A stinging intro to Douglas Adams made me queen of his fans



A stinging intro to Douglas Adams made me queen of his fans

I discovered the author thanks to a brush with bees and after ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ I was hooked

Sunday Times Book Editor

When I was a young child, going to the library was always an adventure. I was brought up in a small suburb, far away from virtually anything, so we had a mobile library that came once a week. It was the best thing on wheels and my mother and I used to spend Friday afternoons in the dusty little bus looking for treasure. 

Then we got a proper library, built near the playground — just a slide and a set of swings, but it was my little place of heaven. However, one day, my six-year-old brother, his best friend and I were attacked by a swarm of bees on the way home from the library. My brother outran them (he should have gone into athletics), his friend kept running in circles and I walked slowly, hoping they wouldn’t sting me. I vividly recall them crawling into my ears and nose. Luckily my parents were outside and hosed us down. We are all OK now, just very wary of bees.

But that didn’t stop me from going to the library. There was magic there. I used to pick up books people brought in that were not yet shelved. One I chose soon after the bee incident, thinking that it would be a quirky read about food, was a ridiculous book called The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. After the first page, I was hooked on Douglas Adams — his sense of humour and the ridiculous. I had to get the first one, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and the subsequent books, which became a collection of six (the last one, And Another Thing, was published in 2009 and written by Irish children’s writer Eoin Colfer, with additional unpublished material by Douglas Adams). I didn’t think absurdity mixed with science fiction could be so glorious. ..

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