I’m finally reading Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room. It has moved up and down the teetering pile of books beside my bed for months, gently taunting me. I have heard great things about it, but always something more pressing has intervened. This Friday, though, I will read it, losing myself in the wartime world of haut-bourgeois Czechoslovakia. We all need a nudge in the right direction and, perhaps more importantly, time to get to grips with their reading.
London’s leading literary light, Damian Barr – a former Times journalist, author and host of Shoreditch House’s famous Literary Salon – has come up with the answer for those of us who find keeping up with the Adam Mars-Joneses a dreadful slog. Barr’s Reading Weekends bring a group of readers together in a luxurious location to discuss books with one of a host of literature’s most celebrated names. Previous weekends have featured such luminaries as Geoff Dyer, Diana Athill and David Nicholls. These extended salons take place at the beautiful Tilton House in Sussex – just down the road from Charleston and very much Virginia Woolf country – and at the Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire – looking over the rugged crags of Scotland’s wild West Coast. Kuoni and Elite Island Resorts are arranging Caribbean weekends for Barr.
Readers get the chance to discuss all things bookish with the guest author, receive a Bibliotherapy session from the School of Life’s Ella Berthoud, and – of course – eat and drink in the company of a group of likeminded lit lovers. Damian Barr will even read you a bedtime story in his pyjamas. The next weekend – at Turnberry – is on the 7th-9th October and features prizewinning novelist JoJo Moyes, author of The Last Letter from Your Lover. If you have found yourself, like the poet John Wilson, crying ‘O, for a book and a shady nook,’ this is for you.