It may be a Bank Holiday but, as we are all aware, these are not normal times, so we will be having our monthly book group discussion tomorrow evening, just as if it was any ordinary Monday - albeit meeting online.

This month's book is called 'The Friend' by Sigrid Nunez.

If you'd like to join in the discussion, please reply to this email so that I can send the details of how to get involved. Each meeting is unique so even if you took part last time, you'll need to receive this month's log in details.

I wonder when, and how, we'll be able to meet again in person? And when will authors be able to visit to tell us about their latest books?

On Tuesday, the new book by crime writer Martin Walker will be released. It's the 13th in his series about Bruno, the French village policeman and it's fabulous! Just right for these times. An easy, escapist read, imagining life, company and food in rural France.

Martin came to speak to us last year. You can listen to what he had to say here. But he got in touch this week so I've posted his letter below.

As author events, and festivals, have been cancelled, there is now a rich offering of talks, plays and readings streaming online. I've found the choice rather overwhelming, but this week did listen in and found it very stimulating so I hope you won't mind me making some recommendations...

Actress Emilia Clarke has invited her celebrity friends to each read a poem from the 'The Poetry Pharmacy' by William Sieghart and has posted the videos on Instagram. This is a fantastic book - I gave it to everyone I knew one Christmas but forgot to keep a copy for myself!! It's currently out of stock, but will undoubtedly be available again soon.

'Wild Geese' by Mary Oliver, read by Helena Bonham Carter and 'Everything Is Going to Be All Right' by Derek Mahon read by Andrew Scott were particularly soothing and inspiring, I found.

This weekend the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and the National Centre for Writing have held conversations, reflections and connections online which are still available here. I particularly enjoyed the discussion between Sara Baume and Elizabeth Mcneal about writing and craft.

And don't forget the Hay Festival Digital is underway now until the end of the month. There are some fascinating speakers and some challenging conversations, so do take a look at the programme. I found the lecture on the future of journalism by Afua Hirsh here both thought-provoking and challenging. And the powerful short talk by Elif Shafak here has much to ponder. She looks to global solidarity, and distinguishing between information, knowledge and wisdom as she hopes for a better future in the world after coronavirus. She also stresses the importance of books and storytelling.

More details of other festivals, talks and readings will follow each week. Do please let me know if there are you would like to recommend.

Finally, we're approaching the date when small businesses may be able to reopen. So do sign up for updates from Browsers here to find out how and when we might be able to step into a bookshop again.