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Hitchhiker Happiness
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Last night we listened to the first episode in the all-new BBC Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series--"The Tertiary Phase". It's got most of the original cast, and even the late Douglas Adams plays a role (recorded before his death, as he worked on the scripts). Ohh, I can't tell you how happy this makes me. :) This series picks up (well, sorta) where the last one left off. It's been so long since I've read the books that I can't remember exactly where this story comes in them. (Which book is it where Arthur keeps killing the same karmically recycled soul over and over again, until it finally comes back, Seriously Pissed Off, in a form that's ready to Take Revenge???) The good part about my memory loss is that all the jokes are new again. (Then again, the radio series never stuck exactly to the book--or rather, vice versa--so at least half of it is probably new anyway.) I laughed out loud so often as we listened last night. The only thing we regretted was that we forgot to buy tapes to record the episode. (We'll try to remember by next Tuesday, when the second episode's due to air.) In the meantime, you can listen to clips from the new series at BBC Radio 4.

I finished Chapter Four of Thief of Souls this morning, as we sat in our living room with the gas fire roaring, enjoying coffee-shop-at-home (on the theory that, if we don't save money somewhere, there's no way we can afford to buy the WorldCon membership next month). Finishing this chapter felt like even more of an accomplishment than usual since I had to research almost every darn paragraph before writing it...or at least, so it felt.

I am really enjoying reading Albert Hourani's A History of the Arab Peoples, actually--it's a fascinating book which I might never have picked up if it weren't for this novel. It starts around the 3rd century and does a wonderful job of conveying loads of historical information in a readable, interesting way, mixing in not only political and religious history but even literary history--the discussion of pre-seventh-century Arab poetry is really neat. I picked it up originally because it had a quote from Edward Said on the front (and I am getting so sick of reading Western histories of the Middle East which flaunt their biases on their sleeves--ah yes, Muslims are ALL fanatics, ALL decadent and violent and dangerous, unlike us, OH yes), and it was the first book I saw in the popular history section that made use of historical quotes from Arabs as opposed to relying solely on quotes from European travelers (not always the most reliable source of information, to say the least). It's interesting and a good read...and, really, what more can anybody ask?

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