Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

100 Books by 40: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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First of all, Merry Christmas!

I just finished The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is part of my quest to read 100 books by 40. I love to read, but I lack discipline in setting aside the time to do it. This goal helps me keep reading a priority. I think I need another goal related to playing music, but that’s for another blog.

I started Jane Eyre along side Hitchhiker’s. The book that I finished just prior to Hitchhiker’s was Wuthering Heights. Hitchhiker’s doesn’t stand up well to either of these books.

Full disclosure, I do not typically like Sci-Fi. I feel like author’s seek refuge in Sci-Fi when they don’t want to abide by logic when crafting their plot lines. I know these devices exist outside Sci-Fi, like dream sequences as made famous with Bobby’s shooting on Dallas. 

Hitchhiker’s does handle some interesting ideas though. **Spoiler Alert: stop reading if you are planning on picking this book up in the near future.** There are a few things that are thought-provoking about the book. First, the notion that mice and dolphins are the most intelligent creatures on earth and are simply not recognized as so due to communication barriers is interesting . Second, mice commissioned the creation of planet earth as a part of an experiment is also fascinating. The idea is that mice have been molding our discoveries as lab mice with their behavior, sickness, and death. Finally, an idea is floated that there is no God, but simply chance and probability. As follows, the meaning of life is chance and probability and need not be pondered further.

I have considered that animals might actually have a more sophisticated culture than humans; we simply have no way of communicating with them and hence aren’t aware of their sense and experience in the world. As a result, this story line was of particular interest to me. The suggestion that there is no God and only chance and probability feels cold to me despite my irreligious views.

I don’t think Hitchhiker’s was a bad book, but I don’t think it was as good as others that I’ve read recently. I enjoyed some of the ideas conveyed, but didn’t enjoy the pace of the story telling nor the witty banter between the characters. I can tell the banter was intended as comic relief, but I wasn’t impressed. In fact, I found the banter obnoxious, particularly when it was taking place in an action sequence.

I am 30% complete with Jane Eyre and just starting Catch-22. Jane Eyre is good thus far. Catch-22 started with a glowing review from Studs Terkle, so I am excited to start reading. I found Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding at a thrift store in Chicago. I have no idea when I will get to those. I am excited about reading Franzen because he’s often lumped in with David Foster Wallace; I love David Foster Wallace.

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