Most books back then were awful and most books now are awful. The classics stayed on. Reading modern books is like you went panning for gold and had to go through a bunch of rocks to find one single lump of coal. Or, the way I do it, you just go into the store and they give you big bars of gold from the old days and you read those.
I only have one book on the night stand at a time, because I’m a very slow reader and I really enjoy making a book last. If I’m going to bother to read a book I don’t want it to end quickly. I don’t binge. I like to sip. If I like the world, I want to stay in the world. And I don’t read a lot of books, honestly, but I have really turned to it during this virus time, because it’s cozy and I like it better than most shows — when I watch a show, I see script pages and I see acting. Having done what I’ve done, I find it harder to get into. So the book that’s on my stand right now that I’m really, really enjoying is called “Four of the Three Musketeers,” by Robert Bader, and it’s a very, very lon...
I don’t like to read at night, because it puts you to sleep, which I don’t like. I like to get up in the morning, and before I get dressed and leave the bedroom, I like to take the book and just spend a half-hour to start my day. That’s how I like to start the day. It’s very comfortable, and you always have a lot of energy. I don’t know, I just enjoy it more in the morning.
Right now, I'm reading a book called THE PEACE TO END ALL PEACE, by David Fromkin, which is a very thick book, about how the Middle East came to be, and why the Middle East is the way it is today. It's a very, very good and important piece of historical work.
Another very important book to read, which I'm re-reading, is called WHY NATIONS FAIL.
There are two books everyone should read: one is GUNS, GERMS & STEEL and the other is the rebuttal to that book, which is WHY NATIONS FAIL. Which will give you an understanding of why some nations are prosperous, while others are not. It's a very important book.
Well if you really want to read Russian novelists, you should learn to speak Russian, that's the best way. But if you don't want to do that, there are wonderful translators, a husband & wife team by the name of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, they are the greats. So even if you've already read Russian literature, you should reread. I would begin with a book of Tolstoy short stories, there's a book called the Death of Ivan Ilovitch and other stories, which is a jumping off point. And not ironically at all but it's very funny writing.