Mar 19

This week we talk with Kevin Smokler, author of Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School.


Practical Classics


I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview author Kevin Smokler, who came up with the brilliant idea of revisiting 50 classic works of literature and finding practical reasons why those classics are relevant to us as adults. I hope you enjoy the interview, despite the terrible audio quality. Someday someone will invent a way to record a telephone call that doesn’t sound like two tin cans connected by string.

I mentioned i the intro to the podcast that I’d link here to Kevin’s book tour, but it wasn’t quite ready when the episode went live. Please check the comments below for his schedule. If you have the chance to see Kevin when he’s on his book tour, please say hello from Books on the Nightstand!


Two books Kevin can’t wait for us to read:

The War for Late Night by Bill Carter, about the politics and culture of late night television. Kevin says that he has no interest in late night television, but he found the book thrilling. He’d recommend it for anyone who likes entertainment and how things come into being.

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff. Kevin describes this book as “part autobiography, part memoir, part love letter and part stern slap on the butt,” for Detroit.


  • This was such a great interesting interview. I downloaded the Kindle edition and just looking at a few of the essays I can tell I already love it. Thanks!

    • Catelyn, wow thank you! I’m just about to post where I’m going to be appearing this spring. Maybe I’ll see you on the road?

  • As promised, Kevin Smokler’s event calendar!

    Mar. 22 Changing Hands books, Phoenix, AZ

    Mar. 26 Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

    Apr. 7 WORD Brooklyn Bookstore (Brooklyn, NY)

    April 10. Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor MI.

    April 17th: Bay Books (San Ramon, CA)

    May 3-5 Boston (at the Muse & the Marketplace Writers Conference)

    May 6: River Run Books (Portsmouth, NH. 45 minutes from Boston)

    May 8 Book Passage (Corte Madre, CA)

    May 23rd: Kepler’s Books (Menlo Park, CA)

    And I’ll be in New York for BEA on May 29-June 3.

  • Robin

    Thanks for the interview. I also ran to my kindle, bought the book and started reading. Can’t seem to put it down.

  • You absolutely have to reread books you read in high school, especially Dickens. You think you understood A Tale of Two Cities then? Please.

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