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Month: February 2014

The Innocents Abroad

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

When you dive into Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad, you have to be ready to learn more about the unadorned, ungilded reality of 19th century “touring” than you might think you want to learn. This is a tough, literary journey. It was tough for Twain and his fellow “pilgrims”, both religious and otherwise. They set out, on a June day in 1867, to visit major tourist sites in Europe and the near east, including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, “the Holy Land”, and Egypt. What Twain records, in often humorous, sometimes grotesque but always fascinating detail, are the day-to-day ups and downs of discovering the truth about people and places. The truths they learn are often far different than their education and rumor have made them preconceive.

This is a voyage of discovery. It’s long and, in places, tiresome. But it’s revelatory about so much. As with some of his other works, Twain includes popular prejudices of his time, which are today considered socially unacceptable. His references to “Indians”, “Negroes” and “infidels” come to mind.

Beyond the lows, though, there are the highs of Twain’s cutting wit and insight as he guides us along the bumpy and often dangerous voyage.

No need to buckle up. Just take it slow, and steady…like the journey itself.

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Life on the Mississippi

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. A good portion of the work also deals with his post-war visit to the “old haunts”.

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Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon by Jules Verne

Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon by Jules Verne

Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon is an adventure novel in two parts by Jules Verne, having a basis in codes and cryptography. Unlike many of his other stories, it is not a work of science fiction. Rather, it describes a voyage down the Amazon River on a large raft, or jangada). Many aspects of the raft, scenery, and journey are described in detail.

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Roughing It

Roughing It by Mark Twain

Roughing It by Mark Twain

Roughing It is semi-autobiographical travel literature written by American humorist Mark Twain. It was authored as a sequel to his first book Innocents Abroad. This book tells of Twain’s adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad.

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