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Publisher's Summary

A collection of 23 of Twain's funniest stories and essays, ranging from tongue in cheek to the fantastic. This collection includes:
  • "Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" (1865)
  • "The Story of the Old Ram" (Roughing It, 1872)
  • "Buck Fanshaw�s Funeral" (Roughing It, 1872)
  • "Tom Quartz" (Roughing It, 1872)
  • "What Stumped the Bluejays" (1880)
  • "Journalism in Tennessee" (1869)
  • "How I Edited an Agricultural Paper" (1870)
  • "The Facts in the Great Beef Contract" (1870)
  • "The Great Landslide Case" (1870)
  • "The Canvasser's Tale" (1845)
  • "The Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut" (1876)
  • "Cannibalism in the Cars" (1868)
  • "My Watch" (1903)
  • "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" (1895)
  • "Political Economy" (1870)
  • "The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm" (1882)
  • "The Art of Authorship" (1890)
  • "A Genuine Mexican Plug" (Roughing It, 1872)
  • "Experience of the McWilliamses with Membranous Croup" (1875)
  • "First Interview with Artemus Ward" (1875)
  • "Punch, Brothers, Punch" (1876)
  • "To the California Pioneers" (1869)
  • "An Author's Soldiering" (1887)
  • (P)2002 Commuter's Library

    Critic Reviews

    "Thomas Becker's delivery suggests the wry humor one imagines the author himself would use in reading them." (Booklist)
    "This recording's success is a result of Becker's dramatic reading ability, which is nicely understated yet totally effective and appropriate." (School Library Journal)
    "Possibly the best Twain on the market." (The Society for Performance Literature)

    What members say

    Average Customer Ratings

    Overall

    • 3.3 out of 5.0
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    Performance

    • 3.6 out of 5.0
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    Story

    • 3.7 out of 5.0
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    Sort by:
    • Overall
    • Ronald
    • Clarkesville,GA 30523
    • 01-24-05

    Twain's Humor

    Well, I just finished this book and am glad. Becker's reading was boring to say the least, and I still am trying to find some homor in this book. Much of the Twain that I have read over the years seemed a lot funnier than this rendition. Maybe I just dont get that "old time" humor,,or maybe I just should not have listened to it while commuting to and from work on the train... Either way it was a waste of my money and time..

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Poor narration

    I have ready everything Twain has ever written, but this narration spoiled it all. You can hardly understand what the narrator is saying -- he slurs the words into each other and lets the sentences run onto each other. I think the narrator underestimates Twain: reading him as if he had the voice of a "hick" when in reality Twain is teasing both the upper-class and the "hicks." I would not recommend this title and would return it if I could.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Karen
    • Alpharetta, GA, USA
    • 01-25-05

    No thank you, ma'am

    I think I'm going to give up on this one. At first, I found the accent and the dialect interesting. But when I didn't realize that the first story had ended, I knew I was in trouble.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Performance
    • Story

    Not very funny

    I've read a little Twain and some of it I've really enjoyed but his humorous short stories have left me cold. In a previous collection I read story about a duel he described and it had me in stitches but those stories I listened to in this collection were just not very funny.

    I am disappointed and will stick to his more serious writing from now on. That I still enjoy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Not Twain's Best

    I like Twain, but these really aren't the best examples of his wit and humor.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Shows a limit of the audio medium

    There are a number of favorites in this collection, but I enjoyed them more when I read them. The narrator's efforts to act out the characters was often annoying and inexcusibly indecipherable. Equally inexcusible was the abrupt transitions between essays; without giving complete attention to the narration (difficult to do during a commute), I would find myself in the middle of a different essay, so this recording may be best for other listening, like that cross-country drive across those stretches that permit you to daydream safely.

    Still, it is Twain and you will find at least one tale, one story, one rant which will make you smile and take you back to earlier times in our frontier period or that time in your youth when you picked up your first Twain essay.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Narrator

    Narrator works hard at it but he's no Hal Holbrook. Has it's very interesting parts but Holbrook you KNOW sounds like ole Sam. This narrator doesn't. That's unfortunate because the selection of stories is excellent. I'd recommend listening to the sample and deciding for yourself. But anyone spoiled by Holbrook, audiobook or in person (which I've been fortunate to do) may be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Performance
    • Story

    The best of Twain on Audible

    Twain's humor, both the collection and the performance, are what's really amazing about storytelling and audiobooks in the first place. The stories are timeless. They're funny and touching-- clever with a deep chuckle kind of laugh and then suddenly hilarious with an ironic and delicious humor: A top author at the top of his game, and then he meets Thomas Becker, the narrator.

    I could write a sizable paragraph on why this guy is the best at this particular author, and yes, I mean including Hal Holbrook, too. I've performed Twain's work many times myself before thousands of people, but I don't think I've had the restrained subtlety and sophistication of this marvelous reader.

    If you buy this collection, I can guarantee that you will never tire of it. It is pure quality of life.

    • Overall
    • Performance
    • Story

    Inconsistent production quality between stories.

    Twain's collection of stories and essays is always fun. However, the production quality is variable in this collection. Thomas Becker does a reasonable job in telling Twain's stories, with their colloquial slang and twang in-tact, but sometimes fails in bringing consistency to the dialogue. Further, the recordings vary in timbre, pitch and dynamic response in a somewhat distracting way. This is mainly obvious at the beginning of each new chapter, as it is then most obviously different that the preceding chapter. This doesn't do much to damage the overall delivery of an enjoyable story beyond minor and temporary annoyance.