The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
I liked The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so much that it inspired me to write my first book, Clash of the Figments, which was supposed to usher me into my own Douglas Adams prime-time era. It didn’t work out that way, but not because of anything the Guide did wrong.
What makes HHGTTG so odd is that it’s a truly funny novel, and that’s no small feat. The problem with comedy is that when it’s done well it looks effortless, so people tend to think that it is effortless and don’t give it the credit it’s due. I would suggest that it’s a whole lot easier writing good drama than good comedy, which makes what Douglas Adams did that much more remarkable.
If Ford Prefect’s conversation with the bulldozer driver at the beginning of the book seems totally logical to you, keep going. If not, walk away. My guess is you’ll keep going. Most people do. Just stay away from the movie; it was terrible.
And when you finish it, Don’t Panic! – there are three sequels that are almost as good.
(also: the rest of the 4-book trilogy; Tobacco Road; God’s Little Acre, Catch-22)