From the New York Times:
What books are on your nightstand?
I’m currently reading Thomas Ricks’s “Churchill and Orwell. Graham Greene’s memoir, “Ways of Escape,” is a book I’ve read many times but keep coming back to. John Williams’s “Stoner” is on top of the stack of “To Be Read” books, next to Mark Lanegan’s “I Am the Wolf,” Moravia’s “Roman Tales” and “Agitator,” an overview of the films of Takashi Miike.
What’s the last great book you read?
Truly great? Charles Portis’s “True Grit” is a masterpiece. Don’t settle for seeing the film versions. One of the great heroines of all time and a magnificent book filled with great dialogue.
What influences your decisions about which books to read? Word of mouth, reviews, a trusted friend?
Friends often recommend books, and I’m loyal to authors whose past works I’ve enjoyed. I’m a hunter of footnotes. If I’m heavily interested in a particular historical subject, I will often track down everything I can find on it. I can disappear down a rathole of books on, say, the history of the Congo or special operations in Southeast Asia for years. The Kennedy assassination, for instance, took me on a decade-long journey through the history of organized crime, the C.I.A., French intelligence, the French Algerian conflict, the Vietnam War, Castro’s Cuba and the history of the K.G.B. I’m like that.