Hello and welcome to Friday! It is Friday, right? I have had me a heck of a busy week. So busy with actual adventures and such that my “sit on the couch and read” time has been a little limited. I have basically one thing to recommend this week, but it’s so good, so so good that it will hopefully make up for the brevity of the column.
I first read Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency at the age of about 11 or so. I should rather say that I had it read to me, by the author Douglas Adams, on a series of cassette tapes that I had taken out of the library. Having read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy a year before — which remains one of my favourite books to this day — as well as all the sequels that had been published to that date, I wanted to see what else Adams had written. As I lay in my bed listening to the book, Adams’ dry English tones wafting into my ears, I was transported. I’d never experienced a story like this before, one featuring ghosts and time travel and literature and murder and computer science and music and love and the ineffable mysteries of life; it was funny and shocking and thought-provoking, and I was transfixed. It was a very special book, and when I read it again years later (in print), it still held that spark.
Cut to me, two decades later, going through my bookshelf and trying to find something to re-read to see if it was worth keeping. I pull Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency off the shelf, and think to myself, “I remember this being a pretty great book. I wonder if it holds up?”
It holds up, gentle readers. Oh boy, does it hold up.