Roughing It (Paperback)
This book is an eminently hilarious gonzo style autobiography of Mark Twain’s early days trying to make it big in the west. I don’t think any book has ever made me laugh quite as much. It lampoons absolutely everyone and every institution of the time.
This particular edition (the one I personally read), is also illustrated my a man who truly understood Twain’s humor. Highly recommended.
Roughing It is a book of semi-autobiographical travel literature written by American humorist Mark Twain. He wrote it during 1870-71 and published in 1872, as a prequel to his first book The Innocents Abroad (1869). This book tells of Twain's adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad. Roughing It follows the travels of young Mark Twain through the Wild West during the years 1861-1867. After a brief stint as a Confederate cavalry militiaman (not included in the account), he joined his brother Orion Clemens, who had been appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory, on a stagecoach journey west. Twain consulted his brother's diary to refresh his memory and borrowed heavily from his active imagination for many stories in the book. Roughing It illustrates many of Twain's early adventures, including a visit to Salt Lake City, gold and silver prospecting, real-estate speculation, a journey to the Kingdom of Hawaii, and his beginnings as a writer. This memoir provides examples of Twain's rough-hewn humor, which would become a staple of his writing in such later books as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer(1876), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889). Titbits: U.S. astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell read Roughing It aloud to pass the time aboard NASA's Gemini VII, a 14-day-long Earth orbital mission in December 1965. Borman recalls reading the book during an on-camera interview in the PBS-TV (USA) television program Nova: To the Moon (1999). Excerpt From the Classic: "The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be?--it is the same the angels breathe." "Wherever he found his speech growing too modern -- which was about every sentence or two -- he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as "exceeding sore," "and it came to pass," etc., and made things satisfactory again. "And it came to pass" was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet." "The first glance at the pillow showed me a repulsive sentinel perched upon each end of it--cockroaches as large as peach leaves--fellows with long, quivering antennae and fiery, malignant eyes. They were grating their teeth like tobacco worms, and appeared to be dissatisfied about something. I had often heard that these reptiles were in the habit of eating off sleeping sailors' toe nails down to the quick, and I would not get in the bunk any more. I lay down on the floor. But a rat came and bothered me, and shortly afterward a procession of cockroaches arrived and camped in my hair. In a few moments the rooster was crowing with uncommon spirit and a party of fleas were throwing double somersaults about my person in the wildest disorder, and taking a bite every time they stuck. I was beginning to feel really annoyed. I got up and put my clothes on and went on deck. The above is not overdrawn; it is a truthful sketch of inter-island schooner life." "This book is merely a personal narrative, and not a pretentious history or a philosophical dissertation. It is a record of several years of variegated vagabondizing, and it's object is rather to help the resting reader while away an idle hour than afflict him with metaphysics, or goad him with science." Scroll Up and Grab Your Copy.
About the Author
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910),  better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. Among his writings are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885),  the latter often called "The Great American Novel." Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. After an apprenticeship with a printer, Twain worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. Twain moved to San Francisco in 1864, still as a journalist, and met writers such as Bret Harte and Artemus Ward. The young poet Ina Coolbrith may have romanced him. Twain was fascinated with science and scientific inquiry. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla, and the two spent much time together in Tesla's laboratory. Twain patented three inventions, including an "Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments" (to replace suspenders) and a history trivia game. Most commercially successful was a self-pasting scrapbook; a dried adhesive on the pages needed only to be moistened before use. Over 25,000 were sold.[ Twain's novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) features a time traveler from the contemporary US, using his knowledge of science to introduce modern technology to Arthurian England. This type of storyline would later become a common feature of a science fiction subgenre, alternate history. In 1909, Thomas Edison visited Twain at his home in Redding, Connecticut and filmed him. Part of the footage was used in The Prince and the Pauper (1909), a two-reel short film. It is said to have been the only known existing film footage of Twain.