Books from Sting

Apeirogon

'Nothing like any book you've ever read' MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM'A quite extraordinary novel. Colum McCann has found the form and voice to tell the most complex of stories, with an unexpected friendship between two men at its powerfully beating heart' KAMILA SHAMSIE Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin live near one another – yet they exist worlds apart. Rami is Israeli. Bassam is Palestinian. Rami's license plate is yellow. Bassam's license plate is green. It takes Rami fifteen minutes to drive to the West Bank. The same journey for Bassam takes an hour and a half. Both men have lost their daughters. Rami's thirteen-year-old girl Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber while out shopping with her friends. Bassam's ten-year-old daughter Abir was shot and killed by a member ofthe border police outside her school. There was a candy bracelet in her pocket she hadn't had time to eat yet. The men become the best of friends. In this epic novel – named for a shape with a countably infinite number of sides – Colum McCann crosses centuries and continents, stitching time, art, history, nature and politics into a tapestry of friendship, love, loss and belonging. Musical, muscular, delicate and soaring, it is a book for our times from a writer at the height of his powers.
Sting
Musician
My Book of the Month is Colum McCann’s “Apeirogon,” set within the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. How does someone tackle an intractable problem? You tell a story ... your enemy’s story, and he tells yours.
Books from Sting

Agent Running in the Field

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER'Le Carré delivers a tale for our times . . . a demonstration of the British spy thriller at its unputdownable best' Robert McCrum, Observer________________________________Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie. Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age._______________________________'A rich, beautifully written book studded with surprises. Narrative is a black art, and Le Carré is its grandmaster' Andrew Taylor, Spectator'Blisteringly contemporary . . . Each new book from le Carré is refreshingly different and uniquely compelling' Economist'A very classy entertainment about political ideals and deception . . . laced with fury at the senseless vandalism of Brexit and of Trump. Le Carré is the master of the spy genre' Guardian'Subtle, wry and seamless, it's an utter joy, from first page to last' Daily Mail
Sting
Musician
It made me smile. It’s a great read, as always, and set within our current political malaise, the topsy turvy Trumpian/Brexit world, as well as being strangely prescient of the conflicted loyalties of public servants when faced with self serving and corrupt political agendas.
Books from Sting

Catch and Kill

In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance that could not be explained - until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood, to Washington, and beyond. This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability and silence victims of abuse - and it's the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power - and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook the culture.
Sting
Musician
My Book of the Month is “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators” by Ronan Farrow. I simply couldn’t put it down, as a psychological/political thriller, and a gut wrenching exposure of the transgressive hierarchical structures deeply embedded within our society. I applaud Ronan’s courage, matched only by the courage of those who spoke out, and the evenness of his reporting under extraordinary pressure. Outstanding.
Books from Sting

Wolf Hall

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.
Sting
Musician
The rain has stopped now. We sit and chat a bit more – about Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which he recently read and loved
Books from Sting

Treasure Island

Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold."
Sting
Musician
Do you have a favorite childhood literary character or hero? I imagined myself as Jim Hawkins in “Treasure Island,” an innocent among thieves and cutthroats. It must have been the first book I ever read from start to finish, with unforgettable characters, Long John Silver, Blind Pew, Ben Gunn. . . . The Black Spot still terrifies me.
Books from Sting

Meditations

The "Meditations" of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius are a readable exposition of the system of metaphysics known as stoicism. Stoics maintained that by putting aside great passions, unjust thoughts and indulgence, man could acquire virtue and live at one with nature.
Sting
Musician
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be? “Meditations,” by Marcus Aurelius — Stoicism and the limitations of power. “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own — not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”
Books from Sting

THE MASTER AND MARGARITA

A 50th-anniversary Deluxe Edition of the incomparable 20th-century masterpiece of satire and fantasy, in a newly revised version of the acclaimed Pevear and Volokhonsky translation Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere. This newly revised translation, by the award-winning team of Pevear and Volokhonsky, is made from the complete and unabridged Russian text.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Sting
Musician
What book has had the greatest impact on you? Probably Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita,” a delicious and disruptive satire of Soviet Russia. I hear a dead man was put on trial in Moscow only this past summer; Woland would have loved it!
Books from Sting

The Most Of P.G. Wodehouse

The most lavish P. G. Wodehouse collection ever published. In addition to Wodehouse's best known and beloved Jeeves and Bertie stories, The Most of P. G. Wodehouse features delightful stories about The Drones Club and its affable, vacuous members: Mr. Mulliner, whose considered judgment on any and all topics is drawn from the experiences of his innumerable relatives; Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge, the man of gilt-edged schemes; and Lord Emsworth, ruler of all he surveys at Blanding's Castle. Rounding out the collection are Wodehouses's witty golf stories and a complete and completely hilarious novel, Quick Service. As Jeeves would say, "The mind boggles, sir."
Sting
Musician
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves? The complete works of P. G. Wodehouse, for their innocent escapism.
Books from Sting

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret

WINNER OF THE SOUTH BANK SKY ARTS LITERATURE AWARD 2018 A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR • A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR • A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR • A DAILY MAIL BOOK OF THE YEAR ‘A masterpiece’ Mail on Sunday ‘I honked so loudly the man sitting next to me dropped his sandwich’ Observer She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando clam up. She cold-shouldered Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. John Fowles hoped to keep her as his sex-slave. Dudley Moore propositioned her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy. “If they knew what I had done in my dreams with your royal ladies” he confided to a friend, “they would take me to the Tower of London and chop off my head!” Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950’s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is pantomime as tragedy, and tragedy as pantomime. It is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues and essays, Ma’am Darling is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography, and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society. ‘Brown has been our best parodist and satirist for decades now ... Ma’am Darling is, as you would expect, very funny; also, full of quirky facts and genial footnotes. Brown has managed to ingest huge numbers of royal books and documents without losing either his judgment or his sanity. He adores the spectacle of human vanity’ Julian Barnes, Guardian
Sting
Musician
While I’m not normally into Royal biographies, this one is rather unique in its beautifully written kaleidoscopic structure. It is very funny without being entirely uncompassionate about her celebrated rudeness.
Books from Sting

The Shepherd's Hut

From Tim Winton, Australia’s most decorated and beloved novelist and the author of Cloudstreet, comes The Shepherd’s Hut, the story of a young man on a thrilling journey of self-discovery in one of the harshest, near-uninhabitable climates on Earth.Tim Winton is Australia’s most decorated and beloved novelist. Short-listed twice for the Booker Prize and the winner of a record four Miles Franklin Literary Awards for Best Australian Novel, he has a gift for language virtually unrivaled among writers in English. His work is both tough and tender, primordial and new—always revealing the raw, instinctual drives that lure us together and rend us apart.In The Shepherd’s Hut, Winton crafts the story of Jaxie Clackton, a brutalized rural youth who flees from the scene of his father’s violent death and strikes out for the vast wilds of Western Australia. All he carries with him is a rifle and a waterjug. All he wants is peace and freedom. But surviving in the harsh saltlands alone is a savage business. And once he discovers he’s not alone out there, all Jaxie’s plans go awry. He meets a fellow exile, the ruined priest Fintan MacGillis, a man he’s never certain he can trust, but on whom his life will soon depend. The Shepherd’s Hut is a thrilling tale of unlikely friendship and yearning, at once brutal and lyrical, from one of our finest storytellers.
Sting
Musician
"I’m reading “The Shepherd’s Hut” by Australian writer Tim Winton. It’s about a boy escaping from his abusive father, and setting off alone into the Deserts of Western Australia. "
Books from Sting

The Shape of the Ruins

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZEA sweeping tale of conspiracy theories, assassinations, and twisted obsessions -- the much anticipated masterpiece from Juan Gabriel Vásquez.The Shape of the Ruins is a masterly story of conspiracy, political obsession, and literary investigation. When a man is arrested at a museum for attempting to steal the bullet-ridden suit of a murdered Colombian politician, few notice. But soon this thwarted theft takes on greater meaning as it becomes a thread in a widening web of popular fixations with conspiracy theories, assassinations, and historical secrets; and it haunts those who feel that only they know the real truth behind these killings. This novel explores the darkest moments of a country's past and brings to life the ways in which past violence shapes our present lives. A compulsive read, beautiful and profound, eerily relevant to our times and deeply personal, The Shape of the Ruins is a tour-de-force story by a master at uncovering the incisive wounds of our memories.
Sting
Musician
"The Shape of the Ruins” by Juan Gabriel Vasquez is my November Book of the Month. Sometimes it’s helpful to read a novel set in a country where I’m touring, especially a book with a historical context. Vasquez’ thriller is set in modern-day Colombia but contains fascinating and powerful resonances with the troubled political history of that country. "
Books from Sting

These Truths: A History of the United States

New York Times Bestseller In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history. Written in elegiac prose, Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—"these truths," Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise? These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore traces the intertwined histories of American politics, law, journalism, and technology, from the colonial town meeting to the nineteenth-century party machine, from talk radio to twenty-first-century Internet polls, from Magna Carta to the Patriot Act, from the printing press to Facebook News. Along the way, Lepore’s sovereign chronicle is filled with arresting sketches of both well-known and lesser-known Americans, from a parade of presidents and a rogues’ gallery of political mischief makers to the intrepid leaders of protest movements, including Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist orator; William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate and ultimately tragic populist; Pauli Murray, the visionary civil rights strategist; and Phyllis Schlafly, the uncredited architect of modern conservatism. Americans are descended from slaves and slave owners, from conquerors and the conquered, from immigrants and from people who have fought to end immigration. "A nation born in contradiction will fight forever over the meaning of its history," Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship. "The past is an inheritance, a gift and a burden," These Truths observes. "It can’t be shirked. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it."
Sting
Musician
This is December’s Book of the Month: “These Truths” by Jill Lepore. A magnificent and highly readable study of the glories and abiding conundrums of the American Constitution.
Books from Sting

The Spy and the Traitor

*The No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller* *Shortlisted for the 2018 Baillie Gifford Prize**Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018*'THE BEST TRUE SPY STORY I HAVE EVER READ' JOHN LE CARRÉ A thrilling Cold War story about a KGB double agent, by one of Britain's greatest historiansOn a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket.The man was a spy for MI6. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of espionage. In The Spy and the Traitor Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of betrayal, duplicity and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever.'Macintyre does true-life espionage better than anyone else. The Spy and the Traitor may well be his best book yet' Evening Standard'A dazzling non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage' Guardian 'A real-life thriller, as tense as John le Carré's novels, or even Ian Fleming's' Economist
Sting
Musician
My BOTM is “The Spy and the Traitor” by Ben Macintyre. A hugely entertaining historical account of the early 1980s when relations between the West and the Soviet Union were at their worst since the Cuban missile crisis.
Books from Sting

Dreyer's English

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The perfect back-to-school gift: A sharp, funny grammar guide they’ll actually want to read, from Random House’s longtime copy chief and one of Twitter’s leading language gurus “Essential (and delightful!)”—People, “Book of the Week” We all write, all the time: books, blogs, emails. Lots and lots of emails. And we all want to write better. Benjamin Dreyer is here to help. As Random House’s copy chief, Dreyer has upheld the standards of the legendary publisher for more than two decades. He is beloved by authors and editors alike—not to mention his followers on social media—for deconstructing the English language with playful erudition. Now he distills everything he has learned from the myriad books he has copyedited and overseen into a useful guide not just for writers but for everyone who wants to put their best prose foot forward. As authoritative as it is amusing, Dreyer’s English offers lessons on punctuation, from the underloved semicolon to the enigmatic en dash; the rules and nonrules of grammar, including why it’s OK to begin a sentence with “And” or “But” and to confidently split an infinitive; and why it’s best to avoid the doldrums of the Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers, including “very,” “rather,” “of course,” and the dreaded “actually.” Dreyer will let you know whether “alright” is all right (sometimes) and even help you brush up on your spelling—though, as he notes, “The problem with mnemonic devices is that I can never remember them.” And yes: “Only godless savages eschew the series comma.” Chockful of advice, insider wisdom, and fun facts, this book will prove to be invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills, mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping other people’s prose, and—perhaps best of all—an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language.Praise for Dreyer’s English“Playful, smart, self-conscious, and personal . . . One encounters wisdom and good sense on nearly every page of Dreyer’s English.”—The Wall Street Journal “Destined to become a classic.”—The Millions “Dreyer can help you . . . with tips on punctuation and spelling. . . . Even better: He’ll entertain you while he’s at it.”—Newsday (What to Read This Week)
Sting
Musician
I’m reading Benjamin Dreyer’s “Dreyer’s English,” an informative and entertaining handbook on how to write clearer English. It’s pithy, witty and a near-perfect example of the kind of writing it, advocates.
Books from Sting

The Strange Order of Things

From one of our preeminent neuroscientists: a landmark reflection that spans the biological and social sciences, offering a new way of understanding the origins of life, feeling, and culture. The Strange Order of Things is a pathbreaking investigation into homeostasis, the condition of that regulates human physiology within the range that makes possible not only the survival but also the flourishing of life. Antonio Damasio makes clear that we descend biologically, psychologically, and even socially from a long lineage that begins with single living cells; that our minds and cultures are linked by an invisible thread to the ways and means of ancient unicellular life and other primitive life-forms; and that inherent in our very chemistry is a powerful force, a striving toward life maintenance that governs life in all its guises, including the development of genes that help regulate and transmit life. In The Strange Order of Things, Damasio gives us a new way of comprehending the world and our place in it.www.antoniodamasio.com
Sting
Musician
The Strange Order of Things’ by Antonio Damasio is a fascinating philosophical/scientific meditation on the history and nature of feelings. I prefer science expressed in readable prose and not in the baffling abstraction of equations.