While we're grateful for the various means by which we can keep in touch through technology these days, I think we've all experienced the feeling of being rather 'Zoomed out'. So it was interesting to see a number of stories about video calls in the media this week.

There was the chaotic and tumultuous Cheshire parish council meeting, of course. Not comfortable viewing for lots of reasons, but I did enjoy the creativity displayed in one of the obligatory social media spin offs: 'Handforth Parish Council - the Musical'!

And there was the story about the farmer who hires out her goats for video calls. Dot McCarthy in Lancashire said she was looking for something which might lift people's spirits during this time. So she created resumés of her goats and suggested that people might like to invite them on to conference calls as a surprise guest to amuse the other attendees. She had no idea it would prove so popular. You can find out more here, and perhaps make your own booking, here?!

But I was also fascinated to see numerous items on how books and bookshelves have been appearing on video calls in this time.

There's a Twitter feed called Bookcase Credibiity which describes its intent as 'What you say is not as important as the bookcase behind you'. Whether in television interviews, meetings with colleagues or public presentations, people have had to style their rooms ahead of delivering their message.

In the early days of lockdown, you might see washing hanging on radiators and ironing boards propped in corners of rooms, and it was widely reported about people having empty shelves, or 'inappropriate' titles displayed behind them, but now some people are so much more savvy that they are contacting book suppliers to 'curate' their bookshelves for them so that they might appear more erudite to their viewing audience.

The sad thing about this is that it seems people aren't choosing books they'd like to read necessarily. Instead book businesses have been asked to supply literary tomes, travel guides and even books according to the colours of their spines! The BBC in reporting this item here also made it known that they were making empty sets from tv shows like Doctor Who, Strictly and Eastenders available as backdrops for video calls!

I hope you're not short of reading material, but if you're looking for ideas for your next book - or would like to try the book group on Zoom?! - please scroll down or take a look at my website...