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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy of Four: A Trilogy in Four Parts
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy of Four: A Trilogy in Four Parts
by Douglas Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say? Amazing., 17 Jun. 2005
Even if you haven't read these books, you've probably heard about them. There can't be many native English speaking adults who haven't heard of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or who don't know the Answer to the ULTIMTE QUESTION OF LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING. I think this is probably something that puts people off reading these books, as they are heavily quoted by people who are often less funny than they imagine.
I love this book. I must have nearly memorised it by now. There is just something about the way that the luckless yet stoic Arthur Dent falls into ever more ridiculous and hilarious situations. Every time he thinks that he has a handle on things, something comes along to change it. Then, just when he thinks that it can't get any weirder, it doesn't. It all stops, and everything goes back to normal. Probably just to annoy Arthur.
This whole book, in fact, reads just like the account of an ordinary human who the Universe has decided to play practical jokes on. Douglas Adams' universe is a bizarre place with a thoroughly twisted sense of humour.
This book is highly recommended for anyone who has a sense of humour that goes beyond fart jokes and people falling downstairs. I'd say people of age 14 and up will get most out of it, but younger people could still get a lot of enjoyment from this even if they don't get all the jokes. There are several sexual references in it, but nothing explicit.
If you have the abovementioned sense of humour I'd advise reading this unique trilogy. Even if you don't like Science Fiction. Even if you're sick of people you don't like insisting that you HAVE to read it. It really is that funny. Probably most people will find something in it that will make them laugh until they cry... I know I did.

Bengal Cats: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals)
Bengal Cats: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals)
by Dan Rice
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A wasted opportunity., 16 Jun. 2005
I was very disappointed with this book for several reasons:
I could no more recommend this book as "A Complete Pet Owner's Manual" as the cover claims, than I could recommend a similar 96 page A5 book with the title "A Complete Guide to Your New Baby" as a manual for first time parents. The author has not only tried to cover in this small space all aspects of owning a cat, but has also taken up half the space with photographs, many of which have captions like "Atop a kitchen chair. Next stop, the tuna on the counter" or "Won't anyone help a lonesome little kitten?" These are charming, but not very useful.
I had hoped for a book that concentrated on the characteristics unique to Bengals, and that explained and illustrated the ideals for each of the colours and patterns. There are only 5 pages on the history of the breed, 3 on "understanding Bengal cats" and 2 for a truncated breed standard. Most of the space in this book is taken up either with information general to all cats or with photographs.
The pictures focus on brown spotted Bengals. I counted 55 photos of brown spotted, 4 of brown marbled and a total of 4 of all the other colours. I have recently been lucky enough to acquire a beautiful brown marbled Bengal (currently "helping" me by standing on the keyboard), and I found this aspect particularly frustrating.
So, if you want information on caring for cats then I would advise a much larger encyclopaedia. If you want information specific to Bengals, I turned up much more information with a thorough internet search. The only thing I can say in favour of this book is that it is good to hand to visitors who have never seen a Bengal before.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2009 4:02 PM GMT

The Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast
by Robert A. Heinlein
Edition: Paperback

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointingly dull and badly written book, 3 Jun. 2005
I have very much enjoyed several other works by Robert A. Heinlein. This one I had to struggle to finish.
The story is about a family of four people, one of whom has invented a time/ space travelling machine, that also lets users visit parallel universes. They are being hunted by an alien race because of this. They start by visiting alternative versions of Earth and nearby, and then the book adds the idea that all fictional universes are real and accessible using the device. They end up in a group marriage (not a surprise if you've already read Heinlein) with the crew from another of Heinlein's novels, Time enough for love, and team up with them to fight the baddies.
The problem I had with the book was the (to me) unnecessary amount of technical stuff like programming the device, safety precautions, how to pack a spaceship etc. There really is a lot of this. There is also a lot of arguing about who will be the captain of the ship (no one wants to do it, they all take turns). I'd say at least a quarter of the book is taken up with this kind of stuff and it really gets tiresome to read. Also I found the conversations between the characters often unbelievable, for example a couple agreeing to get married within an hour of meeting.
Altogether, I'd say skip this one. The only exception is if you're interested, as I am, in Heinlein's views on sex. There are some particularly intriguing comments about gay sex, which Heinlein seems to be both fascinated by and uneasy about. Even here, though, you don't get very much more than is in the much better written Time enough for Love.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2013 1:42 PM BST

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