Politics, history, science, film, and anything else that strikes my fancy.
Mark Twain: Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, and Essays Edited by Louis J. Budd
Among the stories included in this set are ''Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,'' which won him instant fame when published in 1865, ''Cannibalism in the Cars,'' ''The Invalid's Story,'' and the charming ''A Cat Tale,'' written for his daughter's private amusement. This volume also presents several of his famous and successful speeches and toasts, such as ''Woman—God Bless Her,'' ''The Babies,'' and ''Advice to Youth.''
Some stories display Twain's fascination with money and greed, such as ''The Esquimau Maiden's Romance'' and ''The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg.'' Other stories, written after the death of his daughter Susy in 1896, explore the outer limits of fantasy and psychic phenomena, including ''Which Was the Dream?,'' ''The Great Dark,'' and ''My Platonic Sweetheart.''
The United States military involvement in Cuba, China, and the Philippines turned Twain's attention to political satire and invective. ''To the Person Sitting in Darkness,'' ''King Leopold's Soliloquy,'' and ''The War Prayer'' are biting denunciations of European and American imperialism. Twain's increasing unorthodox religious opinions are powerfully, often comically expressed in ''Eve Speaks,'' ''A Humane Word from Satan,'' and ''A Letter from Earth.'' Twain's brilliant inventiveness continues to shine in such later comic masterpieces as ''Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences,'' ''Hunting the Deceitful Turkey,'' and ''My First Lie and How I Got Out of It.'' A posthumous collection of proverbs and aphorisms is included as an appendix.
''It's a perfect combination, Mark Twain and The Library of America—one an American genius, the other dedicated to preserving the works of such homespun originals. . . . An exquisite testament to one of the greatest minds ever.''L. A. Reader