Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What I'm Reading

The first sentence in this book had me hooked. Somehow it struck me as a strange and yet somehow perfect way to start a book. It set the scene, the mood and gave me an inner chuckle as well. I read it about 8 times before proceeding on to the next one.

"It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression 'As pretty as an airport.' "

About halfway through the book there's a brilliant conversation between one of the main characters and a humorless phychiatric hospital administrator who has just discovered the value of a good joke:

"Well," said Kate, "it goes, 'Why did the chicken cross the road?' "

"Yes? And?"

"And the answer is 'To get to the other side.' "

"I see." Standish considered things for a moment. "And what does this chicken do when it arrives at the other side of the road?"

"History does not relate," replied Kate promptly. "I think that falls outside the scope of the joke, which really only concerns itself with the journey of the chicken acros the road and the chicken's reasons for making it. It's like a little Japanese haiku in that respect."

Kate suddenly found she was enjoying herself. She managed a surreptitious wink at the nurse, who had no idea what to make of anything at all.

"I see," said Standish once again, and frowned. "And do these, er, jokes require the preparatory use of any form of artificial stimulant?"

"Depends on the joke, depends on who it's being told to."

"Hmmm, well, I must say, you've certainly opened up a rich furrow for me, Miss, er. It seems to me that the whole field of humor could benefit from close and immediate scrutiny. Clearly we need to sort out the jokes which have any kind of genuine psychological value from thise which merely encourage drug abuse and should be stopped. Good."

The book is by Douglas Adams. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul This is my first Adams book (no, I've never read the Hitchiker's Guide) but certainly not the last. I'd recommend this book to any of my friends and thank Laura for recommending it and Aaron for lending it, knowing full well he might not ever see it again.


Blogger mireille said...

hey! I want a humorless psychiatric administrator to banter with! and thank you for your wonderful comment about their exquisite smallness. xoxoxo

9:13 AM, July 28, 2005  
Blogger Trina said...

Your first Doug Adams book?!? I do hope you plan to read his other books (including/especially the Hitchhiker series) - he's brilliantly hilarious!

10:29 AM, July 29, 2005  
Blogger cjblue said...

I know, I know...I'm so far behind. I was loving this one too, up until the end when it seemed like (think Murder, She Wrote) all sorts of stuff happened off-camera which solved things for the main characters but there was no real mention of HOW they were solved. Disappointed with the ending, but the journey was fun.

1:20 PM, July 29, 2005  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

You know, I haven't read them either, but you've drawn me in. His writing seems so imaginative. And having grown up in Detroit, which, prior to a massive renovation a few years ago, boasted the ugliest airport in the U.S., I can relate.

5:09 PM, July 29, 2005  
Blogger Tania said...

I used to love, love, love Douglas Adams. I read all his books in one fevered summer about fifteen years ago. A shame he had to die so young! Just when the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy began to seem actually *possible*.

2:39 PM, August 01, 2005  

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