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Twain Boyhood Hometwain-house-2

This Monday, November 30, is the 180th anniversary of the day Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) arrived in the world, and the occasion is being celebrated at two literary sites associated with the writer.

Mark TwainTwain’s distinctive facial feature is being touted during a birthday bash at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum (above left) in Hannibal, Missouri. Part of the festivities include a Mustache Contest with categories such as the “Mark Twain” for the one that bears the greatest resemblance to the writer’s own (dubbed the Walrus) and the “Dapper Stache,” the one most full of character and originality (styling aids are encouraged). November 28, 1 p.m. There is a $5 fee to enter the contest, and prizes will be awarded to the winners.

The Mark Twain House & Museum (above right) in Hartford, Connecticut, is hosting a reading of “Colonel Sellers: Reanimated,” based on one of the writer’s forgotten pieces—with a twist. Steampunk and zombie stories like The Walking Dead are currently in vogue, but Twain was well ahead of the trend. In 1883, he and a friend penned a play, Colonel Sellers as a Scientist, that contained elements of both but was panned by critics. In “Colonel Sellers: Reanimated,” playwright and Mark Twain House staffer Jacques Lamarre has refashioned the original into a Steampunk-zombie mash-up comedy. November 30, 7 p.m. Tickets are $10; $5 for members.

At both events, revelers will be served birthday cake and given a sneak peek at the designs of Mark Twain commemorative coins in gold and silver to be released by the U.S. Mint in early 2016. A portion of the purchase price of the coins will benefit four sites: The Center for Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, New York; the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley; the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford; and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal. We’ll share more details about the coins soon.

pilaster_houseOne of our readers, Gary Wyatt, wrote in to tell us the unfortunate news that Grant’s Drugstore, where Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) once lived, has been placed on Missouri Preservation’s “Most Endangered Buildings” list.  The writer’s father died there while the family resided in rooms over the pharmacy and  he mentions it several times in his autobiography. The building, which currently houses a recreation of a period drug store and is a part of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum complex in Hannibal, was discovered to be in danger of collapse. Donations are being solicited to undertake critical restoration work. Among the many ways you can support the Twain legacy and the historic boyhood sites associated with him are by applying for a Mark Twain VISA card (a portion of all sales will be donated to the museum at no cost to the consumer), by signing a petition to designate 2010 as “The Year of Mark Twain” (2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the author’s death), or by simply donating a dollar for each Twain book you have read to contribute to the museum’s “One Book, One Buck” program.

becky_thatcher_homeThanks in part to the previous donations of Twain fans, restoration work is proceeding on another important site within the Hannibal historic complex–the Becky Thatcher home. The little white frame house (which last week was revealed to have been painted beige during Becky’s time) was once the home of Laura Hawkins, Mark Twain’s childhood sweetheart and the model for Becky. The house is expected to reopen to visitors this fall.

buildingIn the meantime, visitors to Hannibal can still see  the many other wonderful sites within the museum complex, including the Twain family’s small frame house at 208 Hill Street , which has been recreated with period furniture, and the Museum Gallery, originally an 1850s department store that is now home to many fascinating exhibits about Twain’s life.  On display in Hannibal are many Twain artifacts like one of his famous white jackets (believed to be the only one still in existence), his writing desk, chair and typewriter.

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I love browsing at the library with no specific titles in mind, just seeing what catches my eye. Like these three novels, all of which I’m excited to read. But I may have been a bit overzealous because first I need to finish the three other books I have going right now. #readingresponsibilities #booksbooksbooks #milkman #annaburns #theparagonhotel #lyndsayfaye #unmarriageable #soniahkamal #bookstack #bookstagram #booksofig #igreads #bookwormproblems #library #librarybooks #hobokenlibrary @hobokenlibrary #springreads @graywolfpress @penguinrandomhouse @putnambooks @lyndsayfaye @soniahkamal
I borrowed The House of Mirth from the library to use in the book stack in my last post, and I couldn’t resist re-reading it. It’s one of my favorite Edith Wharton works, along with Glimpses of the Moon. ... Wharton wrote The House of Mirth, the novel that launched her into literary superstardom, in an upstairs bedroom suite overlooking the gardens at The Mount, her estate in the Berkshire Mountains in Lenox, Massachusetts. In addition to crafting Gilded Age fiction, Wharton had a talent for architecture and landscape design. She designed The Mount’s three-story, 42-room mansion (see next pic) and elaborate French- and Italianate-style gardens. Wharton told a friend, “Decidedly, I’m a better landscape gardener than a novelist, and this place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses The House of Mirth.” ... #thehouseofmirth #edithwharton #themount #lenoxmass #noveldestinations #classics #literarytravel #books #springreading #bookstagram #booksofig #igreads @themountlenox
These are some of the titles I talked about during a conversation on literary travel with @thebooktrail. Some relate to favorite destinations, like St. Malo, the coastal French town used as a setting in Anthony Doerr’s World War II-set novel All the Light We Cannot See, while another ties in to a place that’s high on my literary travel bucket list: Samoa, the South Seas island where Robert Louis Stevenson spent his last years, vividly depicted in Nancy Horan’s Under the Wide and Starry Sky. The novel follows the globetrotting writer and his wife, Fanny Osbourne, during a life of romance and adventure. Q&A is in the site’s “Authors on Location” section. #noveldestinations #literarytravel #books #bookstagram #booksofig #igreads #bookpile #allthelightwecannotsee #underthewideandstarrysky #thelastcastle #thehouseofmirth #ngaiomarsh #authorsofinstagram #thebooktrail

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