Mark Twain's Notebooks: Journals, Letters, Observations, Wit, Wisdom, and Doodles

Edited by Carlo De Vito. Black Dog & Leventhal (Workman, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (356p) ISBN 978-1-57912-997-2
Samuel Clemens fans—and even those who are lukewarm on the writer—will be entertained and enchanted by this charming collection of his notes, letters, sketches, and general musings. Clemens began to keep notebooks at age 21 when he was an aspiring steamboat cub pilot, and it became "an enduring practice." Readers will find handwritten letters (fortunately transcribed), notes on the inspirations for Huck Finn, and Clemens's opinions on typewriters and fellow authors Dickens, Whitman, and Austen (not a fan). The quotes included amply illustrate Clemens's eccentric sense of humor, as with his lesson on morality, "Be good + you will be lonesome," or the note to intruders that he left at his front door after a burglary. There's a menu card from his 70th birthday (the salad was "celery mayonnaise") and a "Recipe for Long Life" that includes smoking in bed and "Never Exercised" notes. The Mark Twain–related advertising that De Vito includes is entertaining, and the merchandising opportunities (including board games, cigars, scrapbooks, and flour) are inspired. What editor De Vitohas compiled, in this age of short and speedy communication, is a welcome invitation to spend a leisurely afternoon paging through a great writer's odds and ends. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 356 pages - 978-1-60376-402-5
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