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Bono: In Conversation
By Michka Assayas

(Riverhead, 336 pages)

Oh, how you want to hate this book. You want to believe that Bono consists solely of the pompous hot air that issues forth so freely from his mouth, but, after only a few pages of these conversations with journalist and longtime friend Michka Assayas, it's nearly impossible to hate Bono the man or Bono the book. This book is ample testament to the fact that, when cornered in a conference room for days on end, repeatedly answering the same questions in the name of promoting an album/tour/African famine relief, a rock star can come off a bit, um, arrogant. Bono's a special case, however, as he often comes off as both arrogant and pedantic. But Assayas' interviewing skills and long history with Bono allow him to get the singer to actually talk at length and in depth, revealing him to be incredibly personable, intelligent and, believe it or not, self-effacing. Bono – and Assayas – force you to abandon your preconceptions with a remarkably engrossing book that's both a study of a person and of a personality.

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