One in six adults of working age in the UK find reading difficult and may never pick up a book. People's reasons for not reading are varied: some people say they find books intimidating, that they struggle to find the time or that books are difficult or boring.
Quick Reads sets out to challenge these beliefs and to show that books and reading can be for everyone. Each year we commission big name authors to write short books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. They are the same as mainstream books in most respects but are simply shorter and easier to tackle for adults who are less confident in their reading skills. The books are then sold through major retailers and online booksellers, or loaned from libraries.
Quick Reads is making real, lasting changes to people's lives. Since 2006, 4.8 million books have been distributed through the initiative, 3 million library loans have been registered and through outreach work hundreds of thousands of new readers each year have been introduced to the joys and benefits of reading. Quick Reads is a unique collaboration and we are very grateful for the support of everyone involved.
This year's Quick Reads authors and titles, available from 1 February 2018, are:
• Cut Off by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown): A punchy, taut urban thriller about that moment we all fear: losing our phone! For Louise, losing hers in a local café takes a sinister turn. Billingham has sold five million copies of his novels and has twice won the Theakston's Old Peculiar Award for Crime Novel of the Year.
• The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton (HarperCollins): As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven. The former presenter of This Morning, Britton is now a Sunday Times bestselling author and this story is full of her usual warmth and wit.
• Clean Break by Tammy Cohen (Transworld): A dark and twisty portrait of a marriage coming to its bitter end, from the mistress of domestic noir. Can Kate rid herself of her jealous husband before it's too late? Cohen's acclaimed novels include The Mistress's Revenge, The War of the Wives and Someone Else's Wedding.
• Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton): An enchanting Baby Ganesh Agency novella from the bestselling Khan set in the bustling back-streets of Mumbai. Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick have two days to solve the mystery of a missing - and very costly - car for its gangster owner, or there'll be a heavy price to pay.
• The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson (Arrow): A gripping short read featuring a wedding, family drama, and old secrets. Tessa is thrilled when her daughter arrives in Ghana to get married but memories of the last time she was there haunt her; can she lay the ghosts of the past to rest or will they come back to haunt her daughter's future? Koomson is the bestselling author of 12 novels including The Ice-Cream Girls, My Best Friends' Girl and most recently The Friend.
• Six Foot Six by Kit de Waal (Viking): A charming novella from Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author de Waal about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. Everything changes for Timothy, a 21 year-old with learning difficulties, when local builder Charlie calls on him for help. De Waal worked in criminal and family law and was a magistrate for many years before her international bestseller, My Name is Leon was published.
Quick Reads are available from libraries and bookshops across the country.
Ideas for using Quick Reads
- Hold a reading break or start a reading group in your workplace, college, library or local community. You can create a buzz about reading that will encourage even the most reluctant readers to pick up a good book.
- Set up a reading area at your organisation. You can provide a bookcase and a reading area if you have room. Use new books or ask people to donate their books.
- Use Quick Reads as part of Reading Ahead, which challenges people to pick six reads and record their reading in a diary to get a certificate.
- Hold a book swap by encouraging people to bring in books they have read and enjoyed to share with others. You ask people to write reviews or put stickers in the front of the books for people to write comments.