These collected Springsteen interviews—some recently "unearthed," others well-known—amount to an oral history told by the subject himself. Tracing the 40-year evolution of an oft-mythologized figure (indeed by the editors of the book, whose interstitial contextualizing tends toward the rapturous), they capture a man with an increasingly intense desire/need to clarify. By the mid-'90s, after divorce, relocation to LA and firing the E. Street Band, he is a man burdened. His 1998 interview with Will Percy (son of Walker) reads like something from The Paris Review; to the question "Do you think you're through making music videos?" Springsteen gives a 900-word answer that veers from Gary Cooper to Elvis Presley to the civil rights movement. Passages like this might have some readers considering trading in their wings for some wheels.
But the delights are plenty: from the cocky boardwalk Yoda-isms of his early days ("I don't know about learnin'. I don't believe in learnin'. You just do it, that's all.") to his Flannery O'Connor 40s ("There was some dark thing—a component of spirituality—that I sensed in her stories") to the occasional clunker ("I like Sir Mix-a-Lot"), he's an engaging talker whose rhythms really ring on the page. Anyone who enjoys listening to Bruce will enjoy listening to Bruce tell his tale. 7 p.m. regulatorbookshop.com.