I'm pleased to report a very successful inaugural Zoom book group discussion last week.
Of course, the sad news is that we're likely to be 'meeting' this way again later this month, on Monday 25 May. A Bank Holiday, I was reminded. But we agreed there might not be the usual claims on our time, so hopefully a chat about books will appeal and we'll get another good gathering.
This month's other Bank Holiday is this Friday. While many events and activities have been cancelled, others have been reorganised using Zoom - in which many of us are now becoming fairly expert (that's relief speaking, rather than bravado, you understand).
Friday marks VE Day, of course, but for three days next weekend, there is a virtual literary festival taking place, called the Big Book Weekend.
At first, this didn't fill me with glee, I confess. The joy of going to a festival or author talk, for me, is rubbing shoulders with the writers, seeing them up close and personal, and eavesdropping the conversations of other audience members. But I've taken a peek at the site hosting this event and it looks very slick and well thought through with various different features.
The programme of authors listed looks interesting indeed. If you didn't catch Maggie O'Farrell, Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Morpurgo or Kate Williams when they visited us in Woodbridge, hear them talk about their latest books on screen at this event. And some usually hot tickets will be more easily accessible this way - Marian Keyes or Neil Gaiman anyone?!
If this, and other events, inspire your reading, do contact an independent bookshop, or Waterstones, to source the title for you. Prices are good, delivery times are (fairly) speedy and titles are widely available.
There are changes happening within the book trade day by day, mostly good. If you have signed up to the newsletter from Browsers Bookshop in Woodbridge, you'll know the details of what is now on offer. If you haven't, please do so by clicking here for future updates as they happen! Or look up the website here. They will be very glad of your support!
Thank you to everyone who shared their recommended reading with me this week. I was thrilled that many of you were joining me in returning to favourite children's books.
"I highly recommend revisiting 'The Railway Children' if you're in need of a nostalgic escape," wrote children's author Anna Fargher. She is currently self-isolating at her home on the Suffolk coast as she waits for the publication of her second book 'The Umbrella Mouse to the Rescue' this summer.
And thanks to Carol and Lynda for reminding me of the joys of 'Anne of Green Gables', as well as 'Little Women', 'What Katy Did' and 'The Secret Garden'.
It was good to know that a number of you have discovered 'Quiet', which I mentioned last week. "It is a wonderful book," says John P. "I wholeheartedly recommend it!"