August has always seemed a strange month. Schools are out. Offices and factories run to different hours. Programmes of clubs, meetings and events take a break. There's nothing on TV.

Everything stops and everyone heads for the beach (or the airport).

We know that this year is different, but perhaps this month some things aren't all that different.

There are still festivals aplenty, for example. OK, so it's not hugely appealing to look at screens when the sun is shining, but the online programmes are a tremendous free resource and particularly, perhaps, in encouraging children in their reading activity over the summer.

So if we're feeling adventurous, why not pitch a tent in the garden or hand out the ice creams and log on to the online Edinburgh International Book Festival here. Or the Lavenham Children's Festival Bookworm Bonanza on demand throughout August here. There are readings, interviews and activities, and most children's authors also have impressive websites of their own with a multitude of inventive and interactive sessions.

The libraries have launched their annual summer reading scheme, too, so while children cannot gather in the colourful book stacks in real life, they can log their reading habit online.

And if you're looking for a challenge, why not join with the book group in reading the Booker Prize Longlist. We'll be meeting online to share our thoughts in early September so take a look at the 13 titles in contention here and see which six you think should make this year's shortlist.

We're forecast a hot and sunny week ahead, so I hope we'll all be able to find a quiet, shady spot in which to lose ourselves in a good book.