Best of the Day: Towel Day – May 25, 2015

On May 25, pay tribute to Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, and pick up a good sci-fi/fantasy read at Boston’s indie bookstores and comic shops. But most importantly, DON’T PANIC.

Welcome to Best of the Day, our daily recommendation for what to check out around town. If you do one thing in Boston today, consider this.

Attention, hoopy froods: Today is May 25—which means it’s Towel Day: a day that pays tribute to the life and work of Douglas Adams, creator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy universe. Celebrants observe the holiday by carrying a towel, which we all know is just about the most massively useful thing any interstellar hitchhiker can carry. You’re also welcome to don your Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses. But above all else: DON’T PANIC.

This year, Boston appears to be keeping the Towel Day festivities pretty low-key—especially compared to some places. According to the official Towel Day site, Bregenz, Austria, is holding a Zaphod Beeblebrox re-election campaign, while London is hosting not only a London Vogon Poetry Slam but also a road race complete with a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal stop and the opportunity to guzzle Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters.

But anyone who fervently believes that “42” is the answer to life, the universe, and everything will still be in good company to celebrate it in this deeply nerdy city of ours. (After all, Boston is the kind of place that gets way excited about Pi Day and Star Wars Day.)

Towel Day, as it turns out, is not an occasion reserved solely for Hitchhiker’s Guide devotees. Before it was chosen to commemorate Douglas Adams after his untimely death in 2001, May 25 was already recognized for its sci-fi significance, being the day that Star Wars debuted in theaters in 1977.

And, as Towel Day’s organizers remind us, “If you’re a Terry Pratchett fan, don’t forget to ‘wear the lilac’ on May 25th along with your towel, especially this year.” As the author of the 40-volume Discworld series, Pratchett can be credited with creating a fantasy universe even more vast than the world of Hitchhiker’s Guide. Since 2008, following the announcement of Pratchett’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (which he died from this past March), fans have chosen May 25 as a day to wear lilacs to promote Alzheimer’s research and to celebrate “Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love, and a Hard-Boiled Egg!”

Dirk Gently

Cover of Dirk Gently

Considering the literary pedigree of Towel Day, it seems the best way to celebrate it might be to simply curl up (or sprawl out) with a good book. In dire need of an infusion of sci-fi? Check out Boston’s best indie bookstores, who can hook you up with everything from Adams to Zahn. It’s also a fine time to pick up IDW’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, a brand-new comic book adaptation of Adams’s “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-whodunnit-time-travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic”—and Boston has plenty of great comic book stores that can help you out with that.