Arthur Dent, who wakes up to discover that his house is going to be knocked down to build a bypass. He argues with the people who want to knock his house down until his friend Ford Prefect shows up.
Unbeknownst to Arthur, Ford is not from England. Or from the U.S., or anywhere on this planet. He is an alien, a roving researcher for the eponymous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, made famous with its “Don’t Panic!” slogan on the cover. Ford tells Arthur that the planet is about to be destroyed…to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
Ford rescues Arthur from the soon-to-be-demolished Earth. Arthur wants nothing more than to go back to England and drink tea, but instead he finds himself on a wild journey through space with Ford, Ford’s cousin Zaphod (the President of the Galaxy), Zaphod’s girlfriend Trillian (also from Earth), and the depressed robot Marvin.
Together, they explore the Galaxy, finding legendary planets; learning the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything; and dining at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
I love this book and the sequels. I have read them so many times that there are passages that I have memorized. When I’m sick, I read this as one of my “comfort books.” (A comfort book is the book equivalent of a treasured stuffed animal.) And it always makes me laugh.
Douglas Adams had remarkable foresight. These books were written in the late 70’s and early 80’s, yet in many ways it predicted the future. Electronic books, presidents who were chosen for their outrageousness rather than the ability to actually lead, and robots with personalities (now patented by Google) are only three things that Adams predicted. We’re still waiting for the Infinite Improbability Drive.
Adams also had a unique sense of humor, with the ability to poke fun at society while remaining a part of it. He made fun of bureaucracy, carnivorous and vegetarian lifestyles, and, of course, politics. The only people who are fit to lead the Galaxy are those who don’t want to – and only six people in the entire Galaxy know who ultimately makes the decisions.
The humor is also completely ridiculous at times, which provides a nice balance to the social commentary, and prevents the reader from ruminating on the troubles of society. There’s plenty of bad poetry, unexpected transformations (missiles turning into…well, you’ll have to read to find out), and police shooting at the main characters while pontificating on their nature as “good cops.”
This review doesn’t do the series justice. If you like to laugh, you’ll enjoy this book!
Beg, borrow, or steal this book today!
Prefer physical books? Here’s the paperback version: https://amzn.to/2KhIqXQ
19 thoughts on “My Favorite Books: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
This book seems really interesting. I love how Adams predicted certain things right about the future even in the 70s! Unfortunately, I am probably one of the few people on earth that have never read it before! I’m going to have to check it out sometime. 🙂
I know, it’s amazing – he was really ahead of his time. It makes me wonder what he’d be writing about now if he was still alive!
The Hitchhiker’s Guide has been on my reading list for almost 20 years! I’ve always hesitated because I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but I need to make a resolution to read it this year. Your review makes me want to read it even more! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Yes, you definitely need to read it! Let me know what you think when you do!
Sounds like an interesting read! I’m not a big reader, but I think I’d like books like this. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve never read this book before but I believe i saw the movie. However, this review makes me want to try to read the book. Sounds great.
OOOH One of my favorite books as well! It got me started on a lifelong love of Science Fiction!
Yes! I think it was also the first funny sci-fi book I read – and the first time that I realized that sci-fi could be hilarious.
I’m always open to new reads, it sounds very interesting. I particularly love the idea that it helps deal with anxiety.
Yes! When my mind is spinning in circles, books are a way for me to get out of my head and engrossed in a different world.
Just love your enthusiasm and review of this book. I remember when the movie came out, but I’ve never read the book and I am a sci-fi fan – so you’ve convinced me to read it. Love the premise, adventure, and love the future predictions that Douglas made, just fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing!
I would definitely recommend reading the book before watching the movie, if you haven’t seen the movie yet. The book is much better, and the movie took a completely different turn than the book – it took one throwaway gag from the book and turned it into a major plot line, instead of sticking with the book.
I’ve heard so many good things about this book! I’m going to have to check it out someday.
Yes, you should! It’s a pretty quick read.
This books seems interesting! Is there a movie based off of it? Because I thought there was.
Yes, there’s a movie. I recommend reading the book first – the movie takes the story in a completely different direction. It’s fun in its own way, but nowhere near as awesome as the book.
Hitchhikers Guide is one of my favorites! I haven’t read the sequels but I really need to. Douglas Adams was incredible, and I can definitely see why this is a comfort read for you.
Yes, the sequels are great too!
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