If you missed Kevin Smokler on today's show, listen to his conversation with Janeane Bernstein here.
From the fictional towns of Hill Valley, CA, and Shermer, IL, to the beautiful landscapes of the “Goondocks” in Astoria and the “ time of your life” dirty dancing resort still alive and well in Lake Lure, NC, ‘80s teen movies left their mark not just on movie screen and in the hearts of fans, but on the landscape of America itself. Like few other eras in movie history, the ‘80s teen movies has endured and gotten better with time . In Brat Pack America, Kevin Smokler gives virtual tours of the legendary movies from that time and why the places they happened are a tribute to their permanence, why we love them still.
Including interviews with actors, writers, and directors of the era, and a Trapper Keeper- full of interesting facts about your favorite 80s movies, Brat Pack America is a must for any fan of the Breakfast Club and Back to the Future, of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink and Dead Poets Society. Smokler went to Goonies Day in Astoria, OR, took a Lost Boys tour of Santa Cruz, CA and in the present visited retro arcades, mov- ie theaters and record stores. His exploration of highways and main streets of “Brat Pack America” remind of why we love the teen movies of the 1980s so much and, three decades later, still do.
Kevin Smokler (@weegee) is the author of the essay collection "Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books you Haven't Touched Since High School" (Prometheus Books, Feb. 2013) which The Atlantic Wire called "truly enjoyable" and the editor of "Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times," A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2005. His work has appeared in the LA Times, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The San Francisco Chronicle, Publishers Weekly and on National Public Radio. In 2013, he was BookRiot's first ever Writer in Residence. - See more at: http://www.kevinsmokler. com/
Praise for Practical Classics
“In this engaging survey of 50 books commonly assigned to teen readers, [Smokler] advocates revisiting them from an adult perspective. Even books we loved in our formative years… may have sailed right over our heads, suggests the author, who argues that only time and experience can prepare us to appreciate them fully.”
—San Jose Mercury News
“[F]ull of wit and candor... Putting literature to practical use is not a new invention, but what’s refreshing about the practice in this light is how Smokler pits this sort of practical gifting-as-guidance against the reduction of literature to ‘a letter grade and a dusty old obligation.’”
—Fiction Writers Review
“[S]o much fun…[It] 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.”
—The Atlantic Wire
“If you have been thinking about revisiting the books of your youth or those you have promised yourself to read, but haven’t, this entertaining book provides practical, real-world reasons by you should read them.”
-Alan Caruba, Bookviews
“[A] fine guide for any adult reader who would return to the classics with a different perspective in mind.”
“In the short and beguilingly engaging essays that make up Practical Classics, Smokler shows how these works can be relevant and even useful to grownups. Most impressively, he manages to pull this off without sounding stuffy or self-important.”
“Possibly the first self-help book to use literature as its prescription, Practical Classics serves as a primer for personal development, demonstrating how one may apply various literary tinctures to the more trouble- some areas of the Human Condition.... [Smokler] holds forth with confidence and a good slathering of wit about coping with our common, human plight.”