Mark Twain (the pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835 – 1910), was an American author and humorist most famous for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, today’s top pick, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, often called “the Great American Novel.”
Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion.
Huckleberry Finn is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published in 1884, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.
Although Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he invested in ventures that lost more money, notably the Paige Compositor, which failed because of its complexity and imprecision. In the wake of these financial setbacks, he filed for protection from his creditors via bankruptcy.
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The drifting journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on their raft may be one of the most enduring images of escape and freedom in all of American literature. Although the society it satirized was already history at the time of publication, the book was quite controversial, and has remained so to this day.
A seminal work of American Literature that still commands deep praise and still elicits controversy, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essential to the understanding of the American soul. The recent discovery of the first half of Twain’s manuscript, long thought lost, made front-page news. And this unprecedented edition, which contains for the first time omitted episodes and other variations present in the first half of the handwritten manuscript, as well as facsimile reproductions of thirty manuscript pages, is indispensable to a full understanding of the novel. The changes, deletions, and additions made in the first half of the manuscript indicate that Mark Twain frequently checked his impulse to write an even darker, more confrontational book than the one he finally published.
DEA agent Luke Callahan has suffered one loss too many and a fishing trip with his brothers is just what his broken spirit needs to heal. What he doesn’t need is a gorgeous stowaway harboring secrets and running from killers. Never mind that he does his best work undercover…
Maddie Kincaid is accustomed to trouble, but she’d hoped to leave it behind when she settled in peaceful Brazos Bend. Who would have guessed that helping a gentle old man would land her in the middle of an attempted murder—her own? Now she’s running for her life—straight into the arms of the infamous Luke Callahan.
Lucky for her, he’s deadlier than the men chasing her. Unfortunately for him, protecting her means breaking a vow he holds dear. When the nights heat up and the secrets start to spill, Luke faces a brand new danger—losing the woman he loves. What’s a mad, bad, and lethal Callahan man gonna do?
Paradise, Pennsylvania, is likened to a little slice of heaven on earth…but for Annie Zook–the preacher’s eldest daughter–it seems like a dead-end street. She is expected to join the Amish church, but at 20 she is “still deciding.” Because of the strict rules that guide the Plain community, she must continually squelch her artistic passion, although it has become her solace.
In her signature style, with character depth and unexpected plot twists, beloved novelist Beverly Lewis once again opens the door to the world of the Amish.
Hannah Barnes has just returned to New York City after finishing business school at Harvard. She has one goal on her mind: to return to the company her dad started when she was just a little girl, and find a way to make him proud. This has been the sole focus of her life for the last few years, and she’s finally almost there.
When Isaac Drake comes crashing into her life, it’s everything she can do to keep her focus. He pushes her in ways she never thought possible, and infuriates her in ways that scare her. His sex is mind blowing. But she knows it can never be anything more.
A chance encounter, a one time fling, quickly turns into a lust-filled battle for dominance when she discovers that Isaac Drake is more than just the guy she took home from the bar. But what scares her most is the realization that he might be more than just the guy she needs in her bed, he might be the guy she needs in her life.
In the first Quill Gordon mystery, Gordon, a San Francisco stockbroker and former college basketball star, goes on a fly-fishing vacation in the High Sierra and encounters more than he bargained for. A menacing “citizen militia,” led by a former radio talk-show host, has taken over an alpine meadow and is stockpiling a massive cache of weapons. Ellen McHenry, a rancher’s daughter to whom Gordon is attracted, is in the middle of a trial over a contested will that is tearing apart her family and threatening her father’s legacy. When a murder is committed in cold blood and broad daylight, Ellen becomes a suspect, the militia ramps up its suspicious activities, and Gordon is drawn more deeply into the case — whether he wants to be or not.
What makes this young boy set off on a journey to find answers that most people refuse to ask? He is propelled by something greater than himself. What he finds can give us all hope.
This town had sat undisturbed and silent for so long, each little house draped in a monotonous, predictable fog. The fog said to passersby that life was just what it was; expect no more. That was exactly what they expected, no more than they already had. Most of the people in the town were perfectly content with the amount of faith they had, which in most cases only consisted of religion that was routine, and they never strove for their own personal relationship with Christ. They showed up to church to be seen, and when the congregation dispersed and spilled out onto the streets, they left what they heard within the church walls.
All the best maid of honor speeches involve funny stories and heartfelt feelings about the bride, and Jessica Banks’s speech is no exception.
Shame she drank almost her body weight in champagne before standing up to give it, however…
But maybe Jessica will meet her Mr Right at this wedding? After all, being a bridesmaid almost guarantees you’ll meet men. Right?
What could possibly go wrong?
Former Newsweek reporter Maggie Brooks has two kids, a dead husband, a mortgage to pay, and a lot of competition when she tries to get back into the shrinking newspaper business. Landing a job with a local paper, she’s bored to tears covering bake sales and Little League games. But when a developer tries to build an outlet mall in a neighboring town, what starts out as potentially a great clip for her resume, suddenly turns dangerous and ugly. Someone will do anything to block the mall’s construction. Dirty money, nasty politics, and shady land deals abound as Maggie pursues the scoop that might jumpstart her career. When murder is added to the mix, she realizes that meeting her deadline might be the last thing she ever does.
A haunted castle, a pair of international jewel thieves, and a hotel fire — so begins Regan and Jack Reilly’s honeymoon in Ireland . . .
Private Investigator Regan Reilly and her husband, Jack, head of the Major Case Squad in New York City, have just gotten hitched! They’ve headed to Hennessy Castle, a romantic spot in western Ireland — seemingly the perfect place to escape the world and the criminals they deal with daily — to begin their lives together. But Hennessy Castle is hardly relaxing!
Their first afternoon in Ireland, Regan and Jack go out for a jog, stopping at an old graveyard at the edge of town. The first tombstone they see is marked REILLY. Turns out May Reilly, who died in 1822, was a talented lacemaker who made an exquisite tablecloth for a banquet at Hennessy Castle but was never paid. Legend has it that May has haunted the castle ever since.
Awakened in the middle of the night, Regan spots a mysterious woman on the back lawn of the castle. At the sound of Jack’s voice, Regan turns her head for a moment. When she turns back, the woman is gone. A moment later, the hotel’s fire alarm goes off.
Molly Robbins is finally stepping into the spotlight. Her unique dress designs have caught the eye of London’s elite. And if it means her own dress shop, proper Molly will make a deal with the devil himself—the notoriously naughty Earl of Everscham. But becoming his mistress is not a part of their arrangement. It’s right there in the contract’s fine print: No Tomfoolery.
Carver Danforthe has a reputation for beautiful mistresses, cutting remarks, and shirking his responsibilities—not for indulging the ambitions of his sister’s maid. He must have been drunk when he signed that blasted contract. The stubborn female may thing she’s gotten the best of him, but what this situation calls for is a little hands-on negotiating…
In An Appetite for Wonder, Richard Dawkins shares a rare view into his early life, his intellectual awakening at Oxford, and his path to writing The Selfish Gene. He paints a vivid picture of his idyllic childhood in colonial Africa, peppered with sketches of his colorful ancestors, charming parents, and the peculiarities of colonial life right after World War II. At boarding school, despite a near-religious encounter with an Elvis record, he began his career as a skeptic by refusing to kneel for prayer in chapel. Despite some inspired teaching throughout primary and secondary school, it was only when he got to Oxford that his intellectual curiosity took full flight.
Arriving at Oxford in 1959, when undergraduates “left Elvis behind” for Bach or the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dawkins began to study zoology and was introduced to some of the university’s legendary mentors as well as its tutorial system. It’s to this unique educational system that Dawkins credits his awakening, as it invited young people to become scholars by encouraging them to pose rigorous questions and scour the library for the latest research rather than textbook “teaching to” any kind of test.
According to The Waiter, eighty percent of customers are nice people just looking for something to eat. The remaining twenty percent, however, are socially maladjusted psychopaths. Waiter Rant offers the server’s unique point of view, replete with tales of customer stupidity, arrogant misbehavior, and unseen bits of human grace transpiring in the most unlikely places. Through outrageous stories, The Waiter reveals the secrets to getting good service, proper tipping etiquette, and how to keep him from spitting in your food. The Waiter also shares his ongoing struggle, at age thirty-eight, to figure out if he can finally leave the first job at which he’s truly thrived.
… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks here on page 2