Into it: Frank Rich

New York Times columnist Frank Rich, what are you ...

... Reading?

I've been reading all the Iraq books. My favorite – it's not actually about Iraq, it's about terrorism – is [The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11] by Lawrence Wright. It's incredibly well-written and mesmerizing. Of current affairs books, it's that one blew me away. I do try to read fiction. I love fiction. It's an escape from the news. One of the things I reread from college this year and got much more out of now than I did then is E.M. Forster's A Passage to India. It's one of the greatest novels ever written, and it also speaks a little to what's going on now in the world in terms of the West meeting an alien culture with good intentions, and things going wrong. I also like contemporary fiction. Another book I loved this year was [Kazuo] Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.

... Watching?

I'm watching the Comedy Central duo of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because I feel, as many Americans do, that they are kind of a fact check on the real news. The fake news is illuminating about the real news. It's not a substitute for the real news, as Jon Stewart has repeatedly said, but it gives you a fresh way of looking at stuff. I have not caught much of the new prime-time series. I'm curious to see both of the NBC shows that are essentially about "Saturday Night Live," but I haven't gotten there yet. The Tina Fey show [30 Rock] started a little later and I want to see the Aaron Sorkin show [Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip] before they cancel it. I watch Entourage and some of the other HBO stuff.

One thing that has opened [on Broadway] that I've seen and enjoyed was this revival of A Chorus Line. I thought it was really good and powerful. The thing I'm looking forward to most, as are many people in New York, is Tom Stoppard's trilogy that is about the Russian Revolution. It's called The Road to Utopia and is three full-length plays. It's got an all-star cast, people like Ethan Hawke, and is opening in stages. It's epic.

... Listening to?

I'm listening to the new Bob Dylan album ["Modern Times"]. I love music, and I'm pretty susceptible to any suggestions people make, including my kids, who are young men in their early 20s. I'm listening to the new Diana Krall album, but there's also some independent rock stuff like Antony and the Johnsons, Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright. I haven't heard the new Beck album yet, but I will. I like jazz piano. I listen to a lot of eclectic stuff. I do not listen to "American Idol" pop.

Frank Rich dissects the national political mood in his book "The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina" (The Penguin Press).

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