First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Was the earth really demolished? Why did all the dolphins disappear? What is God’s final message to His creatures? Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and the new volvoid gang are off (by commercial airline) on a wacked-out quest to answer these truly unimportant questions.
The weekend is finally here! I know, many of you have been looking forward to it. Me too! I was kinda waiting for it since the start of the week. HAHA. There’s this quite funny meme where it says: “four more days before the weekend.” It was a rather positive message delivered in a funny way. So anyway, we all managed to survive yet another five days of toiling hard at the office. I hope that everyone managed to end the week on a high note. I hope that you are ending on a high note. I hope that you were able to achieve everything you set out to achieve at the start of the week, perhaps the year. If the past week went awry, I hope you get to spend the weekend resting. More importantly, I hope everyone is doing well, in mind, body, and spirit. After chalking up another work week, I hope everyone gets a peaceful and restful weekend. Enjoy the weekend everyone!
But before I can dive into the weekend, let me cap the work week with a new First Impression Friday update. I spent the previous month reading works of British and Irish literature. This journey commenced after I read two books by Irish writer James Joyce, back-to-back: Dubliners and Ulysses. The former was my first short story collection in nearly four years, after Nick Joaquin’s The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic. Meanwhile, the latter was my 1000th novel. My reading journey then took me to Scotland through Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting to Ireland through Emma Donoghue’s Room, to England through Iris Murdoch’s debut novel Under the Net, and Thomas Hardy’s breakthrough novel Far From the Madding Crowd. Toward the end of the month, I realized I have quite a lot of works of Irish and British literature I have yet to read, hence, I decided to extend this journey this March.
While this reading journey took me all over the British and Irish isles and even across the Atlantic to New York City – through Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn – the most unusual location it has brought me to was outer space. Nearly five years since I read the first book in Douglas Adams’ phenomenal and popular series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I was finally able to read the succeeding books in the series, a task I have been meaning to read for the longest time, even making it part of my yearly resolutions. I resumed the series with The Restaurant at the End of the World, the second book in the series which I read in late February. Earlier this evening, I finished reading the third book, Life, the Universe and Everything. So as not to lose my momentum, I decided to go ahead with So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, the fourth book in the series of six; I just learned that a sixth book, And Another Thing… was written by Eoin Colfer with the permission of Adams’ widow Jane Belson.
Five years is quite a long time, especially when it is the gap between the first and second books of a series. Thankfully, The Restaurant at the End of the World did an excellent job of jogging my memory. The second book reminded me of the basics of the story. I have been reintroduced to an eclectic cast of characters comprised of Arthur Dent, the only human in the series (or is he?), and a motley crew comprised of aliens from different dimensions of the universe: Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, and Trillian Astra. They resumed their adventure in outer space after the earth was demolished to build a bypass. Traces of human existence were erased, except that Dent was saved by Ford Prefect just in the nick of time.
After orienting me to the backstory, the adventure of the characters has resumed. On the surface, it all seems that their adventures were mostly lighthearted and fun, except that Adams’ humor belies the deeper messages the book carries. The relativity of life and death was one prominent theme. One of the drivers in the characters’ adventures and misadventures is their goal of understanding the meanings of life and our existence. The books also contained several layers of satire and even scathing social commentaries; there were some slyly placed comments about animal hunting in Africa in the third book.
As for the fourth book, I expect that the adventures of the characters will continue. They are bound to meet more interesting characters along the way. The third book introduced Slartibartfast, the captain of the spaceship Starship Bistromath. There were also some dream sequences in the third book, particularly through Dent. I feel these are seminal in the fourth book, especially as Dent started questioning the events captured in the previous three books. He started asking if it was all a dream and that the Earth was not demolished. At least that is what it seemed in the earlier pages of So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish; I have just started reading the book so I cannot offer that many hypotheses. Oh, even the synopsis highlighted this quandary which makes me more invested in the story.
I admit it, I am no fan of science fiction but I occasionally make exceptions. I can say that I am proud of making an exception for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I am enjoying the story and even sifting through all its pages in order to capture the book’s message. Because of its accessibility and its slim appearance, I am confident I will be able to finish the book over the weekend and even start on the fifth book in the series; I am not sure I even want to read the sixth book but I’ll see. We never know what the future holds. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. Again, happy weekend everyone!