Springsteen’s Favorite Books & Reading List


Image by Michele Lucon, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Bruce Spring­steen will make his debut as a chil­dren’s author next Tues­day, with the release of Out­law Pete. In advance of that lit­er­ary event, The New York Times inter­viewed Spring­steen about the books on his read­ing list and his lit­er­ary tastes. They ask:

What books are cur­rent­ly on your night stand?

I just fin­ished “Moby-Dick,” which scared me off for a long time due to the hype of its dif­fi­cul­ty. I found it to be a beau­ti­ful boy’s adven­ture sto­ry and not that dif­fi­cult to read. Warn­ing: You will learn more about whales than you have ever wished to know. On the oth­er hand, I nev­er want­ed it to end. Also, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez. It sim­ply touched on so many aspects of human love.

Who is your favorite nov­el­ist of all time, and your favorite nov­el­ist writ­ing today?

I like the Rus­sians, the Chekhov short sto­ries, Tol­stoy and Dos­toyevsky. I nev­er read any of them until the past four years, and found them to be thor­ough­ly psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly mod­ern. Per­son­al favorites: “The Broth­ers Kara­ma­zov” and, of course, “Anna Karen­i­na.”

Cur­rent favorites: Philip Roth, Cor­mac McCarthy and Richard Ford. It’s hard to beat “Amer­i­can Pas­toral,” “I Mar­ried a Com­mu­nist” and “Sabbath’s The­ater.” Cor­mac McCarthy’s “Blood Merid­i­an” remains a water­mark in my read­ing. It’s the com­bi­na­tion of Faulkn­er and Ser­gio Leone’s spaghet­ti west­erns that gives the book its spark for me. I love the way Richard Ford writes about New Jer­sey. “The Sports­writer,” “Inde­pen­dence Day” and “The Lay of the Land” are all set on my stomp­ing grounds and, besides being poignant and hilar­i­ous, nail the Jer­sey Shore per­fect­ly.

The rest of the inter­view touch­es on his favorite New Jer­sey writer (had to ask that); the writ­ers who most inspired his song­writ­ing (spoil­er alert, Flan­nery O’Con­nor is one of them); his favorite book about music; the unex­pect­ed books on his shelves (hel­lo Bertrand Russell’s “The His­to­ry of West­ern Phi­los­o­phy”); and much more. Read the inter­view in its entire­ty here, and also see today’s Times piece on the new, open-access, aca­d­e­m­ic jour­nal about Spring­steen. It’s called Boss.

Note, you can find most of the clas­sic books he men­tions in our col­lec­tion, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bruce Spring­steen Plays East Berlin in 1988: I’m Not Here For Any Gov­ern­ment. I’ve Come to Play Rock

Bruce Spring­steen and Pink Floyd Get Their First Schol­ar­ly Jour­nals and Aca­d­e­m­ic Con­fer­ences

Heat Map­ping the Rise of Bruce Spring­steen: How the Boss Went Viral in a Pre-Inter­net Era

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