Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Year of Twain

“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835,” Mark Twain wrote in 1909. “It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’” With this eerie prediction, Samuel L. Clemens did indeed die in the year of the comet on April 21, 1910. One hundred years later, Mr. Twain's legacy is surfacing again. One of Mark Twain's dying wishes was the publication of his personal, outspoken and revelatory autobiography. He devoted the last ten years of his life writing it. Not wanting to face the readers of this candid, tell-all book, Twain chose to have it locked away for a century. He felt that 100 years was adequate enough time to allow his words to simmer. He, most likely, would have been pleasantly surprised to learn that he is as popular as ever in the next century as he was in the last. His publications have survived social changes and book banning. The world is a different place than it was in Twain's day. Yet, simultaneously, human nature remains as complex and dynamic as ever. Mark Twain had a deep understanding of this.
     The creator of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn  left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs when he died in 1910, together with handwritten notes saying that he did not want them to hit the book stores for at least a century.
   The wait is over, and in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Mark Twain's autobiography. The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words, and shed new light on this uncommon novelist from another time.
  In order to honor Mark Twain, support your local independent bookshop Twain wrote about common folk who made their own adventures, off the beaten path. With the major chain stores, electronic books and the like, the independent shops of all types are being squeezed out.However, it is the locally owned, self-reliant shops that exists for the community. The corporate run stores care about the bottom line, first and foremost. They are motivated by manufacturer kick-backs and popular genres over intelligent, high quality merchandise. The chains are homogenizing the world, one community at a time.Patronizing the local shops is a way of reclaiming individuality and art for the sake of art. The local shop is going up against the corporate giant  armed only with a knowledgeable passion for success. They truly care about what they do. So, keep this in mind when you decide your next purchase. Check out the local shops first and support your community. Ever wonder where a local shop is when traveling? Check this out! If you find a great local shop, you can add it for free!


Anonymous said...

I agree, too many Walmarts and Starbucks are deciding what we should eat, read and drink.

Jen said...

I love classic authors from the past. They can teach us soooo much.