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.

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58 thoughts on “My Favorite Book

  1. ‘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?) 😉

  2. 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? 😉

  3. 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’.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

    1. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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