My last memory of my famous cousin John Masefield dates from the early 1960s, when I visited him at his home, Burcote Brook, on the Thames at Abingdon near Oxford. As the author of over seventy works of poetry, non-fiction, novels, plays and children's books, and as Poet Laureate for more than thirty years, John was already a literary legend.
If we want to stamp out homelessness, and poverty, and starvation, and all of the other problems we are currently facing, the answer doesn't lie in a donation once a year. If we really want to challenge these social ills, we have to bond together and stand in solidarity with the less fortunate - all year round.
This week sees the release of the most hotly-anticipated book for years: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. The new novel is the first to feature world-renowned Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot since the death of original creator Agatha Christie. Little is known about the upcoming novel apart from its setting: the mysterious Bloxham Hotel. And so to celebrate, trivago.co.uk has compiled a list of the most iconic fictional hotels.
The government is launching a new campaign this week to encourage better reading among the young: "Read On. Get On". Based on a report that links the inability to "read well" with potential joblessness later in life, it's the latest of many articles and reports bemoaning a decline in traditional reading skills among young people.