Author Spotlight: Thomas Holliday
Thomas Holliday has directed multiple productions of over fifty operas, operettas, and musicals in Europe and the United States. He has worked as a composer, conductor, opera educator, writer, and lecturer on operatic subjects. His book Falling Up: The Days and Nights of Carlisle Floyd, The Authorized Biography will be published in the fall.
On the Nightstand Now:
“Jan Wallentin: Strindberg’s Star. Intriguing but chaotic, and not very elegantly translated; but l’ll read most anything about the inexplicable and clinically insane Nazis, especially the Holocaust, about which I mean to write one of these days.”
On the Office Floor:
“(don’t even ask about the shelves) Fiction: Andrew Miller: Pure, Chris Pavone: The Expats, Patricia Highsmith: Ripley Under Water, Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt (I’ve already read all the other wonderfully creepy Ripley books).
Nonfiction: Christoph Wolff: Mozart at the Gateway to his Fortune, Erik Larson: In the Garden of Beasts, Nicholas Delbanco: Lastingness: The Art of Old Age, The Autobiography of Mark Twain, V. 1, Glenn Watkins: The Gesualdo Hex, Stephen Greenblatt: The Swerve.”
Favorite Childhood Book:
“Holling C. Holling: Minn of the Mississippi.”
Top Five Favorite Authors:
“Hesse, Balzac, Dickens, Stephen King, Hemingway.”
“Pretty much the same crowd, except for Hemingway. That would just be asking for trouble; and King has sworn off the sauce. So I’d probably add someone like Michael Frayn to bring some laughter to the room or Mark Twain. And though he’s a composer, Mozart would have to be included. He’s the one I’d most like to have known; but through his music, we all do.”
Top Evangelist Book:
“Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Book I’ve bought for the cover. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done that. Though an inveterate browser in book and record stores (or at least when we had record stores), I usually know what I’m looking for, or buy a new title or a subject in which I’m already interested.”
Book That Changed My Life:
“Hermann Hesse: Siddartha.”
“From Hesse’s diary from November 1920: ‘Concerning this day, at the top of this page from the varied pages of my life, I would like to write one word, a word like ‘world’ or ‘sun,’ a world full of magic, sound, and fullness, fuller than full, richer than rich, a word with the meaning of complete fulfillment, complete knowledge.Then the word occurs to me… I write it in large letters at the top of this page: MOZART. It means: the world makes sense, and it is perceivable in the likeness of music.’”
Book You Most Want to Read Again for the First Time:
“T.H. White: The Once and Future King.”
Questions Inspired by the “Book Brahmin” series on Shelf Awareness.