In the opening pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Earth is destroyed. Now if that doesn't scream 2020 so far, what does?
In Douglas Adams's 1979 novel, which premiered as a radio series on BBC Radio4 in 1978 (42 years ago—but more about the significance of that number later), Earth is suddenly blown up in order to make room for an intergalactic superhighway. Now, in a year that has—after only 3 months, people—given us a contentious, confusing democratic primary, the death of Kobe Bryant, new and worsening facts about our climate and habitat at large, appalling leadership, and of course the rapid spread of and global shutdowns by the coronavirus (COVID-19), it seems impossible to turn to any source for comfort.
Enter The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: a novel that starts with the global annihilation that we might be heading for and then follows the characters as they cope with new realities, with isolation and loss, an endless information source that brings with it endless anxiety, and an egomaniacal, arrogant, selfish, attention-craving president of the galaxy.
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Even while we stock up on water, canned goods, and enough hand sanitizer to drown ourselves in, don't forget to refresh your book collection with an assortment of good reads.
Yes, many of us are confined to our homes for the sake of public safety, with health officials uncertain how long the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will last as a global health emergency and a historic pandemic. On the bright side, over 80% of people who contract the virus experience "mild" symptoms and recover on their own, and the virus has a global mortality rate of 3.4%. Still, the virus affects the immunocompromised, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions, so for the sake of not killing someone's grandparent or any of the 23 million Americans who have autoimmune diseases, stay home.
Even while we stock up on water and canned goods and MacGyver ourselves some DIY hand sanitizer, don't forget to refresh your book collection with an assortment of good reads. From eerily prescient tales about dystopian futures to long inter-generational novels about epic family dramas, these are our book recommendations for your quarantine.
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