Book to the Future: Speedy Boarding!

quickreadsLacking time to read? Struggling to find something short, interesting AND well written?

Quick Reads are short books written by big name authors that are designed to be easy to read and as such are fantastic for adults who are less confident in their reading skills. They are the same as mainstream books in most respects but are simply shorter and easier to tackle. They are not just for those new to reading, they are great for everyone, especially busy folk with limited time to read and a lifesaver on dull train or bus journeys!

Quick reads are ideal for those doing Reading Ahead, and are also a fantastic way to read through the decades for our Reading Passport. Have you finished Reading Ahead and want to keep reading? OR why not do both and increase your chances of winning some goodies as well!

Pick up your South West Reading Passport 2016: Book to the Future from your local library, read through the decades and win prizes from now until March 2017. Find out more on our  Book to the Future blog post.


Here are a few Quick Read suggestions to get you fast tracked through the decades!…

waltersChickenfeed by Walters, Minette. Based on the true story of the ‘chicken farm murder’ which took place in Blackness, Crowborough, East Sussex in December, 1924. Norman Thorne was found guilty of the murder of Elsie Cameron, but even at the time of his execution there were doubts about his guilt. Minette Walters brings a thrilling story to life in this gripping new novel. [1920s]

The cave by Kate Mosse. March 1928. Freddie Smith is on a motoring holiday in the mountains of south west France. He is caught in a violent storm and his car crashes. He is forced to seek shelter in a boarding house in the nearby village of Axat. There he meets another guest in the tiny hotel, a young woman called Marie. When Freddie wakes the following morning, Marie has gone… [1920s]

christieThe double clue and other Hercule Poirot stories by Agatha Christie.  A perfect introduction to Agatha Christie – four of the best Hercule Poirot stories, chosen for their readability and sense of adventure. [1920s/30s]

Amy’s Diary by Maureen Lee.  Set during the Second World War in Liverpool, this is a wonderful Maureen Lee tale. [1930s/1940s] Listen to an excerpt here

The tannery by Sherrie Hewson. A heart-warming tale of one family’s struggle to survive the war years… [1930s/1940s]

smith4The cleverness of ladies by Alexander McCall Smith. There are times when ladies must use all their wisdom and good sense to face life’s problems and mysteries. Alexander McCall Smith brings us five tales of love, heartbreak, hope and the cleverness of ladies. [1930s/40s and onwards] Click HERE to hear the author read A High Wind in Nevis, a short story from The Cleverness of Ladies.

East End tales by Gilda O’Neill. Gilda O’Neill was born into a traditional East End family in Bethnal Green. East End Tales provides a fascinating insight into the history of the much changed East End of London, told with wit, warmth and emotion. [1950s onwards]

mcnabToday Everything Changes by Andy McNab. Abandoned as a baby, Andy McNab’s start in life was tough. By the age of sixteen, he was in juvenile detention. Recruited into the Army from there, it soon became apparent that he had the reading age of an eleven year old. This is the inspiring story of when life changed for Andy McNab. [1960s onwards] Click HERE to listen to Andy McNab  read chapter one and two of Today Everything Changes.


daviesI love football: a match made in heaven by Hunter Davies. Hunter Davies’ account of his passion takes us through his experiences with some of the biggest names in the game – including George Best, Gazza and Dwight Yorke – and his memories of some of the most exciting matches played over the past 40 years. [1960s onwards]

The hardest test by Scott Quinnell. This is the story of how Scott became a successful rugby player, in spite of having to fight against learning difficulties at school. When he retired in 2005 he continued his battle with dyslexia in order to change both his and his children’s lives forever. [1970s onwards]

Twenty tales from the war zone: the best of John Simpson by John Simpson. This book brings together some of the highlights of John Simpson’s career. Whether dodging guerrillas at a cocaine market in Colombia or interviewing a flatulent Colonel Gadaffi, Simpson paints a vivid picture of what being a journalist on the front line is all about. [1970s onwards]






The Flying Pineapple by Jamie Baulch With his blond dreadlocks and his speed on the running track, Jamie Baulch earned the nickname ‘The Flying Pineapple’. This is Jamie’s story about his life as one of the most decorated British athletes [1970s onwards]

Kung Fu Trip by Benjamin Zephaniah. Benjamin decides he has had enough of London. So he takes off to China, specifically to Shaolin Temple, the spiritual home of martial arts and kung fu..An extraordinary snapshot of his’s life and views on politics, Buddhism, kung fu, vegans and much else. [1990s/2000s]

We won the lottery: real life winner stories by Danny Buckland. Since 1994, the UK’s National Lottery has created 2,300 millionaires. Five winners share the highs and lows of their lives once they became millionaires. It also goes behind the scenes to reveal funny facts, the luckiest numbers, the unusual purchases and exactly what happens when you win. [1990s onwards]

The Sun book of short stories. The Sun ran a short story competition called ‘Get Britain Reading’ in order to find the hidden talent among its ten million readers. The Sun Book of Short Stories contains a selection of the winning entries. They may make you smile, laugh or cry – but all of them are sure to entertain you.[2000s]

basilStrangers on the 16:02 by Priya Basil. It’s a hot, crowded train. Helen Summer is on her way to see her sister Jill to tell her an awful secret. Another passenger, Kerm, is on his way back from his grandfather’s funeral. Read Strangers on the 16:02 and you’ll never feel the same way about your fellow passengers again. [2010s].

Paris for one by Jojo Moyes. Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She has never even been on a weekend away with her boyfriend. Everyone knows she is just not the adventurous type. But, when her boyfriend doesn’t turn up for their romantic mini-break, Nell has the chance to prove everyone wrong. Could this turn out to be the most moyes2adventurous weekend of her life? [2010s ]

All these lonely people by Gervase Phinn. Even with a huge problem to worry about, Father McKenzie still manages to see the good in everyone. This charming tale shows the ups and downs of everyday life in a truly heart-warming way. It will have you laughing out loud and shedding a tear – both at the same time [2010s – Set in present, but looks over many decades].

Desert claw by Damien Lewis. Iraq: the present day.  Sent undercover in a deniable operation called Desert Claw, the brief is simple: retrieve Saddam’s £25milion painting, and eliminate terrorists at the earliest possible opportunity. The mission sounds simple enough. But as Mick and his team are drawn into a dark and violent world, things are not always as they seem….[2010s]