Review - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"Life, loathe it, or ignore it, you can’t like it.”

That, my friends, is now my all-time favorite quote from a book. It encapsulates to perfection my feelings on my own life. The book it’s from is my last read, “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and I this is my rambling review.

Prior to actually reading it, I knew of Douglas Adams’ famous comedy/sci-fi epic as early as high school. The group of people who loved Monty Python, Red Planet, British humor in general, also loved Hitchhiker’s. They’d walk around with “42’s” scribbled on their jackets and doodling “Don’t Panic” on their binders…a cool and sometimes weird crew, but I didn’t get British humor or fully understand the crowd that worshipped the comedy from across the pond, so I just wasn’t interested.

British humor is the polar opposite of gross-out humor. If you don’t enjoy gross-out humor, you feel more intelligent and so above laughing at a fart joke. But with British humor, if you don’t get it, you feel a like your IQ dropped a few points (it’s the accents you see), which is frustrating and actually makes you a little mad.

Fast forward a decade or so to the movie adaptation. The one where I was mildly entertained at some points, irritated at other times or just asleep. I didn’t enjoy it much at all. So when my geek friends and my book friends were all telling me “READ THE BOOK, you’ll love it. It’s better than the movie.” I didn’t much believe them of course, but I got it for free at a used book sale and set about reading it.

Let me say, I LOVED this book so much. Just a few pages in I felt like I’d gotten a refund for the money I paid to see the movie. It was laugh out loud funny, imaginative, whimsical, absurd and just plain witty. If somehow I were to get struck by lightning and became super-smart, I think I would write in a style very similar to Adams.

The book tells the story of Arthur Dent and his travels across the Galaxy with his alien friend Ford Prefect and few other zany extraterrestrials (who actually aren’t extra at all since Arthur himself becomes an alien when the Earth is blown up to make way for a new galactic highway, he’s just hitching a ride after that). There is a depressed android, Marvin (who uttered my now-favorite quote) and even a nuclear bomb that turns into a sperm whale (how hilarious is that? Very.). What is the Ultimate Question in life? Just read the book, you’ll roar with laughter at how Arthur and his crew get to the answer.

The movie makes a few glaring errors which the book does not. First and foremost, Sam Rockwell, whom I usually love, as Zaphod Beeblebrox did not do justice to the character. In the book Zaphod is a bit egotistical, very much daft, but likable. Sam doesn’t play him that way, so basically he’s this alien prima donna that is very annoying and you could care less about. Also, why does Hollywood feel the need to force a romance on the audience in every movie? I didn’t care for that storyline involving Arthur and the female lead, Trillian, in the movie and to my pleasant surprise it wasn’t featured in the book at all.

I guess if there was one complaint, it was the movie invading my brain as I was reading, forcing Sam’s face into my imagination. Sure, it can’t be helped that you compare movie to book and vice versa, but if the movie isn’t interesting then you have to overcome your negative preconceived ideas (I will be reading I Am Legend and No Country for Old Men before I see the movie). But Adams did wonders with his writing so I was able to overcome my negative thoughts. Oh, another nitpick is my read ended rather abruptly, but that means I need to get the sequels a.s.a.p.

My edition also had a 100-page guide on the making of the movie and being the completist that I am, I read it. The information was revealing, if a little dull. It really made me appreciate how much Adams wanted a good movie to be made and how much the makers of the movie cared very much that they did just that. Yes, they missed the mark, but their hearts were in it and they tried.

Ok, so I give HHGTHG a solid 4.5 out of 5 Iggystars.

Next book is the autobiography of African model Alek Wek called Alek. She was a Sudanese refugee as a child and is now an international supermodel with a very unique and highly sought after look.

P.S. A special thank you goes out to Kookiejar as she was the main reason I finally decided to read Hitchhiker's.

MP3 Top 25

I absolutely love music with a passion. This is something very important to know about me and since you’re here reading my blog I assume you want this information. You know that person who says, “I love all kinds of music.”, then goes on to list thirty-five R&B artists and that one Bangles song for 1989 to prove their diversity? That’s not me. I literally listen to every genre, Rock, Pop, Alternative, Jazz, Classical, Easy Listening, Country, Metal, Ska, Rap, World, R&B, New Age, Neo Soul, 80’s, 90’s, you name it, I probably listen to it. Admittedly, within those categories I still skew towards the more mainstream and there are certain genres I’m fonder of, but I’m rather proud of my ability to be very open-minded about music.

Usually, I attend about seven to ten concerts a year (more if my money is right) and thankfully my brother has inherited his musical sense from his big sister, so I now have a partner to hit the shows with.

Ok, now I’m at work and decided to pick up my iPod, list the top 25 songs played. No editing. It is what it is and it doesn’t give the full range of my collection, but is merely a sampling. Please feel free comment with your own list.

Father Figure – George Michael
Heaven Knows – Robert Plant
Useless – Depeche Mode
Run Baby Run – Garbage
Why Do You Love Me – Garbage
One Last Cry – Brian McKnight
Let Me Fall – Josh Groban
U + Ur Hand – Pink
My Confession – Josh Groban
Shake the Disease – Depeche Mode
Hymne L’Amour – Josh Groban (he’s so romantic)
Can’t Change Me – Chris Cornell
Square One – Coldplay
Diamonds Are Forever – Kanye West
1,2 Step – Ciara
Thieves in the Temple – Prince
Stay the Night – Chicago
World in My Eyes – Depeche Mode
Til the Day I Die – Garbage
Jesus to a Child – George Michael
Un Amore Per Sempre – Josh Groban
When You Where Young - The Killers
Umbrella – Rihanna
Seal – Colour
4 Seasons of Lonliness – Boyz II Men

The Expanding Horizons Book Challenge

This is my very first book challenge! Once I'm finished with my little paint project, I'll be curling up with books as a great way to unwind and keep myself out of trouble with impulse spending. :)

Ok, so this challenge is very cool. The details are linked under my "Books..." list, but basically you choose an author of varying ethnic backgrounds, one African author, one Chinese, and so on. My personal library could use more diversity to be sure, so this sounded like a very interesting proposal.

I'm really excited. I bought the first book from my list (20% Borders coupon + $5 Borders Bucks = a cheap deal) today and the challenge starts at the beginning of the year. Six books in four months, I think I can manage.

Here are my selections:

African - Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Asian - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Hispanic - Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel GarcĂ­a Marquez
Indian - A Fine Balance by Rohintin Mistry
Middle Eastern - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Native - The Bone People by Keri Hulme!

Ok, why be fake? I'll admit, I've been blogging on My Space for awhile now, but I felt the need for an alternate, a more mature space to discuss interests where they will be better appreciated. Interests such as a more fervent appreciation for literature. I've discovered that great books can be bought for cheap at used book sales and now I've got a new little library going on.

Props to Kookiejar, her blog and list of a million read books was the spark that lit my fire. I actually had a paperback that had fallen apart, it split in two from the loooong time I spent picking it up and putting it back down.

That's it for now. You'll learn more about me later.