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The Best Short Stories of Mark Twain

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4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  382 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Mark Twain was known as a great American short-story writer as well as novelist and humorist. This collection of eighteen of his best short stories, from the well known to the lesser known, displays his mastery of Western humor and frontier realism. The stories also show how Twain earned his place in American letters as a master writer in the authentic native idiom. He was ...more
Audio CD
Published July 1st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1989)
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Ob-jonny
Jun 30, 2011 Ob-jonny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mix of comedy and some hard lessons about life, this was a fascinating set of short stories. Some of the stories seemed to be way ahead of their time with the eccentric sense of humor showing up way back in the 1860s. There was one story about a crazy newspaper editor that wanted to write stories about some of the inhabitants of the town to make them all sound like terrible people. It sounded just a little like some of William S. Burroughs works. The diaries of Adam and Eve were funny because ...more
Ernest
Jul 24, 2010 Ernest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Twain is truly one of America's greatest writers. Not only that, he was also a master raconteur in real life. It was actually he who first opened my interest to the study of human nature and psychology. Mark Twain, for me, feels like the very embodiment of what it is to be human. His life's triumphs and struggles, his books, his stories... I truly wish he were my grandfather -- or father for that matter. I don't care. I absolutely love him.
Carly
Jul 11, 2008 Carly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these stories were really great. I didn't read every story, but here are some of my favorites. If you can only read one, I would go with "The Stolen White Elephant". It is absurd, ridiculous, and therefore hysterical. I also loved, "The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm", "Eve's Diary", "Extracts from Adam's Diary", and "The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg". If you read, "Punch, Brothers, Punch", beware that you run the risk of having it forever stuck in your head...
Rachel
Feb 21, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a native Missourian, I've been raised to consider just about anything Mark Twain has ever written as good-as-gold. Though I tried to limit my Show-Me State bias, I have to admit that I genuinely loved the diaries of Adam and Eve; they are unique, charming, and really just beautiful stories. Also, "How I Edited an Agricultural Paper Once","The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm", and "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed" made me laugh out loud more than a few times (which was maybe a ...more
☮Karen
3.5
Short stories from the late 1800's--not my usual fare. I just wanted to listen to the Adam and Eve parts really, and those were definitely my fav; but I ended up sitting through them all. Many stories on mankind being human, and the frustrations of everyday life. I got his points early on in the stories, but some went on long after, really driving it home and then some. Anyway, most of the stories made me smile and I enjoyed hearing the different uses of words, a bit more formal language the
...more
Tyler Jones
Twain, at his best, pointed out the folly of society with such humour that people could laugh at themselves while they laughed at the whole situation. There was a mischievous twinkle in his eye. But in later years what was mischievous became almost malevolent, and the twinkle disappeared. I am one of those who find the bitterness of some of the "dark stories", particularly The $30,000 Bequst to be so overwhelming as to be the spiteful rants of an old crank best avoided.

Of particular interest to
...more
Cmeread
Mar 14, 2017 Cmeread rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Punch in the presence of the Pass-En-Ger"
Tommy Baker
Jan 03, 2017 Tommy Baker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While reading this I found myself thinking ridiculous understatements like "hey, this Mark Twain is pretty good!"
But story after story in this collection offers something surprising. Even "Cannibalism in the Cars" managed to catch me off guard, even with cannibalism right in the title. "Political Economy" is completely different from what you'd imagine with that title and it's dry first paragraph. My favorite was probably "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed" which, like "Life On the M
...more
Amanda Jaczkowski
Sep 22, 2016 Amanda Jaczkowski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Unique" is definitely a word to describe this collection of short stories. Ranging from the stock market to cannibalism, these stories are completely off the wall with just enough realism to make you read as if it was happening in real life. Fast paced, as short stories should be, this collection makes for an easy read.
Ash Ryan
It takes a special kind of narrator to make an audiobook by Mark Twain almost boring, but Robin Field nearly manages it. To be fair, some of his voice characterizations when doing dialogue are quite good, but his straight narration is pretty dull. Still, Twain's writing is generally good enough that once you get accommodated to the lackluster reading after a couple of stories or so, you're able to just enjoy it on the strength of its own merits.[return][return]Included here are some of the stand ...more
Philip
Sep 04, 2012 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mark Twain fans
Classic Mark Twain, but some were better than others. I enjoyed The story of the bad little boy who didn't come to grief, Journalism in Tennessee, The story of the good little boy who did not prosper, The McWilliamses and the burglar alarm, and others - some were very funny and/or insightful. Eve's diary, Extracts from Adam's diary, The man that corrupted Hadleyburg, The $30,000 bequest and some of the others definitely had some redeeming qualities, but they didn't move me as much. If I was read ...more
Tai Tai
Jul 22, 2011 Tai Tai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
side-splitting! Must reads: The Facts Concerning The Recent Carnival Of Crime In Connecticut (this is the one where Twain confronts his conscience), Excerpts from Adam's (the book of genesis fame) Diary, and the one where he has a burglar alarm installed in the house. side-splitting! Must reads: The Facts Concerning The Recent Carnival Of Crime In Connecticut (this is the one where Twain confronts his conscience), Excerpts from Adam's (the book of genesis fame) Diary, and the one where he has a ...more
Mark Valentine
Jan 17, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most know Twain from his longer fiction and for his speeches but this collection of his short stories, I found, is essential reading. Like chinks in a Missouri log cabin, it will fill in the openings on the wall of understanding the master.

The editor, Larry Berkove, explained to me the rationale behind the photograph on the cover--it was thought to show the whole truth of who Twain was, to get below the surface, that the long johns airing in the wind wound up exposed on the book's cover.
Chris Norbury
Apr 04, 2013 Chris Norbury rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring writers, fans of American literature
Interesting collection of stories by a master storyteller. A joy to immerse onself in the beauty of a well-turned phrase, rich detail, subtle humor, and sarcastic pokes at politics and the privileged.

That said, modern day readers will struggle with slow pacing and what we call today "overwriting." Not everyone's cup of tea, but serious writers and aspiring writers must read authors like Twain to understand the history of popular literature.
Kimberly Burnham
This book with The Innocents Abroad are my two favorite pieces of Mark Twain. I love the challenge of seeing ourselves at the center of the universe and assumptions we make about he after life as portrayed in Captain Stormfield's visit to heaven. Mud our planet is called in Heaven, instead of Earth and if you don't make it to the right gate they may not even be able to find the part of Heaven for the inhabitants of Mud. Hilarious and serious both at the same time.
Maggie Hesseling
Nov 26, 2016 Maggie Hesseling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Allen
May 31, 2010 David Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An impressive collection of Twain's short(ish) fiction, from the early tall tales to the later dark masterpieces. The early work is full of comic exaggeration; the later work explores humanity's failings, especially greed and hypocrisy, with lacerating satire and surprising imagination. The result shows the full range of Twain's genius. Plus, it's pretty hilarious.
Alex Lane
Feb 04, 2008 Alex Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most entartaining short story collections I have read. Twain is like the Spielberg of storytelling. My favorite story is called the $100,000 Bank Note (or is it $1,000,000?) about a homeless man who recieves the note on a dare and can't spend it but gets everything on loan because people assume he's rich. Twain's stories often revolve around money.
Kendra
Jul 14, 2009 Kendra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mix of classic and lesser known stories. This selection shows Twain was not just a comic writer - he could also be a very serious and dark writer as well. The unfinished story "The Great Dark" haunted me for days after reading it, making me wish I could read a complete version. If you're looking for an introduction to Mark Twain, this is a good place to begin.
Zach Flint
Jan 13, 2012 Zach Flint rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Good ole' Sam cracks me up. My favorite was by far the diaries of adam and eve. It was thoroughly clever and sarcastic with a hint of edgyness. The humor of Mr. Twain has stood the tests of time and he will always remain a favorite of mine.
Margaret Heller
Aug 07, 2010 Margaret Heller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, victorian, humor
Took me awhile to get through this because when Twain is dark he is very dark, and I could only handle it in small doses throughout the last few crazy months. Excellent though. Kind of stuff that you want to read over and over, and I admit I cried a bit at several stories.
Sarah
May 28, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on Playaway and it was an excellent reminder of what an incredible writer Mark Twain was. He has a talent for storytelling and quite a wit for sarcasm. I plan to introduce Mark Twain to my son soon.
Ira Burton
Mar 22, 2010 Ira Burton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recreational
I love Mark Twain's more common work such as Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, so thought I would give this collection a try, and it did not disappoint. Humorous, insightful, and disturbing stories carefully woven together to make a beautiful book.
Andrew
May 31, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some stories hit the spot more than others, but it's hard to argue that Twain isn't one of the most brilliant, ahead of his times guys that ever graced America. His writing withstands the test of time. I'm a bit embarrassed that this and Huck Finn (in high school) are all that I have read.
Tim
Jun 22, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After 150 years these stories still hold up. Twains wit and satire are all there. My favorites are ADAM'S DIARY and EVE'S DIARY.
Brandie
The first half was more entertaining than the second half.

Even my 10 year old was chuckling at some of these stories!

Mark Twain was quite the funny guy and that comedy still works today!

=)
Brent Barnard
Jun 18, 2012 Brent Barnard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's no one as great as Twain. I do prefer, however, the longer and more classic Twain books like Roughing It, Huckleberry Finn, etc.
Michael Tarpinian
I really like the Adam and Eve diaries. Clever if theologically errant. How I edited an Agricultural Paper and the one about the Burglar Alarm were clever and funny.
Cassie
Most of the stories were a bit boring, but there were a couple that were really interesting. "Extracts from Adam's Diary" was definitely my favorite.
Blake Greene
Jul 31, 2013 Blake Greene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twain is the funniest writer I have ever experienced. He loves to build a fun house for readers to wander around in that never seems to lead him or her to an exit.
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Short Stories in this edition: 1 1 Jan 15, 2015 03:12PM  
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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
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“It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for hisself if he’d lived, for the stuff was in him, and he had genius—I know it, because he hadn’t had no opportunities to speak of, and it don’t stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances, if he hadn’t no talent.” 1 likes
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