Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Letter from the Literary editor: The Transformative Power of Books

Many of us will have booked our holidays by now and bought the sun-cream too. But what to read under the palm tree or on the beach or the staycation sofa?

On holiday, we get hours of solitude which we often fill with words on a page. The other place where there is solitude – though imposed - is in prison. I recently found myself listening to an ex-prisoner talk about the “transformative” power of books inside, at a conference about reading in prisons. I learned a lot: some inmates are allowed one library trip every six months; fathers make audio books for their children at one facility; prison readings by Martina Cole are packed out. Some thought this was because her fictional world of crime is one to which prisoners can relate. But they also turn out in large numbers for John Hegley, the gentle, funny poet.

It was clear that books of all kinds are vital to many inside, partly because they fill the time, but they don’t just offer escapism – they provide solace, wisdom and mirth. We learn so many lessons – moral, emotional, empathetic – from them. These lessons have got to be good for prisoners, surely.

On each chair at this conference, there was a postcard asking us what we’d recommend a prisoner to read this summer. I suggested a marvellous collection of reflections on the Great War, co-edited by Sebastian Faulks, called A Broken World, seeing as we’re entering the centenary month of the start of hostilities.

What would help me is if you, the reader, would recommend a summer read to a prisoner too – a book you’ve just read, or enjoyed years ago. I’ll pass on your suggestions and report back. Meanwhile, enjoy losing yourself in a good book this summer.

A.Akbar@Independent.co.uk

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence