On the nightstand: Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

What book is on your nightstand right now?

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. It’s about Mexico and when the French occupied it.

What magazines do you regularly read?

The Atlantic, The Nation and probably Time.

What’s your guilty-pleasure read?

Dean Koontz. I like anything he does. I don’t remember what I read 20 minutes later, but while I’m there, it’s good.

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Which books have influenced your political philosophy?

[Books by] Sinclair Lewis, John Sinclair, a lot of history books. I’m kind of a history buff. I thought [the books by Lewis and Sinclair] were gritty and real, and that’s kind of how life is.

Which books about D.C. should every member read?

I like the book about [former Rep. Phillip] Burton [D-Calif.], A Rage for Justice: The Passion and Politics of Phillip Burton, and I also enjoyed Mo Udall’s book about being a congressman. Contemporary [books] — [Rep. David] Obey [D-Wis.], I just finished reading his book.

What are your favorite novels of all time?

That’s kind of hard for me to pick; it’s almost the last one I read. Ivanhoe — I loved that. The Man in the Iron Mask. Stuff nobody reads anymore.

Which author do you most often reference?

I probably cite stanzas of poetry more than anything else, as weird as it sounds. From e.e. cummings to … on the environment, I pulled a lot of Thoreau. And Studs Terkel.

Kris Kitto