My 5: Nick Offerman’s Favorite Stories by Mark Twain

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Nick Offerman Mark Twain
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Perhaps known for his facial hair as much as his acting, it’s no wonder that Nick Offerman identifies with the famously mustachioed American humorist and author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain. But more than that, the former Parks and Recreation star, who has recorded and recently released his second Audible version of Twain’s works, tells ET that the author’s “ability to describe the heart of humankind with humor and alacrity is what makes him a favorite.”

Also a writer and a humorist himself, Offerman generally writes nonfiction as a way to “try to infuse my own anecdotes with an homage to his flavor and economy.” And when it comes to narrating the 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Offerman is grateful for the opportunity “to render this man’s delicious words for the auditory pleasure of listeners everywhere,” he says, adding: “It’s unlikely I’ll ever get to play Tom Sawyer or Hank Morgan or any of his other characters, for that matter, so performing them as audio books is the next best thing.” 

With that said, these are Nick Offerman’s five favorite stories by Mark Twain: 

Roughing It(1872)

The book is a semi-autographical account of young Twain’s travels through the Wild West from 1861 to 1867. Published in 1872, it serves as a prequel to the 1869 travel book The Innocents Abroad.

“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (1865)

In the short story, which was the first to earn Twain acclaim and national attention, the narrator learns an amusing tale of Jim Smiley and his trained frog.

The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)

The novel follows three plots that eventually come together in a murder trial that sees the titular Pudd’nhead Wilson traveling south to Missouri to build a career as a lawyer.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)

One of Twain’s first novels about time travel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court tells the story of Hank Morgan, a Yankee engineer from Connecticut who is accidentally transported back in time to the court of King Arthur, where he fools the court’s inhabitants into thinking that he is a magician.

"What Is Man?" and Other Essays (1906)

One of many Twain’s popular essays, “What Is Man?” is a dialogue between a young man and an old man regarding the nature of, what else, man.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court performed by Nick Offerman is available now on Audible.