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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories

**** The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories by Mark Twain. General fiction.

This is one of the free classics I got with my e-reader. And since it's a classic, and on my e-reader, I read it in bits and pieces over a long period of time. (My e-reader stays in my purse, for those times when I'm out somewhere and waiting, like at the dentist or something.)

I'd originally intended to comment on each story in the anthology, but there are a lot of them, and I didn't take notes, so it's been a very long time since I read the first ones. So just some general comments instead.

I'm not a short story reader, any more than I'm a poetry reader. Something about the forms just doesn't appeal to me. But Mark Twain made a difference. His humor and insight made most of the stories entertaining for me. Like the story in the title--how a $30,000 bequest changed people's lives--and not in the ways you (or they) would have expected. Or the stories about Adam and Eve from each of their points of view. Very funny, and human nature hasn't changed all that much since Twain wrote these.

Some of the stories were too dated for me to truly enjoy them--like "Post-Mortem Poetry", since we don't have similar obituaries now. But a little imagination kept them from being incomprehensible, and even gave a bit of insight into the time period.

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