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Thread: Other Twain Novels?

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    Other Twain Novels?

    I've only read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer and I'd like to know what you think are his better novels/works? I'd like to read more of him he wrote so much and those two books seem to overshadow everything else he wrote that I don't know where to start. I've been thinking maybe Puddin' Head Wilson or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. I know his travel essays are supposed to be good as well. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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    I completely agree with the OP, in that I'm in the exact same situation. I've read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Now what? I know he's written plenty of other stuff, but is it all worth reading? Is some work better than the other? It's odd how you never hear anything about his other stuff. Really, I'd just like to read something of Twain's not focusing on kids.

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    Just to get the ball rolling, I'll offer some of my meager insight/experience on this topic.

    I've heard Innocents Abroad is really good, and that would be the next thing I get by Twain, probably, whenever I'm in that mood again. I have read Roughin' It, and that was absolutely fantastic, but towards the end it got to be a somewhat darker read, and his time in Hawaii wasn't as fun as the Wild West sort of stuff, etc. I think I finished it, but can't honestly remember. I'd definitely recommend that one, though--the writing is just great--and you might like the later parts more than I did. Worst comes to worst, you could just stop and move on to something else once the book stops being enjoyable (it's a big book, a travelogue, and so you wouldn't be missing out on plot resolution).

    Also, he's got a lot of great short stories. I know that's not what you're looking for in the OP exactly, but I just want to mention that a collection of those might be nice to pick up at some point. I'd research which collection is best, though... I once had a collection seemed a little uneven to me, probably because it was too comprehensive--or maybe because I wasn't in the right mood or something--this was years ago. Not to say I thought any of the stories were terrible, but I think I had previously owned/borrowed a partial "best of" collection that was pretty much nothing but hilarious stories. It might just be me, though, and how things seemed to me at different times. Anyhow, a little research might be a good idea, maybe other people could help decide which collection is best (or maybe there's some online list/ranking of best stories somewhere that could help guide you, once you've bought a "complete" collection).
    Last edited by billl; 09-20-2011 at 12:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billl View Post
    Also, he's got a lot of great short stories.
    I really like Twain's short stories. I have "The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain", ISBN 9780553211955. My favorite is "A Medieval Romance"; the ending is the most creative I think I've ever read.

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    The Connecticut Yankee is great, and his autobiographical books, 'Life on the Mississippi and Roughing It are excellent. His short stories are good. Some of his other fiction doesn't make if, but it'sworthwhile to try any of it, because somepeople do like Tom Sawyer Detective and other such things. All of his works are in the public domain, so don't waste money on them.

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    Cool I have read about all of Twain, and most of it is very good ....

    For novels, try Pudd'nhead Wilson, then A Connecticut Yankee. the latter is his best after Huckleberry. Wilson is a good read also, but A Conecticut Yankee is superlative. His young adult book, the Prince and the Pauper, about the exchange in identities between a young, rascally London pauper and the equally young Edward VI, son of Henry VIII, is a good read no matter what your age.

    His biographical work is exemplified by Life on the Mississippi, which covers Twain's training to become a pre-Civil War river-boat pilot. Roughing It is about Twain's life in the silver/gold (?) fields of Nevada. This is where Twain wrote his great short story, The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. On the submission of this story his where Twain invented his nom de plume of Mark Twain.

    His two travel books: The Innocents Abroad and A Tramp Abroad show Twain's development as a humorist. While Innocents Abroad was written early in his career, it is worth reading. A Tramp Abroad demonstrates Twain's acquired skill using irony and hyperbole. His suggestion of climbing the Eiger in evening clothes is hilarious. When he wrote this, I don't think US evening clothes had been termed a Tuxedo as yet.

    Twain was like Hemingway in that his short stories are some of his best work. These fill a complete volume by themselves, and should not be neglected. The Notorious Jumping Frog and The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg are among his best. As far as wasting money on Twain, it can't be better spent. I just spent the better part of a thousand dollars rebinding Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Life on the Mississippi, all illustrated by the great Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton. But Twain is worth it.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by dfloyd; 09-20-2011 at 01:29 PM.

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    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    For those with a smaller amount of disposable income than dfloyd, there's The Unabridged Mark Twain, two inexpensive and very thick trade paperbacks that contain everything he wrote. They're not too hard to find used. There are also one-volume Unabridged collections of the complete Edgar Allen Poe and Jack London.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    I always forget that Twain wrote The Prince and the Pauper.

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    Thanks for all the recommendations. This was exactly what I was hoping for.

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    Registered User Brett Cottrell's Avatar
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    Puddin' Head Wilson is great.

    "Roughing It" is awesome. Not fiction, but Twain at his best. It's his writings and musings on his early years in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, gold mining in Nevada, living in San Francisco...and his discussion of his time in Hawaii (sandwich islands) is funny. He's a great wit - don't just stick to his fiction.
    http://brettcottrell.blogspot.com/

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    "Letters From the Earth: Uncensored Writings by Mark Twain" is an absolutely fabulous collection of satirical stories, the most daring being the title selection, which provides a series of letters from Satan, who has been reporting on the happenings on Earth to heaven.
    Last edited by Isla; 09-28-2011 at 07:33 PM.

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