Although I strongly believe in the transportive power of the written word, I have missed experiencing new places and new people for myself in the past 18 months. 

I finally found an opportunity to take a couple of days away this week and though I wasn't far from home, another environment and a different pace and purpose to my day has proved welcome in recharging my batteries and clearing my mind. 

Holidays have always been an opportunity for concentrated reading activity of course - a book a day has been the target for a beach break, and even adventures or city stays have to have a carefully selected title which will reflect the change of scene.

While my time away has been short, it has coincided with a flurry of literary prize announcements and has given me the impetus to get up to date with these notable titles. I've been meaning to read 'English Pastoral' by James Rebank (winner of the Wainwright Prize) for some time, and the comments and reviews for 'Piranesi' by Susanna Clarke (winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction) describe an extraordinary book, with details of the demanding time the author faced as she wrote it (this always fascinates me!).

We also have the Booker shortlist announced in a couple of days' time. This has been a very readable, accessible longlist so it will be interesting to see how it has been narrowed down. The last six titles will be the ones we'll discuss when we meet together for our annual Booker Book Group, taking place on Monday 11 October at 8pm. If you'd like to take part, and haven't already responded, please reply to this email and I'll send out the details in the next few days. 

Thank you for reading.