Nothing seems to go to plan these days, does it? Just as we turn the pages of our diaries and register that it's the start of a new term, a new academic year, a new season, we're told that many schools will have to stay shut because they are unsafe.

Whether we're a pupil, parent, teacher or merely a member of the community this is more shocking news in unsettling times. 

For many of us a good book provides us with a necessary and welcome escape from the daily reality. It also sometimes helps renew and equip us for dealing with the challenges we're confronting.

So how have we found reading the Booker Prize longlist of titles this summer? These books have been selected because they 'best reflect what is going on in the world and do it beautifully,' according to one of the judges, Esi Edugyan.

We're meeting tomorrow evening to debate whether the books we've read meet that description and how we have responded to them.

In all our past meetings, there have been some surprise discoveries and it has always been an enlightening and entertaining discussion.

If you'd like to come along to listen in, please let me know by replying before noon tomorrow. If you can't make it, I'll endeavour to provide a short report in next week's newsletter! 

Thank you for reading.