The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This week’s book recommendation is The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. 

Hitchiker's Guide

Perhaps you have heard of this book.  This story was originally a radio comedy broadcast in 1978 on BBC Radio 4. Then was a TV series in 1981, and there are a few movie adaptations (the most recent being 2005). The book itself was published in 1979 not long after the original radio broadcast.

I’m recommending The Ultimate Guide because it contains all five books of the series. So, to give myself extra credit, I’m actually recommending five books this week (no, I’m not taking the next month of recommendations off, another one will be here next week). My thought process when I bought this collection was “Why buy each book when I can have them all in one, while saving money?” Another part of that was I figured I’d like the first book and then want to read the rest, so it made sense to get them all. Anyway, the five books contained in this volume are as follows:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)
  • Life, the Universe and Everything (1982)
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984)
  • Mostly Harmless (1992)

As you may have guessed from those titles, these stories are a bit on the ridiculous side. They are funny, absurd, and sporadic. To put this in perspective, the first book starts with Earth being destroyed (without warning to its inhabitants) to create an intergalactic bypass.

I’ll admit that I grew a little weary of the whole circus a few times while reading through this volume (it may be a good idea to split the five books up instead of reading it all at once), but I enjoyed them all nonetheless. Depending on your literary preferences and sense of humor, I believe you will too.

According to this book, the answer to life, the universe, and everything is: 42. There is a great anecdote about this number in the world of computer programming that I believe Douglas knew about and he intentionally chose the number as a brilliant, truthful question to the question. I’ll refrain from providing the details despite the fact they are not in the books themselves, but I recommend you find this “real” answer after reading the books (or whenever you want really).

Happy Reading.

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