Sarah Salmon, who works for Norfolk Library and Information Service, speaks to us about how Quick Reads increased her confidence in reading following a period of illness
Many thanks for talking to us, Sarah. Can you tell us about how you first discovered Quick Reads?
I have worked in the book trade for nearly 20 years. In 2017 I lost the ability to read for a while following a brain haemorrhage - I could only really scroll through Twitter as 280 characters was all I could concentrate on.
Reading has always been my main hobby and means of relaxation as well as necessary for my job (I also read for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club Panel but luckily had just sent in my reviews), so this inability to read was devastating. I knew what all the words were but I had lots of memory problems because of my illness and at my worst couldn't remember the start of a sentence by the end. In January 2018 I was sent the Quick Reads for 2018 and these short books helped to increase my confidence in reading. The first books I read in nearly two months were Fern Britton's The Great Cornish Getaway and Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan.
I then went to the library and borrowed loads of Quick Reads, followed by essay collections - I'm now on to novels but I still don't read at the speed I used to and I have to reread chapters a lot.
Do you think you will read the new series?
I will, absolutely - if nothing else so that I can recommend them to colleagues. I will also recommend them to library users as I work for Norfolk Library and Information Service. I think sometimes the perspective of bookshops and readers in general is that Quick Reads are exclusively for non-readers or less confident readers but they're actually just cracking great reads! Reading any book is great and these have so much potential. I want to pass on my thanks to Jojo Moyes, whose donation saved Quick Reads and allowed the programme to continue for the next three years. They really do make a difference.
What would you like to see in the future from Quick Reads
I would love to see more non-fiction. From the point of view of someone who has had memory problems, not having so much narrative in a book is really useful. It means you're not going to get to page 200 when some plot detail comes into play from the start of the book that you can't remember. This would really help people with early-onset dementia too.
Pre-order our new Quick Reads for 2020 before 20 February publishing date
Find out more about the Quick Reads 2020 titles and authors