Wednesday, February 20, 2013


OK, I completely missed a blog post last week and today it’s getting pretty late and I haven’t come up with an intriguing topic yet. A few weeks ago I finished ‘Roughing It’ by Mark Twain and thoroughly enjoyed the read. I love the way he thinks and writes. If there is a chance to digress into another topic than the one at hand, Twain will go for it with gusto. I suppose I love that style so much, because it fits exactly the way my brain works. Having a twenty minute conversation with me can leave you confused and wondering just exactly what we began talking about. I would have loved the chance to sit down with ole Mark and have a visit, but then it could have taken us months to completely converse on one small topic.

Anyway…’Roughing It’ is his memoir of sorts about his big excursion to the West. Nevada in particular during the boom days of silver mining in the Carson City area. I love that part of the country, especially Lake Tahoe and have visited there more than once, therefore, many of the things he discourses on are familiar. His dry wit evokes downright hilarity in extreme situations.

The final chapters of ‘Roughing It’ are dedicated to his travels to the pacific islands that now make up the state of Hawaii. The descriptions of various attributes of the tropics, particularly the insects are exact and fantastically funny, at least to someone like me who currently resides in the tropics and has no choice but to laugh at the predicaments you can get into involving bugs.

Most of you are probably familiar with Mr. Twain’s characterizations of Tom and Huck and their antics, but if you haven’t read ‘Roughing It’ and been a little more ‘up close and personal with ole Mark Twain himself, I highly recommend it.

Next up with a little book that was far more frivolous and profane but another up close and personal look at a man, including  his relationship with his father, ‘S#*! My Dad Says’ by Justin Halpern. This was some light reading that only took me a few hours to finish. There are some awkward moments for Justin with a father who is blunt and profane about everything, but by the end I definitely had the feeling that he wouldn’t have missed a minute of it. Although, Dad is a tough old bird who tell it like it is, there is no doubt that he loves and is proud o his family, Justin in particular. This is a light read that you might enjoy while waiting in the dentist office to have a root canal, but be careful least others worry about you because at times it is just plain laugh out loud funny.

So, when I opened this blank page I hadn’t intended to write a review of anything let alone two, but it’s just how my brain works. Blank pages – start typing – see what is hidden in the recesses of my mind. Give ‘em a try. Start with ‘Roughing It by Mark Twain and finish out the day with “S#*! My Dad Says’ by Justin Halpern. I think you’ll might like them both.   


  1. Is the second book the inspiration for that TV series with William Shatner?

    1. I think so. I don't have TV, but the book jacket says he's the co-writer and co-producer of a TV show by the same name.

  2. I have not read either book but I have heard Roughing It is brilliant.

  3. Believe it or not, I can;t recall reading anything by Mark Twain. How did that happen??

  4. Ahh, 'ROUGHING IT' - one of my very all-time favorite books.

    I've read it three times and even own an 1872 first edition of it, purchased circa 1972 at The Fourth Ward School in Virginia City, Nevada, for a total of (hang on to something!)... twenty-five cents!

    The book is actually worth only about $100. due to its poor condition (according to 'The Antiques Roadshow') but regardless, it is one of my most prized possessions.

    The first time I read 'ROUGHING IT', I was pretty much howling throughout most of it. And I know I even had tears of laughter in my eyes when reading the chapter about Buck Fanshaw's funeral, where Scotty tried to speak to the Preacher about delivering a sermon in Buck's honor.

    Also, the bit about "a stalwart ruffian called 'ARKANSAS'." Just howlingly classic!

    And you know what, FAE? As much as you may mentally ramble and find it difficult to stay on-topic, you know you will NEVER be as bad about that as Jim Blaine was. Remember "the stirring story of his grandfather's old ram"? [Chapter LIII]

    The story that NEVER GOT TOLD because Jim Blaine would always wander so far off the topic that he wound up talking about everything EXCEPT his grandfather's old ram? "...The mention of the ram in the first sentence was as far as any man had ever heard him get, concerning it." That was hilarious.

    FAE, you may be bad, but yer no Jim Blaine.

    I'm pleased you enjoyed 'ROUGHING IT' enough to actually write a blog bit about it.

    "AMEN. No Irish need apply."

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  5. I've been reading a lot of Twain lately for my WIP and am simply impressed with the man. He was definitely not a boring fellow.

  6. You and I operate the same way. I always digress in my conversations and loose focus about half-way through. I could go on and on about miniscule details, before my family starts hollering, "Mom, focus, or get to the point already" LOL

  7. Those both sound right up my alley. Especially Mark Twain. Always enjoyed his fiction, never read his non-fiction. So I'm about to change that.

  8. Marci - Mark Twain is brilliant.

    DL - You should remedy that ASAP

    STMc - Enjoyed it - Ha, I loved it. Somehow I knew you were going to bring up 'the goat guy'. I have to admit I had tears running down my face at the bit, even though I could see what was coming.

    MT at his absolute best.

    T - if your WIP is Twainesque, it's gotta be good. What better inspiration can you find.

    Jaybird - Yeah, generally I'm too absorbed in 'my story' to notice, but occasionally I notice my audiences eyes gaze over and I know, I'm way off track somewhere out in the ozone.

    Beer Boys - I predict you'll love 'Roughing It'. The other one is funny and I'm sure you guys would like it also, but nothing tops MT.

  9. Twain was such an amazing writer. I remember in high school, my English teach read a short story that Twain had and left unfinished. We then ended up with the assignment to finish it for him. My ending was totally lame and cliche. lol

  10. Justin Halpern's book is hilarious. I wish the series wouldn't have gotten canned. William Shatner was perfect.

  11. Donna - I cannot imagine even trying to follow in MT's footsteps.

    Michael - Never saw the TV show, but I can just imagine, it would be hilarious. I presume Shatner was the Dad.