Thursday, 27 May 2021

Happy 15th Birthday Quick Reads

 Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Quick Reads: Short Books and Great Stories 

Tackling the Adult Literacy Crisis

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)


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.

I am delighted to be supporting this fantastic anniversary. Happy fifteenth birthday Quick Reads. My chosen read for this anniversary is Khurrum Rahman's The Motive.  The Motive is the prequel to his excellent series featuring Jay Qasim. 

Quick Reads are a brilliant way in which to indulge yourself when you have only a brief time to read. Prequels are also a good way in which to give readers new and old and insight into a series character's background and history. The Motive is definitely a quick read. Most Quick Reads are around 100 pages and this is the case with The Motive. One of the best things about 'quick reads' is that they cater to all. From large fonts to audiobook versions there is something for everyone. If you prefer reading short stories then Quick Reads are perfect in fulfilling this role. In The Motive, the chapters are short, the dialogue is snappy and the relationship between Jay Qasim the local dope dealer and rookie police officer Idris (who just happens to be his best mate) is a delight to behold. They are both at a student house for a party but have different reasons for being there.

In The Motive we get an insight into what Jay gets up to. I would suggest that if you haven't read East of Hounslow,Homegrown Hero or Ride and Die then you should do so and for those of us that have one hopes that  The Motive brings a wry smile to your face as you remember incidents from the books. Once again the author does not shy away from incorporating issues of the day into the storyline and in this case as the book is set on the cusp of the Brexit referendum one can imagine (in hindsight) the issues that have already begun to emerge. 

Reading The Motive re-enforced for me the reason why I think Khurrum Rahman is a writer who should be on everyone's list. If your looking for a fresh contemporary series that is not only engaging but is also humorous then Khurrum Rahman's Jay Qasim covers everything.

The Motive is published in paperback and ebook by HQ.  And is a Jay Qasim short story and prequel to East Of Hounslow written for Quick Reads 2021

Business has been slow for Hounslow's small time dope-dealer, Jay Qasim. A student house party means quick easy cash but it also means breaking his own rules. But desperate times lead him there - and Jay finds himself in the middle of a crime scene. Idris Zaidi, a Police Constable and Jay's best friend, is having a quiet night when he gets a call out following a noise complaint at a house party. Fed up with the lack of excitement in his job, he visits the scene and quickly realises that people are in danger after a stabbing. Someone will stop at nothing to get revenge . . .

You can follow Khurrum Rahman on Twitter @KhurrumRahman and also find him on Facebook.

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