I have a big soft-spot for Mark Twain. I think he must have been a very humorous man to know and I would love to have an opportunity to pick his brain. He wrote what I think to be one of the best pieces of writing ever: Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses. I should be fair and say that I have only read one of Fenimore Cooper's works, but it was the biggest chore of my life and I hated every moment of it (I read The Pioneers for an English class in college).
The fact that Mark Twain cites the first offense as, "That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the "Deerslayer" tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air."
What's not to love?
Twain has also critiqued a lot of other works and I always find his reviews to be honest and wonderful to read. He had this to say about Austen: “I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Now, I love Pride and Prejudice, but really, how can you not love Twain for his honest review?
Anyway, I only have two Twain titles on my list: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I have read both countless times and adore them each for different reasons. But Tom? I have a soft spot for Tom Sawyer. I would love to have a little boy as smart and as clever as Tom. I mentioned as such to Matt when I told him I was reading this and he looked at me like I was insane (But at least Matt knew who he was, as Tom Sawyer is one of the books our school district required everyone to read in the eighth grade).
The last time I read this it was for fun a few summers ago. My copy is pretty battered, but I love it anyway. There is a large essence of childhood and youth lingering around Tom Sawyer and I hope I can recapture some of that as I read through it once again.