I cannot think of a time when I haven’t taken reading and writing for granted. Of course, I was aware that not everyone could read but I don’t think I knew what that meant in numbers. One in six adults in the UK find it hard to read, and one in three do not read regularly. That’s such a shame as reading isn’t only educational, but can be so much fun and comfort. You can travel to new places, meet people you would never meet otherwise, learn new things, expand your knowledge.
Quick Reads, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, was developed by The Reading Agency. The programme which was launched in 2006, has helped many an emergent reader. The clever idea behind Quick Reads is to provide readers who aren’t as fluent, with engaging, enjoyable short texts that will not take too much time or effort to get through. And they are affordable. Each title only costs 1£. This year, for every book bought before 31 July 2021, a free book will be donated to a UK organisation helping those who aren’t as confident readers or lack access to books.
This year’s short books include:
OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE: The Baby is Mine (Atlantic)
– Oyinkan Braithwaite’s follow-up to her Booker nominated debut sensation My Sister, the Serial Killer – a family drama set in lockdown Lagos (The Baby is Mine)
LOUISE CANDLISH: The Skylight (Simon & Schuster)
KATIE FFORDE: Saving the Day (Arrow)
– an uplifting romance by the much-loved Katie Fforde (Saving the Day), who never thought she would be able to be an author because of her struggle with dyslexia
PETER JAMES: Wish You Were Dead (Macmillan)
– the holiday from hell for Detective Roy Grace courtesy of long-time literacy campaigner and crime fiction maestro Peter James (Wish You Were Dead)
CAITLIN MORAN: How to Be a Woman, abridged (Ebury)
– a specially abridged version of the feminist manifesto (How to Be a Woman) by Caitlin Moran: ‘everyone deserves to have the concept of female equality in a book they can turn to as a chatty friend.’
KHURRUM RAHMAN: The Motive (HQ
– an introduction to Khurrum Rahman’s dope dealer Javid Qasim (The Motive), who previously found the idea of reading a book overwhelming and so started reading late in life, to find ‘joy, comfort and an escape’ )
I’m very grateful to MIDAS PR for offering one of the titles for review. I chose Louise Candlish’s The Skylight because she’s an author I enjoyed previously.
The Skylight tells the story of Simone who watches her neighbour’s through their skylight from her bathroom window. They have no idea she can see them as from their flat it looks like the window is opaque. One day, standing at her window, spying, Simone sees something she didn’t really expect. It infuriates her so much that she decides to take revenge.
If you’d like to know what she’s seen and how the revenge goes, you have to read the novella for yourself. I thought it was very entertaining and offered a few unexpected twists and turns. I really enjoyed this short book. I might pick up a few other Quick Reads titles in the future as they are excellent introductions to an author’s work.
A book like this, short but entertaining, would have helped me during my reading slump at the beginning of the year. Now I know, where to look, should it happen again.
Thanks again to #QuickReads, @midaspr and @readingagency