On the nightstand: Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)

What book is currently on your nightstand?

There are so many. The Shack [by William Young]. It’s sitting there; I haven’t touched it yet. I was on a James Patterson kick for about a year. The reason I liked it was because he wrote all about Southeast Washington. The detective, Dr. [Cross], was from Southeast. Besides that, Patterson writes one to two pages every chapter, so you can read it anywhere and move through it. It’s even more simple than the Bible.

Would you consider that your guilty-pleasure read?

No, no. It’s not a guilty pleasure. When I read, I’m able to picture in my head if they are good writers. So it’s almost like watching a movie, but the pictures are created by the words. The only time I stayed up all night to read was In Cold Blood [by Truman Capote]. I couldn’t put it down.

Was that your favorite book of all-time?

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No, but it was one that held me — I read right into the night and the next day and finally finished it.

Which book has influenced you the most?

When I was growing up, the book that I read a lot was Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. That taught me how to read. My mother made me read every night. It sounds corny, but for about 40 years I read the Bible every night. My mother said, “If you read four chapters a night, you’ll get through it.” But I had to cheat, because there were chapters in there that kept saying, “Somebody begat, somebody begat.” I had that and the dictionary with me, because I only had a sense of what “begat” meant.

Miles Hilder