“Divergent” by Veronica Roth

divergent

For the last few years there has been a boom in film industry and more and more movies based on YA novels surface finding their way on the silver screen. In my opinion it’s not a bad tendency for it popularizes reading as a pastime. Also it gives you new ideas for what book to grab next. Maybe it was because the actress that portrays Beatrice Prior also plays Hazel Grace in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ that made me read ‘Divergent’. Or maybe it was just curiosity for yet another dystopian teenage drama. All in all I don’t regret it.

Veronica Roth sets her background in a futuristic Chicago that has been divided into five factions, each one upholding a virtue of humanity: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent). Every year every sixteen-year-old must undertake an aptitude test which will determine the faction they belong to. But in the end the choice they make may not be the final result of the examination. The decision is final and of the utmost importance for if you err or fail initiation you become factionless. Not a desired faith for in this world faction comes before blood.

Beatrice Prior is confronted with the decision of her life making a step that surprises even her. Choosing Dauntless she leaves behind her family in Abnegation where she never could find peace of mind. And now she has to face the physical and mental difficulties of proving herself worthy of the bravest faction. But there is something that makes her different from her brothers in arms which must be kept secret. Because it is a secret so big it may cost her life. Will she manage to survive in such a hostile environment and will she manage to keep attention away from her in a place where everything is under close surveillance?

And while all this questions are at hand, Tris (the new name our protagonist acquires) finds friendship where she didn’t even look for it. Not only that, the trainer Four is more mysterious and attractive than desirable and not on one occasion she finds herself distracted by his demeanour. But will she find a person she can trust? Well, one thing is sure: you’re not getting any answers here.

‘Divergent’ gives a very good point of view of what bravery is. For sometimes the line between a valiant act and a stupid act is quite thin and easily crossed. The reader gets a glimpse of all kinds of ideas of what dauntless stands for: some are selfless and just and others cruel and scary. Is the person who accepts his fate in a faction where not everything is agreeable with him the brave thing to do? Or is the one who has the guts to quit and venture into the life as a factionless the real dauntless man?

To see where Tris’ instincts and decisions lead her, don’t hesitate to garb ‘Divergent’. Veronica Roth’s writing is such that you won’t be at peace until you finish the novel. It will take you just a couple of days from the first shuffling through the pages to the thoughtful staring at the back cover. Enjoy!

Sophie

Sophie

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

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Khaled Hosseini is a name that peeks from every book store. It is frequently found on the shelves in different and diverse people’s houses. Not having read ‘The kite runner’ I have always felt like missing out on something that everybody else was enjoying. That is why when a classmate literally shoved ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ in my hands there was no doubt in my mind. I had to read that novel.

The plot line of the book traces 40 years of Afghan history from 1963 to 2003, from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding. The whole story is told by the lives of Mariam and Laila whose paths cross in the house of Rasheed, their husband. Even though they come from different backgrounds and hold different grieves, the two women come together and find comfort in each other in the horrible place which they must call home.

The unstable times that war brings corrupt even the most precious and valuable human morals. Family is converted into something twisted and terrible that has a taste of fear and loneliness. With the struggles for survival come the pain and suffering. The hardships grow even more when the Taliban take over control. A woman is no longer a normal human being. Her rights are crushed like an insect under the heavy and unflinching boot of the government. The two protagonists must survive in such a world carrying not the weight of their past but also this of their present.

Living in the 21st century in a civilised habitat we sometimes forget that the world is not heaven on Earth. Even in these ‘modern times’ war is still present. From time to time it is a good thing to educate ourselves and learn about even those countries which are very far away and which business does not have an immediate effect on us. And I believe that fiction books are not a bad place to start at, especially those written by Khaled Hosseini.

Some might think that ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is a typical women’s book. I beg to differ. I believe that it is a novel that men should read. Because it is of the utmost importance how men treat women. Even if we are better at doing most things, we are still the more delicate sex. Women can not handle every situation and sometimes it is up to the male part of society not to put us in such.

‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is a story about love and hatred, hope and despair, humility and rising above, fear and security and mostly about the never ending search for happiness. Khaled Hosseini’s style of writing contributes to the plot his mind has come up with, creating a moving tale where friendship and love are found even in the darkest of corners.

Sophie

Sophie

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket

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If you want read a romantic comedy – this is not the book for you. If you want a pleasant adventure that definitely has a happy ending- this is not the book for you. If you want to enter a world full of beautiful and magnificent magic creatures that help the protagonists every step of their way – this is not the book for you. I guess that the title should’ve hinted all of the above but better safe than sorry.

’A Series of Unfortunate Events’ follows the lives of the three orphaned siblings who seem to bump into misfortune all of the time. They struggle to keep their heads held up while the merciless hand of destiny keeps pushing them down. Why would somebody want to read such a gruesome story? Well, let’s start from ‘The Bad Beginning’.

When Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are left without parents and a home after a fire has broken out in their mansion the person who takes to care for them is their distant uncle Count Olaf. After he discovers that the vast fortunes of the Baudelaire family can be accessed only when Violet reaches 18, the orphans’ new guardian drops all friendly and kind attitude and starts treating his new ‘children’ as servants. And while the young protagonists are scrubbing floors, washing dishes, cleaning windows and cooking dinner, Count Olaf is busy plotting schemes to get his hands on their money.

It is in this hostile environment that Violet, Klaus and Sunny must survive. But the grief and the difficulties do not prevail over the siblings. For they have some cards up their sleeves. Violet is a 14-year old amateur inventor, Klaus Baudelaire – a 12-year old book worm, and Sunny Baudelaire – an infant with unusually powerful teeth. All the things that most kids get laughed at school for are proved useful in real life. So don’t give up on reading, chewing and trying to make that very complicated and absolutely useless machine. Someday it might help.

In a world where adults make the rules it is inspiring to see such youngsters make their way through thick and thin, especially if the reader of the books is approximately as old as the Baudelaires. It is important that children never forget what a vital role they have in the complicated web of life. Parents should know that at some point their precious and seemingly helpless babies are actually capable of handling themselves. Not in such a distraught and hostile situation.

The author of the books who goes by the pen name Lemony Snicket puts a lot of cross-references with other literature. It is fun to discover such links. ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ holds secrets for readership of all ages. So don’t dismiss it just because it looks like a children’s book. Grab ‘The Bad Beginning’ and enter the world of the Baudelaires and their everyday life full of dismay. From that point of view your life doesn’t look that bad now, does it?

Sophie

Sophie

“City of Masks” by Mary Hoffman

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The chance to go or see another world does not come to anyone. But in Mary Hoffman’s book series those lucky people are called stravaganti. With the help of talismans the time-and-space travelers have the opportunity of visiting XVI century Talia, the equivalent of our Italy. The adventure starts in the city of masks – Belleza. Yes, you’ve guessed right, it is the mirror image of Venice. But don’t be deceived – there are a lot of things that differ and not all of them are for the better.

Lucien Mulholland is a teenage boy who is suffering from cancer. Due to his chemotherapy he has little energy and spends most of his time in bed. Everything changes when his dad brings him a notebook that seems to be vintage Italian. Little does he know that the moment he falls asleep, clutching his new possession, Lucien is transported to the beautiful city of masks. There he finds himself healthy and free of the bounds of sleepiness and tiredness that seem to control his life in 21st century London.

The thing is that in Belleza Lucien runs into the pretty Arianna and together they are flung in a vortex of uncontrollable events. Nothing is what it seems and danger is around every corner. The two friends must be very careful who they trust. The main enemy is the Chimici family who has the ambition of controlling the twelve city states in Talia. The city of masks adores the Duchessa as a leader and that fact puts the ruler in quite some dangers. It is up to Lucien and his master – Rodolfo (who is also a stravganti and the Duchassa’s lover) to protect the independence of Belleza.

Can young Lucien handle all the pressure from both of his lives? The trouble comes from his sleepless nights which are spent in the wonderful Talia. At home he feels even more tired and sick while in the city of masks he has almost unlimited energy. There will come a time when living in two worlds will be impossible and our brave hero will have to face a very difficult choice.

The atmosphere of Belleza is absolutely unique. The canals that snake their way in the city are full of mandolas that are all guided by handsome young men. For a girl it sounds like a dream come true. Another interesting thing that is a characteristic for this part of Talia is the law for masks. A woman who has reached the age of 16 must always wear mask until she is married. Needless to say the Duchessa’s face stays hidden all the time from her people. This has helped her on more than one occasion.

It seems that for a boy like Lucien the choice is quite easy. But the beautiful Belleza does not have the luxuries of the modern world. Also his parents are not there. And while he is threatened by death in his world, Lucien has the comfort of parental love, which nothing can substitute. What will happen – read and find out.

Mary Hoffman creates wonderful and thrilling books filled with plot twist and unexpected turns of events. If you want to escape in a world of treachery and deceit, beauty and danger, love and hatred – the Stravaganza sequence are the novels for you. Don’t hesitate and see for yourself the adventures of Lucien and his fellows in arms.

Sophie

Sophie

“Graceling” by Kristin Cashore

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Is it true that all superheroes are men? Are qualities such as bravery and courage associated only with the male part of the society? I think not. And I was happy to find out that my opinion is shared by amazing authors. When I started reading ‘Graceling’ I already knew that this book was something special. The protagonist is a woman – the young and beautiful Katsa. Kristin Cashore portrays her heroine as the person you would like to read a novel about. And the background is more than exotic and interesting.

In the Seven Kingdoms there are people called gracelings who are blessed with a special skill. They are easily recognized for their eyes are mismatched and colored differently. Also they are feared by all and exploited by rulers who claim property on those whose grace is usable. Katsa lives in the palace of her uncle where everyone avoids meeting her blue and green gaze. But her grace is repulsive even to her for she is skilled in killing. The king abuses her powers and frequently sends her to punish and torture anyone who displeases him. Not a very blissful way of living.

But when she meets prince Po, the handsome young graceling fighter who has an even more intimidating stare than her, Katsa learns there is more to life. And that is when everything changes. The lady killer will discover something new about her grace which will alter her view of the world. But before that she becomes friend with the man who has one eye golden and the other one silver coloring. The two of them embark on a journey to uncover a secret lying very far away. A secret so well kept that it could destroy the seven kingdoms on its own. But this is all I can say about the plot without giving anything away.

Through the eyes of Katsa the reader can experience the difficulties for a woman to survive in a men’s world. Even though the lady killer can shut out her emotions, sometimes her vulnerability gets the better of her. Also the model of a woman at that time in a place such as one of the kingdoms is that of a housewife. And Katsa could never come to terms with living in a cold and lonely castle, giving everything up to raise the children of a man she may not even love. Kristin Cashore gives her readership an independent and valiant woman who doesn’t fit in society’s role for her. And that’s all right. When she is not content with the road set out for her, Katsa has no problems to make a new path on her own.

It is important for women to know that they could be anything they want. If a girl decides she wants to be boxer or a sword fighter or a football player, she should be, no, she must be. If that is what she really wants. And her choices do not make her less feminine. Being a ballet dancer or even the so dreaded by some – housewife- do not make a woman something less. Making the big decisions – that’s what makes a woman something more.

Kristin Cashore gives us the opportunity to see a girl struggling with the needs of her surroundings alongside with hers. We see Katsa breaking all boundaries with only her inner strength. For being a lady killer does not help when it comes to the wanderings of the heart. To find out more about this lovely character read ‘Graceling’.

Sophie

Sophie

“The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness

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What if everyone could hear your thoughts? There would be nothing concealed from the world. But what if you could hear everyone’s thoughts too? And the entire jumble inside every head turns into a never stopping noise. You don’t have to ponder too much over this quite extravagant idea if you read ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’. Patrick Ness gives his readership an amazing insight of a civilization where silence doesn’t exist.

Welcome to the New World and welcome to Prentisstown. It is no ordinary place because every man can hear every other man’s thoughts whether they like it or not. Everything that pops inside one’s head is spilled into to the atmosphere like an aura that constantly surrounds him. In such a place Todd Hewitt has been born and has spent his entire life in. He is the last boy left in the town but that’s all about to change for his birthday is only a month away. When he steps in his 13th year he will finally become a man. But what will happen then?

Some days before the big day, Todd and his dog Manchee (who also has his very ‘complicated’ thoughts around his bouncing head) stumble across a completely quiet area not far from the town. This is absolutely impossible for even in the most desolated areas the low buzz of people’s thoughts flying around is always present. In this patch of absolute silence our young hero discovers that until now he has been wrapped in lies. Something horrible has been hidden from him, something so terrible that every man in Prentisstown has managed to keep away from their noise and from the last boy. A secret so awful that puts Todd and Manchee in grave danger. And now the two companions must run for their lives.

And that’s how Todd sets on an incredible journey which will bring him face to face with the past and some of the possible futures. And he will seek for his inner self and his true purpose. For if you are not yet a man and you are no longer a boy – what are you? But him being perceived as a child saves him from the absolute brutality of the secret all the men of Prentisstown keep away.

For even in your thoughts you can hide away anything you want. Just because everything that’s inside your mind buzzes around you non stop doesn’t mean that all is true. Lies can put up front to cover up something else. Not only that: some of the most respectable people hide behind words of wisdom. If you walk by the church radiating from Aaron are the words: ‘God hears everything.’ And if you pass by Prentiss’ house the mantra ‘I am the circle and the circle is me’ is constantly repeated. The objective is to gain control over one’s noise. But whose technique is better: the priest’s whose thoughts are pure or the mayor whose noise is a profound sentiment? It is up to you to find out.

Patrick Ness gives an incredible tour inside Todd’s head. For the book is written from his perspective and includes a jumbled and confused vocabulary, various fonts and forms of speech and some grammar mistakes. But all of those characteristics give the novel an authentic look for no teenager can sound like a well educated adult. It may be a little bit unnerving but it stops bothering when the reader fully immerges in the story.

’The Knife of Never Letting Go’ is the perfect beginning for the trilogy ‘Chaos Walking’ for it is brilliant yet dark so brace yourselves. It’s not a sensitive novel but one that will keep you on edge and make you wonder about the cruelty of men. Patrick Ness gives you this fantastic gift which you must not walk by in the bookstore. Don’t waste more time and grab the first book and dig in!

Sophie

Sophie

“Inferno” by Dan Brown

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After 5 years of silence, Dan Brown re-appears on the shelves of every book store. If you’ve been an avid fan of Robert Langdon’s impossible adventures, hold tight, because this new novel features our beloved American professor. And yeah, he finds himself in another pickle. But this time it is different. The title ‘Inferno’ is closely linked with Dante’s epic creation – ‘The Divine Comedy’. Maybe it wasn’t a bad idea to read the mandatory literature from school. Well, better late than never.

Not reading Dante’s Inferno is not a problem. There are little hints that may be overlooked but the most of the book, Dan Brown explains all of the connections between his story and the decent in hell of the Italian poet. After all it is the antagonist who is a passionately obsessed with ‘The Divine Comedy’ and its supposed message to the world. But let’s start from the beginning of Robert Langdon’s problems.

The Harvard professor wakes up in a hospital with a near fatal head wound with no memories of the past two days. There he is thrown in a hex in which a hit man – or in this case hit woman – is desperately trying to kill him. Thanks to the quickly thinking Sienna Brooks, a doctor who happens to be around Langdon when all hell breaks loose, he manages to escape, for now. But the most shocking discovery the professor makes is that he has miraculously teleported in Florence. Not only is he in the wrong time, but he is also in the wrong place. He has no recollection of leaving America but then again his brain draws a blank of the last two days. And if you think he can sit back and relax and think about the mess he has found himself in, think again.

A madman who believes that Dante’s work is a near future prophecy is set out to release a plague that in his head will cure the biggest problem humanity has – overpopulation. And it is up to Robert Langdon to save the day. But it’s not that easy. Even though the professor has his brain filled with knowledge of history, art and symbols he is confronted with a series of problems he can not overlook: the loss of his memories and a whole group of very influential and powerful enemies who seem to do everything to get their hand on Robert and his unusual possession. And help doesn’t seem to come from nowhere. Trust becomes a serious issue and the lost American doesn’t know who he can believe. Will he manage to be on time to save the world? Only one way of finding out – read the book.

Dan Brown has a very respectful look on the surroundings. As our heroes run and hide in the heart of Italy, the author never fails to attract attention to the historical and art monuments the intense action passes by. And when your protagonist is a writer of books on symbols and their different meanings, the reader receives all the information needed without looking up things on Wikipedia. It’s all part of the story and that makes the novel even more breathtakingly interesting.

’Inferno’ not only makes you want to travel the whole of Florence and retrace the steps of Langdon and Sienna but it also puts forward a lot of controversial questions. The problem with overpopulation is very real and it makes you re-think the values of humanity. Because, let’s face it, when a crisis in this degree appears it is human nature to hide behind denial. But as Dante said it is the darkest places in hell that are reserved for people who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.

But don’t be scared. Even if the book is serious it only adds to its value as good literature. Dan Brown gives you an action-packed, sit-tight-and-hold-your-breath, makes-you-want-to-scream novel that will leave you pondering after you’ve turned the last page. And as always there is a plot twist which is just like a lightning bolt from a clear sky. So don’t try to guess what’s going on – you have no chance. So don’t waste any more time and grab ‘Inferno’. Also if you haven’t read Dante’s classic, it is high time to do it.

Sophie

Sophie

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

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Don’t judge a book by its cover. But what about it’s title? It has happened often to me to pick up a novel just because of its interesting heading. That’s how I came across the beautiful and emotionally deep story between the pages of ‘The Book Thief’. The moment I laid eyes on the cover, I already knew I’d devour it in the next few days. For Markus Zusak has chosen his words carefully and if his desired effect was to bring immediate attention to his book, well then – bull’s-eye!

Here’s a little fact – you will die. The narrator to this incredible story is no other than death itself. The plot is developed in Germany during the dark days of the Third Reich, which is where we find our protagonist – the 9-year-old Liesel Meminger, the book thief. The novel describes her story and the story of all the people who live on her street when the bombs start falling down. This novel is, among other things, about a girl, a number of words, an accordion player, a few fanatic Germans, a Jewish fist fighter and a lot of thefts. And another important note – Death will visit Liesel three times.

Germany during the Third Reich is a dismal place to be. The atmosphere is filled with angst and anxiety. Families are torn apart, which is why Liesel finds herself in the foster care of Rosa and Hans Hubermann. She has just witnessed the death of her own brother and the departure of her beloved mother who she’ll probably never see again. In times like these similar occurrences are not rare. War brings nothing but horror, tears and suffering. Battles are raging and it seems they are just on the brink of collapsing inside the safe haven of home. Work and food are harder and harder to come by. And in this total chaos of destruction and devastation, Liesel is slowly learning how to read and how to fight her inner demons.

It is hard to believe that a young girl can adjust in such a dismal time. But she is capable of finding happiness and comfort in Hans’ tranquil voice and in stealing books from the enormous library owned by the mayor. Not only that, she befriends the neighbor’s boy Rudi and the two become inseparable. They share adventures and get into trouble together. But most importantly they share their hunger, hopes and dreams.

In a world whose background is filled only with gray and black, Liesel is a bright spot that radiates sunshine. Colors have a quite important part in the book. Death always describes the sky when someone exhales his last breath. The sky is never the same. It changes and every moment it is painted with a different shade which often is a mirror image of the emotions that are transmitted below. The narrator highlights the importance of surroundings and atmosphere.

And the atmosphere is not very calm. Joining the Nazi party becomes inevitable and Hans Hubermann, despite his disliking of the radical ideas of the political force, has no other choice but to become a member. However it is his house where Max, who is a Jew and persecuted by the law, finds a home. Weary of his journey and of his life as a fugitive, the young man is filled with negative emotions and is incapable of sleeping. It is Liesel who helps Max get through the dark tunnel and shows him the light. To thank her, he writes a short illustrated story called “The Standover Man” for Liesel and gives it to her as a birthday gift. The title refers to the people in one’s life who will stay comfortingly at one’s bedside in times of need, just as Liesel did for Max and as Hans had done for Liesel.

Mark Zusak tells us that humans are not only interesting and challenging but also very important. Through the eyes of Death we see that compassion will save the world no matter how many lives and how many souls have been burned. If you are looking for a profoundly moving novel that will make you fall in love with characters whose fate will keep you on edge, ‘The Book Thief’ is the thing to read.

Sophie

Sophie

“Paper Towns” by John Green

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John Green is an incredible human being. Not only is he an absolute fan-boy but he is also an inspirational novelist. His books are remarkable for they carry a unique atmosphere of the profoundly moving lives of the seemingly ordinary teenage folk. It may seem that young adult novels that do not feature magical beings are condemned to be simple and boring, ‘Paper Towns’ scratches that assumption straight off the list with a permanent black marker. So don’t be afraid, you will most definitely not be disappointed.

It is an interesting observation that the title of the book has its own personal meaning. It is as a kind of an introduction to the story and the main problem. The term paper town suggests a place where everything is lacking in depth, a superficial town with 2 dimensional beings. A town so fake that looked at from a distance doesn’t seem real at all. With all the same houses and all the same streets it looks as if it’s built out of legos or paper. It makes you wonder whether the people living there are as shallow and plastic as everything else that surrounds them. And it comes to mind that maybe in the depths of such an uninteresting and fragile place there might be people who want to escape from the tedious and repetitive routine of everyday life.

For Quentin Jacobsen living a mundane and ordinary life is quite all right. He even finds comfort in knowing that the next day will bring him the same as the last. He sounds like a quite boring protagonist but in reality he has hidden potential which is a secret even for him. When his childhood love, the girl he has spent all his years thinking about, Margo Roth Spiegelman cracks open his window, dressed as a ninja, promising him the night of his life, Q has no other choice but to follow her. And in this very night he leaves his comfort zone and becomes someone extraordinary. He breaks all the boundaries set in his moral system and takes a deep breath of the fresh air of freedom. But the story is never that simple.

’Paper Towns’ is divided into three parts and each marks a different stage of the course of the plot. Each bit has its own heading which is a specific metaphor frequently used throughout the book:
Part one: The Strings, Part two: The Grass, Part three: The Vessel. Each individual chapter within these sections is labeled with a number. Additionally, the third part of the novel is divided into smaller sections by the hour.

All the metaphors used have a symbolic meaning that is associated with life. One of the main themes of the novel is life after school. As seniors, the main characters are facing the end of school, the end of childhood, and the end of an era. They are about to be thrown in the real world where they have the choice, it is their voice that will utter the words which will shape their future. They have to plan out the first steps they want to make as adults and how they will influence their life. Should they stay in the paper town and never change, should they pursue a career or should they give it all up and give in to experiencing and traveling?

But the question is not only about the path they will take which might lead them to happiness. The meaning of life and its worth are put on the table and discussed. Why sometimes a fatal exit is chosen in front of a difficult solution. Life is sacred and vulnerable and can not be easily taken away with a simple flick of a knife when there are so many opportunities to be explored, so many places to be, so many new and unknown things to be tried. Not only that but the existence of one affects the existence of many and every choice is a drop in the still surface of lake which makes ripples. And those ripples can never be foreseen and their power is unlimited. This should always be taken into account for it is in human nature to be selfish and it is often forgotten that our actions provoke a reaction. It’s even explained in the laws of physics which means that it is true.

As a good hufflepuff, John Green shares his talent with the world and gives us the most precious and treasured gifts of all – breathtaking novels. If you’re wondering what to read that will keep you on edge and take you on a rollercoaster even more exciting than the one in the amusement park, well, look no further. ‘Paper Towns’ is the book four you.

Sophie

Sophie

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

Hitchhiker

Have you ever wondered about the existence of it all? Why do we do the things we do? What is life? Is the Galaxy as big as we think it is? Are there creatures like us out there? And if the cosmos is so vast, isn’t it normal for it to be inhabited by more than just planet Earth? I’ve certainly pondered over these deep and complicated thoughts. If you too have, don’t you fret any more because I have found the man who can give you the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the Universe and everything – Douglas Adams.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is an electronic book that tells you everything you need to know about anything. A very remarkable book, never been published on Earth and, in fact, never been heard of before the terrible incident involving Arthur Dent. But we’ll get to that later. Anyway ‘The Guide’, as it is most often referred to, is probably the biggest accomplishment of the publishing cooperation of Ursa Minor (which also rings no bell to any of the human inhabitants of the green and blue planet). It is a best seller kicking dirt in the faces of its succors: the most popular titles in the Galaxy such as ‘Fifty-three more things to do in zero gravity’ and the oh-so famous series ‘Where God went wrong’, ‘Some more of God’s greatest mistakes’ and ‘Who is this God person anyway?’. It even tops the great ‘Encyclopedia Galactica’. And although ‘The Guide’ is a storage for information which is sometimes inaccurate it is still quite successful for it’s slightly cheaper and has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

But this story doesn’t begin like this. It begins on a Thursday.

On this particular day the house that belongs to the absolutely ordinary Arthur Dent is about to be demolished to make way of new bypass. But that is quite irrelevant because the planet he lives on – the Earth – due to an inexplicable coincidence is also about to be destroyed for a new hyperspatial express route. Another coincidence is that the only person in a near distance who knows about the end of the world happens to be a friend of Arthur and a hitchhiker – Ford Prefect. They manage to save themselves just before the Earth explodes and  embark on a series of adventures which are all highly improbable. During their time in space they come to know Zaphod Beeblebrox who is the president of the Galaxy (with a very controversial personality, two heads and three arms) and who is also the thief of a spaceship. On board of it is the only other surviving member of the already nonexistent planet Earth, a girl named Trillian and the perpetually depressed robot Marvin who also happens to be extremely smart.

It is this company that sets on a journey which leads the group to the legendary planet Magrathea, home to the now-collapsed planet-building industry. There they learn about the computer Deep Thought who was capable to find the ultimate answer to life, the Universe and everything. It also explains that the answer is incomprehensible because no one knows the exact question. And so the mystery is unsolved.

But as ‘The Guide’ says DON’T PANIC, a solution can always be found. There are even more shocking revelations than the discovery of Deep Thought: just because humans assume they are the smartest beings on Earth doesn’t mean that it is actually true. Homo sapiens are holding the bronze medal and while the dolphins are happily squeaking and doing whatever water mammals do on the second pedestal the leader of the chart is yet unknown to most of us. The Universe has a lot of dark corners but maybe some of the biggest and scariest secrets are hiding just before our noses.

Douglas Adams is the author of an amazing, witty and unforgettable trilogy of five books that will leave you breathless and yearning for more novels like ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. Long after you’ve read them all memories and quotes will keep haunting you never failing to bring a smile on your face. So don’t waste any more time and start reading!

Sophie

Sophie