Long Branch Book Club

Life is silly in a serious way


On Feb. 13, the Long Branch Book Club met to discuss the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a classic science fiction novel. This short romp through the space time continuum and the foibles of life was enjoyed by most of the group. The dissenting voice found the narrative too light hearted and violent. All agreed that this was the point of the novel, to juxtapose humor and tragedy with the overall message that life is just silly in a serious way. One even suggested that humans would be well served to take life a little less serious and enjoy it, because isn’t that the point?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is actually a book in this book that comments and guides galaxy trotting beings to different planets. The number one rule of hitchhiking through the galaxy is to always have your towel. Sounds silly but the reasoning “…is a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have ‘lost.’ What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

In support of this theory, how important is a towel when you’re done with your shower and the towel rack is empty?

Most of the group expressed a desire to continue onto the sequels, but there was a general consensus that a light hearted mystery was due. Thus, the club chose to read “A Mystery in an English Village” by Jessica Ellicott.

“As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn’t be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they’re the perfect match . . .1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect is that she craves some peace and quiet. The humdrum hamlet of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside seems just the ticket. And, honestly, until America comes to its senses and repeals Prohibition, Beryl has no intention of returning stateside and subjecting herself to bathtub gin. For over three decades, Edwina Davenport has lived comfortably in Walmsley Parva, but the post–World War I bust has left her in dire financial straits and forced her to advertise for a lodger. When her long-lost school chum Beryl arrives on her doorstep—actually crashes into it in her red motorcar—Edwina welcomes her old friend as her new roommate. But her idyllic hometown has a hidden sinister side, and when the two friends are drawn in, they decide to set up shop as private inquiry agents, helping Edwina to make ends meet and satisfying Beryl’s thirst for adventure. Now this odd couple will need to put their heads together to catch a killer—before this sleepy English village becomes their final resting place . . .” Amazon.com

All are welcome to join the Long Branch Book Club at 5:30 p.m. on 21 to discuss “A Mystery in an English Village” by Jessica Ellicott. The Long Branch Grub Truck will be open to serve up pizzas, paninis and wings. Aspiring writers are welcome to join the Long Branch Writer’s Group every Sunday at 2 p.m. at 315 Saint Lawrence Street, Gonzales, Texas. For more information call 830-519-4006.