|30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories|
by Mark Twain
Genres: Classic, Humor
I think Mark Twain's humor takes a little getting used to. The first and main story in this book is about a happily married couple who are informed by a distant uncle that they stand to inherit $30,000 when he passes. Human nature can go two ways with such a fortune, a very large fortune back in those days. Money can either enhance one's life to make it better, or it can change people completely. Money is the root of all evil after all. I'll leave it to you to guess which way this turns out so that you will still be surprised when you read it for yourself. It is easy to do since this is a free ebook within the public domain.
The majority of these stories are enjoyable. Some are pretty out there. From my research when I wrote Mark Twain's biography there was a time in his life where he was just churning out essays and papers to pay the bills. A few of the stories included in this book are undoubtedly Twain writing just to hear himself speak and have something to sell.
This said, a few of the articles give an uncanny look into the mind of Mark Twain as not all of the works are fiction. These include essays on his attempt to unravel the Italian language, whether or not he had anonymously authored a tongue-in-cheek review of one of his own books, and a few other little nonessential asides he tells, including a story of when he bought his first typing machine. There is also an excerpt from his "unpublished biography" which I can't help but wonder if that is part of the biography that was recently published on the 100th anniversary of his death.
One of the stories is an enjoyable fictional tale that is based on the principles behind his essay On the Decay of the Art of Lying that I reviewed last week. He gives prime examples of these little white lies that are perfectly acceptable to tell in society through two pious women who feel that any lie is a sin.