It's been wonderful to see the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe this week, and for her to be reunited with her husband and daughter.
Former hostage Terry Waite, when interviewed about what Nazanin might expect in the coming days and weeks, said it is important for her to retreat quickly from the glare of publicity and then to talk to someone, to tell her story. The implication is that this might become a book just as he, Brian Keenan and John McCarthy, did so powerfully.
Naturally, many of us will be interested in learning about Nazanin's experience - how she felt, how she coped, her hopes for the future. Despite the fact that we can relate to the horrors of what she went through, and the loss of the time with her daughter growing up, we might still feel distanced from it, though, knowing this is something we are unlikely to experience ourselves.
When are we too close to a subject to be able to immerse ourselves in a memoir or a novel without causing ourselves additional upset or distress?
I started reading 'Uncommon Courage', about the yachtsmen volunteers in the second world war, before the book was published and before the war in Ukraine. Returning to it now feels more challenging. It no longer feels a distant reminder of the heroic efforts of ordinary people rising to a national threat. It is perhaps, though, even more salutary - if we ever need a reminder of the tragedy and destruction of war, and the costs and courage of individuals.
On other matters, we are hoping still to be able to meet in person for a couple of events in the coming days.
This week I will be in Maldon, Essex, hosting the printmaker and illustrator Angela Harding as she talks about her book 'A Year Unfolding' on Thursday 24 March at 7pm. There are still tickets available if you'd like to join us. Take a look here.
And it's time again for this month's book group meeting. We'll be taking all the usual precautions on Monday 28 March so if you'd like to join in the discussion, please reply to this email and I"ll send you the details.
Thank you for reading.