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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, March 22

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Author Thu Sep 05 2013

Kevin Smokler Makes for a Case for the Classics @ The Book Cellar

smokler.jpgAfter attending his 20th high school reunion, Kevin Smokler realized he hadn't paid "a lick of attention" to his teachers or the books they taught-- not helpful to someone who'd always planned on writing books.

"Knowing that I hadn't read or barely remembered some of the basic greats felt like wanting to be the world's greatest florist and not knowing what photosynthesis was," Smokler said. "It was a giant hole in my education I wanted to patch up."

Hence Smokler's latest book, Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School.

In Practical Classics Smokler explores 50 books commonly assigned in high school English classes, and why you'd probably enjoy reading the books as an adult. The selections are organized in ten categories, like youth and growing up, identity, and love and pain.

After a year spent reading one book per week, Smokler was left surprisingly enthralled with Jane Austen, who bored him in high school. He now considers considers Austen a grandmother to comedians like Charlie Chaplin and Monty Python, and shows like Mr. Bean and The Office.

"So much of what she does is about the comedy of being human, of trying to hold it together in situations that test your dignity and patience," Smokler said.

The San Francisco-based author and public speaker will present Practical Classics on Saturday, September 7 at The Book Cellar (4736-38 N Lincoln Ave.) at 4:30pm. Smokler will speak on the joys of reading and host a round of "Name That Classic"-- so brush up on your literature trivia; winners will receive a classic of their choice purchased from the shelves of the Book Cellar by Smokler himself.

Stick around after for local author Chris L. Terry's release party for Zero Fade at 7pm.

Photo courtesy of the author's website

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