Many people think it's down to chance which books sell millions and which don't. Experience tells me otherwise. Too many authors dash off books, plonk them on Amazon, then wonder when they don't sell. Or they get a handful of rejections from publishers and moan about how 'difficult' it is to sell books these days.
Chris Grayling doesn't know what's going on. Some might argue that this is true generally, but I'm talking about the "book ban". He didn't mean for it to happen, he didn't intend to deprive prisoners, and he doesn't have a good answer to the criticism that's being levelled at him. And the fuss is part of a wider and even more concerning issue.
It directly addresses the assumption bordering on cliché that women are more emotional - weaker - than men. Yet the contributions are all written by successful, influential men (some with very tough images) who admit to crying. Many share deeply personal insights and experiences, all provoked by poetry.
The Howard League have been very active, not least through the #booksforprisoners twitter activity, which is being built on this week by English Pen, who are asking for people to tweet 'the book you would send to a prisoner, and why'.
I sat down at the front of the bus and began reading. I'd learned that sitting near the bus driver minimised the bullying rather than sitting further back, in the middle of a crowd of people. I was instantly captured by the narrative style, using fictional newspaper clippings, letters, articles.