My Favorite Book

My Favorite Book - #WorldWatercolorGroup - Doodlewash - Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Book and Don't Panic Towel

My all-time favorite book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Actually, I enjoyed all five of the books by Adams in what he referred to as the “increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy”. In broad strokes, the books follow the misadventures of the last surviving human, Arthur Dent, just after the unfortunate demolition of Earth in order to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The Guide in the book is a sort of e-book that pre-imagines Google years before it was founded. But unlike Google, it has the friendly and helpful words, “Don’t Panic” on its cover. According to the guide, a towel, shown here, is “just about the most massively useful thing any interstellar Hitchhiker can carry.” The books are absurd and brilliant, which is why I loved each and every one of them so much.

The first book in the series was published in 1979, but not until 1980 here in the States, and more followed throughout the 80’s into the early 90’s. I remember being so excited for the release of the latest book, as I loved the style of writing. It was conversational and witty and didn’t seem to be overly crafted. It made me want to be a writer, and as I started college, I would begin as an English major. I remember one class vividly that I loved, mostly because the teacher was so enthusiastic and seemed to genuinely want to be there. I was assigned a project to write a short children’s allegory and ended up getting carried away and came back with 16 handwritten chapters of a book. She smiled at me kindly, as you might to a pet, and suggested I simply turn in my favorite chapter. I found the pages years later and decided to finish and publish it. Not because it was all that amazing, but simply because it felt good to complete something that I’d started.

Thinking back to those days, though, I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out. I may not have become a bestselling author like in my dreams, but I’ve had some amazing adventures. And through it all, I have to say that “Don’t Panic” is probably the best advice I’ve ever received. No matter what life tends to throw my way, I’ve always remembered this sage advice. It’s how I approach every new doodlewash in my sketchbook, even when I’ve chosen something perfectly difficult to sketch. And it’s how I’ve always approached life in general as well. So, if you’re starting a new journey or contemplating doing something that you’ve never tried before, just go for it and enjoy the adventure that comes next. Don’t Panic. And if you think of it, remember to bring a towel.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors: Cobalt Teal, Gamboge, Permanent Green Pale, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Sennelier: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in By Charlie
  1. Susan Feniak 6 years ago

    I do love that “don’t panic” logic. Nice doodlewash Charlie! 🙂

  2. Lisa Cihlar 6 years ago

    This is a lovely post. I enjoyed reading about your favorite books and your painting is charming.

  3. Jacob 6 years ago

    ‘Don’t panic’ is a wise motto. Great stuff and another clever doodlewash, Captain! (Perhaps there’s scope for a series of books on his ‘brushes’ with adventure?) 😉

    • Author

      Hahaha! Brushes with adventure is awesome!! Love it! And thanks… glad ya liked this one. I’ve always used this motto and its served me well in life. 😉

  4. wildchild47 6 years ago

    Ah what a wonderful series …. Adams was the forerunner to writers like Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, Neil Gaiman etc. Definitely so much wit and zaniness in Adam’s stories, but for all of it, there was plenty of sage advice threaded without! Of course, don’t panic is the most obvious – and yet, how many of us completely throw it out the window with the bathwater, baby and towel to boot?

    Great post and ideas – and certainly, as you’ve said, Don’t panic is sage advice, so best to perhaps try to remember it – and fetch back the towel!

    Oh, and just curious, have you ever written Vogon poetry? 😉

    • Author

      Thanks so much! hehe… glad you enjoyed this post! 😃 Adams was certainly a wise writer. And fortunately, I don’t think anything I’ve written would qualify as Vogon poetry (at least I hope not!! Lol)

      • wildchild47 6 years ago

        LOL … well some heart-felt Vogon poetry can be rather freeing for the spirit, from time to time 😉

        hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

  5. Laura (PA Pict) 6 years ago

    Fantastic illustration! You’ve encapsulated so much about the premise of the book in that one painting.

    I actually only came to the books after listening to the radio play version and the BBC TV version. Despite knowing so much of the content, I still devoured the first book and the sequels. My oldest son has also read all the books. We also have a much read and dog-eared copy of Adams’ ‘Meaning of Liff’.

    • Author

      Thanks, Laura!! 😃💕 So happy to hear you’re an Adams fan as well! It’s just fun and happy reading with a lot of insight hiding in the background. Hehe… Love it! And yay to Meaning of Liff too!

  6. Curious to the Max 6 years ago

    GREAT post Charlie O’!!!!!!!!! You should consider writing as you’ve got great prose style.

    • Author

      Aww thanks so much, Judy!! 😃 I really appreciate that. These days, I figure my blogging is a least a little way to write. hehe

  7. Anita 6 years ago

    Great advice!!! And another great drawing 🙂

  8. Teri C 6 years ago

    The perfect image for this book that I’ve never heard of. 😄

  9. cdumaine1 6 years ago

    excellent advice and art!

  10. Jodi 6 years ago

    I’ve certainly heard a lot about this book but never read. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much and love your doodlewash! (as always :))

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Jodi! 😃💕 You should check it out sometime…. would make a fun beach read if you’re ever looking for something on a vacation! hehe

  11. Hemangini 6 years ago

    the drawing is beautiful…

  12. M. L. Kappa 6 years ago

    Yes – DON’T PANIC!!!!!! Much needed advice. And great drawing💕

  13. Jill Kuhn 6 years ago

    I have not read your favorite book. Fun to hear what you enjoyed reading and see your fabulous Doodlewash, Charlie! “Don’t panic” is good advice in art and life!! 😍🎨💕

    • Author

      Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 You should totally read it… it’s good silly fun. I think you’d really enjoy it! Hehe And it comes with such brilliant simple advice too!

      • Jill Kuhn 6 years ago

        Sounds like my kind of book, Charlie! 😍

  14. Art-Chap-Enjoin 6 years ago

    Hitchhikers guide is my favourite radio series. I think I read the books but you can’t beat the Radio series as this was what Adams wrote it all for in the first place – you have to listen to it if you never have

    • Author

      Definitely enjoyed the radio series! (and the tv show actually… but not the recent movie as much.). It was made for radio! So fun!

      • Art-Chap-Enjoin 6 years ago

        So right. I dint enjoy the movie so much. A pity as it could have been great. A pity also that they never made a radio series of the later books!

        • Author

          Agree with all of the above! The movie lacked all the personality and charm… but also lacked Adams himself and I think it really showed.

  15. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    My older son also fell in enchantment with Adams’ books, and then he got me started reading them. We even read one together, laughing and exclaiming all the way through. His son turns 11 today, and my son is introducing him to the series. I’ve always loved when someone’s enthusiasm bursts beyond the bonds of the ordinary and embraces the illogic of something like five books of a trilogy.
    You paint and write the same way – throwing yourself into your subject even if only for an hour each day. Don’t panic, Charlie. There’s always paint. And words.

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 I love that you and your son read one together and that he’s passing it on!! That’s awesome!! I have to admit to sometimes being in my room in the 80’s and reading lines outloud even alone. They’re just made to be spoken! Hilarious stuff!

  16. GeorgieMoon 6 years ago

    I remember when this book came out, and was enthralled by it! Great doodlewash!

  17. He he, don’t panic…wise words. Great post Charlie 😀

  18. YesterdayAfter 6 years ago

    Interesting post thanks for sharing your favorite book! I love the watercolor beautiful little suitcase ready for some dreamy vacation somewhere in the world! <3 I so would love to grab that pretty suitcase and go…. 😉 <3

  19. Margriet Bierens 6 years ago

    The way you show us your favorite book and shawl is very original Charlie!
    Nice painted Doodlewash.
    I never heard of this book here, sure it must be very interesting to read. It seems more a book for men?
    Don’t panic I like.
    It goes like it goes, that,s my favorite, wish you a nice day later on, we already have morning on August 22.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Margriet! 😃💕 Glad you liked the doodlewash. I think the book is definitely worth a read. It’s funny and witty. But it does use space and sci-fi as a backdrop. Hope you’re having a lovely day as well my friend!

  20. Sissh 6 years ago

    Great illustration Charlie! And I must say you have great taste in literature 😉 Hitchhiker’s Guide is always in my top lists no mater how many great books I read.

  21. memadtwo 6 years ago

    Good advice. I too first enjoyed the book through the wonderful BBC production. And a packed suitcase is the perfect setting! (K)

  22. Damita M-S 6 years ago

    “Don’t panic” is great advice. Life is full of ups and downs but if you remain calm and see it through you always come out better on the other side.

    Love the drawing.

  23. kitkatknit 6 years ago


  24. Ellie 6 years ago

    Great doodlewash (is that trademarked yet?) and yet another fantastic narration. You are genius, Charlie, just genius.

  25. 9recipes 6 years ago

    Great post!

  26. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    I love the Hitchhiker books, I love your painting and I love your rambles on life! No wonder I love Doodlewash!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Aww you’re so sweet and encouraging! (my mom used to say, “don’t encourage him!” lol). Those books are so much fun. I wanted to reread them again soon! 😃💕

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