Book It – Galactic Guides

7 months into this reading challenge, and I’ve read more great stories than one person deserves to read in a year.


That’s thanks in part to using a reading challenge that’s expanded the types of books I’ve been reading. You can see the goals for my reading list on the 2015 Reading List from PopSugar.


The Crooked Banister

The Crooked Banister is the 48th book in the Nancy Drew mystery series. As I mentioned in May, Nancy Drew was originally created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer and was ghost written by several authors, all under the pseudonym Carolyn Keen. This particular novel was actually penned by H.S. Adams.

This mystery follows Nancy, along with her father, her friends Bess and George, and their dates as they try to find a swindler, and the money he has taken.  This mystery also involves a strange house, and a not-so-friendly robot.  Like all Nancy Drew mysteries, it’s a quick, light read for an adult – I finished it in an afternoon.

Checked off the list:

  • A book by a female author
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book set in a different country
  • A book by an author you love but haven’t read yet.
  • A book your mom loves – OK, I’m not sure that she “loves” this book in particular, but she is the one who got me started on Nancy Drew by purchasing my first several books.
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book from your childhood – Granted, I hadn’t read this one until now, but Nancy Drew was very much a part of my growing up.
  • A banned book – Did you know that when these books were first published, many libraries and bookstores wouldn’t carry the novels because they thought that Nancy Drew was not a proper role model for young girls. This was because she was often going off by herself, disobeying her father, and the like in order to solve her mysteries.

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows is a children’s book that was written by Kenneth Grahame. It follows the adventures of a mole, water rat, toad, and badger as they explore the world along their river, the wild woods, and the wide world.  This would make a great book to read aloud to a child, and was a fun and easy read for me as well.

Checked off the list:

  • A book that became a movie – This book has been adapted for screen many times, but I think my favorite is the BBC version.
  • A book with non-human characters
  • A book set in a different country – this book takes place in England
  • A book more than 100 years old – this book was originally published in 1908
  • A book from your childhood

cut-me-looseCut Me Loose

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood is a memoir that chronicles the early life of Leah Vincent, and her transition from Ultra-Orthodox Jewish girl, to secular woman. Look for a full review of this book coming soon!

Checked off the list:

  • A book written by a female author
  • A book set in a different country – parts of this book take place in England and Jerusalem
  • A memoir
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

5-miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-childrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a beautifully written book by Ransom Riggs. The 1st in a series, the book is full of fantastical adventures and wonderful antique photographs.

Checked off the list:

  • A book with non-human characters
  • A book set in a different country – a majority of the book takes place in Chairholm, England
  • A book that a friend recommended – thank you Tumblr for convincing me that I needed to read this series
  • A book with a love triangle – a very strange love triangle, but a love triangle none-the-less
  • A book with magic – even if that’s not what they call it, that’s what it is
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

My copy of The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a beautiful leather-bound edition with the words “Don’t Panic” written in large friendly letters on the back. You can also get a copy in paperback. The Ultimate Guide includes 5 different books, and one short story, each of which center around the characters of Arthur Dent, Tricia McMillan, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and in the early novels, a depressed robot named Martin.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Guide opens with Arthur Dent standing outside his home trying to keep it from being demolished for a freeway. Things quickly escalate as Dent discovers that his whole planet is about to be demolished by Vogons for a galactic freeway. Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, his friend, an alien and researcher for the revised Guide. They hitch a ride on one of the Vogons’ destroyer ships, and when this turns bad, eject into space only to be saved by the spaceship Heart of Gold, and it’s odd crew: Tricia McMillan, formerly of Earth, Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy, and a depressed robot named Martin.  Together they travel through space looking for a planet called Magrathea and the answer to the ultimate question.

Needless to say, this is a rather exciting story, that is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever felt a bit out of place.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Restaurant opens where The Guide leaves off with Arthur, et al. facing annihilation by the frogstar peoples.  Once that gets sorted out, the group attempts to use the Heart of Gold’s probability drive to get them to the closest place to eat. It turns out that the closest place to eat, is exactly where they are, but at the end of the universe.  Their adventures dining at the restaurant, and leaving end up separating everyone into two groups.  We don’t really learn what happens to Zaphod and Trillian until much later, but Ford and Arthur end up on a starship that is getting ready to crash land on a far off planet.

Life, the Universe and Everything

Life opens back on that “far off planet,” and can you believe that because of the time travel that has been happening, that planet ends up being Earth about 2 billion years ago?  Ford and Arthur end up going nearly mad before they catch a sofa floating through an eddy in the space time continuum. That sofa takes them back to the day before the Earth was destroyed and leads them on a journey, where they reunite with Trillian, Beeblebrox, and Martin to keep the inhabitants of planet Krikkit from destroying the universe.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

In So Long, Arthur managed to get back to Earth – or an earth of some sort. This version of Earth seems to have magically appeared after the other version was blown up. Arthur doesn’t seem to care too much, just as long as he gets to be back on Earth. That is until he meets a woman named Fenchurch, who he falls in love with. Together, they try to discover what happened to all of the dolphins, who disappeared on the day the Earth was blown up. From there, Arthur leaves with Fenchurch to find an answer that Fenchurch had lost – which happens to be the last message from God. Along the way, they encounter Martin, the robot, on one last errand.

Young Zaphod Plays it Safe

Young Zaphod is a short story about the early life of Zaphod Beeblebrox, when he ran a spaceship salvage operation.

Mostly Harmless

In Harmless we find Dent on a rather backwards planet, making sandwiches for a living. He’s actually enjoying this life, until suddenly Trillian appears in his life again and informs him that he has a daughter, and she is leaving her with him. Needless to say, things to continue to go badly, as the Guide is taken over by Vogons, and a new version is developed. The new pan-dimensional version has the potential to destroy everything.  The question is, will it?

Checked off the list:

  • A book with more than 500 pages – this book (or collection of them) contains 815 pages
  • A book that became a movie – Hitchhiker’s Guide was made into a rather entertaining movie starring Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins, John Watson) in 2005.
  • A book with non-human characters – Vogons, robots, pan-dimensional mice, where shall we start?
  • A funny book
  • A trilogy – more than that
  • A book set in a different country – many parts of these books take place in England, as well as on other planets throughout the galaxy.
  • A book set in the future – and in the past, basically everywhere and everytime
  • A book you own but have never read – while I’d read Hitchhiker’s Guide before, I’d never read any of the others.

And Another Thing

And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer is a sequel to the Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that picks up where Mostly Harmless leaves off. This made me very happy, because I wasn’t satisfied with the end that my favorite characters received.  I still don’t love where Arthur is left at the end of this book, but there is a possibility of happiness, and that is enough. Also Thor. This book has Thor.

Checked off the list:

  • A book with non-human characters
  • A funny book
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

The Cry of the Peacock

The Cry of the Peacock by V.R. Christensen is a period romance – not my normal choice in reading materials, but I am trying to broaden my choice of books.  It was actually very good, the story was well written, with some mystery and intrigue as well as a romance that actually required some effort.  If you like romance or period dramas, I would recommend this novel to you.

Checked off the list:

  • A book by a female author
  • A book set in a different country – This book takes place in England.
  • A book at the bottom of my to-read list
  • A book with a love triangle – or two or three
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before
  • A book set during Christmas – the major scene at the end of the 2nd section takes place at a Christmas ball.


Check out the books I’m currently reading over on Goodreads.

To Read:

I have a nice pile of books in my To Be Read pile right now. A few of them include:

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