Discover the joy of reading with Quick Reads. Short books and great stories by bestselling authors!
Quick Reads provide a route into reading that prioritises great story telling and adult-focused content while ensuring the books are written in an accessible and easy to read style. The books are written by some of the most popular authors in the UK - including Andy McNab, Jojo Moyes, Anne Cleeves, Ian Rankin and Benjamin Zephaniah - so they can be a brilliant entry point to new genres, authors as well as the spark to reignite or build up the joy of reading.
The Quick Reads programme has collaborated with over 30 publishers to produce a total of 135 titles since 2006 (many still available to borrow from your public library or buy from The Reading Agency's bookshop) with over 5 million copies distributed and over 6 million library loans.
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.
The 2024 titles are:
Those People Next Door by Kia Abdullah (HQ, HarperCollins)
Salma Khatun is extremely hopeful about Blenheim, the safe suburban development to which she, her husband and their son have just moved. Their family is in desperate need of a fresh start, and Blenheim feels like the place to make that happen. Not long after they move in, Salma spots her neighbour, Tom Hutton, ripping out the anti-racist banner her son put in their front garden. She chooses not to confront Tom because she wants to fit in. It's a small thing, really. No need to make a fuss. So, Salma takes the banner inside and puts it in her window instead. But the next morning she wakes up to find her window smeared with paint. This time she does confront Tom, and the battle lines between the two families are drawn. As things begin to escalate and the stakes become higher, it's clear that a reckoning is coming... And someone is going to get hurt.
Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman (Penguin, Penguin Random House)
Seventeen-year-old Dante is waiting for his A-level results. He's got it all planned out. If his results are good, he'll go to university and study to be a journalist. But while he's waiting, the doorbell rings and it's his ex-girlfriend. She's carrying a baby - his baby. Dante agrees to look after the baby for an hour or two. Then his ex doesn't come back, and Dante's plans have to change. With the help of his father and brother, Dante must learn how to be a single parent. A gripping and original story about love, relationships and growing up the hard way.
Game On by Matt Cain (Headline, Hachette)
Toddington FC defender Tom Horrocks is never happier than when he's on the football pitch, but when it comes to love, he's hiding a big secret. Worried about his young daughter and sick father - and with his team finally in the Premier League - he avoids all media.
Journalist Cosmo Roberts wants to change the world, so is angry when he's sent to a quiet northern town to cover a sport he sees as anti-gay. Then something about Tom catches his eye. Cosmo hates football. Tom hates journalists. Perhaps this time they've both met their match.
Without Warning and Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal (Headline, Hachette)
Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn't have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came.
Caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape
The Jealousy Man by Jo Nesbo (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
Summoned to the Greek island of Kalymnos to investigate the disappearance of business man Julian Schmid, Athens detective Nikos Balli - who specialises in jealousy as a motive - immediately identifies his prime suspect: the man's twin brother, Franz.
Balli has a nose for sniffing out jealousy, and Franz reeks of it. Working alongside his old friend and colleague George Kostopoulos, Balli interrogates Franz, trying to diagnose whether or not the missing man - and possibly dead man - might have been the victim of a jealous rage. But Franz insists that his brother left the room they were sharing together and simply never came back.
But Balli knows the grip of envy, and this case, in Balli's mind, comes down to the twin brothers battling over a woman. But before Balli can prove it, his own past catches up with him on the island - and he might not be able to survive it this time.
The Last Summer by Karen Swan (Pan Macmillan)
Summer on St Kilda - a wild, remote Scottish island. Two strangers from drastically different worlds meet . . .
Wild-spirited Effie Gillies has lived all her life on the small island of St Kilda but when Lord Sholto, heir to the Earl of Dumfries, visits, the attraction between them is instant. For one glorious week she guides the handsome young visitor around the isle, falling in love for the first time - until a storm hits and her world falls apart.
Three months later, St Kilda falls silent as the islanders are evacuated for a better life on the mainland. With her friends and family scattered, Effie is surprised to be offered a position working on the Earl's estate. Sholto is back in her life but their differences now seem insurmountable, even as the simmering tension between them grows. And when a shocking discovery is made back on St Kilda, all her dreams for this bright new life are threatened by the dark secrets Effie and her friends thought they had left behind.
Buy the books through Bookshop.org, Waterstones, or borrow them from your local library. The titles are available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook!
Libraries can order Quick Reads from your usual library supplier such as Askews or Gardners and the Ebook and audiobooks from Overdrive or BorrowBox.
You can access accompanying learning resources, book group discussion guides and promotional materials on our resources database.
Quick Reads are perfect for supporting the Reading Ahead programme either as reading material or to use as rewards and incentives.
Impact and reach
1 in 6 adults in the UK struggle with reading and 1 in 3 adults do not regularly read for pleasure. England ranks 23rd out of 23 OECD nations for literacy level amongst 16-19 year olds. In addition, studies have shown that those who do read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations.
Quick Reads are an extremely valuable tool for boosting reading skills, confidence and engagement in learning. They can act as an entry point to different authors' work in diverse genres, and have led to thousands of adults reading, completing and enjoying a book for the first time. Our long-term goal is to build a nation of readers by getting Quick Reads into every home in the UK!
Read our Quick Reads 2022 evaluation report to find out more about the benefits of Quick Reads.