The Case for Rereading the High School Classics

If the act of rereading a book is partly about remembering the you who paged through it the first time, and comparing that version of yourself to the one dipping into that book again, the classics that we read in high school offer endless possibilities for rediscovery, for looking at ourselves then and now. That’s part of what makes Kevin Smokler’s new book, Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School, so much fun. His homages to 50 titles, including Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The Bluest Eye, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and even The Scarlet Letter (he writes, “I don’t like it either,” but argues for rereading it nonetheless), offers a truly enjoyable trip down one’s personal memory lane of books. It’s also a love letter to the act of reading, to continual learning, and to making an effort to slow down and savor the good books in life.

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