It’s a pleasure to help celebrate publication of the Quick Reads 2021 campaign. My thanks to Hannah of Midas for sending a copy to review – my choice was Saving the Day by Katie Fforde – reviewed below. I had already pre-ordered two, The Skylight and Wish You Were Dead which I look forward to reading when they arrive.
This year Quick Reads is celebrating its 15th Anniversary, which means that over five million copies of Quick Reads titles have been distributed since the life-changing programme began in 2006. To celebrate, for every book bought until 31 July, another copy will be gifted to help someone discover the love of reading.
OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE: The Baby is Mine (Atlantic)
LOUISE CANDLISH: The Skylight (Simon & Schuster)
KATIE FFORDE: Saving the Day (Arrow)
PETER JAMES: Wish You Were Dead (Macmillan)
CAITLIN MORAN: How to Be a Woman, abridged (Ebury)
KHURRUM RAHMAN: The Motive (HQ)
One in six adults in the UK – approximately 9 million people – find reading difficult, and one in three people do not regularly read for pleasure. Quick Reads, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, plays a vital role in addressing these shocking statistics by inspiring emergent readers, as well as those with little time or who have fallen out of the reading habit, with entertaining and accessible writing from the very best contemporary authors.
This year’s short books include:
– a dark domestic thriller from British Book Award winner Louise Candlish (The Skylight), who thanks reading for setting her on the right path when she was ‘young and adrift’
– 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
– the holiday from hell for Detective Roy Grace courtesy of long-time literacy campaigner and crime fiction maestro Peter James (Wish You Were Dead)
– 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.’
– 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’
– 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)
Over 5 million Quick Reads have been distributed since the life-changing programme launched in 2006. From 2020 – 2022, the initiative is supported by a philanthropic gift from bestselling author Jojo Moyes. This year, for every book bought until 31 July 2021, another copy will be gifted to help someone discover the joy of reading. ‘Buy one, gift one’ will see thousands of free books given to organisations across the UK to reach less confident readers and those with limited access to books – bring the joy and transformative benefits of reading to new audiences.
QUICK READS FREE PUBLICATION DAY EVENT – 27 MAY 2021
Thursday 27 May, 6-7.50PM
FREE** Register for a free ticket
Quick Reads are short books written by bestselling authors, commissioned by national charity The Reading Agency as a means of encouraging more people to read more. This year, The Reading Agency will be joined by the 2021 Quick Reads authors to celebrate publication day and the programme’s 15th anniversary. The author panel will include Oyinkan Braithwaite (My Sister, the Serial Killer), Louise Candlish (Our House), Katie Fforde (A Perfect Proposal), Peter James (creator of the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series) and Khurrum Rahman (East of Hounslow). Part 2 of the event will see a panel of librarians and adult literacy practitioners discuss the importance of making books and reading accessible to all and the lifelong benefits of reading. Attendees are welcome to attend one or both parts.
HOW TO TAKE PART
Quick Reads are available to purchase for a little as £1 from The Reading Agency’s bookshop on bookshop.org, retailers such as Hive, Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith and bookshops across the country. They can be borrowed from your local library.
We work with public libraries, prisons, colleges, hospitals and adult learning organisations to ensure these books are accessed by those who may find reading difficult as they are a perfect entry point to reading for pleasure.
Quick Reads are perfect for supporting the Reading Ahead programme either as reading material or to use as rewards and incentives. Find out more about Reading Ahead.
ABOUT THE BOOK
She has only one chance to turn her life around…
Allie is bored with her job and starting to wonder whether she even likes her boyfriend, Ryan.
The high point in her day is passing a café on her walk home from work.
It is the sort of place where she’d really like to work. Then one day she sees as advert on the door: assistant wanted. But before she can land her dream job, Allie knows she must achieve two things:
1. Learn to cook
2. End her relationship with Ryan, especially as through the window of the café, she spies a waiter who looks much more like her type of man.
And when she learns that the café is in danger of closing, Allie knows she must do her very best to save the day …
This is a short story, not a full-length novel.
I’ve always enjoyed a Katie Fforde book and this one immediately appealed. These Quick Reads books may be short, with just under 100 pages, but they do contain a fully fledged short story, as much as is possible. As an added bonus, this book also contains 3 recipes at the back, all of which are referred to in the story.
Twenty year old Allie worked had spent all her working life as a shelf stacker in a supermarket but wanted a new challenge. She desperately wanted to work in a local cafe however her lack of cooking skills was a definite disadvantage. Also dragging her down was her longterm boyfriend Ryan. A lazy little toerag who treated her like dirt and who she was really still with out of habit. She lived with her dad, and with Edith and Rita, her two interfering work colleagues always criticising, her life really wasn’t much fun.
As it is such a short story I won’t go into details, but Saving the Day is a really enjoyable uplifting story about finding the courage to make changes, never being afraid to learn something new and making your own opportunities – and how showing kindness to others can pay dividends when you need help yourself. There are several delicious foody references – see recipes above together with some engaging characters – and the not so likeable! To prevent the story being overly sweet, there is a little bit of drama for that extra bite!
I’ve bought many of these Quick Reads over the years – they are quality reads and always enjoyable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family, and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a different profession or background and her research has helped her bring these to life. She’s been a porter in an auction house, tried her hand at pottery, refurbished furniture, delved behind the scenes of a dating website, and she’s even been on a Ray Mears survival course. She loves being a writer; to her there isn’t a more satisfying and pleasing thing to do. She particularly enjoys writing love stories. She believes falling in love is the best thing in the world, and she wants all her characters to experience it, and her readers to share their stories.