As we noted yesterday, Carolyn Kellogg has an interesting piece up at Papercuts about Bruce Springsteen and Walker Percy. Carolyn expresses some surprise at finding out that the Boss is an avid reader. To us die-hard fans, however, evidence of Bruce’s bookish leanings is legible as far back as the late ’70s. There’s the song title nicked from Flannery O’Connor (“A Good Man is Hard to Find,” from Tracks); the in-concert plug for Joe Klein’s Woody Guthrie: A Life (on Live 1975-1985); the East of Eden-ish “Highway Patrolman” (from Nebraska); and the long quotation from The Grapes of Wrath in the title track of The Ghost of Tom Joad.
For those interested in what else Bruce has been reading, a big photo spread of Springsteen’s “writing room” in the current issue of Rolling Stone offers a tantalizing glimpse (Ed. – The photo they’ve posted is much smaller than the one in the magazine, frustrating attempts at further investigation online). I found myself distracted from the accompanying article, perusing the bookshelves instead, as I tend to do involuntarily when I’m invited into the house of an acquaintance for the first time. In addition to the prerequisites of any writing room – Roget’s Thesaurus; The Holy Bible; Bob Dylan’s Lyrics – the Springsteen shelves boast an eclectic mix of literary fiction and books on history and music. Here’s what I could glean from the spines.
- Black Tickets, by Jayne Anne Phillips
- White Noise, by Don DeLillo
- American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
- The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell
- Cold New World , by William Finnegan
- Country: The Music and the Musicians
- American Moderns, by Christine Stansell
- Real Boys, by William Pollack
- At the Center of the Storm, by George Tenet
- When We Were Good, by Robert S. Cantwell
- John Wayne’s America, by Garry Wills
- The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene
- The Search for God at Harvard, by Ari L. Goldman
- Feel Like Going Home, by Peter Guralnick
- Dark Witness, by Ralph Wiley
- Go Cat Go, by Craig Morrison
- New Americans, by Al Santoli
- Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
Currently, Bruce appears to be reading Fallen Founder, a biography of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg. And he is evidently something of a fan-boy himself; prominently displayed on his coffee table is a book called Greetings from E Street.