In this week's reading test, we are going to practise the traditional multiple-choice reading comprehension task. To do so, we are going to read The Guardian article Bruce Springsteen, Born to Write.
Read the text and choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence. 0 is an example.
Bruce Springsteen, Born to Write
Virtually all rock memoirs follow a similar pattern of rise and fall, before ending with acceptance – brought on by sobriety, spirituality, the death of peers, or just the plain realisation that it’s not worth hating your bandmates any more. Virtually all, too, are at their best in their early pages – covering the early years – when the passion for music still burns bright, when it’s all still fun, when the star is rising, rather than burning out.
Bruce Springsteen’s memoir, Born to Run, out at the end of September, looks as if it might be a little different. For a start, there’s his status: no bass player with a second-rate hair-metal band, he. It’s hard to imagine this will be full of changes, often one of the only selling points of lesser rock biogs. His status, too, is current: no one else has spent as long as Springsteen selling out stadiums, year after year, to ecstatic receptions. No one else of his stature seems to feel the need to commune with their flock with such frequency.
Then there are the precedents: among his generation (and his commercial and critical peers), both Bob Dylan and Neil Young have produced books that moved away from the traditional rock volume. Dylan told an irregular narrative that avoided many major events, telling the stories less told. Young’s focused heavily on his passions – audio fidelity, green motoring – while his relationship with Crosby, Stills and Nash was dismissed with startling brevity.
Less controversial than either of them – in his public image, at least – Springsteen is likely to offer his fans a more straightforward read. The introduction to Born to Run, which he released on his website recently, promises to answer the two questions that occupy the mind of anyone watching someone undeniably great working a stage: how do they do that, and why do they do that?
Why, after 50 years as a musician, after more than 40 playing the song that gives the book its name, does Springsteen still need to hear 90,000 people singing “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run!” back at him? The foreword offered some clues: “DNA, natural ability, study of craft, development of and devotion to an aesthetic philosophy, naked desire for … fame? … love? … admiration? … attention? … women?… sex? … and oh, yeah …. a buck. Then … if you want to take it all the way out to the end of the night, a furious fire in the hole that just … don’t … quit … burning.”
Springsteen has long appeared one of the most knowable of rock stars. So many of his songs, if not autobiographical, have appeared to give direct information on his childhood, his family, his town, his country. One album, Tunnel of Love, dealt with his disillusionment with his first marriage. Songs are songs: they are a truth, they are not the truth. But it’s not only in the songs: there are books compiling his many interviews. And this rock Charlemagne has his own Einhard, in the form of writer Dave Marsh, who has conveyed his thoughts to the world. Even while writing this book, he cooperated with Peter Ames Carlin on the really very decent biography, Bruce, published in 2012.
So, on the face of it, one really shouldn’t need this book. Don’t we all know about his dad, his struggles, his superstardom and so on? Yes, but we still only know the facts of the legends. Born to Run gives us the chance, at last, to know why Springsteen needed to build those legends.
A hate one another.
B play their best music towards the end of their careers.
C tend to have ups and downs.
1 Bruce Springsteen’s book will be different because
A his band is relatively unknown.
B he doesn’t play the bass.
C of his current position in the music world.
2 Other musicians of Springsteen’s generation
A avoided talking about their enthusiasms.
B discussed key events in their careers.
C published unconventional books.
3 Bruce Springsteen’s fans
A are expecting the book to answer very simple questions.
B are expecting the book to offer lots of anecdotes.
C can already read the book on the artist’s website.
A doesn’t feel the need to communicate with his public any more.
B has a song called Born to Run.
C has taken 50 years to write the book.
5 Springsteen’s songs
A always deal with personal problems.
B are anything but autobiographical.
C help us understand the person behind the artist.
6 Born to Run
A is a biography.
B was written by Bruce Springsteen himself.
C was written by Peter Ames Carlin.
7 The book will tell us
A how Springsteen managed to become famous.
B the most important facts of Springsteen’s life.
C what motivates Springsteen to do what he does.
1C 2C 3A 4B 5C 6B 7C