A novel written in 1883 by Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. This novel details Sam's early days on a steamboat, thus achieving his life long dream of being a steamboat pilot at a very young age. This left him free to write a couple of books in his remaining years. He wrote this book during his first years living in Hartford, Connecticut and it helped to establish his popularity. His next novel would be the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The excerpt below is the beginning of one of my favorite passages, and is the passage also mentioned in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

"The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book - a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice."

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