Archives for posts with tag: Mark Twain

Hi all:

As you know, on Fridays I like to bring you new books or guest authors. Recently I’ve decided to go back to some of the classic posts I had shared in the past (and to carry on with new posts), and one of my fellow authors had an excellent idea. She suggested a post on Mark Twain, and told me she’d written a book inspired by one of his novels. And I thought it was an excellent idea to combine both. So today, I share my vintage post on Mark  Twain, and something new…


Anti-Stratfordian Mark Twain, wrote "Is S...

Anti-Stratfordian Mark Twain, wrote “Is Shakespeare Dead?” shortly before his death in 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mark Twain or Samuel Langhorne Clemens (his real name). He was born on 30th November 1835, in a small town called Florida (Mo). He was the 6th child of his family. His father, John Marshall (this is an error. Thanks to Kim Headlee, featured in the post, for clarifying that his name was Marshall Clemens, named after John Marshall), was a judge and they moved a few miles East to Hannibal, in the banks of the Mississippi, a stop for steam boats (travelling from St Louis and New Orleans) when he was very young. His childhood home is now his museum. His father died when he was only 12 and a year later he left school to become a printer’s apprentice. After that he spent a fair amount of time involved in the letters business and joined his brother Orion’s newspaper as printer and assistant editor. He moved to another job as a printer in St Louis, and once there he became a river pilot’s apprentice and obtained his pilot’s license in 1858. His pseudonym comes from that period. According to his official website (link below): It is a river term which means two fathoms or 12-feet when the depth of water for a boat is being sounded. “Mark twain” means that is safe to navigate. (Other explanations exist.)

Due to poor trade during the Civil War he started working as a newspaper reporter all over the country. He got married in 1870 to Olivia Langdon and although they had 4 children, only one, Clara, survived them, and she never had any children.

His first story to gain recognition was ‘The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County’ published in New York in 1865. (You won’t be surprised to hear that in Calavaras, California, they celebrate the Jumping Frog contest.) His first novel The Innocents Abroad was published in 1869, The Adventures of Tom Swayer in 1876, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885…He wrote many other novels, sketches, articles, short stories, letters…

The cover of the first edition of Adventures o...

The cover of the first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was interested in science, modern gadgets and inventions and he invested heavily in some of them that resulted in him ending up heavily in debt, despite the money he obtained from selling his books and from his many speaking engagements.

He died on 21st April 1910. His childhood home is now a museum in Hannibal. His birth coincided with a visit by the Halley comet and he was convinced that his death would also be associated with it (he died the day after the next visit of the comet).


He’s renowned as a humorist and has many quotes attributed to him. Here a short selection:

On Babies:

A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.
– Letter to Annie Webster, 1876

On Economy. So true:

It isn’t the sum you get, it’s how much you can buy with it, that’s the important thing; and it’s that that tells whether your wages are high in fact or only high in name.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

I love this one about Genius:

Geniuses are people who dash off wierd, wild, incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility, & then go & get booming drunk & sleep in the gutter. Genius elevates a man to ineffable speres [sic] far above the vulgar world, & fills his soul with a regal contempt for the gross & sordid things of earth. It is probably on account of this that people who have genius do not pay their board, as a general thing.
Mark Twain’s Notebooks & Journals, vol. 1, 1855-1873, p. 250.

And a few on humour:

Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom.
– quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.
– “What Paul Bourget Thinks of Us”

Humor is the good natured side of a truth.
– quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read

Check the below link for more quotations…


Official website:

University of Virginia website about Mark Twain:

A page about his quotes:

More links:

Free links to his books:

How to tell a story and other Essays:

The Prince and the Pauper exits free but in 9 parts. There are cheap editions that might be a better option.

Sketches New and Old and Tales of the Mississippi are also available in several parts also.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (impressively enough between 4 and 5 stars and nearly 1000 reviews, that for a classic is pretty good. It’s one of the most accepted contenders to the title of The Great American Novel)

Roughing It

Tom Sawyer Detective

A Double-Barrelled Detective Story

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (I love many of his novels but I’ve always loved this weird mixture of modern and fantasy medieval and his characterisation in this one, and there have been pretty amusing film adaptations that I’d recommend checking.)

The Tragedy of Puddn’Head Wilson

Illustration of Jim and Huckleberry Finn, by E...

Illustration of Jim and Huckleberry Finn, by EW Kemble from the original 1884 edition of the book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And many more…

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it remember to comment, share, and as it’s FREE, click! And also, remember that all this books are free thanks to volunteer transcribers so if you have a loved classic book that’s not already available and you’d like to share…What a great contribution to book lovers everywhere!

Also, many of his books are available in German, Spanish, French in free versions also…

I did mention in the original post that ‘A Connecticut Yankee’ was one of my favourites, and lo and behold, a fellow author, Kim Headlee, mentioned Twain and her own book, and I could not resist.

First, a bit about the author:

Author Kim Headlee

Author Kim Headlee

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins–the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century–seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of 20th century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and publishing other novels under her imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.

Check her Amazon author page if you want to read more about her, view her other books, and follow her.

Ah, and the book?

King Arthur’s Sister in Washington Court

King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court by Kim Headlee

King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Kim Headlee

Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball…and the human heart.

Here the link:

Ah, as I was checking Kim’s page, I saw that she has a novella FREE, so if you want experience her writing first hand, here I leave you with:

The Color of Vengeance by Kim Headlee

The Color of Vengeance by Kim Headlee

The Color of Vengeance (The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles)

Vengeance was the only burial gift he could bestow.

When Angli cattle thieves slaughter his wife and son, Dwras son of Gwyn vows revenge upon their murderers. But how can a mere farmer prevail against ruthless, trained warriors? For the answer Dwras must look not to his sword, but within his heart.

Thanks so much to Mark Twain, for his great books and his wit, to Kim Headlee for alerting me to her book, and thank you all for reading. And you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK! Ah, don’t miss Kim’s comments below, as she talks about the paperback version of this book and… it sounds unmissable!

Ah, and don’t hesitate to leave me links to your books if they are inspired in the work of classic authors, their novels or their lives. I’ll gladly share them here!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Hola a todos:

He comentado varias veces que estoy planeando algunos cambios. Dejo mi trabajo a finales de Marzo. Sí,  ya sé que no es la mejor época para dejar el trabajo, pero…

“Solo hay una forma de evitar las críticas: no hacer nada, no decir nada y no ser nada.”(Aristóteles)

¿Por qué lo dejo? Hay varias razones, pero encontré esta cita de Steve Jobs que da en el clavo:

“Durante los últimos 33 años, me  he mirado al espejo cada mañana y me he preguntado: ‘Si hoy fuera el último día de mi vida, ¿querría hacer lo que estoy a punto de hacer hoy?’ Y cuando la respuesta ha sido ‘No’ demasiados días seguidos, sé que tengo que cambiar algo.” (Steve Jobs)

He cambiado bastantes cosas en  mi vida en los últimos años. Me mudé a Inglaterra hace muchos años, estudié psiquiatría y trabajé de psiquiatra, decidí dejarlo y estudié la carrera de Filología Americana (Licenciatura y luego Doctorado) y volvía a la psiquiatría (hace ahora 11 años). Empecé a auto-publicar mis libros hace casi un año y medio (llevo escribiendo desde que era muy joven, pero nunca era el momento adecuado para publicar. Ya sabéis como son las cosas). Disfruté mucho estudiando Filología y Literatura Americana. Siempre me ha encantado leer y los libros, y fue una etapa fabulosa de mi vida, aunque tuve que dedicarme a hacer suplencias durante las vacaciones, pero valió la pena. También me han gustado mucho algunos de mis trabajos (o para ser más precisos algunas temporadas en algunos de mis trabajos). Pero desde que empecé a dedicarme a la escritura más en serio, el desfase entre lo que de verdad me gustaría hacer y lo que hago cada día se me ha hecho mucho más evidente.

Así que, como dice Mark Twain:

“Dentro de veinte años estarás más desilusionado por las cosas que no hiciste que por las que hiciste, así que iza el ancla, aléjate del puerto seguro, atrapa los vientos propicios con tus velas. Explora, Sueña, Descubre.” (Mark Twain)

Hasta ahora había intentado ‘nadar y guardar la ropa’, tenerlo todo, la seguridad y la aventura y el hacer lo que de verdad amo. No funciona. Quizás hay cosas más importantes.

“ ¿Qué es el dinero? Un hombre tiene éxito si se levanta por la mañana y se acuesta por la noche y durante ese tiempo hace lo que quiere hacer.” (Bob Dylan)

Espero que eso también sea aplicable a una mujer. (Y no os preocupéis. No tengo nadie que dependa de mis y solo tengo que mantenerme a mí misma.)

Después de todo, las definiciones del éxito son personales:

‘El éxito es caerse nueve veces y levantarse diez.” (Jon Bon Jovi)


“Ha conseguido el éxito el que ha trabajado bien, se ha reído a menudo, y ha amado mucho.” (Elbert Hubbard)

Creo que tengo que reírme más. A ver si lo consigo.

“Nunca puedes cruzar el océano hasta que tengas el valor suficiente para perder de vista la orilla.” (Cristóbal Colón)

Image courtesy of Dominic Harness /

Image courtesy of Dominic Harness /

¡Espero que me acompañéis!

Gracias por leer, y si os apetece darle al me gusta, compartir, o comentar, no intentaré impedíroslo. 

Algunas de las citas las he coleccionado a ratos pero la mayoría vienen de (en inglés. Las traducciones son mías, así que si no encontráis la cita exacta no os extrañéis). Os dejo el enlace por si queréis un poco de inspiración.

Hi all:

I have mentioned a few times that I am planning some changes. I am leaving my job by the end of March. Yes, I know it’s not the best time to leave a job. But…

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing”. (Aristotle)

Why am I leaving? There are a variety of reasons, but I’ve found this reflection by Steve Jobs that gets to the heart of it:

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” (Steve Jobs)

I’ve made some changes to my life in recent years. I moved to the UK now many years back, I studied psychiatry and worked in it, I decided to leave it and studied American Literature (BA and PhD) and came back to psychiatry for a few years. More recently I’ve started publishing my books (I’ve been writing for many years but it was never the right moment. You know how it is). I loved studying Literature. I’ve always loved books and reading, and it was a fantastic period of my life, even though I had to do locums and work during my holidays. I have loved some jobs, or to be more specific, some periods at some of my jobs. But since taking up writing more seriously, the gap between what I’d really love to do and what I do everyday has become more evident.

And so, as Mark Twain says:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.” (Mark Twain)

Image courtesy of Dominic Harness /

Image courtesy of Dominic Harness /

I’ve tried to do what in Spain we call ‘to swim and keep an eye on your clothes’, to have it all: security and adventure and do what I love. It doesn’t work. Maybe there are more important things.

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”  (Bob Dylan)

I hope that applies to a woman too. (Don’t worry. I only need to look after myself and have no dependants.)

After all, the definition of success is personal:

“Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.” (Jon Bon Jovi)


“He has achieved success who has worked well, laughed often, and loved much.”(Elbert Hubbard)

I think I need to laugh more. See if I manage.

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” (Christopher Columbus)

I hope you come with me!

Thanks for reading and if you fancy liking, sharing or commenting, don’t let me stop you!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Some quotes I’ve collected over time but most of them come from I leave you a link for your inspiration.


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