Into It: Stuart Woods

The bestselling suspense novelist reveals what he's reading, watching, and listening to – and why screenwriters ought to see 'Michael Clayton.'

Courtesy of Harry Benson/Penguin Books

... Reading?

I've just begun to read both Noël Coward's letters and Arthur Schlesinger's journal. I read [Schlesinger's] Kennedy book, "A Thousand Days," many years ago, and I knew him slightly – we belonged to the same club in New York and I had lunch with him a couple of times there. I've always liked the way his mind works, so I thought I'd like to get a little more insight into that.

... Listening to?

I don't need an iPod; I have a lot of music in my head. My mother was an accomplished pianist and a church organist and she played on a daily basis in the house and played the only live classical music in my hometown heard. She played organ preludes before church services. I'm very fond of Puccini and Verdi in the opera realm. In classical music, Mozart and the Russians – Rachmaninov in particular, and Tchaikovsky. In jazz, I like pianists a lot. Oscar Peterson, Eroll Garner, and Dave McKenna is a favorite of mine.

... Watching?

I saw Charlie Wilson's War the other day and thought it was a brilliant piece of work. Mike Nichols directed a brilliant screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. I was very unhappy to see Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip be yanked off the air. I thought that was a brilliant piece of work. Aaron Sorkin, again. I never missed an episode of The West Wing. Another film I saw that I really enjoyed was Michael Clayton, [George] Clooney's film. Terrific script. I love long speeches by actors, and that was full of them. I like scripts where the actors talk in complete paragraphs.

Stuart Woods's new book, "Beverly Hills Dead," will be published Jan. 15 by Putnam. The author's website is

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