Of all the novels I read in high school, I remember only a handful. I loved Lord of the Flies, A Tale of Two Cities and Catcher in the Rye. I hated The Scarlet Letter and I was baffled by Ethan Frome. But I’ve only re-read one of these books as an adult (hint: it involves a pig’s head on a stick). In his new book Practical Classics, Kevin Smokler
uses the essay form to persuade readers to pick up and read again 50 books commonly assigned in high school English class. Pride and Prejudice, Cannery Row, Animal Farm and “Bartleby, the Scrivener” all make Smokler’s list, as does my old snore-inducing nemesis The Scarlet Letter in an essay titled “I Don’t Like It Either.” Kevin Smokler appears on Tuesday, May 14 at Copperfields's Books. 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 7pm. 707.762.0563.