Roughing It

By Mark Twain,

Book cover of Roughing It

Book description

The celebrated author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn mixes fact and fiction in a rousing travelogue that serves as “a portrait of the artist as a young adventurer.”*
 
In 1861, young Mark Twain found himself adrift as a newcomer in the Wild West, working…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Roughing It as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Mark Twain is my writing idol. Before Roughing it, I’d never read a book written during the Civil War era which didn’t take sides and grind axes. From it, I learned detachment, that personal adventures can live side-by-side with even the most earth-shattering events. And that hilarious stories like “Bemis and the Buffalo” are the best antidote for the chaos and pain of war.

To be honest, Mark Twain almost didn’t make this list. Despite being considered America’s greatest satirical author (and some might say the greatest author, period), as well as ostensibly the father of stand-up comedy (Twain was touring around doing live monologue shows a century before anyone coined the term “stand-up”) I had a hard time finding any of his pieces that actually made me laugh out loud. Yes, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is well-written and was likely hysterical in its day. But I had to dig deep to find something both timeless and gut-splitting.

I found…

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