I'm in the middle of two books. The final installment of Larry McMurtry's Berrybender novels [Folly and Glory]. I've been inhaling him for this last year and now I'm on the fourth one [in the series] and I'm enjoying it. I just picked up Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Rifles, so I'm beginning that series, which I have never read.
I'll watch anything, from action to art films. I just saw Casino Royale on the plane and that was great. I just saw Crank and that was fun. Martin Scorsese, everything he does, I've got to see. And Jack Nicholson, I've got to see what he does. So The Departed was my best movie for 2006. I watch a lot of bad TV. I spend my entire day reading and writing, and after dinner my idea of fun is just to watch a lot of bad TV. That's how I relax and stay in touch with modern culture. I'm all over the map. Deal or No Deal, [but] I'm not attached to any one show, I just sort of troll through. I'll check in with American Idol, you know, and then I'll watch PBS. I saw a great documentary on Jonestown just before I left on [my book] tour, which I thought was pretty appropriate.
... Listening to
I'm big into popular music. I try to outdo my college-age children with some new happening band. XTC is my favorite band, I'm a huge Neil Young fan, Jayhawks, all that type of stuff. I like Death Cab for Cutie, also Ryan Adams. I try to impress my children: "Have you listened to such-and-such?" They're not impressed.
• Nathaniel Philbrick's latest books, "Mayflower" and "The Mayflower Papers," (Penguin) are out now.