This month we'll read the two most well-known novels of Mark Twain, that showcase his two most famous characters: Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. These books take us back to a different era in American history, that surprisingly still sheds light on our 21st century society.
Both books are very readable, and they go hand-in-hand. Huckleberry Finn is widely regarded as the more profound of the two, but they're worth reading together as one flows seamlessly into the other.
Other writers have been glowing in their praise about Twain's work, especially Huckleberry Finn. Ernest Hemingway said, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn."
The famous journalist and book reviewer H.L. Mencken had this to say about "Huckleberry Finn": "I believe that 'Huckleberry Finn' is one of the great masterpieces of the world, that it is the full equal of 'Don Quixote' and 'Robinson Crusoe,' that it is vastly better than Gil Blas, 'Tristram Shandy,' 'Nicholas Nickleby' or 'Tom Jones.' I believe that it will be read by human beings of all ages, not as a solemn duty but for the honest love of it, and over and over again, long after every book written in AMerican between the years 1800 and 1860, with perhaps three exceptions, has disappeared entirely save as a classroom fossil. I believe that Mark Twain had a clearer vision of life, that he came nearer to its elementals and was less deceived by its false appearances, than any other American who has ever presumed to manufacture generalizations, not excepting Emerson. I believe that, admitting all his defects, he wrote better English, in the sense of cleaner, straighter, vivider, saner English, than either Irving or Hawthorne. I believe that four of his books--'Huck,' 'Life on the Mississippi,' 'Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven,' and 'A Connecticut Yankee'--are alone worth more, as works of art and as criticisms of life, than the whole output of Cooper, Irving, Holmes, Mitchell, Stedman, Whittier and Bryant. I believe that he was the true father of our national literature, the first genuinely American artist of the royal blood."