Category Archives: Comedy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams

Publication Date: 1979

Review Score: 8/10

It’s Thursday lunch time and Arthur Dent’s house has just been demolished, the world is about to follow and his best friend has just told him he is an alien. Before he knows it Arthur is hurtling through space, with no home to go back to and no way to get a decent cup of tea. However, things could be worse; at least they have The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a towel, the most useful item in the universe.

Along their journey the pair encounters the two headed, 3 armed president of the galaxy, a manically depressed robot and a host of other completely zany and bewildering characters and situations.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the most original, funny and downright whacky books I have ever read. The implausible ideas that Adams comes up with can only really be compared to the mad ramblings in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but in space and with aliens.

It is quite a short book and very quick to read, barely taking a breath from one chapter to the next, and although it doesn’t always make a great deal of sense, the story is fantastic, the characters are all instantly likable and it really does have you laughing out loud.

This is not a traditional Sci-Fi novel but it is one of the best I have read, injecting a whimsical playfulness into the story that is so often avoided in Sci-Fi. In fact I think what is most enjoyable about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the fact that it takes Sci-Fi and just has some fun with it, rather than being completely logical, precise and serious.

It’s easy to read, a lot of fun and, in my opinion, well deserving of its place on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before you Die.

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Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Set during the closing months of the Second World War, in an American air base of the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of a frustrated and furious bombardier named Yossarian who can’t understand why thousands of people he doesn’t even know keep trying to kill him!

The number of missions he has to complete to go home keeps rising, he can’t figure out who is in charge the squadron and there is a dead man in his tent no one will acknowledge or get rid of!

Utterly horrific yet beautifully comic, totally insane yet gritty and real, Catch-22 takes the reader from one extreme to the other on every single page. Although set during one of the darkest times of human history I found myself literally bursting out laughing at some points.

What makes Catch-22 so barmy is the sheer insanity of the characters and their mental attempts to peruse Italian prostitutes, make money out of the war and of course try every stunt possible to get out of duty and be sent home.

The book throws a depressing yet hilarious light on the War and is truly a one off book, well deserving of its place on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die List.

If you are not a fan of war novels please don’t be put off by the setting of the novel as it is so much more than a book about World War II, it is a great dark comedy, an insight into the complexities of the human mind and if nothing else an explanation behind the origin of the phrase Catch-22!

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Filed under 1001 Books, Comedy, War