The past few months have been something of wonder for many - sunny days, the extraordinary quiet, the birdsong and gardening, the solitude and stillness.
Whatever our circumstances during this time, though, the halting of normal life has given cause to stop, to pause, and perhaps to read a little more or a little differently than normal.
I met a newly retired publisher this week who revealed that for the first time in his life, he had put aside manuscripts and taken a look at his bookshelves, and discovered Trollope - "marvellous!" he said.
Libraries meanwhile, unable to offer their regular reservation and browsing service, provided bundles of books personally selected for users based on their preferences and previous loan history. What were the surprises there?
For me, I enjoyed the freedom of knowing that there had been a lull in publishing - new books couldn't be released as bookshops and distributors had limited reach to potential readers - so I had time to 'get ahead', or at least catch up, with my reading.
But that's stopped now!
It's great to see bookshops open again, and customers rushing through the doors. It's wonderful to have daily deliveries of new books from the wholesaler. And it's good to experience the passion and energy of publicists eager to shout as loud and as long as they can about the latest book on their list.
And it means that we are experiencing a deluge of wonderful books. Titles which were held back during the lockdown are being released, so the usually quiet month of August is busy with new exciting titles and September is going to be even busier. You can see the titles that I suggest you 'Look out for' here. And there'll be more added in the next few days.
In addition to this glut of fabulous new books, last week the Longlist for this year's Booker Prize was released. There are 13 titles, including eight debut novels, and these will be filtered down to a shortlist of six on 15 September.
In the past few years, members of the Browsers Book Group have risen to the challenge of reading, between them, all 13 titles. We then report back and collectively choose our own shortlist and seeing how closely it matches that of the judges. It's proved an interesting and enjoyable exercise.
I'm pleased to say that members of the new Zoom book group have been very enthusiastic in taking on this task.
I'll be reporting back on our progress in a few weeks' time, but if you'd like to be involved or to sit in on the discussion in September, reply to this email and I'll let you know more.