MY SIX BEST BOOKS
EDWARD STOURTON, 60, has been a BBC correspondent, newsreader and Today presenter. He currently presents Sunday on Radio 4. His latest book, Auntie’s War (Black Swan, £9.99), is out now in paperback SCOOP
by Evelyn Waugh
Penguin, £9.99 One of the few writers who make me laugh out loud. It’s about a case of mistaken identity when someone who writes nature notes is sent out to cover a war.
He’s out of his depth, as most of us are when we cover dangerous places. THE SLEEPWALKERS
by Christopher Clark
Penguin, £10.99 This is about how Europe went to war in 1914 and Angela Merkel has told all her Cabinet to read it.
It is a description of how everyone can wind up in a place they didn’t want to be by accident, by gradually accepting a situation. There are echoes of the Brexit negotiations. PRAGUE SPRING
by Simon Mawer
Little Brown, £18.99 Mawer is good at telling vivid stories about the mid-20th century in Europe. This is about the summer of 1968 when the Czechs tried to break free from the Soviet embrace.
I’m fascinated by the Cold War. I remember when the Berlin Wall came down, thinking happily that my children wouldn’t grow up under the threat of nuclear Armageddon. ANNA KARENINA
by Leo Tolstoy
Penguin, £8.99 When I was a student I thought this was the best book ever written. It’s not just Anna’s story; it’s the story of people. It’s gossipy, deeply felt and better constructed than War And Peace. CATHAY
by Ezra Pound
New Directions, £11.99 I studied this translation at university. It is a moving rendition of early Chinese poetry that makes it relevant to the modern age.
I sent one of the poems to a friend for his 60th birthday because it was a wonderful evocation of an indulgent party, written 2,000-odd years ago. COLLECTED POEMS 1909-1962
by T.S. Eliot
Faber, £15.99 The poems I keep coming back to are the Four Quartets and The Waste Land. It’s because of his ability to use language to express something that is inexpressible. I’ll pick it up if I’ve been working hard and want to refresh my mind with a glass of wine. EDWARD STOURTON