‘Autobiography of Mark Twain’ a big hit across US

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NEW YORK - Late American author Mark Twain’s autobiography is a big hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run - so far - of 275,000.

Editors at the University of California Press never though that ‘Autobiography of Mark Twain’, a 35-dollar, four-pound, 500,000-word memoir, would do so well and had printed only 7,500 copies.

But now the publisher is facing a huge demand for the tome, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.

“It sold right out,” the New York Times quoted Kris Kleindienst, an owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, which first ordered 50 copies and has a dozen people on a waiting list, as saying.

“You would think only completists and scholars would want a book like this. But there’s an enduring love affair with Mark Twain, especially around here.

“Anybody within a stone’s throw of the Mississippi River has a Twain attachment,” he stated.

It is the same story everywhere, bookstores and even websites have been told they will have to wait until mid-December or even January to avail of the books.

Booksellers seemed to agree that the memoir, which has letters, diary entries, pictures and nearly 200 pages of “explanatory notes,” is a book to be read in small bites.

Most of the book’s content was dictated to Twain’s stenographer in the four years before he died, at 74 in 1910.

It is more political than his previous works, by turns frank, funny, angry and full of recollections from his childhood, which deeply influenced books like “Huckleberry Finn.”

Alex Dahne, a spokeswoman for the University of California Press, said the book was the biggest success the publisher has had in 60 years. (ANI)

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