Books That Made a Difference to Steve Earle

The triple-threat artist has a new album, a novel, and a role on the HBO series Treme. But his real love is reading, and reading again.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

448 pages; Scholastic Paperbacks
"I love these books," says Steve Earle, who collects foreign editions of the wizard chronicles, including one in ancient Greek. "I'm in mourning that Rowling isn't writing them anymore, and I'm going to see the new movie because that's all that's left. I've read the Potter stories and reread them and I've listened to them on audiobooks while working out. I first started paying attention to them because I lived with a woman who had a daughter not quite 11. She was around Harry Potter's age when the story started, and I'd see kids lined up around the block to buy a book. I thought, 'This is probably something I need to check out.' One of the things I love about the novels is that they get more involved and darker as Rowling's characters get older, and she writes better and better and better. I think the Harry Potter books are like Dickens: literature that people really read. Popular but not pulp."
— As told to Sara Nelson