Surely there's no greater example of great American literature that the writings of Mark Twain. Mark Dawidziak has culled through Twain's opus and put the pieces together to concoct Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness. Drawing from his books, speeches, letters, interviews, and various other sources, Dawidziak compiles examples of Twain's trademark wit and wisdom.
On one level, Mark Twain's Guide seems like the product of someone's running key word searches on Twain's collected works and putting the results into book form. But that's really OK. The selections are apt, nicely organized, and each chapter includes an appropriately witty introduction. If you're a reader of Twain, you'll find some expected favorites. If you're only slightly acquainted with Twain's work, you'll find quotes from books you've never heard of. Some of the best quotes are from speeches and letters, which may not have been seen frequently before.
Some of Twain's advice is terrific: "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."
Some is contrarian: "The lack of money is the root of all evil."
Some is cheeky: "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
And some just sums it all up: "Let us endeavor to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."
Whatever your previous exposure to Twain, Mark Twain's Guide is sure to point you back to your favorites or to explore some of his writing you haven't explored before.
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!