The Mark Twain House itself is celebrated in the Nook Farm Book Talks session on Thursday, Dec.1, as participants in this book club-style monthly event discuss a brand-new work: 'The Loveliest Home That Ever Was': The Story of the Mark Twain House in Hartford by Steve Courtney.Courtney will be present at the session to talk about his book, a lavishly illustrated work that treats Samuel Clemens' early life and beginning career; his and his wife Livy's move to Hartford; the house's design by architect Edward Tuckerman Potter; and its construction, furnishing and decoration.
Come for refreshments at 5 pm in the Mark Twain Museum Center, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford. The discussion begins at 5:30. Reservations are recommended: firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-522-9258, Ext. 317. The event is free.
The book describes the Clemens household's 17 years in the house and the major literary work Clemens did while he lived there (including "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court").
It provides glimpses of family life -- how young Clara Clemens once screamed so loud and persistently after a pet calf had been been sold that her parents had to buy it back; how Twain had news bulletins piped up to his third-floor billiard room/study through a speaking tube; how daughter Susy wowed the family with her grasp of ancient history.
And it relays the sad circumstances surrounding the family's abandonment of their beloved home, along with the house's amazing rescue from destruction, and rebirth as a world-class house museum.
"The Loveliest Home That Ever Was" includes a guided tour through the house's rooms and hallways, pointing out the exquisite details that decorate the entry hall, drawing room, dining room, library, conservatory, bedrooms, nursery, billiard room, butler's pantry and kitchen. Published by Dover Publications, it is illustated with numerous new color photos of the house exterior and interior by John Groo; rare archival images from the museum's collection; and a Foreword by the famed stage portrayer of Mark Twain, Hal Holbrook.
Steve Courtney, the publicist and publications editor at The Mark Twain House & Museum, is a journalist and author. His biography "Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain's Closest Friend," won the Connecticut Book Award in 2009.
Nook Farm Book Talks are a collaboration between The Mark Twain House & Museum and The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Nook Farm Book Talks are supported in part by the Connecticut Humanities Council. For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit www.marktwainhouse.org.