Harry Reid has been an attorney, city attorney, hospital trustee, state legislator, lieutenant governor, gambling regulator, U.S. House member and is now U.S. senator.

Are you happy?

What do you mean? I like what I'm doing?

Yes. Are you enjoying your life?

People say, “Having fun?” I'm not having fun. I feel very satisfied with my job. I like what I do. It's what I've done all my life, most of my life, legislator. … And I really do feel good about what I've been able to accomplish. I feel good about my caucus. … It's not like playing a card game. It's a job. It's a hard job, but I get great satisfaction out of what I do. And I have a wonderful family. I enjoy my family and don't begrudge the fact—one of my pet peeves is, “Oh, man, I wish I could have spent more time with my family.” I don't say that. I've spent plenty of time with my family. I'm happy as a lark.

I think a lot of people don’t understand why politicians put themselves through a system like—now it’s so polarized and meanspirited. Do you ever think, “I could step back. I could take a committee chair and let somebody else be leader and …

Oh, but I'm the best leader we have in the Senate. I mean, I'm there because my caucus [the Democratic members] think I'm doing a good job. They can get rid of me anytime that they want, if they want to. … My wife and I are happy with each other. I have very few hobbies, Dennis. … Don't play golf. I don't go to ball games. I do go to some movies a few times. I've been able to once in a while go to a play or something like that. I don't do social things. I don't do dinners during the week. I do on the week[end]—Fridays and Saturdays. My hobbies are, I love to read—I read a lot—and spend time with my little wife. That's what I enjoy.

What’s your favorite book?

Of all time? … Nicholas and Alexandra. Peter the Great. … I thought they were classics, I truly loved. [William] Manchester's writings, even the last book that he didn't finish by himself [The Last Lion], he did it with [Paul] Reid, some guy named Reid finished it for him. That was good. I really enjoyed that a lot. [Lyndon Johnson biographer Robert] Caro … [Daniel] Boorstin's books that he wrote when he was librarian of Congress. The books he wrote were wonderful. …

You’ve been involved with a number of different musicians over the years—your friend down in Texas with the environmental center [Don Henley]. And you were involved with the Grateful Dead [on music therapy legislation] at one point. You research Woody Guthrie. What is your favorite kind of music?

I'm still a big fan of folk music. But I've got everything. … I've got thousands of songs on my iPad and my iPhone. Thousands, a wide range—classical music, I've got Woody Guthrie. I've got Bruce Springsteen. Joan Baez … Emmylou Harris … Neil Young … Johnny Cash. I've rock and roll stuff, I've got reggae, I like a lot of music.

But your preference is folk?

Yes, I think I like folk music quite a bit. I love—I have tons of Irish folk music, which I love.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...