Another double book review. But first, an explanation of why.

watershipdownTwo weeks ago, Teresa and I took off to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a family vacation with her parents and siblings.  The coast there is really something to see.  There are large spans of sand, roughly 100 yards, from the shore to large dunes that crest before civilization.  Beyond those dunes are houses and other man made dwellings where people set up shop.  It’s ultimately one of the most hurricane prone areas in the US and on more than one occasion they’ve been hit hard.

During the trip, I had a lot of time to read.  I actually drove everyone out there from Norfolk, VA, but on flights and at the house we stayed there was a lot of extra time.  Luckily, my parents were willing to watch Stella and Jasper during the trip.

Watership Down is a story about the a young group of rabbits that establishes a new colony, near the geographical area Watership Down, which is in England. The book is written by Richard Adams and covers all the different adventures that happen as they escape their old warren and attempt to find a new place to build a community.

They run into many other animals, including warrens where the rabbits are militant and run it like a jail, a warren where rabbits are strangely secretive but otherwise kind, and others as well.  Hazel, the lead rabbit, struggles to keep authority and do the things needed to keep his group safe.  Meanwhile, Fiver is a smaller rabbit with premonitions regarding potential calamity and Bigwig is a bruising rabbit who came from the former Warren’s Owsla, a term for the inner circle of rabbits who police the greater numbers.

The book is filled with animal slang and knowledge, blithely explaining why the rabbits must do what they do and how they have 1,000 enemies who would eliminate them given the chance.  In the style of Arabian Nights, there are many stories within the story, mostly centered around El-Ahrairah a hero of the rabbits who pulled off incredibly clever ideas and led them through thick and thin.

If you are looking for a great book for kids, or just for yourself, this is a big winner.  It has adventure, morality, action, great writing and storytelling as well as a fun and accessible writing style.  The chapters aren’t too long and the characters are vividly entertaining.  It’s one of the best young person’s books I’ve ever read.

hitchhikerDuring the second part of the trip, I started to read A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Far too many times in the past this has been recommended to me and for whatever reason it took this long for me to actually pick it up.  It’s actually part one of a five part series, so there’s still plenty to read about in the Galaxy.

The book centers around the decimation of Earth and a quest to find a long lost planet where in previous times manufacturing planets was done…including Earth itself.  The reasons Earth is so quickly eliminated is due to municipalities of an intergalactic super highway.  The story finds itself following Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, who happen to be in possession of the book that serves as the title of the tale.

Ultimately, this book offers some very funny and entertaining perspectives on the galaxy and what could be.  The story winds and wanes but all throughout has a critical eye toward humans and our self centered nature.  It’s actually a very quick read and if you like anything about space travel or science fiction, I’d recommend it highly.

Now, those books complete, I’ve started to read Lake Wobegon Days and ordered another seven books, which I’ll certainly detail after reading.