Monday, February 23, 2004

Routine Towel Maintenance

I went to visit Mom for a little while this weekend. She has a copy of the complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series but she had never read it, so I've been reading it to her in little bits, whenever I visit. They really make very fun read-alouds. We're about halfway through the second book right now.

Something I really like about Douglas Adams' writing, aside from just the overall funniness of it, is his knack for description. He has all sorts of wonderful, glisk-inducing phrases that absolutely delight me, even when he's describing decidedly un-delightful things. For instance:
It has been said that Vogons are not above a little bribery and corruption in the same way that the sea is not above the clouds.
The hands that held the curtain were long and thin too: they were also cold. They lay lightly along the folds of the curtain and gave the impression that if he didn't watch them like a hawk they would crawl away of their own accord and do something unspeakable in a corner.
Of course, the thing that made me and Mom absolutely collapse was a complete throw-away line about "routine towel maintenance." You had to have been there, I think.

Fans of Douglas Adams really must read The Salmon of Doubt. In addition to containing the fraction of a novel he was working on when he died, it has a collection of other writings on a number of topics, both humorous and serious. It's fascinating to see how his style comes through in letters, articles and essays, and you can see what a genius the guy really was.

At some point I also want to find a copy of the original BBC radio version of H2G2. That would be really cool to listen to.

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