In the past week the media channels, newspapers and conversations have been dominated by Pageantry (and Pens), the Queen and the Queue.

Whatever emotions have been brought to the fore, and whether or not we enjoy ritual and tradition, it has been rewarding to see and celebrate precision, splendour, respect and excellence when so much of life in recent times has felt shoddy and sloppy. 

Tomorrow we will have the final occasion to bid farewell to a woman, a monarch who has brought such positive sentiments and responses. I wonder what we will take forward from this in the coming days and months.


We will soon be returning to our usual routines and activities so there are a number of events to highlight in the next few days.

On Wednesday, the University of Suffolk will be hosting Dig It! Unearthing Agatha Christie’s Crime Fiction Legacy, with guest speakers, a panel discussion and Q&A at The Hold in Ipswich. Scroll down for my review of the new biography of Agatha Christie by Lucy Worsley.

On Friday, John Sheeran will be talking about My Life in Art at Thomas Mills School in Framlingham. John has entertained and informed audiences in Suffolk for many years and this is an opportunity to find out how he has gathered his extraordinary knowledge, insight and passion for art.

Then, next Monday the book group will meet again after our summer break. We will be discussing 'Cecily', the debut novel by Annie Garthwaite. If you would like to come along, please reply to this email so that I have an idea of numbers and can let you have all the details of the meeting.

And if you're wondering what our group concluded about the Booker Prize longlist this year, I can tell you that we were quite attuned to the judge's decision but not entirely for the right reasons.

After sharing our reviews of the 13 titles in the longlist, we drew up two shortlists.

The first was our preferred shortlist (which agreed with the judges on two titles - The Trees and Small Things Like These). 

Then we compiled a list of the titles we felt the judges would choose for their shortlist. This matched three of the six titles - The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Glory and Treacle Walker. None of these our reviewers particularly enjoyed!

We were given two exceptionally enthusiastic, passionate and detailed reviews for the titles Nightcrawling and Map of Our Spectacular Bodies which caused us all to want to read the books immediately, yet neither made the judge's final six. And although a number of us enjoyed reading Oh William!, we didn't think it was a contender, yet this made the prize shortlist.

So the judges put forward the following six titles as their shortlist - Glory, Small Things Like These, The Trees, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Oh William! and Treacle Walker. We'll have to wait until 17 October to find out who triumphs as this year's winner.

Thank you for reading.