The Bibliophile's Guide to 42

42 - the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.” ~ 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams

Three years ago, during the final week of my notice period, if someone had come up to me and said...

“Hey you! All the best for your sabbatical! Hope you find whatever it is you're seeking.

By the way, something weird happened last night. A little green man paid me a visit in my dreams. He claimed to be from the future and kept ranting about the world shutting down in 2020. Crazy, right?

In addition, he asked me to pass along a message to you. Now I really can't remember the whole thing verbatim but there was this bit about no paychecks for the next thirty-six months, at least...”

...I would have dashed straight to my manager and taken my resignation back.

Now, I don't consider myself to be superstitious (or gullible), but at that point in time, my rear end had been on the fence for quite a while, while the refrain of "Should I stay or should I go?" echoed in my mind all day, all night.

So any ill omens appearing at that stage, however illogical, would've punctured that hot-air balloon before lift-off. The one filled with my 'gap year' fantasies of exploring Life, the Universe and Everything...

But no little green men showed up in anyone's dreams. Else, instead of typing out these words, I would've still been wondering "What If?" - a question which had haunted me for most of the latter half of my first billion seconds on Earth.


Hi! My name is Nitin, and I am a bibliophile.

As someone who himself prefers books to people, it behooves me to offer you an option upfront to check out my guide to the greatest book in the galaxy instead of scrolling through this take on Life, the Universe and Everything from my point of view.

[Find the Best of the Guide to the Guide at the bottom of this post]

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” ~ Ford Prefect, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams

Illusion (noun) - 'a distortion of the senses, which can reveal how the human brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation.'

Let's assume that my whole lifetime (past, present, future) is squeezed into a standard 9-to-6 work day.

In this scenario, it could be said that after putting in my hours serving the system for the first half, I stepped out for a leisurely lunch in August 2017.

This portion of my resume (dated April 2020) is called 'Lunchtime'

I hadn't planned on indulging in such a full-blown feast for my mid-life meal but as John Lennon once crooned, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

In hindsight, especially with the established world order crumbling almost overnight this March, I'm glad I did.

Never before had I spent so much quality time with myself, family, friends and strangers across geographies and lifestyles, on my own terms, one day at a time.

Never again, at least for the foreseeable future, definitely not face-to-face.

The Greatest-Of-All-Time advice in the Galaxy

During my 'lunch' break, I was either 'On The Road' or 'At Home'.

While 'On The Road', quite a few quirky habits were cultivated. These are the top two from the long list... -

  1. I noted down the names of everyone I met, but refrained from spending any further time writing or documenting my days.

  2. I clicked random photos of anything and everything that caught my fancy, but never shared them on any social media platform.

My rationale was simple; if I was in a novel corner of the planet on my own time, I wanted to maximize my experiences by immersing myself in it, with minimal interference from the world beyond.

The list of names also ran into the early thousands

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” ~ Douglas Adams

Looking back, certain bits of the 'At Home' portions of my break turned out to be brilliant practice for this current indefinite lockdown situation.

After the first 12 months of my self-stipulated 'gap year' ended, I kept setting deadlines for finishing the first draft of my quasi-fictional novel.

As it turns out, I love deadlines as well. Whooooosh!

The lunch break kept getting extended. Not that I could really complain. Each day brought something new...

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ John Lennon

I don't like people less. I just love books more.

Somehow I continued meeting people, both old and new, face-to-face, at a frequency never experienced before...

...while devouring books at a rate not witnessed since college days; a bibliophile's dream come true.

“If everything in my life had to happen in order for today to happen, I'm glad everything happened. Every single thing - the good, the not-so-good, even the completely avoidable.” ~ Me, every single evening, for the past three years and counting...

Call it a delayed epiphany or 2020 vision, but I've come to realize that Life, the Universe and Everything is nothing but an illusion.

It's up to the individual to decide whether he/she/it wishes to subscribe to the standard template set by society, or to create his/her/its own.

Hence, on the day when my corner of the world shut down, I finally paid heed to the sage advice offered not once, but twice by Guns N' Roses.

I used my illusion to create Project Bibliotherapy, an initiative with a simple mission - to chase the lockdown blues away, the only way I knew how - one book at a time.

“There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.” ~ Unknown

I've been blessed enough with a support system of family and friends who've always been there for me, despite not completely understanding what I'm up to.

Without them, I wouldn't have been able to stretch my lunch money for as long as I eventually did. Luck, minimalism and frugality also helped.

And now, courtesy Ritesh, Samir and the rest of the ScrollStack team, I've got a sound platform to start my second innings, post-Lunch.

Some of my upcoming experiments with Bibliotherapy will attempt to fulfill my childhood fantasy of earning a paycheck doing something I really enjoy - writing.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.” ~ Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I'm no professional writer, but I've read a fair bit. And through words written for my 'sanity project', I've been nudging folks to READ MORE.

So here is a preview of the post which ended the 36-month-long 'gap year' and offered me a glimpse at the road ahead...


A curated compilation of the best the Internet has to offer revolving around the greatest book in the galaxy and its brilliant creator, Douglas Noel Adams.

Find links to 42-plus 'wholly remarkable' resources of the textual/ visual/ aural/ miscellaneous/ random kind - all in one place for handy access.

Here is a preview for your reading pleasure containing a few essential excerpts from The Bibliophile's Guide to H2G2.

H2G2 - 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams.

A book about that 'wholly remarkable and highly successful book' - the one with 'the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.'

Greetings, fellow inhabitants of the Universe.

Welcome to 'the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom' about the greatest book in the galaxy.

'For though it [also] has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate', it attempts to compile the best of what the Internet has to offer regarding the source of 42.

If somehow you're unaware about the existence of this timeless treasure, DON'T PANIC!

Keep scrolling for a few spoiler-free reasons to pick it up for your next read.

If you don't live under a rock and have heard about 'The Trilogy in Five Parts', don't be daunted by its size.

Just read the first three chapters of the first book before taking a call whether to immerse yourself into one of the funnier takes on Life, the Universe and Everything. (Please note, 'or not' is not an option.) Always remember, 'RESISTANCE IS USELESS!!'

But if you are a hoopy frood and 'know where your towel is', SHARE AND ENJOY!!!

Meco, Portugal - A sliver of Santraginus V on Earth

Also, before we proceed, please note - most of the curated links below lead to content absolutely free to consume, all of which belongs to the respective creators.

Thank you for your support. Any grievances might be redirected to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Division. Now go ahead - SHARE AND ENJOY!!!

~ Your hoopy neighbourhood bibliophile.

“The Guide has appeared in so many forms - books [1979-1992], radio [1978-2018], a television series [1981, 2021?], records and soon to be a major motion picture [2005] - each time with a different story line that even its most acute followers have become baffled at times.” ~ Douglas Adams, 'Introduction to the Omnibus Edition' (1985)

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"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has- or rather had- a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches..." . - Douglas Adams ‘The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - A Trilogy of Five’ (1979-92) @panmacmillan . Already read this? Awesome! Now… .🗨️Head over to @herecomesthesunofficial to participate in their Shiny Happy Book Club for March, in association with @booksontoast .📚READ IT AGAIN, with Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) and ‘Don’t Panic’, his official companion to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy .🎧Feast your ears on a) the audiobook by the magnificent @stephenfryactually and b) the original @bbc radio 4 dramatization. On @audible .📚Discover the sixth book in the ludicrously inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, ‘And Another Thing..’ by @eoincolfer, the @artemisfowl guy .➕Don’t panic. Contribute to the guide in the comments instead... (:

A post shared by Project Bibliotherapy (@project.bibliotherapy) on

Since Day One of Project Bibliotherapy, I've been nudging the world to read (or re-read) the books, especially now in 2020 when the first three apocalyptic chapters of Book One seem to be coming true.


I recently discovered the existence of Part Six of Three penned by Eoin Colfer in 2010 - 'And Another Thing...' and promptly added it to my ever-expanding To-Read List.

[add to library --> And Another Thing... - Eoin Colfer]

Also, I urge you to treat yourself to an aural feast - Stephen Fry narrating H2G2; my gateway to the world of audiobooks this lockdown.

“There's another [model of how online magazines would work] which will probably arrive as soon as it becomes possible to move virtual cash around the Internet, and that will involve readers being billed tiny amounts of money for the opportunity to read popular Web pages.

Much less than you would, for instance, regularly spend on your normal newspapers and magazines because you wouldn't have to be paying for all the trees that have to be pulped, the vans that have to be fuelled and the marketing people whose job it is to tell you how brilliant they are.

The reader's money goes straight to the writer, with a proportion to the publisher of the Web site, and all the wood can stay in the forests, the oil can stay in the ground, and all the marketing people can stay out of the Groucho and let decent folk get to the bar.” ~ Douglas Adams, 'What have we got to lose?' (HotWired, 1995)

Mind=Blown!!! 25 years later, Enter ScrollStack...

“We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself.

What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.” ~ Douglas Adams, 'Parrots, the Universe and Everything' (April 5th, 2001 || University of California - Santa Barbara)

This video still has less than a million views. HOW?

This was his last public appearance before he tragically passed away a month later.

One hour, twenty-seven minutes of pure wit and intelligence - available a click away for over 12 years, yet still only experienced by a handful of people.

Sigh. We, as humanity, do not deserve Douglas Adams.

“Thursday night, he came to entertain 800 people in a packed Campbell Hall with his talk, “Parrots, the Universe and Everything.”

The talk was based on Adams’s favorite, and least successful, book: Last Chance to See.” ~ Brendan Buhler

'Crowd of 800 Gets ‘Last Chance to See’ Author Douglas Adams' - Brendan Buhler' (The Daily Nexus - April 6th, 2001)

(Read Now on Kindle --> Douglas Adams & Mark Carwardine - 'Last Chance to See: A Journey in search of our most precious and endangered animals')

“Towel Day is celebrated every year on 25th May as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams by his fans.

On this day, fans openly carry a towel with them, as described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author.

The commemoration was first held 25th May, 2001, two weeks after Adams's death on 11th May at the age of 49.”

"You reached for the secret too soon..."

Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek, especially Parrots, the Universe and Everything...

Treat yourself to a whole lot more DNA & H2G2 awesomeness by checking out the full post below...

So long and thanks for all the fish :)

SHARE AND ENJOY! - Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Name. One book/author/topic on your reading list for 2021. Email. Phone number (optional). That’s all.
Sign up below to READ MORE this year and beyond... :)

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Edit- We have moved to Razorpay for payments within India. For readers outside India: Sign up for $25/year to unlock access to the following benefits Benefits: 1. 42: The Curious Reader's Companion (4 Volumes) - Each volume has 42 pages that lead to handpicked essays, articles, short stories, poems, webcomics, interviews, podcast episodes, newsletters, videos and other rabbit-holes from our internet explorations. 2. Access to Monthly Readathons and the Readers of 42 Library on Substack - Receive 1 handpicked read from our Reader Companions via email at 6:42 AM IST daily from the 1st to the 14th of every month. 3. Access to the 'Readers of 42' WhatsApp private broadcast - Stay updated through our admin-only group. (No spam, we promise) 4. Access to all our offline and online Reader Experiences - Meet fellow readers at our Guided Reading Meditations, bookstore mixers, and live streams with priority invites at special prices. 5. Exclusive early access to future endeavours

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