So far I have read Life on the Mississippi and Roughing It, the latter which I can highly recommend - his knowledge and stories about mining and the Comstock lode and life in Virginia City Nevada are funny and educational. The fact that the stories he wrote 150 years ago still make me laugh is amazing to me -- his insight into human nature and his ability to find humor in everyday situations is fascinating. He was truly a genius.
Now I am reading Tramps Abroad - he has just walked around Germany, including a walk through the Black Forest and the way he described the houses there made me do some research -- how about that -- he nailed it. What a guy -- he had a good eye and he could write about what he saw. Impressive.
I am currently up to his tramping through Switzerland -- he was in Lucerne and saw the lion that was carved into the living rock as a memorial to the Swiss Guards who died fighting in Paris. It is a very sad memorial, a very expressive piece of sculpture and his description, once again, is spot on.
However, being Twain, he uses that great art as a source of humor while describing the conversations he had and overheard on a steamer roaming around a Swiss lake. The American he describes sounds like a guy we have all encountered at one time or another. So from a very serious, somber subject to laughing with and at a boor -- Mark Twain proves once again that he was a true American Treasure.
I'll wrap this up now with one final story -- years ago I visited his house in Hartford Connecticut. It is a beautiful house in a town that is now so sketchy that I would probably not revisit that area on a bet.