Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School

Kevin Smokler. Prometheus, $18 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-61614-656-6
Many of us continue to avoid or have forgotten the books that our high school teachers said were good for us. Smokler’s humorous, though sometimes superficial book is an attempt to rediscover the practical value of these books “from the point of view of a married 38-year-old man with a day job.” Arranging the book into 10 divisions that mirror phases and events of our lives, Smokler (editor of Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times) probes fiction, poetry, and essays ranging from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Surfacing, and Their Eyes Were Watching God to Susan Sontag’s classic essay “On Camp,” Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” and Annie Diller’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. The book is a rumination on the lessons these works can impart to our daily lives. Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, for example, asks us “[c]an only the strong forgive or does forgiving make us strong?” whereas Borges’s “The Library of Babel” reminds Smokler that “perhaps the unstated best quality of paradise is the opportunity to leave when you want to and go back to living.” Smokler’s guide to reading, however, offers little to distinguish it from many other more entertaining and thoughtful books that cover the same territory. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2012
Release date: 02/01/2013
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.