The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain
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The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  4,219 ratings  ·  124 reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. Gathers all 60 of Twains stories, including tall tales, mysteries, sketches, and tales of travel. Bantam Classics Edition.
Hardcover, 848 pages
Published March 1st 1984 by Turtleback Books (first published 1957)
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Kurt
Feb 23, 2013 Kurt rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kurt by: Amazon Vine
(I wrote a positive review for the Amazon Vine program because the Amazon community tends to leave harsh comments on negative reviews, but this Goodreads review will highlight all of the good points I honestly shared.. with more balance on how bad the bad parts were)

Seriously, this is over 700 pages of folksy humor and wisdom. No one needs that much Mark Twain except serious scholars, and the rest of us will be fine flipping through this and enjoying a few stories before displaying it on a shelf...more
Martin
**This is a review for the Everyman's Library hardcover edition, with an introduction by Adam Gopnik.

I don't know if it's because I'm Canadian and Mark Twain is more an American staple, but I'd never really been exposed to his work. I know of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but by name only. So I figured reading this collection of short stories would give me a good idea of Mark Twain as a writer.

That said, the 60 stories collected are mostly of the comedy genre, some being downright irreverent....more
Peter
Dec 05, 2008 Peter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: classic, humor, fantasy
To be honest, this was sort of a "desperation" book; one of many that I've picked up from the three for a dollar room at the Boston Book Annex, which is down the street.

At three for a buck I can pick up all sorts of odd books that I wouldn't normally try. The Twain book doesn't really fall into that category, of course; I've read a fair amount of Twain. But the thing about this edition was that it was over 600 pages long with small type; it was very compact.

Anyway, I grabbed the Twain collection...more
Patra
All of Mark Twain's stories read all at once was a bit too much. He is so sarcastic that after reading one story after another you begin to feel this negative vibe for the world. Some of his short stories standing on their own were excellent. I enjoyed, A Day at Niagara, Journalism in Tennessee, A Medieval Romance and Buck Fanshaw's Funeral to name a few. Most of the ones I enjoyed, were written early on in Mark Twain's career. My least favorites came at the end when he seemed to become so negat...more
Jen Six
I was one of those rare people that had somehow never read an actual Twain book. I remember there was a man dressed as Twain who came to our school and did his one man show, that was about the length of my knowledge. My high school AP english teacher got me addicted to finding quotations and I started a binder for them after years of collecting and noticed quite a few were from Twain. So, finally, when my son was born, I went out and bought Huckberry Finn, and Tom Sawyer, but grabbed this book f...more
Kathryn
I started reading this collection as my bedtime reading just after the start of the new year; it took me this long to read the book because Mark Twain wrote a lot of short fiction. I very much enjoyed my reading, and only wish that Twain had not become somewhat bitter as he grew older.

The Introduction to the volume, by Charles Neider, is rather dated (written in 1957), but a good preface to Twain’s writing. The stories begin, of course, with “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, and...more
Alex Telander
For anyone who’s grown up in the United States, you’ve more than likely been exposed to Mark Twain in one form or another, whether it’s having read one or more of his books in high school, seeing a biographical story about him on TV, or hearing one of the many hundreds of references about him; to many his is the quintessential “Great American Author.” And just a little over a century after his passing, Everyman’s Library has released a beautiful hardcover edition collecting all of his short stor...more
Patrick Oden
Apr 05, 2007 Patrick Oden rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of good, witty, intelligent short stories
Shelves: fiction
One of the shames of literature in our era is that Mark Twain is primarily taught as and known for his novels, especially Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Now, I'll tell you straight, I found Tom Sawyer boring and Huck Finn almost unreadable. Twain was a decent novelist. His travel nonfiction books are better. He was an amazing short story writer. If you haven't read Twain's short stories you are missing out on his true brilliance, insight, wit, and ability. "Some Learned Fables, For Good Old Boys And...more
Sandra Strange
What a range--from fun adventure to humorous, gently satirical stories, to bitingly bitter pieces from a "pen warmed up in hell" ! These stories really show Twain in all of his moods, and are really fun reading.
Margaret Everett
I have read this book several times. It is undoubtedly the funniest book I have ever read (parts of it)
I would lay in bed crying it was so funny. The same thing when I read it the second time.
Amanda Marshall
I love Mark Twains' wit. The way he spins sarcasm and humor makes him one of my favorite writers of all time. I would love to have met this great man!
Jane Bozman
I have a set of these stories passed down from my great grandfather--the COMPLETE in this title is one of Twain's clever little jokes.
Liz
Mark Twain's mind must have been a crazy place. The characters he invented are all eccentric and over-the-top. This collection of stories is not quite complete - it's missing a few - but it has all of the most popular stories.

Each story is a little bit fantastic. The bantering, accented dialogue sounds so real that it's hard to believe that all of the characters and their distinctive voices came from one man's mind. My favorites are What Stumped the Blue Jays, The Diary of Adam and Eve, 1,000,00...more
An Odd1
When newspapers serials sell by "continues ..", authors yank up guffaws, groans, titters, tears, tack on more, and more. Start silly #54 "My father was a St Bernard, my mother was a colllie, but I am a Presbyterian" p 489. End sad "the humble little friend is gone where go the beasts that perish 1903" p 497. Begin #51 with an abused wife, add bloodhound specially-abled son who writes her letters of vengeance, push chase over the edge of cliff onto wrong target, slap on Sherlock Holmes, string hi...more
Bojan Tunguz
It is hard to write a review of a book by one of the most famous writers of all time (in any language), especially since literally criticism is not exactly my forte. So I’ll try to make this review brief.

Mark Twain is best known for his long novels, especially Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but he was also a master of that quintessentially American genre of short story writing. Some of the stories in this collection are indeed masterpieces, and have for years been included in most short ficti...more
Nick
Oct 19, 2007 Nick rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who loves to read a short 20 minute story
so far the book has had some weird stories but they are all completely understandable. they have had some very interesting stories. in the first story i had read, the title had given me a bit of a hint as to what the story was to be about. it had contained the word cannibal, which had me a little shocked but i had read on knowing that it would be a good story because it was written by mark twain. as the story unfolds i am hinted to the fact that people are being sacrificed i beleive for just on...more
Beth Beauvais
I particularly enjoyed "The Story of a Good Boy" and "The Diary of Adam and Eve". I read this book as a teen. I picked stories at random and didn't feel compelled to read it through. In the meantime I read other books and would come back to this collection as I liked. That way I didn't suffer from overload and could enjoy it at my leisure. There's no rule requiring you to read a collection of short stories or poems in order front to back. Have fun. Mix it up. Enjoy at your own pace. :)
richard
Some of the most difficult reading I have encountered. I would not recommend this volume.
I must assume Twain practiced writing through his short stories. His quality results are his novels.

Although many stories started with what seemed like a clever or novel premise, most short stories fell short in development, wandered away from the main theme, or became overly wordy in making a point - often many times over. One other difficulty was following his dialogue. Twain can go on for pages without a...more
Bob Paterson-watt
First read this collection in university and have re-read it twice since. I love the fact that this collection takes us through Twain's development as a writer and experience as a person from early days through old age. The shift from whimsical, light-hearted satire to the the far darker and aggressive cultural criticism is a journey of hundreds of pages and more than 40 years. The contrast from start to finish is striking, but feels a natural progression.
Tim Stiller
"The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain" is a very entertaining read. You get a whopping 60 stories by the master. Highlights for me included the classic "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", "A Story Without an End", "The Stolen White Elephant", "The Story of the Good Little Boy"... I could go on but you get that it's great and will provide a pleasant reading experience. Recommended.
Nathan
This was a lot of fun to read, although many of the stories I had already read in "The Mysterious Stranger and Other Tales" and "The Bible According to Mark Twain."

My only complaint about this is that the stories are presented as chronologically as possible - which is all well and good, but as Twain got older and his writing progressed, he also got more and more bitter. So, as a read, it starts off hilarious and fun and light-hearted and then, about halfway through, the stories start getting mor...more
Jay
It's hard to rate a book containing every short story an author has ever written. Most of them seem to make no sense, mostly because I am so removed from Mark Twain's time. It also seems quite obvious that many of the stories were simply churned out for the newspaper. The most enjoyable part about reading his stories in their publishing order is seeing his progression deeper into misanthropy. In general the stories tend to get longer and longer, and the veil hiding Twain's disgust for mankind ge...more
Chris
It took months, and I read a few books in between, but I finally finished this one. It amazes me how different today's short stories are compared to those of the past. In some ways, I'm glad for the change, and in others--I'm tending to agree with Bradbury more and more: Many are simply slice-of-life garbage.

Twain knew how to tell a story--I would've loved to HEAR him do so. His voice is so strong, yet he can change it with the drop of a hat. He can make you laugh and cry within the same page,...more
blake
A lot of material, and I chose to tackle it in chunks over a couple months because otherwise the stories got monotonous. There are some real gems among these 60: a hilarious lambast of Niagara tourism in "A Day at Niagara;" poking fun at feminine hysterics in "Experience of the McWilliamses with Membranous Croup;" a parody of justice and fairness in "Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale;" and a comic dismantling of military honor in "Luck." I was particularly pleased with his later stories, as...more
John Wiswell
Jul 24, 2008 John Wiswell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Humor readers, literary readers, classics readers
Twain explored the gamut of subjects in short stories. There are very serious, touching tales, like the reflections of a slave on his painless but joyless life. There are quirky and absurd stories, like the opening one narrated by a blue jay. There's a wealth of humor, from small-time scams like "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," to the civilized politics of cannibalism discussed by senators stuck under an avalanche in "Cannibalism in the Cars." The longer stories tend to be more...more
Alexandria
I love this man's humor. At first, I didn't think I would like his writing but I slowly began to appreciate his style. He is great and I strongly recommend reading his stories if you are in the mood for some good witty and sarcastic humor.
Amy Bonnett
I did not read all of the short stories, although over the years, I have read several. I found the stories that we chose for book club to be rather depressing. We read the last story in the book (something with Frogs in the Title). Clearly by this time in Mark Twain's life he was struggling with life and depression. The stories give a good idea of life in America during his era, and the language they used then, but are not riveting. Although he is an acclaimed American author, I don't find much...more
Leslie
It was fun to read some stories from Mark Twain now that I live so close to where he lived part of his life but I have to confess, I'm not a big fan of short stories in general. These were interesting to read - and you could definitely see an evolution in his life in the style and content of his writing. His earlier stories were much lighter and more humorous than the later stories which made sense given that he lost 3 out of 4 children and his wife before he died. His very last story, published...more
Ryan
I really wanted to give this 5 stars, but just couldn't bring myself to be dishonest. This is Mark Twain; these should have been the greatest stories ever written. Many of them were amazing, but they were unfortunately offset by several stories where it seems like Clemens was unsuccessfully experimenting. I shouldn't be critical, he forged the way for many of today's greatest contemporary authors. That experimenting occasionally led to great stories.

I couldn't help but look forward to reading h...more
John Bladek
Mark Twain is still one of the funniest story-tellers a century after his death. He had a keen knowledge of people and their oddities as well as the obsurdity of modern society. His "Journalism in Tennessee" may be one of the funniest stories I've ever read, especially because I spent many an hour reading microfilmed 1850s newspapers from Tennessee and the rest of the South for my disseration. Twain perfectly summed up the combativeness of those firey and verbally inventive 19th century editors...more
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work...more
More about Mark Twain...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Prince and the Pauper A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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