An interview with Bruce Holsinger – Part II


Some fun Friday reading for you – here is the second part of our interview with Bruce Holsinger, author of A BURNABLE BOOK…


Which author has influenced you the most and why?

Charles Dickens. I read all of Dickens voraciously while in high school, and I suppose it’s the combination of complex but elegant plots, memorable characters, and dark and impure motivations behind human actions that draws me most to his fiction.


Is there a book you have read that you wish you had written?

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.  This is a book that has changed what historical fiction can be and do.


What are your top ten favourite books?

Not inclusive, and not necessarily in this order, and a bit eclectic, but…

1. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  Sure, it’s a Booker Prize winner and maybe the greatest historical novel ever written, but at heart it’s pure suspense.  I’m fascinated by the Reformation, and she brings it alive in such an extraordinary way.

2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.  One of my purest memories is my first reading of this book.  A perfect story in so many ways.

3. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens.  The darker side of Dickens, and I’m compelled by the London it draws.  The opening scene on the Thames, on the river between the bridges, is probably the most filmic moment in nineteenth-century fiction.

4. Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brien.  The first of a long series of historical novels I haven’t allowed myself to finish.  I limit myself to one a year to keep the Napoleonic pleasures drawn out.

5. In the Woods by Tana French.  The debut novel by one of the greatest contemporary Irish writers.  Every paragraph is a shadowy work of art.

6. Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child.  Jack Reacher.  Short sentences.  Sleepless nights.

7. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.  An encylopedia of the medieval world: all the sin and sickness, sublimity and hope.  Alongside Paradise Lost and the Odyssey, one of the greatest poems in the western tradition.

8. American Pastoral by Philip Roth.  Roth’s darkest and greatest novel, extraordinary for the way it lifts the veil of family romance and peers at the ugly truths beneath.

9. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope.  The lower the stakes the higher the dudgeon, and this novel is filled with it.  A quiet setting but full of broiling passions and repressed ambitions.

10. The Canterbury Tales.  Saints and thieves, priests and murderers, false piety and horrific violence: what’s not to love?  Some of the greatest stories in the English language, and they never get old.


A big thank you to Bruce from the Killer Reads team, for taking the time to answer ALL of our questions! We’re an inquisitive bunch!

 A Burnable Book is out NOW! Order your copy today!

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