Today might be Valentines Day, but the 14th February also marks another very special occasion – the launch of the Quick Reads 2013 collection.
Formed in 2006, Quick Reads is a fantastic charity that aims to encourage adults across the UK to pick up a book and discover the joys of reading. Every year, it enlists some of the biggest and brightest names in literature to write a series of short books designed to deliver an entertaining and engaging story in no more than 128 pages.
With some pretty compelling research that suggests that some 12 million adults in the UK find reading difficult and may never as picked up a book, the project is a great way of building confidence in those who may not have been readers in the past – whether that’s because they find books intimidating, because they think reading is boring or simply because they just don’t think that they want to.
It’s a brilliant and unique project, and this year, Quick Reads is pulling out all the stops to build awareness and encourage people to take part. Available from most major retailers and libraries, the books are not just intended for the general public, they have proved to be a vital educational tool for environments such as further education colleges, prisons, family centres, care homes and workplace learning centres. Plus, there’s also the knock-on effect on the next generation, as adults who discover reading through the Quick Reads charity are much more likely to encourage their children to read.
When it comes to the books themselves, there’s something for everyone. I’m particularly looking forward to ‘A Dreadful Murder’ by Minette Walters. Based on a true story, the book reconstructs the events of a mysterious murder on the grounds of a large country estate in a bid to uncover the culprit. It sounds to me like it might have echoes of Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
But if crime’s not your thing, there’s plenty more on offer in the form of a new Doctor Who story from Mike Tucker as well as a feel good romantic adventure in ‘Love is Blind’ by Kathy Lette.
Former SAS operative and soldier Andy McNab has also contributed to the collection with a brand new book reflecting on his time in the forces. Recruited following a stint in a juvenile detention facility at the age of sixteen, but with a reading age of just eleven, ‘Today Everything Changes’ tells of how his own experience of the Army education system changed his life forever.
I’ll post again with details of the individual books as soon as I’ve had a chance to read and review, but for now, this is just a short shout out to encourage everyone to spread the word!
More information on Quick Reads as well as all of this year’s books and authors can be found at http://www.quickreads.org.uk/