What (and how) Whit Stillman reads

You have a lot of freedom in reading a book. I’m unable, for some reason, to read books from beginning to end. I have to go to what interests me most in the book. And if I like that, I start going backwards and forwards. And it starts to become a really complicated endeavor of just reading the parts of the books once and not sort of overlapping. I don’t know why I have to sort of re-edit the books myself. I don’t know why I can’t read a prologue and read a first chapter. I mean, if I really love a book I’ll get to them too. For some reason, I usually find them deadly dull, the prologues.

And this:

And my favorite reading of all is the unabridged Boswell’s Life of [Samuel] Johnson. It’s my favorite thing because it’s interesting and has no import or forward narrative momentum. So you’re interested and edified but it doesn’t keep you up at night.

Here is more.


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