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Wish You Were Here: Th...
 
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Nick Webb
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Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography Of Douglas Adams

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,385 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The definitive and offical biography of author Douglas Adams whose 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' has now sold in excess of 17 million copies.
Published (first published October 6th 2003)
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Krissa
Mar 20, 2007 Krissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chris
This isn't just a must-read for Adams fans, it's also a must-read for writers or any other creative type who enjoys the sweet torture of procrastination - Adams was a master of the genre.

I'm not much of a biographies person but this one is almost like hanging out with Adams, he's that well captured.
Astrid Detlefsen
Besides Humphrey Carpenter's Tolkien-biography this is without a doubt one of the best biographies I have ever read - if it isn't actually the best.
Nick Webb has caught the mood and mannerism of Douglas Adams to perfection, and anyone who's read Hitchhiker's or any of his other books will recognize the whimsical and charming humor inside this one.
Wish You Were Here toes the line between what is personal and what is too personal to tell in a biography, but never once does he cross it and there's
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Michael
Douglas Adams is one of my favorite writers, and I've been a fan of his books since I was about 12 or 13. Ironically, I was introduced to his first book (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) by my older brother, who has no sense of humor whatsoever.

I read this at the same time as reading another Douglas Adams biography, called "Hitchhiker", written by M.J. Simpson. The reason I did this is I wanted to get a more complete sense of the life of my favorite humorist from more than just one viewpoin
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Jason ("jcreed")
A bit rambly but enjoyable.

Personally I find it extremely heartening that one of the funniest, most capable writers of the last few decades was beset by crippling self-doubt as to his abilities or chance of success in the world. Add to that the fact that are plenty of people who just as vastly overestimate their talents, and it just goes to show you never know.

The biography is quite tolerable until the omg-he's-the-greatest quality of it gets to you. It's not like the level of admiration increas
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Mia
Another thrift store find... and a fantastic one at that! Douglas Adams was a difficult genius and Nick Webb did a wonderful job of telling the story in a very even-handed manner. He admits Adams's shortcomings as well as some of his unpublicized triumphs. Webb's writing is also great. A biography has never been so fun! He has a quirky humor, much like Adams, that makes it an enjoyable read. The only bummer is that the book was published before the movie was released - I would have loved to hear ...more
Tracey
It's more of a theme-based biography than strictly chronological & very British (I have got to start using the word "kipple"!). Mr. Webb was also an acquaintance of Douglas & as well as being the "official biographer", he was able to bring some of his personal insights to the work. I learned more about his family background that I remember reading in either the Gaiman or Simpson bios - the section of pictures (if a bit too small) was a lovely addition, as was the list of Douglas' favouri ...more
Naomi
I was surprised constantly through out this book. I really enjoyed reading this book and was very happy to find out about one of my heros, this book made me laugh, cry, giggle like a kid!! It was happy, sad and enlightening and it surprised me in places. I think knowing his work made me enjoy learning about the man behind the answer to life the universe and everything and has made me dust of my old copies of the hitchhikers four book trilogy to reread. But you most definitely don't need to be a ...more
Elizabeth
May 16, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die hard HHGTG fans
Painstakingly researched, and affectionate. Webb acknowledges his seriously pro-Douglas bias, but he makes many excuses for Adams' personality challenges which are a bit grating to read after a while. The early parts of the book are the strongest, focusing on things that happened and anecdotes. I consider myself a great admirer of his work, but not a fanatic, so I was happy to learn about the childhood and adolescent circumstances that shaped one of the funniest English modern writers. The latte ...more
Scott
Fantastic! It takes a little while to get going through some slightly dull plodding about at the start discussing Douglas Adams' family, but it really hits its stride once the great author gets into the picture. Very intelligent and often funny (maybe a bit too much America-bashing from author Webb, ironic as Douglas loved America), this book is straightforward for about half the pages and then goes off the rails in different directions about Adams' life. Appropriate, though, given how full of i ...more
Arminzerella
Apr 21, 2011 Arminzerella marked it as not-going-to-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I made it through the introduction and the first chapter or so (about 50 pages in) before deciding that this wasn't going to work for me. Maybe if Douglas Adams had written it...

What I really wanted to hear was more of his stories, and this was, perhaps, too comprehensive. Let's go back in time and set up the family, talk about how who begat who and all of the myriad relationships. Skipping ahead might have served me better, but I'd already invested my hour or so, and I wasn't interested anymore
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Caryn
I liked it. It did a good job of showing where the zaniness came from, but also told a lot about him that couldn't be inferred from his books. I hadn't realized he was such a bad procrastinator - it's a good measure of how valuable he was to his publisher that they'd go to the lengths they had to, to get him to write something! I'm glad they did, though, and I'll always be sorry he didn't get a chance to delay his way through more books.
Iain Turnbull
Frankly, this was quite disappointing. The subject matter was certainly interesting, but the author's style is appalling - it reads like it was written by a schoolboy at times, with a plethora of completely pointless footnotes. It's also obvious that the author was not nearly detached enough from his subject, and it was more like someone regaling you with tales of an old friend, rather than a subjective biography.
Beth
This is an interesting book, and a must read for any Douglas Adams fan by a longtime friend. It's not chronological, but still organized in a way that makes sense. Behind the scenes anecdotes of everything from H2G2 to Last Chance to See to Starship Totanic.

Also features the best explanation of evolution I've see outside of a biology textbook.
Beth
I still have the last 2 books of the trilogy in five parts to read and now that I've read this, I want to go back and re-read the first three consecutively before finishing out the series. Having some insight into how his writer brain worked wants me to not only refresh my brain on the H2G2 series but read everything else he's written!
Brian Steed
Nick Webb is a fine writer. I can’t find anything else by him on Amazon, so I’m assuming this is his first book. He should do more biographies. I loved the observant and well-phrased asides he scatters throughout the book. He seems as genuinely fascinated by the natural world, literature, and technology as Adams was.
Amber
This was a very comprehensive book, and very entertaining to read. It made me like Douglas Adams all the more, and really makes me want to go back and reread everything he's written! It took me an unusually long time to read for some reason (not a quick read), but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Igor
I'm a big fan of Douglas Adams.
But not obsessed enough to be able to finish this book.

It is done well enough, for sure, and I respect that.
I just cannot finish this book.
I mean, it might actually be longer then The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe...
Francesca
Great personal biography by one of Douglas' friends and colleagues. Vivid portrayal and intimate look at the author whose wit and love of science and obvious curiosity/philosophical interest in life drew me to his Hitchhikers series.
Jeff
Anybody who has to deal with me on any sort of basis, as in ever, should basically consider this book required reading. I also have about the same affinity for lunches, so, you know, buying me one wouldn't be bad for our relationship.
Lisa


Not a bad read, but I really enjoy reading Adams' own work instead of this bio. I really recommend "Salmon of Doubt", not quite a bio, but puts you inside of his head- which is an amusing place to be.
Heather
I loved learning everything I ever wanted/needed to know, or ever wondered about this wacky, charming and brilliant mind. As colorful a guy as one would expect from the author of the laugh out loud classic series.
Charles
Sep 01, 2011 Charles marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Bought a second hand copy for $1. Can't wait to read it! I will probably re-read all the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books again after reading this book.
Mark Bruhn
I miss Douglas Adams, though I preferred his earlier work to his later (I know, this is biography, sue me). He does seem to have been quite a character.
April
eh, i ended up skimming. maybe i just wasn't in the mood for a bio. it did make me want to read more douglas adams though.
Kate Millin
Official biography and a fascinating read and insight to the man - would now like to read the other biography - don't panic
Daniel
This is a great look at the life and times of one of the most important writers--and thinkers--of the last half-century.
Patrick Lum
Neil Gaiman's unofficial biography is better; I feel like the author's presence (not DNA's) is pretty heavy here.
Tanya
Douglas Adams has always made me laugh.
His biography was a wonderful insight into the mind of true genus.
erika
I borrowed this from the library based on Mia's recommendation. So far, I'm really enjoying it.
Vasil Kolev
This was great, makes me want to reread all his books again.
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“long middle finger resembling a twig that it could use for probing for grubs. There is a telling example of convergent evolution when an unrelated species (the Long-Fingered Possum from Papua New Guinea) devised a similar strategy to address the same problem. (Douglas was very intrigued by the implications of convergence. What need is there to posit a designer if the operation of random forces, constrained by the reality of the world, produces the same elegant solution, as if there were no choice in the matter?) We monkeys have” 1 likes
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