Why You Should Check Out the Quick Reads Series
Short Stories, Published as Standalone Reads
The Quick Reads series is a worthy UK based initiative to increase literacy levels by encouraging those who don’t like to read beyond magazines and comic books, to try for the first time, or to rediscover if they haven’t read for years, fiction and non fiction through cheap priced short story length books. With a RRP of a couple of pounds, they are a cheap way to acquire something quick to read when travelling, commuting to work, having to wait for a train, plane or bus or if you simply want something to read to pass an hour or so of time. Australian readers benefit from this program, simply by the fact that these books exist. You can borrow most of these titles (all of ones pictured on this page) from GCCC libraries.
Over the years I’d unintentionally read a book from this series every now and then, simply when wanting to read everything particular authors have written. No doubt many of you have also unknowingly done this too. After reading Linwood Barclay’s Clouded Vision earlier this year, I thought to myself, these are high quality short stories, why not check out other books in the series by authors I hadn’t heard of, but whose stories looked interesting from their cover blurbs. I discovered quite a few brilliant tales and authors who I later went on to read whatever else they’d written. I realised these books were a great way to taste and author, as most of the Quick Reads books are just under 100 pages with some slightly shorter or longer, so then I had another thought. Why not read every one of the Quick Reads books! Some of these authors I’d categorised in my mind as writing stuff I’d never be interested in, but I thought what the hell! That opinion didn’t change with some authors, but with others I was completely wrong with my assumptions of what genre of fiction they wrote under. I also found that some of the books with the least interesting titles or cover blurbs, (six in the row below) which I’d left until last, turned out to be better stories than other ones I assumed would be more entertaining. Guess this re-enforces the age old saying, don’t judge a book by it’s poorly marketed cover.
For some reason a lot of these books have been categorised in the adult literacy section (I’m guessing because they are so short in length they also appeal to those learning English or who are learning to read, or it may just be due to the fact the main goal of this series is to increase adult global literacy and someone got confused). Don’t be put off by where they are shelved, they are exactly the same as normal adult fiction short stories. Although if you just want to browse the range on shelf, you will have to go Southport, Helensvale, Broadbeach or Elanora branches where the Adult Literacy shelves are located. Any branch can put them on hold for you though, and some titles are only at single branches. Plus as well as being found in the Adult Literacy shelves, some of the Quick Reads titles can also be found with different covers on the large print, fiction, and non fiction shelves. Some can also be found as audio books (note most audio book Quick Reads have an actual printed book together in the case with the audio CD, so don’t be put off if the title you are after is only available as an audio version and you don’t like listening to a story).
A common myth is that Quick Reads are abridged versions of full length stories, often fueled by the fact they’re on the Adult Literacy shelves. This is not true, they are full length short stories, the same as you find in any various author short story collection on the fiction shelves. These stories are just published as stand alone books. Like when you read a multiple author anthology, some stories are better than others, and there is the odd one or two you wonder how something so bad ever got published in the first place.
There isn’t room to review each book here, the books with covers pictured in this blurb would be the best of the entire series. However if you surf over to Amazon, I have created a Listmania List, where you can click on each of a selection of 40 titles, and see mine and other people’s reviews of each Quick Reads book.
More big name authors have joined the Quick Reads initiative with authors such as Alexander McCall Smith and Lynda La Plante, committing to releasing books next year, along with interesting books by lesser named authors such as one set on the Bounty after the demise of their captain, as well as an average guy being mistaken for a secret agent hitman . Can’t wait to see what else will be released under the Quick Reads brand in 2012, whatever they are, I can definitely say I’ll read them all!