Bruce Springsteen Discusses His Favorite Books

Rock musician and songwriter Bruce Springsteen’s debut literary work is set to hit bookstores on November 4th. The children’s book, entitled Outlaw Pete, is based on a character established in Springsteen’s 2009 single “Working on a Dream.” Recently, the multi-medium writer gave fans some insight into a few of his own personal favorites in literature.

In an interview with the New York Times, Springsteen said, “I like the Russians, the Chekhov short stories, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.” He continued, “I never read any of them until the past four years, and found them to be thoroughly psychologically modern.” From Gabriel García Márquez‘s Love in the Time of Cholera to baseball player Mariano Rivera‘s autobiography, The Closer, the musician’s taste in books seems quite varied.

Springsteen went on to discuss a few novels he hasn’t read as well, and admits that he has yet to pick up a copy of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden — a fact that embarrasses him. The musician also disclosed some interesting information about his single “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Released in 1995, the song is centered around the protagonist of another Steinbeck work, The Grapes of Wrath, which Springsteen admits he also has not read. He explains that the song’s inspiration derived mainly from director John Ford’s movie adaptation of the novel, as well as Woody Guthrie‘s song “The Ballad of Tom Joad.”

When asked, Springsteen made it clear that he didn’t have intentions of writing about his own life story anytime soon. He gave examples of other rock stars who he finds it hard to compete with when it comes to autobiographies, listing Keith Richards’ book Life, Eric Clapton’s Clapton: The Autobiography, and Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, just to name a few. But on the topic of Outlaw Pete, the musician had this to say: “[The book] is essentially the story of a man trying to outlive and outrun his sins.”

Outlaw Pete’s plot is set around a mischievous, bank-robbing baby. The story will include lots of appearances from personalities introduced in various songs throughout Springsteen’s musical career. The song on which the book is based won a Grammy in 2010 for “Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.”